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African Cichlids Discussions about Cichlids from Africa - Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria.

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie seeking advice

While I am not new to fish keeping having had several past tanks and currently running a 125 gallon planted tank, I am totally new to cichlids and I have many questions. Besides advice I am seeking recommendations and any suggestions to adjust my plans to avoid costly mistakes.
I am in the process of setting up a 55 gallon cichlid tank. I have already added a small plastic frame to the bottom of the tank to distribute the weight of the rocks and plan to have only about an 1 inches of light colored cichlid appropriate sand. My idea is to use my universal rocks 3D background as well as the same company's cluster rocks and stacked natural rocks in this tank. Universal Rocks' cluster rocks are river rock reproductions that are hollow but they sink as stones are molded into them. They will also match the 3D background I have and offer many hiding places for various sized cichlids depending on the cutouts I make in the cluster rocks. The tank will be filtered by an Aquaclear 110 HOB power filter and an Eheim 2075 (Ultra G-160 canister filter). I hope to also be able to utilize a 300 watt Hydor inline external heater attached to the Eheim canister. This tank should look very natural as I have filter intake covers made of the same material as the 3D background that will hide both filter intakes, the Eheim filter output and the circulation pump I plan to add. By the time I am ready to add fish I hope to have this tank up and running for many weeks with previously used filter media to 'seed' the tank and I will be adding more than two (2) quarts of Marine Pure Bio-Media spheres with a massive surface area for growing good bacteria.
For now I have the following questions: I would like to have about 15 18 fish in this tank - am I limited to dwarf cichlids? How about three (3) species of Mbunas? What species would be both colorful and able to co-exist? I have read that it is better to have the fish grow up together to avoid aggression does that mean that I have to stock the tank with almost the maximum number of fish once the tank is cycled? What is the best way to cycle this type of tank? What is the best kind or brand of sand to condition the water for the cichlids? Thanks to all responding members your advice and knowledge is much appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-15-2014, 10:09 PM
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Re: Newbie seeking advice

It would be a lot easier if you gave us a list of mbunas that interest you and that you have available. You could go for 3 sets (1male 3 female) of dwarf mbuna with a couple of catfish (synodontis are from Africa but bristlenose or rubberlip will work as well). Do you want a peaceful (mbuna peaceful at least) or are you willing to try some more robust species?
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-16-2014, 03:00 PM
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Re: Newbie seeking advice

Ya if you could be a little more specific on what your thinking to do. You will actually have a decent amount of options in a 55g and you will have plenty of filtering which is good. Water changes are going to be key, bigger and more frequent changes with cichlids. More often than not you have to over stock the tank pretty good to keep aggression down. And just an idea I did a school of rosy barbs as dithers and and peacock cichlids, they get beautiful not too big and are relitivly peaceful.

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