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New here, not to fish.
Well letís start saying I'm new here but not to the aquarium world. I have a 75gal that I was going to use for a saltwater tank but after I started buying equipment and looking at what all it envolved I decided it was going to cost way too much. I also purchased a 55gal to move my cichlids to during that process. Now that the wife and I have decided against the saltwater idea we are going back to cichlids in the 75gal, I'm going to run a few things by everyone here to see what else to do. Letís start with filtration, I will be using 2 fluval 405 canisters but instead of doing the same media in both filters I will have one type of media in one and biomax in the other. That will be about 450gph of water flow. Does this sound like it would be good or should I stick with equal mixes of media in both filters?
As far as power heads I purchased 2 large Hydor Koralias for the salt tank and have been using one of them in the 55gal and the cichlids love it, so I was looking at using both of them in the 75gal, I don't remember the exact amount of flow they produce but they were the biggest ones I believe. All I remember is when I was reading up on saltwater it was recommended to have big flow numbers. I was also looking around on one of these forums and looked at where a guy made an under gravel spray bar that had sprayed into the rockwork, I was also thinking about doing something like that in the 75gal being that I am about to tear it all back down again.
After we decided not to do salt we just put some small tropical fish in there, such as neons, swordtails, and such. I will be relocating them to a 29gal possibly. As far as lighting goes I purchased a PC hood and broke it down and did a custom setup on the canopy. So I believe lighting is covered, don't remember what type of lights one is white and the other is blue, it also had blue LEDs in the setup. It was made for saltwater but it really makes the little tropicals pop, so I think it would be great for cichlids. I am going to use black sand for the floor about 2-3". I also built a PVC frame to place live rock on and was thinking about using it to lay out my rock work. I donít have pictures of everything at the moment due to being deployed to Iraq. I will go home for my leave in September so I will try and get pictures up then.
Well thatís all I can think of right now so if you have any Ideas or comments let me know. Sorry about the long first post.
Thanks in advance
Hello Mark, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
My only initial comment has to do with the light. You mention going to cichlids in the 75g, but what type? If those that would do well with plants, such as the SA or African dwarf species, I would change the tubes as plants do not grow well under that blue lighting. A full spectrum and a cool white combo would be perfect, both for the plants and the fish colours.
If no plants are in the picture, I would still replace the tubes. Blue (actinic which is what the one tube probably is) is notorious for promoting algae. Algae can grow very well under any light, and particularly blue, unlike higher plants that need red and blue in the mix.
I'm not against changing the light but it does look nice. I don't believe I'll be doing any kind of plants in the tank. Thanks for the input.
Welcome to the forum, Mark! You are deployed at this very moment?
From me to you, thank you for your service to our country. It's a huge sacrifice and we civilians appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing pics of your tank, when you get safely back home.
Your welcome. I will be home sometime in September so I will start working on it then.
I work for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Philadelphia, some of the most noble, outstanding men i've met in my life are war veterans. My hat's off to you!
I too look forward to seeing your tank progress once you're back home safely!
Welcome to the forum, Mark!
While Byron is correct that the actinic lights will promote algae growth, I agree that they can really look amazing over a Lake Malawi tank. The black sand, simple stacks of river rocks or slate, a solid black background with that lighting will really bring out the bright colors of Lake Malawi cichlids (not to push you away from Lake Tanganyika, which has its fair share of gorgeous fish).
With those two filters you probably won't need extra flow from the powerheads but they might not hurt, especially since the more oxygen you have in your water the better. You'll likely have a heavily stocked tank with no plants, so keeping dissolved O2 levels high is important.
Also, do you know your tap water parameters (pH and hardness) or could you look them up? You can often find that info published on your local water board's website. If your water is very hard and basic you're already there, but if not you could add something like dolomite or crushed coral to your filters to make the water more suitable for your fish.
This is all assuming you're talking about African rift lake cichlids, of course; you'd have to go about things a little differently if you're talking about New World or African riverine cichlids.
Thanks for all the comments, I belive with my tap water I only have to add a little from the last time I had a cichlid tank. Along with the filters I will be doing an UGJ system. I will be doing the first tank in Malawi and I may be getting a second 75gal but I'm not sure if I want to do different African Cichlids or New World tank. I'll decide that more when I get the tank.
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