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Old 08-16-2012, 06:35 PM   #31 
lvandert
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From tap, my test reads 7.6 but it only goes up that high, so its probably harder. On the U.S. map I'm in the "very hard" water area.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:05 PM   #32 
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would a bag of this with gravel be ok? http://www.ablackhorse.com/store/pc/...545p249808.htm
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:19 PM   #33 
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I would get African Cichlid Sand, sorry I don't have a link.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:23 PM   #34 
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huh. I have an under gravel filter and I'm really worried about it getting clogged up. Could I do a layer of gravel and then sand on top?

edit: the link is to a bag of gravel mixed with sea shells and bigger rocks. It says it's for cichlids "to create a natural looking lake bottom along with creating the perfect water hardness"

Last edited by lvandert; 08-16-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:36 PM   #35 
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Well, with an undergravel filter you can't have sand, so just use the Cichlid gravel.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:39 PM   #36 
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Yeah thats what that link was for. Alright I'll get the cichlid gravel :)
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:10 PM   #37 
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Am going to offer some info here.

First of all you can keep about 12 fish plus a BN pleco or Synodontis Multipunctus as a bottom feeder in a 55g tank.

Some of the more easier to keep are:
Metriaclima estherae (Red Zebra)
Pseudotropheus saulosi (Best in a species only tank)
Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" (get around 5-6")
Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow labs)
Iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty Cichlid)
Cynotilapia afra

You would be able to house 3 species of the above in a group of 1 male to 3 female ratio. Mbuna (Lake Malawi rock dwellers) require a male to female ratio in order for the male to not harass a single female and spread the aggression.

Bear in mind also from the above list Red Zebra will crossbreed with yellow labs if you have them both, so you would not be able to sell, giveaway or trade and of the fry as this will taint the bloodlines with hybrids.

If you wanted a more aggressive setup then look at (10 fish):-
Labeotropheus trewavasae
Melanochromis johanni
Pseudotropheus elongatus

The Johanni and Elongatus would need a 1 male to 5 female ratio, any less will result in dead females. Elongatus would be better in a group of 1 male to 8-10 female, they are extremely aggressive.

In terms of filtration at MINIMUM you would need 10 times the tank turnover an hour, 15 times being a better rate to aim for. It would be highly beneficial to get 2 x Aquaclear 110's for this tank. Cichlids are messy fish. UnderGravel filters are nearly useless for most cichlids as they will dig the substrate and expose them, they also because they dig clog very easy and if not properly maintained are a nitrate factory.

If you wanted a more peaceful tank with color then look at an all male hap or peacock tank, this would require another tank to be cycled ready to go in case you have to remove fish. You can add females but in a 55g only one and about 9 fish in total in the tank.

You do not need to get a specialist cichlid substrate, play sand from most hardware stores is more than suitable. Plants are very hit and miss with cichlids but some of the more hardy ones are Jave Fern, Anubias and Vallesneria, anything else and they will chew at it to see if they like it, if they do, it will be gone quickly.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:38 PM   #38 
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The filter I have is a marineland Magnum HOT, it says it had a 250 GPH rate and thats rated for a 50 gallon. I got it with the tank, and I don't have the money for a better one or one similar too because they run about 200 bucks new. I'm not looking to stuff the tank, I just want a few fishies in their happily.
I'm also not looking to breed them in any way.
I'm not doing any live plants at all in the tank (besides maybe a marimo moss ball or two) because I've heard there are some they just don't go with, so its easier just to avoid them all together.

If the tank doesn't sound like it'll handle them then maybe I'll just do a few schools of community fish.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:16 PM   #39 
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I would use that filter plus a hang-on-back filter, this will make sure that you have enough filtration for the fish.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:28 PM   #40 
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I have an old 10 gallon filter? But thats probably too small. I only have about 150-170 dollars for this tank. That has to include gravel, a heater (I have one 20W i can use and then a 200W glass one I can't), a new filter canister for the magnum, new hoods or tops, and then the fish. It's not a lot of wiggle room but it was just manageable with only getting the couple fish. The bf doesn't want me spending a ton of money on this tank, and I don't blame him. It's starting to look like it wont be a cichlid tank...
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