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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to cichlids but have had an aquarium in the past. I just purchased a new 60 gallon tank that is 48wx24hx12d in size. I have a Aquaclear 110 (500GPH) HOB filter currently running, and planning on purchasing another and running both along with a DIY moving bed filter using hel-x media to assist with the waste. I'm using pool filter sand as substrate, and have a few fake plants and a large shipwreck (Wife's call) and plan on adding a good amount of rocks for hiding places shortly. I haven't cycled the tank yet, but was planning on using Bio-spira. Everything I have read online seems to be promising, any thoughts on the product??

I'm wanting to keep African Cichlids, either Peacocks, haps, or Mbunas. My problem is i don't know which is best for my tank size and shape. I have read an ideal ratio is 1:4 or 1:5 males to females but would like to avoid breeding if at all possible, although I understand an all male tank is a time consuming project. I also plan on having 1-2 Plecos in the tank along with the cichlids.

I guess my real questions are...

Which type of African Cichlids are best for my situation?

Which fish within that family live well together?

Will Bio-Spira really instant cycle my tank?

Will my X2 Aquaclear 110's with my DIY filter handle the bio load?

besides that any other tips/advice or things to think/worry about would be great.
 

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Africans would fit fine in that tank I have roughly same dimensions with no issues and Africans. most haps your going to find will defiantely outgrow that tank though some get massive like Oscar size so stay away from those. when stocking with Africans you can cram it full of fish as long as your w/e and filtration is up to par (which by sounds of it it will be) the overstock will reduce aggression but that's something your going to see on a daily basis with Africans. Africans tend to breed like rabbits so go all female maybe?

start with yellow labs, poweder blue cichlids and some aceis. they seem to be less chasey compared to the others and are in my experience "peacefull" Africans
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the insight. I'm planning on having 10-12 Cichlid by the time I'm done. I wouldn't be opposed to breeding, I just done have a place to house the fish only having 1 60 gallon tank. This is where I always run into an issue. I keep running into contradicting information on the web. I love the look of yellow labs, but I have read that they will outgrow a 60 gallon tank on a few website while others say it will be fine. O well I guess if they get too big ill either have to get another tank or find them a new home. thanks again for the info.
 

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I can't help with the fish, I don't think the bacteria in a bottle actually cycles the tank but provides some interim ammonia and nitrite oxidization while the real guys reproduce... not a bad thing and can certainly be of benefit. There is one that gets mentioned here often that apparently doe s good job... I don't cycle but use plants so I don't know what the product is off hand.

I am interested in the moving bed filter and thought that you might be doing a sand system... that would rock and do a very good job. It can be set up as self cleaning with some ingenuity. All the plastic "balls" and stuff really are no substitute for a porous stationary media that has the water forced through it.... basically a canister filter. HOBs allow the water to bypass the media as it gets filled with particulates which reduces both their mechanical and biological filtration efficiencies. I might suggest that you could replace the two HOB idea with a decent sized canister and skip the moving media fad. If you have one HOB already, a small canister can be a more cost effective addition.

Jeff.
 

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Thanks for the insight. I'm planning on having 10-12 Cichlid by the time I'm done. I wouldn't be opposed to breeding, I just done have a place to house the fish only having 1 60 gallon tank. This is where I always run into an issue. I keep running into contradicting information on the web. I love the look of yellow labs, but I have read that they will outgrow a 60 gallon tank on a few website while others say it will be fine. O well I guess if they get too big ill either have to get another tank or find them a new home. thanks again for the info.
your going to run into countless personal experiences and opinions as they are rampant with fish (which is ok!)

I have housed up to 15 various Africans in a 55 gallon before with no issues and the tank was setup for about 3-4 years with same fish. now I did do weekly waterchanges and kept a eye on params. it basically comes down to how many fish you want and the amount of work your willing to put into the tank.
 

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No one has yet mentioned water parameters. Rift lake cichlids require harder water with a basic (above 7) pH. Do you know the GH (general hardness) and pH of your tap water?

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No one has yet mentioned water parameters. Rift lake cichlids require harder water with a basic (above 7) pH. Do you know the GH (general hardness) and pH of your tap water?

Byron.
Yes, my tap water is right inside the range I need it to be. All I should have to treat it for is chlorine.

Also, is it possible for my tank to be in a mini cycle prior to adding fish? If I look at it from the front of the tank the water looks clear, but from the side it looks like it has a white cloud in the water. It has gotten better over the past few days but still smoky. Also note I haven't treated the water yet at all after adding it to the tank from my hose. Obviously i'm going to treat before I add any fish, just waiting for payday to buy a water test kit and the appropriate chemicals I need.
 

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Yes, my tap water is right inside the range I need it to be. All I should have to treat it for is chlorine.

Also, is it possible for my tank to be in a mini cycle prior to adding fish? If I look at it from the front of the tank the water looks clear, but from the side it looks like it has a white cloud in the water. It has gotten better over the past few days but still smoky. Also note I haven't treated the water yet at all after adding it to the tank from my hose. Obviously i'm going to treat before I add any fish, just waiting for payday to buy a water test kit and the appropriate chemicals I need.
This cloudiness is a bacterial bloom, common in new tanks. Nothing to worry about; it will clear on its own.

