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The_New_Guy 01-26-2007 12:19 AM

I need Help/advice on a 25G cichlid tank
Firstly, I feel it is important to mention that I am completely new to caring for an aquarium.

I am trying to attempt putting together a stable African cichlid tank.

Here’s what I’m working with:

- 25G glass rectangular tank
- 2 x “Aquaclear 50” 3 stage power filters (sponge, coal and bio-max inserts)
- 20w Aqua-glow T8 fluo light
- 150w fully submersible heater
- 45lbs of what the pet store guy called Cichlid rock
- Plenty of Cichlid aragonite
- Gravel

I have already set up everything and have had a goldfish living in there to test the water. It’s been there about two weeks and looks healthier than the day I got it. There also seems to be brown and green stains all over my rock.

I have a few specific questions but feel free to comment about anything:

1-What type of Cichlids should I (Could I) go for with my relatively small 25G tank?
-What about an algae eating fish?

2-I heard that I should overstock my tank? Is this true? If so, what would be overstocking for a 25G cichlid tank?

3-What are the important factors I really have to consider with my tank? How often do I have to test and for what? How often should change my filter media? and my water?

4-Are there any special products I need to use for cichlids (water additives, feeding)?

5-How many should i first introduce? Should my goldfish be disposed of before hand?[/url]

Lupin 01-26-2007 02:09 AM


1. I would not go with cichlids originating from Lake Malawi. Those cichlids in general will need a larger tank as they produce a lot of wastes. In a 25 gallons, you'll have issues with space, territory and water parameters.
I would suggest you keep either dwarf cichlids of South America or Lake Tanganyikan julies or shelldwellers. I prefer the shelldwellers in the latter's case. However, you'll need several shells for them to live.

For algae consumers, I'd research first on what cichlids you want. Otos are good choices if you want dwarf cichlids. Never stick to bristlenose plecs if you want Lake Tanganyikan cichlids. They thrive better in low pH whereas Lake Tanganyikans prefer hard alkaline water.

2. You can overstocked but I would not do this on long-term basis due to the following reasons:

a. Aggression-Pls note that cichlids tend to get very aggressive. The smallest fish will get a severe harassment which will result to it pining away and eventually death.

b. Territory-Cichlids are often eager to breed. An overcrowded tank is a recipe for disasters. A breeding pair can give you disastrous results by bullying several fish to death in their attempts to protect their fry and territory.
The smallest fish will fail to get its own territory and will get constant harassments.

c. Water Parameters-You will have very high nitrates due to several fish. Most cichlids can eat and uproot plants so plants are often out of this idea. Plants serve to consume nitrates but without them, you are left with the option to do an overfiltration and more water changes.

d. Diseases-An overcrowded tank will always have problems like diseases. Stress is the no. 1 contributor of diseases. With the water parameters and aggression, the fish getting constant harassments will be stressed greatly thus lowering its immune system and increasing its vulnerability to diseases. This will lead to an outbreak eventually.

3. Test your water parameters during cycling phase, everytime you do a water change(though not that frequently) or when you notice the fish is acting strangely.

No need to change filter media. You just clean the filter media using the tank water every 6 months or when you notice your filter is not working properly.

4. Use dechlorinator only. This will eliminate chlorine, chloramine and other heavy metals which are very harmful to the fish. Keep Melafix in your medicine box. You need it to treat the fish's wounds or tattered fins. Also get a 10 gallons tank for a hospital/quarantine tank so you can treat your fish without intervening with the biological filtration. Most meds can destroy the beneficial bacteria causing ammonia and nitrites to spike. Both are toxic to the fish.

As for foods, this depends on your fish. Always research for dietary requirements. Fish that eat veggies exclusively should never be mixed with fish requiring meaty foods. Vegetarians get digestive upsets if fed with meat.

5. Rehome your goldfish after you are done with cycling. I'd add about 2-4 fish at a time but it depends on the species of cichlids you want. Make sure your ammonia and nitrites are zero. Always add the sensitive species last. Your tank may not be stable enough yet for sensitive specimens right after it has cycled.


