View Full Version : Newbie cichlid setup

01-16-2012, 08:29 PM
You guys helped me a few years ago resurrect my 55 gallon planted aquarium. The plants are absolutely thriving and thanks to Len and Marcie and I have unique, beautiful, healthy fish! A few months ago I was given a 65 gallon set up. My preliminary research has led me to giving African cichlids a whirl. I have invested in eco-complete as the substrate and a fluval c-4 filter. I have about 30 lbs of river rock for caves, but the tank is fairly high. Regular florescent lighting.

Question #1: Any suggestions how I can build decor higher in the tank? Building it entirely out of rock makes me pretty nervous. Can I use driftwood? I have some Anubias from my planted tank that is going out of control and thought I could tie some to a big piece of driftwood but didn't know how that would affect the water.

Question #2: Some information I have read said that I need to add all the cichlids in the tank at the same time so there isn't so much fighting for territory. What should I stick in the tank now to get the bacteria going?

Question #3: Can anyone suggest a variety of hardy cichlid species that would do well in this set up? My understanding is that the cichlids are mostly bottom dwellers. Is there anything I could add that would hang out more to the middle and top of the aquarium?

Thanks so much!

01-16-2012, 09:48 PM
I built my decor higher by using egg crate (commonly used for lighting) and siliconing platforms together. I grew moss and java fern over the egg crate so you couldnt see it.

01-16-2012, 11:24 PM
If you want to try Africans out you have quite an amount of choices with that size tank. You could do a tanganyikan tank or Malawi bio rope with haps and peacocks or even a mbuna setup

01-16-2012, 11:34 PM
#2 do a fishless cycle with a frozen shrimp or pure ammonia (from ace hardware (cleaning section))
or use an established filter (let it run for a month on an established tank) or use filter floss from a running filter.

01-16-2012, 11:52 PM
I have seen display tanks with a glass shelf half way up the side with glass supports and more rocks on the shelf. Obviously, you do this when the tank is empty.

In a 55 a rock pile half way up is enough, the bottom is 'territory" but fish will use the top, too (for hiding, chasing and eating). Depends on the fish. Malawi "haps" need more open water and less rockpile, but many get too large for a 55. Zoomed floating logs look ugly but give chased fish a hiding place.

You could go with Victorian Haps. They stay smaller, use the whole tank and many are brightly colored. A 55 is good for a harem of P. Nyeri and similar fish.

For a rock-dwelling Mbuna, Pseudo. demasoni is good. Its another one that stays smaller. 2 males + females. Or C. Afra. Or a pair of Tanganyikan Julidochromis (fry will fill up the tank).

A harem any malawi Aulonocara (Peacock) would be nice, too.

Or forget the rocks, go West African and do less to the water. A pair of pelvicachromis (kribs), Hemichromis (jewel), Tilapia Snyderae or Tilapia bakossiorum

I tend to recommend species tanks because I like to know what the fry are. You can mix cichlids, but usually only 2 species in that size tank. I have Afra with peacocks, Saulosi with Burtoni and demasoni with Nyeri. But I think they would do better in species tanks. For real variety, you could do a "bachelor" tank with all males and lots of flow (current takes energy away from aggression) and rocks.

03-04-2012, 09:14 PM
Thanks so much for your help! I'm finally up and running and planning on adding more rock. I have started with 3 Labidochromis caeruleus (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/species.php?id=713) . I'd like to go to the Auction in March, but won't be able to make it. Can anyone direct me to someone who may be able to help me find some tank mates?