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Converting existing tank


Feldar
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Hello All

I am in the process of planning to convert my current tank from a planted tank into a cichlid tank (with a few plants), and I was hoping I could run a few things past the good folk here, to make sure I am on the right track or not.

Current tank is open top 70cm x 70cm x 60cm high (300 litres)made from 'optiwhite' glass (similar to starfire from what I can tell) with a sump underneath. Current lighting is a 150W metal halide with 8000K globe (I am going to try and reduce this somewhat)

Currently I am using Eco-complete for substrate, and I plan on re-using this, as I wish to use some crypt balanese, as well as a large number of anubias plants (fixed to rockwork)

As far as rockwork, I have sourced some largish round black rocks, which I believe are bassalt (they are very heavy).

Fish species I would like to keep - I was looking at some of the smaller Malawi species, namely Labidochomis caeruleus (electric yellow) and possibly saulosi or 'Acei'- I was looking for a 'blue' coloured species to contrast with the electric yellows.

As this will be my first foray into keeping cichlids, and my tank size is not a 'standard' size, I was hoping on some feedback on the amount and type of species I could keep. Also as it is an open top tank, I am a bit concerned about the fish jumping, but I could not find any info on how 'jumpy' the species above are.

Thanks for reading this long post. Any help is much appreciated.

Matt

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G'day Feldar,

Good luck with the conversion. Labidochromis caeruleus are one of the easiest Mbuna to care for, as are saulosi and or Acei. I think your tank is minimum size for them however, perhaps it is a good size for growing juvies out but I think long term you would be best looking for a 4fter or bigger for any mbuna.

You really need a minimum of 6 for each species as well.

Saulosi will interbreed readily with Labidochromis caeruleus and other small Pseudotropheus. Ps. saulosi females are also yellow, so perhaps 'Acei' who are monomorphic would be a better mix. Acei are less aggresive than saulosi and swim a bit higher in the water column which helps for a displaty tank.

About the only plants I have successfully kept in mbuna tanks is Vallisneria.

Jumping.....You need lids, It may not happen overnight but it will happen.

Cheers

Ross

Edited by hobcas
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"Minimum of 6 species"......i don't agree with this one.

However, i do agree with the jumping comment. Make sure you have lids and leave no gaps between the lid's edge and the tank if at all possible.

Enjoy keeping these guys....much more fun than "watching" plants. haha.

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"Minimum of 6 species"......i don't agree with this one.

Yeah on rereading my meanderings I should have taken more time and written "Minimum of 6 fish of each species" .........I assume that is what KIMO disagrees with.........

I'll elaborate on my line of thinking with the suggestion, sometimes it is difficult (impossile) to determine the sex of young cichlids so therefore I would recommend starting with a small group of juveniles and let them grow up together that way you will increase your chances of of getting the male / female ratio right, also by growing up a group together you will have more chance of the males accepting each other and therefor less fighting. Also IMO an aquarium with a few species but with larger numbers your tank looks better / more natural.

Cheers

Ross

Edited by hobcas
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You make a very good point Ross, about the fry....and Matt, please take note.

One thing however..The three species you've chosen to keep are a good choice, for the male and females of each species are fairly easy to distinguish. So if by chance you do manage to get semi adult fish , then the sex ratio would be easier to work out, thus only requiring maybe 1 male to possibly three females of each type. Therefore only giving you 4 fish for each species. Please note that this would only be more practical and more accurate if the fish you choose happen to be semi adult to adult sized fish...around 6-7 cm. plus.

Total of maybe 12 to 15 fish....a good number for that sized tank. you could even throw in a few bristle nose cats to help with the cleaning.

Have fun with your new project.

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Thanks for that Ross and Kimo. :thumbup:

After taking your advice and from what I have read, I am looking at keeping a group of 6 electric yellows and a group of 6 Acei. These will also be housed with some bristlenose.

I am not sure what size fish are available (going to make some calls today), but I would prefer to start off with younger fish - for the reasons Ross pointed out, plus the fact they tend to be cheaper.

Thanks again. As soon as I convert the tank I will post some pics.

Matt

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"Minimum of 6 species"......i don't agree with this one.

Yeah on rereading my meanderings I should have taken more time and written "Minimum of 6 fish of each species" .........I assume that is what KIMO disagrees with.........

i dont agree with that either well depends if he wants to breed but just for display he can have one of each species

Edited by fongyfong
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This will definately be a display tank. This will be my first time in keeping cichlids - don't ask me why, but I have always dismisssed them in the past :dntknw:

I am sure that as the Chichlid bug bites, more of my spare tanks will be dedicated to these interesting fish - much to my wives angst :lol3:

Thanks for the pointer to the classified access :thumb

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I warn you now my friend...........if it's a display tank you want and not a breeding ground for a couple of colonies then you are going to end up wanting more than just two species of mbuna. Once you see the colour combination of some others, you'll be hooked into adding new colour to your existing blue and yellow beginnings.

Black Acei, Cobalt blues, Ps. Mpanga or E.maingano and even some Pulu point Zebras or Red Zebras for the added Orange and red........mate, you are in for some decision making..hahaha.

Enjoy the Fun.

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If she's like my wife and does appreciate you having a decent hobby rather than pouring you hard earned dollars down the local pubs wee wee trough than you need to get a nice new jumper along with that nice new tank and assortment of fish! :thumb:thumb

Edited by KIMO
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