Stock the 55 G with Mbuna!
I have a community setup, but looking to make a transition to cichlids..
-FILTRATION: Currently have an emperor 280 and Aquaclear 70 HOB filters...calculates to about 10x turnover/hour. Pretty good, but I've heard many switch to canister filters with cichlids...?? Do they work better? Do i need more turnover?
-SCAPING: I have a natural/tan colored gravel right now..Weary about making a switch to sand, and don't want to disturb the bacteria of my established tank if i dont have to (i dont want to recycle). Would a black gravel do better against the bright colors of the fish? Perhaps white with dark rock aquascape? Like slate?? Or a mixture of gravel colors?
-SPECIES: I really like P. saulosi, since they have good color in both males and females. Any colorfuls that would go along with these guys? Ive heard rusty cichlids work well...anything else? I also really like the melanochromis spp....maingano or parallelus, if possible...
-LEFTOVERS: Would pictus catfish, a clown loach, or bristlenose pleco stay alive/happy in a mbuna setup? They are some of the members of the current community.
Thanks in advance for any help.
550 gallons an hour from HOBs does not equal 550 gallons an hour from canisters. Not even close. Definitely switch to canisters.
Cichlids are messy fish, so a canister is advised to keep the water pristine for them.
Regarding your scape, cichlids love pots and lots of rocks. I personally will never go back to gravel after switching to sand, it gives a more natural look and is overall a much better aquarium substrate in my opinion. Note that when buying sand, you do not need to buy the expensive "aquarium sand", just go to Lowes and get some Quickrete Play Sand or something along those lines, works great and is only about $5 for 50lbs.
Leftovers... Clown loach will not work and neither will the Pictus, Mbuna are best kept within their own species. A pleco will do fine in a cichlid aquarium, I have several in mine.
Stock the 55 G with Mbuna!
I agree, go with pool filter or play sand, unless you've got money to spend in which case I recommend the caribsea supernaturals sunset gold. That's my personal favorite - soft and light, with a rich color.
I agree plecos can do well in cichlid tanks, but that doesn't mean they can handle every cichlid tank. I've seen many accounts of their eyes being pecked out. While they are armored, they can be killed. And are killed. Doesn't mean it'll definitely happen, but it's a definite risk one takes.
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