For a test kit, the best is the API Master Combo liquid test kit; it has pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

Do you understand about cycling? As soon as you add a fish, ammonia will appear, and you need to take steps to deal with this.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here are a few pics of the tank.

pic 1: Front view currently.
Aquarium Aquarium decor Freshwater aquarium Aquarium lighting Apple pie

pic 2: Side view currently
Plant Aquarium Landscape Glass Houseplant

pic 3: Water just added from hose, but prior to my new Aquaclear 110 filter.
Aquarium Screen Freshwater aquarium Technology Display device
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sand substrate - did you wash it? usually takes me about 2 good hours of washing to get it right. more then liley its fine particulate floating around, give it a few hrs and it should settle.

I like that big tree looking thing to the left of the ship
Yea I washed the sand but it wasn't for 2 hours. I'm sure the cloudyness had some what to do with the sand but its been sitting for a week now and it is still a little cloudy. much much better then the 1st day though. Hopefully this coming Friday i'll my rocks for the cichlids and finally get fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ammonia problem

So my tank ran for 4 weeks with no fish and cleared up nicely my first 2 water tests after adding 5 fish were perfect. I went on vacation and had my dad feed the fish. I tested the water after and the results were

Ph 7.6
Ammonia 2.0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 0ppm


Should I do a water change or add chemicals to bring the ammonia down to 0?

I stocked the tank 2 weeks ago with 2 Acei and 2 Yellow Labs and 1 Pleco.
 

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I doubt that the tank has setup a cycle yet... ammonia with no nitrites and no nitrates looks like it has barely started. Water changes daily would be best. I assume that you are treating the water (you mentioned chlorine) and if you are using Prime then the ammonia will be detoxified. If you keep changing it, daily or at least every two days, then even the nitrites will be detoxed while it cycles. Once you see nitrites spike then watch for the nitrates to start building then both ammonia and should nitrites drop to zero, then the tank is cycled. You cannot tell this by looking at the water as cloudiness has next to nothing to do with cycling the tank.

Have a read through the following link as this outlines some cycling options... obviously you are now doing the fish in cycle.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...inners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/


Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As you mentioned previously my tank had not started to cycle yet. It has been 2 weeks and the ammonia is still present but no signs of nitrites yet. is it normal for it to take this long? I have been doing water changes and adding water conditioner.
 

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As you mentioned previously my tank had not started to cycle yet. It has been 2 weeks and the ammonia is still present but no signs of nitrites yet. is it normal for it to take this long? I have been doing water changes and adding water conditioner.
It can vary, but what is the ammonia reading from tests? And are you doing daily water changes?
 

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I don't know exactly how it translates to a larger tank but I've been doing an experiment with a small water volume and a bare cycle (no plants, filter etc.... just a jar and some water). I saw nitrites appear on day 4 and disappear on day 7. Having said that, it takes as long as it takes.

What does ammonia test result show and is this before or after the water change?

Jeff.
 

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Food for thought....

I have a 60g (same dimensions). I have two Aquaclear 70 filters. The first is a dedicated bio-filter that uses an AC20 impeller for reduced (trickle) flow. It is filled with a packed mixture of Seachem Matrix and Seachem De*Nitrate. This filter is rarely touched and as mentioned, the flow through is just a trickle. The other filter is filled with sponge and floss and sometimes carbon, Nitra-Zorb or Seachem Purigen. It is primarily mechanical and serviced once or twice a week. It is throttled down all the way for minimum flow/maximum re-filtration.
I think two AC110's would be too much flow as combined, they would be up to 1000GPH.

As far as cycling, even with a bio-seed, it can sometimes take 4-6 weeks to cycle a new tank. The process doesn't even begin until there is some ammonia source, even if you add a bio-seed. In some cases, cycling can be 'instant' if enough beneficial bacteria/archea are initially added, but this is somewhat rare and most of the bottled products have organisms in stasis that take awhile to come alive and reproduce.

As far as other/general questions about cichlids, you might go to the cichlid sub-forum:
Cichlids
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry for the slow reply, I wanted to wait until I did my water change last night and retested it this morning. The levels are as follows.

Ph- 7.6
Ammonia- 2.0-4.0
Nitrite/nitrate- 0
Temp- 79-80
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I have a 75 male Mbuna tank. I've had two for a while and just added another set after I got the larger tank. They are funny fish! I have a love hate relationship with them. I currently have an albino zebra( greshakei) a demasoni (he is an absolute @ss lol) a rusty and an acei. I really would say go with a male tank if you don't want breeding. Thats why I did it. Plus they are so pretty. Make sure to get lots of rocks. They inspect new rocks when I put them in and battle to see who "wins" it. Honestly the coolest fish I own even though I complain about them more then any others. It's like a chess game stocking the tank and must be thought out! Good luck

Oh! almost forgot. Keep another 10g on hand if you need to put anyone in timeout ...not kidding. I've had to do it twice with the demasoni. He behaves better now haha
 
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