Want to get into Cichlids, need advice - GTA Aquaria Forum - Aquarium Fish & Plants serving the Greater Toronto Area.
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Cichlids Discus, angelfish, oscars, lake, african/american, etc.

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Old 06-08-2018, 12:40 PM   #1
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Default Want to get into Cichlids, need advice

I have a tank that is for a tropical fish tank and I am thinking of converting it to a Cichlids tank.

However, before I go ahead, I want to understand if I can handle Cichlids.
I like my current tank setup because it doesn't require a lot of work and hoping the new tank would be the same. I have also read that Cichlids can get aggressive and can be very hard to keep, water needs to be at a very specific pH, specific hardness etc etc and that is making me wary to get into Cichlids.

This is where I am looking to you to help me understand/learn how to keep Cichlids. If this is a good idea or should I just stay with what I have.

The tank is a 55 gallon 48" x 12" x 21"

I read that sand is perfect of African Cichlids and that pool filter sand is the cheapest option. Will these work?

Any other good, cheap options I should consider?

I am looking for fish that are easier for beginners. I like the following for their colour:
Pseudotropheus saulosi
Yellow Lab

Will these fish get along?
Are they aggressive?
How many I can keep?
Are there other kinds that I should consider?

I have some garden rocks, wondering if it is appropriate to use them in the aquarium for Cichlids

The current setup has a canister filter, but it is getting old and not running the best.

Please let me know what else I need to consider.
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Old 06-16-2018, 04:09 PM   #2
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Default Cichlidpower forever!

Hi Zer0,
congratulations for your decision to keep cichlids. In my opinion, no other fish family is more interesting than cichlids. Despite the fact, that cichlids (and most other fishes, too) do not need high aquariums, I want to say, the height of your tank is not optimal for mbunas like Labidochromis caeroleus “yellow” and Chindongo saulosi. Both species are not the kind being described as “peaceful”. 12 inches is little bit flat for them. If your heart belongs to east African cichlids, most of the smaller species of Lake Tanganjika are better suited for your tank. I mean fish like Neolamprologus leleupi, N. brichardi, N. buescheri and all species of the genus Julidochromis. Start with 3 or 4 different species and put 4 to 5 specimen of each species in juvenile sizes in your tank. They will spawn and within 1 year your tank will be fully loaded, probably crowded.
As I could read in the link, the sand from Canadian Tire is excellent for floor ground for aquariums, provided, the granulation is not too small. 0,4 to 0,6 mm is optimal.
Of course, you can use garden rocks. Important is, that there are many caves for the fish to hide and to breed. So don´t choose big rocks, with smaller ones it is easier to build hideouts. Place the rocks on the back wall ´til the surface of the water.
A canister filter is a good choice, but not the cheapest one. In most of my tanks below 100 gallons, I used to glue a pane 10cm from the backside and 20 cm in length. On the bottom, I glued a 8 cm high plane to avoid, that the gravel is falling into the filter chamber. Between the backside and the pane I put 5 cm thick aquarium foam, cut from a 50x50x5 cm mat. So, the first 10 cm of the filter chamber is occupied. Behind the foam, put a 1.000l submarine water pump (Resun or other), available by Ebay for under CAD 20$. If you want to have more filter substrate you can extend the glass pane and put more foam in the filter chamber. An advantage is, you can easily wash out and clean the first of the foam package and place it as last one after cleaning. So, all the good filter bacteria keep still alive during cleaning.

I hope, I could give you some advice for successfully keeping cichlids.
Please, forgive wrong grammar and spelling mistakes. English is not my native language and my schooldays, where I learned English, have been a long, long time ago. For the same reason, I used the scientific names for the fish to make clear, from which kind of fish I am talking about.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for your insight.

I will look into other regions of Cichlids. I am not set on mbunas per say, but from internet searches and reading, those seem to be the most popular search results. They also seem to be more popular at fish store. I will definitely look more into other regions.

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Old 11-22-2019, 11:28 AM   #4
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keep in mind with the aquascape itself. Cichlids like to dig and make caves. If you stack rocks on top of substrate and not the bottom itself when they dig this can cause the rocks to shift and fall over as they are supported by the substrate itself and the fish are literally excavting from beneath. This can lead to fish getting crushed, and or glass getting scartched cracked or shattered.
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