Melissa 01-26-2007 06:39 AM

well dont keep cichlids from lake malawi, they get to large for your tank. We have kept them before. Use a dechlorinator for the water before you put fish in the tank. And i am not sure about other cichlids but we used to put aquarium salt in the water because cichlids are brackish water fish.

Lauri 01-26-2007 06:52 AM

Yellow labs are from lake Malawi they are peaceful with lots of rock caves you could keep 6. Better yet the smaller shell dwellers from Lake Tanganika are better suited for your size tank. They are very active great personalities as well. Again with plenty of rock work and shells you could have 6- two males and four females. Good luck.

scottysgirl 01-26-2007 11:40 AM

Or perhaps Rams, I have three of them and they are great--active and relatively peaceful, they don't get big and are very pretty.

The_New_Guy 01-26-2007 12:15 PM

thanks :) , here are a few more
So, from what I understand, I should go with manny fish of one species rather than having 1 of many?

What is the maximum size any single fish can reach in my tank? (even if it were to be alone)

PS: Thanks alot guys, all these posts (especially the first one), have been very helpful and insightful.

P.P.S.: By the way, the link in my first post is a pic of my tank. Tell me what you think, does it look cavy enough, should i rearrange the rocks? Or even get shells?

Lupin 01-26-2007 06:29 PM

Re: thanks :) , here are a few more

Originally Posted by The_New_Guy
So, from what I understand, I should go with manny fish of one species rather than having 1 of many?

That depends on the species of fish you choose. Choose Tanganyikan shelldwellers and this goes to the direction of the latter.

What is the maximum size any single fish can reach in my tank? (even if it were to be alone)
Most apistogrammas reach 8 cm max. Shelldwellers are often just 2 inches in size and live in harems. Neolamprologus ocellatus is a great example.

P.P.S.: By the way, the link in my first post is a pic of my tank. Tell me what you think, does it look cavy enough, should i rearrange the rocks? Or even get shells?
You'll need more rocks than that but it depends on what species you have. For apistos, calcerous rocks should be avoided as they often do not like very high pH.

musho3210 01-26-2007 06:52 PM

rams (bolivian, blue, or gold (gold ram is like a blue ram, just a different color) or kribs are what i would suggest, otos as algae eaters. I wouldnt suggest shrimp unless there large and have no attack claws as chichlids like eating shrimp (just like my mom).

herefishy 01-26-2007 07:31 PM

A 25g tank would be a good choice if you purchase small, juvenile Malawians, with the intention and understanding that will have to be moved as they grow larger.
I believe in overstocking African cichlids, mbuna and the like. I once gave a dissertation that reinforced that theory at a large fish show in St. Louis.
My reasoning is this: Cichlids are VERY territorial. If another fish enters that territory, they drive it away sometimes to the point of killing the trespasser. Jam the tank, the chasee finds easy escape by blending in with the masses.
One note here however, Filtration must be up to the task. I have a 300g tank that has well over 300 mbuna. Filtration is very heavy. Four Emperor 400 powerfilters, four Magnum 300 canisters, and six marineland 1170 power heads. That totals to about 4000g of filtration per hour.
Rockwork is essential to make caves for the fish to hide and to breed.
Most mbuna are vegetarian for the most part, although they will eat animal matter. A variety in their diet is best. Mine love fresh zucchini, and fresh spinach(not canned).
Good luck.

The_New_Guy 01-26-2007 09:46 PM

So for this 300g tank with 300+ mbunas has like 5" of fish to the gallon!!??

Does this mean i could technicaly fit 25 in my small tank?

And also, tell me if i understand the concept: I could go ahead and overstock (somewhat gradually) and fit 25 small cichs (yellow labs, 1 or 2 synos, cobalt blues) and at worst a few will get killed off and the rest of the colony will be maximized and survive?

Not to ask too many questions, but... Is a water testing kit (for eveything) worth it, or are occasional visits to the pet store (they offer on site testing) sufficient?

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