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I am getting a 30 gallon tank tomorrow with a iron stand and the bottom has enough room for the 20 gallon I already have. Do you think it is feasible to use air for filtration in both tanks or should I use HOB for both? I know I would need a pretty high air compressor to pump that air, no crappy 2 valve whisper will do. The fish in the 30 gallon will be cichlids (south american dwarf cockatoos) with firemouths and the 20 below will be my fry growout tank with molly fry and anything else I can get to mate... My current fry tank has double air filtration in both corners and fine gravel. Should I just remove the gravel and have a bare bottom for the fry take with some driftwood and anubias for plant growth.

thanks in advanced.
 

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I like the bare bottom with wood and Anubis idea. I think that would work great.

As for the other tank, i don't know if i would mix cockatoos with fire-mouth. the fire-mouth may be too dominant. perhaps someone has experience in keeping both together.
 

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I would at least add some java moss as will...... Alot of people forget or just don't know that fry need to fed every 2 to 3 hours, very small amounts of food...... as they are high energy and growth rate, demands it.... alot of fry are lost to starvation, the java moss will hold a little food and as will as make the micro food for fry. With the bare botton fry tanks it easy to keep WQ up, by in your case removing the wood and plants and just shacking out in the tank water (thats in the bucket), an then take a clear hose and getting evething else out of the tank being careful to not get a fry or two. You may want to paint the bottom of the tank black, it will make see everything easier.
 

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I would recommend a Canister on the main display or at least a HOB rated for 2X the aquarium size as cichlids are a high input/output waste and they generate a high bioload. As far as the Fry or Grow out tank I would recommend A sponge filter or a HOB with a sponge over the intake strainer.
 

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The top tank would do with a nice HOB filter. As for the fry tank... bare bottom are about as simple as you can get, love it. That coupled with a good sponge filter with the air pump you already have and your all set. Sorry to bring back an older thread. ;)
 
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