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fishdad1 09-05-2008 09:51 PM

Filters for a 55 gallon
I want to start a 55 gallon african cichlid tank and I am trying to price out everything I need. I know I will have to load the tank heavily to disburse the aggression, with about 19 cichlids and a feather fin cat. On average how often should a tank this size, with this many fish filter/hour? I know that on average, to maintain a healthy tank, a tank should filter at least 4 times/hour. So to filter this tank I was thinking about using a Penguin 350 or an Emperor 400, with a Fluval 205. If I am figuring right this will give me about 10 times filtration/hour, will this be enough or do I need more?

Also, I love plec's and I really don't feel like a tank is complete without a catfish in it. And, I know that cichlids eat algae. But are there any plec's I can put in a tank with all of those fish, without them killing it? Also, if possible I would like the plec to be under 7 inches.

Pasfur 09-05-2008 10:53 PM

Your filtration plan is perfect, with the Emperor being the better choice.

You can use any of the bristlenose catfish species.

SKAustin 09-05-2008 11:33 PM

Synodontis catfish are endemic to the African rift lakes and may be a better suited choice based on the higher PH recommendations of the rift lake cichlids. Synodontis multipunctatus and Synodontis nigriventris are both good choices that will remain relatively small. Are you planning to stock Malawi, Tanganyikan, or Victorian cichlids?

iamntbatman 09-06-2008 12:08 AM

The Emperor and 205 canister will make a good combination. The Emperor has biowheels, which are a great asset to your aquarium, and the canister provides plenty of additional space for extra filter media.

fishdad1 09-06-2008 04:19 PM

Thanks for all of the input. I will have to check out those other cats that were mentioned.

Well with the varieties of African cichlids offered at the LFS's in my area I was going to go with a mix of Tang and Mala breeds. I was hoping to find enough of a variety to fill the entire stratosphere of the tank, ranging from a bottom-dwelling cat or two, some shell dwellers, all the way up to near surface dwellers. I was also thinking about using two Emperor 400's because that would give me more filtration than those I mentioned earlier, but I just don't know if I want to hear that much waterfall noise from the tank, it can get kind of annoying. Would those two be enough filtration until I can save up some funds to buy a good expensive canister. If so, when I get one, I could move an Emperor to the 46 bow that my buddy is gonna give me and use it for a community tank for my daughter.

Also, I wanted to do a day and night lighting setup for the tank and I wanted to try to keep it under $100. Would I be able to do two 24" flo. strips with one for daytime and the other for nighttime lighting or how could I do it and make it look good?

Thanks again for all the info!

SKAustin 09-07-2008 12:36 AM


Originally Posted by fishdad1
Well with the varieties of African cichlids offered at the LFS's in my area I was going to go with a mix of Tang and Mala breeds.

I would recommend against mixing cichlids from the two lakes. Malawi Cichlids are far more active and aggressive. Tanganyikan cichlids are more skittish and will be kept in hiding by the active nature of the Malawi cichlids. I'd highly recommend you choose from one of the lakes and stick with it.

iamntbatman 09-07-2008 01:15 AM

If you keep the water high enough in the tank, the "waterfall" noise of the HOB filters is essentially eliminated. It only gets loud when the water level really drops due to evaporation.

Here's a moonlight strip:

And since you won't likely have any live plants in the tank with those African cichlids, you can sort of skimp on the regular lighting. Something like this would be fine:

fishdad1 09-07-2008 02:20 PM

Again thanks for all of the info so far.

I did not know that you should not mix fish from the two lakes, someone actually told me that you could mix them and they would do great. I have done a lot of looking into the Tang. lake breeds and I like them but I am not sure what to do. I like the typical "personalities" of the Tang. breeds, but I also like the coloration of the Mala. breeds. Like I said before, I want to try to use as much of the stratospheres of the tank as possible, but I don't know which lake species would provide that.
Here is the stock list that I have come up with for a Tang. tank:
- Neolamprologus brevis----- 3 (1 male & 2 females) Male 2.5" & Female 1.5"
- Altolamprologus compressiceps ----2 (1 male & 1 female) Male 5" & Female 4"
- Altolamprologus calvus ------3 (1 male & 2 females) Male 6" & Female 4"
- Chalinochromis brichardi ------2 (1 male & 1 female) Male 6" & Female 5"
- Neolamprologus buescheri ----3 (1 male & 2 females) Male & Female 2.5"
- Lamprologus meleagris ----4 (2 males & 2 females) Male & Female 2"
- Neolamprologus Leleupi ----3 (1 male & 2 females) Male 4" & Female 2"
- Julidochromis transcriptus -----2 (1 male & 1 female) Male & Female 4"
- Neolamprologus sexfasciatus ----2 (1 male & 1 female) Male 4.5" & Female 3.5"
-Neolamprologus tretacephalus ----2 (1 male & 1 female) Male & Female 6"
- Synodontus eupterus catfish -----1 (male) 8.5"
I know the tank will have to be overstocked but is this list too overstocked, and will it meet my requirements? Or should I go with Mala. breeds?

Thanks for the info on the lights. How would I be able to mount both of those light assemblies on top of my tank? Does anyone make an all-in-one assembly, with day & night lamps in one to setup on timers?

Also, would the two Emperor 400 hob's work for this setup, until I can get a canister? Or should I start out with a canister?

iamntbatman 09-07-2008 11:41 PM

They do make an "all-in-one" fixture. Here's an example:

The thing is, on the 48" light you only get two lunar LED's with that model, and the regular daytime lighting is way overkill on a tank that's not going to have any plants in it. Plus, it's more expensive. I'm not 100% sure, but I think if you bought both of those other lights I showed you, you'd be able to fit both of them over a regular glass top. I'm not sure of the exact dimensions of the lunar light strip though, so you might want to call Aquarium Guys and have them check for you.

Tyyrlym 09-08-2008 08:41 AM

Wow, I just found my next light for my tank.

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