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55 Gal tank.. 9 Cichlids + 2 Plecos
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mikea
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Joined: 10 Sep 2003

PostPosted: 2003.09.10(Wed)23:23    Post subject: 55 Gal tank.. 9 Cichlids + 2 Plecos Reply with quote

Hi,

I've got a 55 gallon hex tank with the following fish:

1 Convict (thinking of getting a female for to breed)
2 Electric Yellows
1 Turquoise Peacock
1 Red Zebra
1 Albino Red Zebra
1 Ziare Yellow
2 Plecos
1 Unknown Malawi Cichlid

I am using a Fluval 204 and an Underground filter. I have a large coral arrangement and some crushed coral to keep the water at a higher pH for the Cichlids. My area also has very hard water, which I have also heard the Cichlids enjoy.

I've maintained this tank before @ my parents house, but have never set it up from scratch. That being said, after the tank being up for 24 hours, I went out and purchased all of my fish. Since then, I've been reading up, and have come to find out about this "cycling" thing.

My question is this: Is there anything I can do to keep my fish from being OD'd on amonia and nitrates? Petco sells this stuff which they claim is the bacteria found in a cycled fish tank, has anyone heard of this?

http://www.petco.com/product_info.asp?sku=8494236330&dept_id=%2D2

Any info would be great. Thanks!
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Kribensis00
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Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Location: Texas,USA

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)1:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no experience with the new bacteria in a bottle products so I couldnt tell ya if they work or not. But it would be worth giving them a try I would think unless you can get ahold of some gravel from a cycled tank or something to add to your tank to help it along. Buy test kits and monitor the water is all you can do otherwise. By the way, I would not buy a mate for your convict. They will breed for sure and team up and kill your other fish--they get super aggressive that way, your other cichlids won't have a chance against them once they are in breeding mode.
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mikea
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Joined: 10 Sep 2003

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)1:46    Post subject: Oops Reply with quote

Make that three unknown cichlids..

http://homepage.mac.com/mikea/.Pictures/fish5.JPG (orange stripes?)

http://homepage.mac.com/mikea/.Pictures/fish6.jpg (blue/grey stripes)

http://homepage.mac.com/mikea/.Pictures/fish7.jpg (white)


Any help identifying these would be great. You can see more pictures at

http://homepage.mac.com/mikea/PhotoAlbum1.html
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mikea
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Joined: 10 Sep 2003

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)1:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kribensis00 wrote:
By the way, I would not buy a mate for your convict. They will breed for sure and team up and kill your other fish--they get super aggressive that way, your other cichlids won't have a chance against them once they are in breeding mode.


Yeah Smile I was just reading about this.. I like the idea of having baby fish swimming around the tank, though. Maybe I'll find a mate for one of my other fish, or move the convict to a new tank and get him a couple girlfriends (hubba hubba!)
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JewelsRCute
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Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Location: CA

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that white cichlid is called a snow white cichlid. (wow original) You can get them at petsmart. They are 10 bucks! I had to do a lot of research to figure out what kind of fish I had in my tank too. I bought them from a place that just had them as misc. african cichlids.
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Taratron
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Location: AZ

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)13:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the problems with a "misc African cichlid" tank is that this is where pretty much every cichlid goes that has unknown parentage. True, in some cases it looks easy to pick out a livingston from an auratus (which we had in the lfs I used to work for) in such a setup, but usually you'll find hybrids in such tanks. I'd keep away from "mixed" "misc" cichlids myself.

Yes, do separate the convict from the others---and if you do choose to get another convict, just buy ONE female. These guys are pairer-uppers, not harem breeders. Then you can always try and feed the fry to your African tank.

Also, what kind of plecos are these? Most pseudotropheus africans will munch on the algae themselves. If these are common plecos, toss them right back to the pet store, and look into bristlenose---but after you start getting algae!

Since you look to be cycling, water changes are a must. Try for every day, or every other day, and I wouldn't waste my time with anything from a pet store that claims to have bacteria in it--unless it's Bio-Spira.
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number6
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)15:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I am going to go against the grain here... Most people around here throw convicts in with mBuna (your fish) as the aggression is about equal. A pair of convicts can be kept in with mBuna without issue.

That said, I think your tank will experience aggression problems no matter what. The issue lies in the foot print of your tank. hex tanks are tall and from side to side they aren't more than 2 feet. For mBuna to not kill each other with such a small foot print you need to go vertical.
Get rocks or driftwood asap and build your self a tower. The more harassed fish can use the rocks higher up on the tank to escape any targetted aggression.

The Peacock and Labs will be the odd fish out IME, not the convicts.
These are more open water fish than the rock dwelling mbuna.

The undergravel filter will not work with mBuna as they dig.

My advice would be to decide on the type of Africans you want- mBuna or peacock... then replace the 204 with a 404 and get rid of the UGF.

Follow this up with a rock structure against the back wall and every second day do a 20% water change with aged dechlorinated water.

In a couple of weeks you can cut down on the water changes frequency wise.

Other than that your setup matches a few of the instant African tanks I have setup for people.

Let us know how its going.
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mikea
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Joined: 10 Sep 2003

PostPosted: 2003.09.11(Thu)17:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi.

Today I was at the LFS, purchasing "Cycle" Bacteria (after reading about it, it sounds okay.. about the same as using established rocks). I started asking about the various types of fish, and what I could put in my tank with what I've got. He pointed me towards a Red Finned Borleyi (Copadichromis borleyi). From what I've read, this fish would do okay against my others as it's also agressive. One plus is that it enjoys the upper part of the tank, whereas my other fish don't go much past half way.

I picked one up, and decided to give it a go. I'm actually pretty happy with my tank at the moment.. There's several fish, and someone's always getting into something Very Happy. It's a real joy to watch. The only thing I would like to add is maybe a female Red Fin, so that maybe they could spawn.

Near the bottom of my tank I have a large pile of rocks with several caves and hidey holes. Up the back I've got a plastic plant which goes all the way up to the top of the water, which also provides several coves and cover. My convict loves it!

As for my UGF, I've got about 2-3 inches of large gravel (large enough that I doub't a 6" fish could dig in it), but on top of that, I've an inch or so of smaller crushed coral. My thought was that the larger pebbles would keep the UGF safe and functioning, while the coral still allowed the little biggers to dig their holes.

With this setup, do you think that I'll do okay with the fish I've purchased? I know there's quite a few fish for my tank, but I'm pretty good at keeping the water clean once it's established. I tested my water again today, and the amonia is still at zero, which sort of scares me as the tank has been up and running for almost a full week.

Any tips would be great. I'm quite fond of my new fish, and I'm already becoming attached to them. I would hate to have to get rid of them. I am willing to work hard to make my little friends happy and comfortable.. Even more comfortable when I talk my girlfriend into letting me get rid of the loveseat and replace it w/ that 200 gal tank & stand I've been eyeballing Very Happy
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