Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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lee420 11-20-2012 11:44 AM

new ciclid tank
whats goin on guys, ive built up a recent addiction to fish and just got a 29g setup that i want to be a cichlid tank. this is my setup so far

29g tank
80 degree temp
fluval c3 filter
white arogonite sand (to buff my ph)
small demisoni to start the cycle

my main concerns are:
how long will my ph stay buffed from the sand?
im going bristle nose plecos for algae but what are my options for bottom feeders that wont get owned by my cichlids?
can i have sharks with cichlids?
should i keep the population low or overpopulate to reduce aggression?
any certain rock type recomendations for cichlids? (goin dor natural look)
will cichlids breed in a overpopulated tank?

every fish i get for this tank is going to be as young as possible so they arent overmatched and grow up being used to eachother

any advice or experiances with any of this would help a lot, thanks guys
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Blackfeet 11-20-2012 04:11 PM

I know all the answers but those I do I will answer. The sand will continue to buff you ph. When you do water changes your PH and KH levels may change and some of the sand will dissolve to the point where the ph is too high for it to dissolve.
As for the fish getting them young and in groups is good to allow them time to pair off. You will still have to remove the odd ones out. Keep in mind the fish's mature temperment keeping fish of similar temperment is always advised. Before you get your fish check the fish profiles here to find their reccomended minimum tank siz. Most cichlids get quite large and need enough room to swim and set up territories. Most sharks also get too large for a tank your size.

lee420 11-21-2012 11:14 AM

yeah i know its small for a cichlid tank but im planning on getting a bigger tank by the time they get big

lol@ the name blackfeet too
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lee420 11-21-2012 12:01 PM

new ciclid tank
whats goin on guys i just got a new setup to support my new addiction to fish. im planning on making it afro cichlid

heres what i got so far:
29g tank
80 degree temp
fluval c3 filter
white arogonite sand (to buffer ph)
small demisoni to start the cycle

here are my questions:
should i over populate to reduce aggression?
im going bristle nose cor algae but what are my options for a bottom feeder that wont get owned by my cichlids?
any recomended rock types for ciclids? (going for natural look)
will the one fish be enough to start the cycle?
will cichlids breed in an overpopulated tank?

i realize 29g is small for a cichlid tank but im getting all my fish as small as possible and will have a bigger tank by the time theyre grown

any advice or experiences with any of this would help a lot, thx guys
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Byron 11-21-2012 12:08 PM

First let me welcome you to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

If the fish mentioned is Pseudotropheus demasoni, a 29g is insufficient space for any more than one. This fish attains 4 inches and is very aggressive. It will need a large tank if you intend more than one, or with other cichlids. And any tankmates should only be rift lake cichlids.

We sometimes think that we can buy potentially large fish for a small tank and move up to a larger tank in time, but this rarely succeeds. For one thing, circumstances may prohibit the larger tank. And bear in mind, by larger tank here we are thinking 4 feet or more, such as a 90g, depending how many fish you intend. But even more important is the fact that small tanks affect fish throughout their lives. You can read more here:
Do fish grow to the size of their tank? | INJAFINJAF

Some time back I came across very good advice which I have since always followed: I never buy any fish for which I do not now have a suitable aquarium up and running that will accommodate the fish at its maximum size and in a suitable environment (aquascape, tankmates, water parameters, etc.).

If you are considering cichlids for your 29g tank, there are some options. From the rift lakes, the shellies as they are called. From South America [obviously requiring very different water parameters] there are many dwarf species.


Edit: I came across another post on the same topic so I have merged the two threads. B.

lee420 11-21-2012 01:31 PM

one more question to add on, how many hours of light is too much?

and thx for merging byron, i posted before i realized there was a cichlid forum
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Byron 11-21-2012 04:31 PM


Originally Posted by lee420 (Post 1320002)
one more question to add on, how many hours of light is too much?

