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Attempting a semi-planted mbuna setup
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.06(Mon)17:09    Post subject: Attempting a semi-planted mbuna setup Reply with quote

A friend and I traded tanks: I gave her a 40g breeder and glass top, and she gave me a 75g and glass top. Smile

I am attempting a semi planted mbuna setup with the following stocking plan:

1m/4f Cyno sp. "hara"
1m/4f Ps. saulosi
1m/4f L. joanjohnsonae
1m/4f I. sprengerae

Plants planned are:
Corkscrew val
java fern (regular and possibly trident)
Anubais barteri "coffeefolia"
Amazon Swords
I may add a few more plant species... still deciding whether I want to place another order or not.

Lighting is a T5HO fixture with 108 total watts (6500K).

The tank is filtered with an XP3 canister and several Duetto100s placed strategically to prevent any dead spots. Substrate is black blasting sand. There is eggcrate underneath the substrate and I'm making DIY caves out of slate tile.

I moved the XP3 off an existing tank but am still doing a fishless cycle to bump up my tank capacity so I can add all the mbuna at once.

First, I rinsed out the tank. Since it came from a trusted source and she'd done a great job cleaning it up, this didn't take too long.

Then, I cut the eggcrate to fit perfectly in the bottom of my tank and put it in. After rinsing the sand (black blasting sand is a PAIN to wash and since the particles are sharp, injuries are possible), I put that in the bottom, completely covering the eggcrate.

I then filled the tank with water, hooked up the filter, and was done for the first day. I put a bit of fish food since I hadn't been able to find pure ammonia to feed the filter.

The second day, I managed to find pure ammonia. Dumped in WAY too much.

The third day, I did a large water change to reduce the ammonia.

Next, I cut a small piece of eggcrate and put the roots of my vals through it:


After that, I put it in the tank, weighed down with some grapevine (this has been sitting in another tank for years, so it's waterlogged. It took A LONG TIME to get the grapevine waterlogged):


Next, I covered up the eggcrate with sand:


And here's where I stood:


I also have smashed up the slate tile (it was great fun, I just threw it onto the concrete garage floor) and have the pieces soaking in the tub. I will be stacking and siliconing them together after they've soaked for a few days and then dried out again.

Most of the vals have unfortunately melted but hopefully they grow back again. The rest of the plants should be here this week, and the juvie mbuna are due to arrive on the 15th. I have four adults that will be added after the juvies (ranging from .75" - 2.5") have had a chance to establish themselves... probably about a week later.
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Liveinabox419
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Joined: 21 Feb 2006

PostPosted: 2012.02.13(Mon)14:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great start so far! Hope you keep us all updated. Vals are pretty resilient in my experience so good luck with those.
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29 Gallon Reef Tank: 1 Black Percula, 1 TR Percula, 1 Yellow Watchmen & Pistol Shrimp, 1 Six-line Wrasse, 1 Cleaner Shrimp
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.14(Tue)15:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost done with my DIY slate caves, and the mbuna are due to arrive tomorrow!





Just have to sand down the sharp edges with my Dremel.
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.02.14(Tue)17:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

The slate looks good!

Photos when the fish arrive Smile
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.15(Wed)11:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the fish. Unfortunately, the L. joanjohnsonae got beat up at the seller's place and weren't in any condition to ship, but hopefully I can get some within the near future.

The fish all look super healthy and are exploring their new tank. Smile Will try to get pics... they're pretty dang fast. I did get a video and once that's done uploading (it will probably take hours), I will post it.

Here is a full tank pic (taken with my cell, right before the fish came, and with too much light in the room):


I might make a few more caves. I'm also waiting on a ginormo Amazon Sword that I'll likely put to the left of the grapevine in that empty space.

I do have a few more plant species in there (blyxa japonica and two other species I forgot the names of). All are planted using the same method I used with the vals.
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.15(Wed)18:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Video of the fish (getting pics was difficult, LOL)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmoxr0H1DHU
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Flame Angel
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Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.02.15(Wed)19:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tank is looking nice!

Unfortunate about the L. joanjohnsonae - at least it will give the filter less of a load to deal with initially.

Great looking fish! Can definitely see why you're struggling to get a decent photo Laughing

Hopefully the plants do well - keep us updated Smile
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.16(Thu)8:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flame Angel wrote:
Tank is looking nice!

Thanks! I was fairly pleased with it. Smile

Quote:
Unfortunate about the L. joanjohnsonae - at least it will give the filter less of a load to deal with initially.

I was super bummed, as I've never seen these fish "in person" and was looking forward to them. I actually had done a fishless cycle so I think the filter was more than equipped to handle the load... but oh well!

