Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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MolniyaTHM 08-14-2011 10:48 PM

Cichlid Help
Hello everyone, this is my first time posting here...hopefully I won't step on it too much.

I have been doing community setups for about 10 years now, and my wife and I just moved so I figured I'd try something new. I have a 50g tank and I wanted to try cichlids for the first time. I was advised to go African because they are smaller and prettier in the tank, but I haven't been able to find a lot of info for initial setup of the tank. I've pretty much decided on a sand substrate, and some kind of rock set up, holey rock looks really nice. Any advice would be well appreciated as far as which fish, how many fish, and how to choose fish for the tank. Any other ideas or thoughts as far as decor or substrate would also be welcome.

rrcoolj 08-15-2011 08:24 AM

Dud there are litteraly hundreds of species of african cichlids you have to be more specific. You haven't found a lot of information on setting up an african tank? I find that hard to believe. Google "setting up an african cichlid tank" I bet you will get quite a few links. That being said I recommend mbunas they are easy to find and fun to watch.

In your tank sand will be fine although it really doesn't matter. Probably not super important but what are your parameters like? Make sure to have tons of rock work and HEAVY filtration. It is a good idea to overstock mbuna tanks because that's how they live in the wild and it helps reduce aggression. Have tons or rock work that form caves and tunnels. What type of rock is really up to you. Holey rock is great but unless you live in Texas it is EXPENSIVE! When I had my mbunas I had slate rock. For stock I would suggest...

8-9 yello labs
12 demasonii

Its a good mix with lots of color and It should do well in your tank.

Byron 08-15-2011 12:59 PM

What are your tap water parameters, hardness and pH? Rift lake cichlids need hard water with a higher pH than most other fish. A 50g will make a nice rift lake display.

And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Nice to have you with us.:-)


MolniyaTHM 08-15-2011 04:04 PM

I definitely did search google and you're right there are tons of sites, the issue that I keep running into is that because there are so many different types, most of the information is either very very broad or very very specific. All I'm really trying to figure out is where to start. My trap water is well water, it is generally hard. I'll be looking into the fish you suggested. Thanks for the help.

rrcoolj 08-15-2011 05:00 PM

It's hard to help you because there are so many options it really comes down to what you like. You could do a peacock tank, a mbuna tank, a shelldweller tank, a Tanganyika community tank, or a lake victorian tank. There are so many options you have to find the type of fish that appeals to you.

MolniyaTHM 08-15-2011 05:54 PM

A small list like that is really what I have been looking for. I spent a weekend sifting through droves of google hits trying to put it all together and it is a bit daunting. I really think that either the mbunas or the peacocks would be my top choices.

Sorry that I'm not more specific, I'm going to sit down for a bit more and research these two types of tanks before asking for more help. Honestly, my fish selection used to be, "It says community / semi-aggresive and it's aesthetically pleasing, I'ma buy dat one." So I'm a bit out of my element when it comes to researching species. The hardest part about fish keeping for me was keeping the water livable. That's why I'm looking for a bit more. Thanks again for your help, I'll be back around once I get a more solid idea of what I want in the tank.

rrcoolj 08-15-2011 07:35 PM

Sounds like a plan. When you figure out what kind of fish you want I will be happy to assist you in setting up a proper tank.

MolniyaTHM 08-15-2011 09:37 PM

Ok, so I'm going with the mbunas, I stopped by my LFS, the guy has a really nice large stock of mbunas and he's apparently been doing this for 50 years, so I doubt he'll steer me wrong...I hope. I'm trying to decide on cleaners. I know they're bland, but I've always loved common plecs, I'm also thinking about an s. multipunctatis or other synodontis cat.

Would it be a mistake to put BOTH of those in a 50g mbuna tank? Are there any other options? I'm leaning toward the synodontis cat because I'd like to keep the tank fully African if possible.

Also, is there anything I should add to my tap water in order to prep it before I add it to the tank. I'm used to adding things such as ammonia remover (tap water shows 0 ppm for the ammonia test), water conditioner, and a bacteria supplement for a new tank. (All of these are Top Fin products) The water from the tap has a pH of 7.8 and is decidedly hard, I will be keeping shale and holey rock in the tank to help sustain pH and hardness.

rrcoolj 08-15-2011 10:35 PM

Sounds awesome and your water sounds just fine so far but I wouldn't add fish yet test test water in a few days. What filtration are you running? It is important that you keep heavy filtration on this tank and a good current is not a bad idea. Common plecos get 2ft so they get waaaaay to big for your tank. The multis will be fine but you have to get a group of atleast 4 because they like to be in groups.

Sorry is this a brand new setup? If it is you will have to go through the cycling process so I would wait several weeks before adding fish especially fish as expensive as multis. The holey rock sounds good also just decorate to your liking.

MolniyaTHM 08-15-2011 10:50 PM

This is a brand new setup, I plan on cycling it fishless for several weeks. Right now I have a Fluval 405 filter, was going to start asking about media, it comes with activated carbon and those little white donuts (lol never looked up what those were called) I've heard using coral in the filter is good. The filter is a 340 gph canister filter rated for 100g tank, which is twice what I have. Again, though, I used this filter for my community tanks, it worked great for that, not sure if it'll be enough for the mbunas, and if not, I don't really know what to add or replace it with. As usual, any advice would be awesome!

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