African Cichlid Tank Advice
I have an empty 55 gallon aquarium and i just found room for it to be set up. I want to do an African cichlid tank but I would love some hints or tips. Also to note i'm only 16 so my budget isn't huge. My questions would be...
Hi. Disclaimer: iam only using advice given to me and seen from my LFS. I noticed they fed their Chiclids with catfish, small catfish which are eaten voraciously. African Chiclids tend to be extremely aggresive with tetras( i learnt that the hard way) so get a African Chiclid only tank, otherwise the tank mates should be able to survive them. From my experience, it would be lepornidus arcus/ lipstick lepornidus and my LFS also recommends that. Try to get as much decorations and caves around so that the chiclids would lose their aggresors easily. Sometimes the fish would kill each other, I saw that in my LFS and my own experience. Sorry my tips aren't exactly what u would like, but thats the most detailed i can give. One more thing is that the substrate should be sandy or gravel as it would mimic a coast of a lake. You can let the substrate be like having a slightly incline/decline to mimic a coast :D
As far as how many fish i cant say unless you decide on a type of african cichlid. Their sizes aggression and needs can be vastly different.
There are the 3 rift lakes. Malawi, Victoria, and Tanganyika. Then there are the rivers and some west african cichlids and some of these are from softer water. The 3 rift lakes are all hard water with lake Tanganyika being the hardest water. You dont want to mix and match your stock from these different bodies of water(for the most part unless you are sure of what you're doing!).
Now when shopping for them you'll mostly be seing Haps, mbuna, or peacocks ( there are others but i'm tryn to simplify) . Most Haps and peacocks would be stressed out by mbuna... So again try not to mix these either.
For substrate you will want to use sand and larger rock( for the most part). Thats really about it for decorating. You can make cave like structures with rock for thm but make sure its secure. Many of these fish love decorating on their own so they often dig or push rocks around.
You should shoot for a turnover rate of 10x your tank volume an hr for filtration or close to that.
Make sure you research each individual fish to make sure they don't get too big, hei diet is similar to the others you keep, they are fron the same group(Hap, peacock, mbuba etc.), and same body of water or at least similar.
For "cleaners".. Well there are some kinds of catfish that will work personally i have an African featherfin with my Africans and he does well. But keep in mind if you get anything for cleaning in there its not really going to clean exactly. In fact many of these cichlids themselves kinda could fit into that category. For example many mbuna love algae and spend lts of time on he bottom.
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