First point is that fish need some total darkness, just as all animals do, to "rest." So you want to ensure they have several hours, say 8 or thereabouts, of complete darkness. And this means the room also is dark. Under continual light, fish will be stressed; outbreaks of ich often occur if the light is left on continuously for example.

Aside from the above, the light doesn't really matter too much, provided it is not intense. Most fish occur in quite dimly-lit waters. No light over the aquarium at all, in a normal daylight-lit room would suit the fish just fine. So this brings us to why we have the light.

Primarily, to view the aquarium. You can have the light period whenever you want, provided the extended dark period is part of every 24-hour cycle. It is best to keep a normal day/night cycle; in other words, not turning the light on and off all over the place. You can read more on this cycle and what it does to the fish's physiology in my article on lighting:

The longer the light is on, the more likely algae will increase. And here we come to the plants. In planted tanks, the light must be more strictly controlled, since nutrients must be available during the entire period of light if the plants are to benefit. If not, the light will cause algae to increase, and this can smother the plants. Without live plants, algae is not bad but good, since it in effect provides some of the same functions of plants; namely, using nutrients and producing oxygen. In a tank without live plants, there is nothing wrong with algae.

Some of this is detailed more in the linked article.


Tazman 11-22-2012 09:21 AM

Just to chime in here, adding a demasoni to start the cycle is very very bad, two reasons, fishless cycling with pure ammonia as described here, will create a far bigger bed of good bacteria than using a fish, if done correctly it allows one to fully stock the tank once the cycle is complete. Second reason is a demansoni is an extremely aggressive fish and if left in the tank alone while cycling will take the whole thing over. Once you add other fish the demansoni will see them as a threat and either mostly kill them or at least make them severely stressed.

I would also consider adding another filter, african cichlids are extremely messy and produce a large amount of waste, you need to look at between 10-15 times the tank volume for filtration at MINIMUM. I cannot stress that enough, the water parameters will decrease very rapidly if not enough filtration is present.

In terms of the other questions, rocks, almost anything, larger rocks though I would add a piece of light diffuser panel(eggcrate) to the bottom of the tank under the substrate sand to act as a cushion should the rocks collapse, cichlids are very good diggers and can easily topple rocks potentially cracking the tank bottom or side. Add some vinegar to any rocks and if it fizzes do not use it.

In keeping the tank over populated yes it will reduce aggression but you also need to house species that can get along in a small tank like that. I would highly recommend you stay away from Demansoni, Auratus, Pseudotropheus Crabo, Salousi and some of the Tropheus variants in a tank that small, the aggression level of these fish is such that in the blink of an eye the entire rest of the tank could be dead with only the dominant male left. They are all extremely aggressive and not suited to a beginner in cichlids.

NEVER EVER, go on the pretense of "I will get a bigger tank", chances are if you cannot afford one now, you wont be getting one anytime soon, sorry but its a fact, we can all say that we want a bigger tank and then something comes along preventing it from happening. Mbuna which is what these fish are, grow quick meaning some can be adult fish in less than a year, above 1.5-2" these fish will start showing their adult traits which can in the space of housing aggressive fish turn into WW3 and dead or injured fish in a matter of hours.

I have kept a tank of aggressive fish and I know what these fish are capable of doing.

I would seriously stick to more sedate species, such as yellow labs but all things aside, you are pushing the limits of minimum tank size to successfully house any Africans in a 29g tank, the shellies would be the best option. It depends on what your water are out the tap which will ultimately determine what you can keep. Buffering is a long drawn out process which can be tiresome and stressful at times not only to you but your fish more importantly, it would be best to stock what is suited to your "out the tap" water conditions.

lee420 11-22-2012 10:28 AM

your very right about the demisoni. i put a small lab in with him and he wouldnt let him anywhere near the bottom of the tank, going to rehome him and stick with small calm species. thanks for the rest of the info too, was all helpful

and the c3 is rated for up to 50 gallons. still not enough?
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