Help starting a cichlids tank,
Hi folks. I am planning in the next week to start a cichlids tank. I will be getting the tank in the next few days and want to be sure I set it up right. I think tank size will be about 180l. But I have a couple of questions which I think that you guys can help me with.
What is better in the bottom of the tank?. Sand or fine gravel, I'm a little worried about how to keep sand clean!
Are rocks and pebbles from the beach ok to use?
Now the important one.......which cichlids do you recommend? I know you need to keep them all from the same area, but I'm really getting confused about which to go for. I want fish that are bright and colourful but non aggressive.
Any help and recommendations will be gratefully received. Thanks :-D
what kind of cichlids?
Here's a link on how to clean sand.
Another great thing about sand is that all debri falls on the top so it can be vacuumed up or kicked into a filter. Unlike with gravel were debri is left to rot inbetween the gravel if not cleaned thoroughly. Rocks/pebbles from the beach are fine if they are cleaned.
I personally have a soft spot for africans and central american cichlids. A great rift lake starter system that should work are maybe 6-7 yellow labs(Labidochromis caeruleus) and 12 demasoni(Pseudotropheus demasoni) the colors and actions will keep you entertained for hours.
For central american cichlids I would do a pair of centrarchus or firemouth cichlids or sajica if you can find them along with some large swordtails or mollies. Watching a pair of CA cichlids raise there fry is a joy to watch and will keep you entertained. You can easily unload fry to a LFS.
A good starting point would be to test your tap water to find out your Ph and hardness (Gh and Kh). It's easier to choose fish that suites your water so you don't have to mess with buffering the water. In general, South American cichlids prefer soft water, Central Americans more moderately hard and Africans need hard water. So find out your parameters then research the types of cichlids that suite those parameters.
I don't have a tank PH yet as the tank is being set up next week, although the tip about testing my tap water is a good one ( I believe it is soft but I'll check it). In my community tank I have 2 young angelfish that I've now decided to put in the cichlid tank. If anyone can tell me where they are from as this is now going to decide what area my cichlids will come from. Apologies if I sound a little " thick" but there seems to be so much to learn about cichlids and there is so much advice to read about it's starting to confuse me and I really want to get this set up right.
a comment... don't be discouraged too much if say you have nuetral water and you want to keep africans. Most tank raised cichlids are so durable that water hardness and pH won't pose a much of a problem unless the fish are wild which I don't recommend for a beginner. And not all Africans live in hard water. Only fish from the rift lakes come from hard water. Riverine species actually prefer much softer water.
And angelfish are cichlids so you already have a cichlid tank. They are found in south america so I would run with that. Some rams or appistogramas would be a good fit. You might even consider a dwarf pike species but that might be a bit of a stretch for a beginner. I would add more angels. 2 is a bad number to keep cichlids in unless they are a pair. I would get like 3 more angels. Some bleeding heart or black skirt tetras might be good "filler" fish.
GL with your setup
Angel fish come from the amazon basin, Scalare Angelfish would be what you have. If you go to the highlighted area of the fishes name, or go to the second tab at the top of the page you will find the link that will take you to the tropical fish profiles. There is a lot of good information there that will tell you what you need to know about a particular fish. Angels do better in a group of 5 or more angels, with a 55 gallon tank you will be able to keep 5. With the angels you could keep either bolivian ram or blue ram. The later is more demanding with the condition of the water and need to be kept in warmer temps. If you are just starting out the bolivian ram would be the way to go. With the rams, the males are territorial towards males in their own species, so if you have more than one ram you need to have a male/female pairing. When they are young it is difficult to be able to tell the difference between the sexes. As for other cichlids that can be kept with angels, I am unsure from the profiles that I have looked at there does not seem to be many that you can mix with them.
Thanks for all your input guys. I bought a Jewel Vision 180 for £150 and i'm really happy with it and now this tank seems to be taking over my life, I am always thinking about it!! So I decided to go with the sand in the bottom of the tank, I brought Aquarium sand from my LFS and it wasn't as expensive as I thought £15. I have filled the tank with water and moved a couple of ornaments and some gravel ( in a stocking) from my community tank to speed up the cycling. Tomorrow I'm going to the beach to get some slate, i already have a load of pebbles which have been in my garden for months,which I'm going to scrub and vinegar test, this lot should make some great caves. I've now also decided to go with South American Cichlids. I'm getting sooo excited and can't wait to start getting my fish. One question though..... I have two smallish young Angelfish ( body size approx 1 - 2 inches across) in my community tank which I will move into my new tank first when the tank is cycled, I intend on buying a couple more. Should I get the new ones and add them to the new tank at the same time as the two I already have OR add the new ones at a later date?
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start with the two and add the rest later.
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