Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   New mbuna set-up advice and help? (

aaronjunited 04-01-2010 01:09 PM

New mbuna set-up advice and help?
Hi again, introduced myself in the meet the community section.
I've been on the cichlid-forum for months now and got super advice from the guys on there. I was wanting advice on here to help me make my mind up completely and get a wider audiences view.

I have two new tanks waiting to be set-up, ive just been doing all my research on all the details.
Now i'm only setting one tank up first of all, the other will be done after. Not sure which tank to set-up first though.

First tank is 42" long x 15.2" wide x 18.1" high, its a 190l tank.
second tank is 48" long x 13" wide x 15" high, its a 153l tank.
I have made my mind up on fish to stock with and they are as follows.

5 yellow labs 1m 4f
12-15 demasoni
1 BN Pleco
6 lucipinnis

I have been asking around about adding another species to that list. Most people have told me it wouldnt work and if i went with it, id have to do alot more frequent water changes which i wont mind. Please advise and your own thoughts are welcome for the stocklist.
Note: I am aware that mbuna are territorial and footprint is important.

Substrate is gona be pool filter sand, and i'm stuck on what to pick between argonite or something else?? mixed with it, havent made my mind up which yet, any ideas are welcome.

Rocks im pretty much no good at selecting them, i have found rocks on ebay, i've also been looking at river rocks, rocks from the beach, but i have no idea how to make sure there is no metals in the rocks apart from if there is colours in the rocks they may have metals in them. I would rather collect the rocks myself but unsure on how to make sure i get the safest for my tank.

I'm looking at eheim canisters and wondering which would be advisable, i have a fluval U3 internal filter to run in the tank along with a canister. Any suggestions on canisters would be great.

One more thing, i have selected a plan that i will use to build my own stand, and i cant find a decent plan for the hood, searched the internet high and low, and most hood plans are no good.
I want doors on top of my hood so i dont have to lift it off. Any advise on this would also be really helpfull.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the long story, just want to make sure you all know what i'm after and your help/thoughts will be very much appreciated.


kelly528 04-01-2010 03:03 PM

... might want to try posting in the cichlid section. Not many of us on the general forum can make head or tail of cichlids other than kribs and rams!!!

willow 04-01-2010 03:24 PM

Eheim are a great external filter,i think the fluval aint bad either.
rocks you can clean in hot water,with mild bleach,making sure you wash
them repeatedley,with cold water.
you know already to place the rocks deep in the substrate because of digging right ?:-)
you can buy egg crate from lighting section of i think B&Q or wicks,place it
on the bottom of the tank for extra stability of the rocks,also some tanks like
mine say "do not place rocks directly on tank base "
there is a DIY section on this forum,so there may be someone who has built a lid,
and perhaps you could use an idea from there.
you'll want the big tank first i would say,as cichlids do better overstocked.

there is a way of testing rocks to see if they are safe,hopefully someone will pop in and give you
a hand with that.
not much help,sorry.

aaronjunited 04-01-2010 06:44 PM

thanks guys you made an effort and i appreciate it.
Some helpful info anyway.
Thanks again.

iamntbatman 04-02-2010 01:50 AM

Any reason in particular for putting the pleco in there? Bristlenoses don't really do well in typical mbuna water parameters and will likely get bullied or killed.

Are you definitely planning to do a full wooden hood? Will the back of the hood be open? I ask because you're not likely to really have a fully planted tank with mbuna anyway (they dig, they eat plants and many plants don't do so well in that hard water) so it might be considerably less expensive to get power filters with media baskets like Aquaclear or Emperor filters rather than canisters. Canisters are nice, yes, but really only a necessity with planted tanks or when you need a lot of filtration without much water movement. With a heavily stocked tank like that, the more oxygen in the water the better, so I think power filters would be the better choice as they disturb the water surface, promoting oxygen exchange.

The stocking list sounds pretty heavy as it is for 40-50 gallons of water so I really don't think you should look for a third cichlid species to add. In fact, I might consider cutting back on some of the synos.

Your decor sounds fine. Pool filter and aragonite should make for a good substrate. For rocks, you can just head to the landscaper and pick up some slate or shale. Even limestone isn't out of the question since you're after hard water and a high pH anyway.

aaronjunited 04-02-2010 06:12 AM

Hi, i was advised on the bristlenose on the cichlid-forum, i'm aware they can be pricked of there eyes. I'm not to sure why i want one, guess its just cause i'l have more fish.

Definately a full wooden hood, debating with the back open for filters heater and so on.
I would prefer a canister along with my power filter as i want really clean water, i'l also have a spray bar for extra water movement on the surface.

The synos were advised by a lot of people on the other board, basically cause they arent territorial fish so they wont be a threat to the mbuna and it will be an added attraction to the tank.

Thanks for the info on the rocks, i must find my nearest landscaper. Thanks fro your help, youve given very helpful info.

Please dont hesitate to add.

iamntbatman 04-03-2010 03:35 AM

Oh I didn't mean that you need to get rid of the synos altogether. They should be just fine. It's just that, unlike the mbuna, they don't have to be in certain group sizes to thrive. You can keep them in singles, pairs, groups...doesn't matter much. I just suggested cutting down on them because the tank is so heavily stocked and reducing the number of either of your groups of mbuna could be problematic.

If you're willing to spend the money on a canister then by all means, be my guest. They're definitely helpful, for the reasons you mentioned plus their versatility in terms of filter media, but in my opinion they're not essential in a non-planted rift lake tank.

willow 04-03-2010 06:58 AM

i got some slate and rocks from homebase,out the back in their garden bit,:-D
over where the fencing stuff is.

PRichs87 04-04-2010 03:05 PM

Another thing is if you are looking to find rocks in the future, put some vinegar on the rocks you find. If they fizz, then don't add to them your tank, because that means the vinegar is reacting with the metals in the rock. I know lots of people just go to local streams and clean them off for their tanks! Have fun with your rift tank, I'm hoping eventually to put one together myself!

iamntbatman 04-06-2010 04:47 AM

The vinegar test is for calcium, not for metals. In other words, it tests to see if the rocks will make your pH and hardness go up rather than if there are metals in the rock. In a rift lake tank, increasing the pH and hardness is desirable so stuff like limestone (although you wouldn't want really crumbly stuff) would be great.

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