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LasColinasCichlids 01-07-2011 06:46 PM

Filter Recommendations for 29 gallon cichlids
Hi all!!

Okay, I want to upgrade or add an additional filter to my 29 gallon this week. It currently has your basic Top Fin 30 gal Power Filter on it (you know, the ones with the basic carbon filters). It currently has 2 cichlids in it, in a couple of days (same day I add another filter) I will add one more cichlid and may consider adding one more fish probably a smaller catfish that maxes out at 4 inches. (My cichlids are under 4 inches at the moment and the largest breed will only reach a MAX of 6 inches...dont want to overcrowd my tank, even though it is sometimes thought okay with cichlids, but mine arent very aggressive).

Anyways... so since cichlids are messy fish I want to make sure I have plenty of filtration. And I know mine I currently have is pretty crappy (basically a stock filter included in set up kits) even though it has done a wonderful job thus far. Seriously, it keeps my tank crystal clear and my water is in great range.

I was thinking about adding a second filter, the Marineland Bio-Wheel 150B (for up to a 30 gal tank). Wondering if I should completely replace my filter with it, or add it and have two filters.

Also, if I keep my current filter, and add a second power filter similar to it, should I add one that is made for a 10 gal or 20 gal for additional filtering??

AND... If I replace the filter, how would it effect my tank since it just recently finished cycling? I have my water at perfect levels at the moment, and I know adding fish will elevate it a bit, but if adding or replacing the filter at the same time throw it off to where it would be unsafe for my fish?

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated as I want to make my aquarium as healthy as possible for my fish, and yet not go broke doing it, lol. Thanks fellow TFK members!!!

burnsbabe 01-08-2011 04:09 AM

I'd certainly not replace one with the other. At least not yet, considering that it's a newly cycled tank.

Can you give us a better idea of what fish you've stocked with? I'd be afraid that three cichlids @ 6" each is a bit much for that size tank. But I can't be sure without knowing more. Hopefully others will chime in.

LasColinasCichlids 01-08-2011 09:18 PM


Originally Posted by burnsbabe (Post 553872)
I'd certainly not replace one with the other. At least not yet, considering that it's a newly cycled tank.

Can you give us a better idea of what fish you've stocked with? I'd be afraid that three cichlids @ 6" each is a bit much for that size tank. But I can't be sure without knowing more. Hopefully others will chime in.

It currently has a 2 inch juvenile Firemouth cichlid, and a 3.5 inch Orange Blossom Peacock Cichlid. I lost one of my golden algae eaters this evening to no known cause, but still have his 2 inch brother in the tank. My OBP should be about 5 inches full grown. My firemouth could get up to 6 inches, but I dont expect him to go past 5 inches. And the remaining algae eater, if he survives, can grow very big, but by time he gets size on him I will have a 55 gal. In a few days I hope to add a 3 inch blood red parrot to the tank after adding more caves and plants to offset any possible aggression to the new fish. I know the BRP has the potential to get to 8 inches, but by time she gets any where near outgrowing the tank, I will have my 55 gal. (Shooting for spring for the new tank.)

So I would assume I should add the new filter, and after a couple of months remove the first one? Would the Marineland Penguin 150B bio-wheel be enough to filter for 3 messy cichlids?

burnsbabe 01-08-2011 09:52 PM

You've got a good handle on the sizes you can expect these fish to reach, and on how to change the filter for sure. Add the new one and then remove the old a couple of weeks to a month later.

What I'm more concerned with is your stocking. You say you're getting a 55g soon and so I won't say you're too badly off just yet. I'd avoid adding the Blood Parrot too though. Through all of my research (we don't have a profile on either the Firemouth or the OB Peacock) I've found a recommendation of a 30g as the minimum tank size for a pair of Firemouths. Cichlids are aggressive remember. I'd hold off on that Blood Parrot until you have your new tank set up, cycled, and ready to go. Then decide who's going where and realistically evaluate how much space you have left.

jeaninel 01-09-2011 12:21 AM

I agree. Why not just hold off on the BP until you get a bigger tank. Also, since you're planning on a 55 gallon why not just go for the Penguin 350 biowheel. Then, when you do get the bigger tank you can just move it over with your cichlids and you won't see much of a cycle on the new tank.

Byron 01-09-2011 10:56 AM

On the issue of adding another fish, I certainly agree with burnsbabe and jeaninel that this is not advisable. I can almost guarantee health problems for the fish if you add any more to what I consider to be an already over-stocked 29g, and I would take measures to improve things for the present situation.

Many think that because a fish is now small, it can "manage" in a smaller tank than what is needed for the mature fish, but this is erroneous thinking. As a fish grows, which it does all its life unlike us, the external skeleton is developing as are the internal organs. The size of tank significantly affects both of these developments, from the aspect of physical size but equally the water quality. In their natural habitats, these fish would never be in such close proximity to each other, and forcing them contrary to their natural tendency takes its toll. Fish release substances such as pheromones which no amount of filtration can remove, and the fish will be stressed in such close (to them) confinement. And this means a weakened immune system that will lead to additional health problems that would otherwise not be an issue, and if really bad, deformed internal development called stunting.

Another fallacy many hold is that adding more filters somehow makes it better; not necessarily so. Filters move water around, and bacteria colonize the media to handle the nitrification issue. This aspect has no bearing at all upon what I mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Chemical filtration (carbon, etc) has some, but this is very limited. Mechanical removes suspended matter from the water, but this does absolutely nothing for the fish. "Clear" water is not "clean" water chemically. We can't see the urine and pheromones, and they are still there until we do a major water change. This is why discus breeders can grow a group of discus fry is smaller tanks--they perform several complete (100%) water changes each and every day. This is solely to deal with the unseen "stuff" like pheromones that affects the fish and inhibits their proper growth and internal development.

The existing cichlids in the 29g are sending out signals continually to each other, and this is affecting their growth, behaviour and internal development. While a 55g may be planned for the Spring, until it is a reality I would not add any more fish to the existing 29g, and I would be vigilant in several weekly water changes.

Last comment on the algae eater; I assume this is the "golden" variant of the common Chinese algae eater, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri. There are three species in the genus, the latter is the one usually seen. All attain 11 inches, rarely if ever eat algae once they leave adolescence (and often long before this), and they are aggressive to each other and other fish in the tank. There are confirmed reports of these fish eating the scales of larger fish. They are not good community tank fish. Even at 2 inches, it is possible that the survivor was responsible for the death of the other. These are also very messy fish waste wise. But the "aggressive" signals they send out as they mature will affect the other fish, even if no physical "attack" is present. Another case of the chemical signals fish use.


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