Quote:
Great looking fish! Can definitely see why you're struggling to get a decent photo Laughing

I've never had fish be so lively and curious as soon as they were put in the tank. I've also never had my mbuna "school" like these are doing, LOL! The saulosis, though they're the tiniest, are definitely the most brave. The biggest scaredy cat (LOL) is the big bad Rusty male (still a juvie, but the biggest at over 2.5")... He's like, "OMG HIDE ME!" I'm hoping they settle down and stop freaking out as soon as someone walks by the tank. Being mbuna, I'm sure they'll soon figure out that people = FOOD and start begging like dogs whenever anyone comes near. Rolling Eyes

I'm a bit leery about putting my four adult mbuna (three white tops and a saulosi) in the tank at this point. Those juvie saulosis are SMALL. I am quite anxious to move the adults over because they're in a 29 and it's HIGHLY unsuitable for them. I'll likely see how the juvies look in a week and decide from there. I'm actually going to attempt to vent the adults because I have a sneaky suspicion that out of the three, at least two, possibly three are MALE, and in that case I'd have to sell off the excess males. Sad I would keep my "show" male for sure, but I'm really hoping the other two are females so I don't have to rehome them. I usually sell to the LFS but who knows what kind of homes they end up with, and I hate to see my fish stuck in a "mixed African cichlids" tank. Sad I wish the LFS would realize they would probably get more $$$ if they dedicated a tank to fry I sold them and be able to offer pure mbuna for sale.

Quote:
Hopefully the plants do well - keep us updated Smile

I'm most worried about the plants in the back corner... (I really do need to look at my notes so I can remember what they are!). They're stem plants and therefore need time to build up a bit of a root system, and additionally are medium light plants so I might not have quite enough light for them. If they start to struggle, I'll just move them to one of my other tanks.
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.02.16(Thu)15:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I've never had fish be so lively and curious as soon as they were put in the tank. I've also never had my mbuna "school" like these are doing, LOL! The saulosis, though they're the tiniest, are definitely the most brave. The biggest scaredy cat (LOL) is the big bad Rusty male (still a juvie, but the biggest at over 2.5")... He's like, "OMG HIDE ME!" I'm hoping they settle down and stop freaking out as soon as someone walks by the tank. Being mbuna, I'm sure they'll soon figure out that people = FOOD and start begging like dogs whenever anyone comes near.


Yeah I'm sure in a few days they will sort themselves out and settle down...unless you've got some very strange cichlids on your hands. Laughing

Quote:
I'm a bit leery about putting my four adult mbuna (three white tops and a saulosi) in the tank at this point. Those juvie saulosis are SMALL. I am quite anxious to move the adults over because they're in a 29 and it's HIGHLY unsuitable for them.


I guess you would wait until you get the joanjohnsonae and let them settle in a bit before adding your adults? Unless you add them at the same time and divert the attention...

Quote:
I would keep my "show" male for sure, but I'm really hoping the other two are females so I don't have to rehome them. I usually sell to the LFS but who knows what kind of homes they end up with, and I hate to see my fish stuck in a "mixed African cichlids" tank. I wish the LFS would realize they would probably get more $$$ if they dedicated a tank to fry I sold them and be able to offer pure mbuna for sale.


Do you actually breed them? Or is this just from unintentional spawns?
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.02.17(Fri)9:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flame Angel wrote:
Yeah I'm sure in a few days they will sort themselves out and settle down...unless you've got some very strange cichlids on your hands. Laughing

It sure didn't take them long to settle in. I received a HUGEMONSTEROUS Amazon Sword in the mail and as I was adding it to their tank, they tried to eat my hand. Laughing

Quote:
I guess you would wait until you get the joanjohnsonae and let them settle in a bit before adding your adults? Unless you add them at the same time and divert the attention...

GAH! I never thought about the joanjohnsonae. *headdesk* The seller couldn't give me any sort of a timeframe in which they would get more in... and I don't want to delay putting the adults in too terribly long. I'll probably wait a week or two and if the joans aren't in stock, bite the bullet and add the adults.

Quote:
Do you actually breed them? Or is this just from unintentional spawns?

I don't actively breed them any longer because I don't really have good buyers lined up. If I were to get setup to the point where I could reliably ship fish to online buyers, I would try for some fry, but now I'll likely just be content with the fry that manage to evade the adults.

As far as the adults I have, the "show" male is an F1 that came from a good breeder in southern Wisconsin (I got him as a juvie in December 2007). The other two white tops are from one of my fry batches (I used to pull the females from the main tank, strip the fry, and then allow the female to recuperate in a separate tank before putting her back into the main tank). The saulosi is also a fish I bred.
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