View Full Version : Mr. Coopers Cichlid Tank

Stephen Cooper
06-09-2014, 10:08 AM
There's really no major theme going on here. I tried to keep it as natural looking as possible. I had the fish in different tanks but a recent tank leak has caused me to put them all into the same 55g tank. With no backup tank it was the only thing I could do to save my fish. I did lose some of the fish. Mostly the smaller ones were eaten.

Tank consist of:
2 Jack Dempsey ( Rocio Octofasciata ) Both Male - North & Central Amercian
2 Albino Tiger Oscars ( Astronotus Ocellatus ) Unknown sex - South American
1 Fire mouth Cichlid ( Thorichtys Meeki ) Unknown sex - Central American
2 Blood Parrot Cichlid ( HYBRID CICHLID ) Unknown sex - Asia

I plan to eventually focus more on the Central American Cichlids in this tank.
I absolutely adore the Jack Dempsey fish, I thing they are beautifully colored and vicious.
The Blood Parrots will soon be in their own tank. I know that they are hated by some and loved
by some due them being a hybrid, but they are truly an enjoyable breed to watch.

The Oscars, I just cant stand. I want to eventually trade them for something else. They will eat
anything in front of them. They are not that aggressive in this tank. They are more towards each other.
All the other fish move out of my JD's way when he's on patrol. He's the Alpha fish in this tank.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. I asked my wife to send some VIA her phone. We dont buy those 500.00 cell phones, that's a car payment or rent payment for us and she does not know how to upload photos from the camera.




Chris Noto
06-09-2014, 02:28 PM
Nice fish, Stephen! Big cichlids are fascinating. Never having kept a tank bigger than 29 gallons, I've mostly kept to the dwarf and medium sized cichlids, except for some adult angels.

06-09-2014, 03:04 PM
Temperament, tank size, and type and SIZE of tank mates really do make a difference. I had a large JD before, lovely blue and green mosaic markings, but he was just damned boring -- always hiding in a flower pot. It wasn't for lack of interesting company either. ;) I also think that oscars aren't that aggressive either.

Stephen Cooper
06-10-2014, 12:50 PM
Thank you both. Like I said, I plan to eventually get rid of the Oscars. I'm not sure why, but I just don't like them. If you know anyone looking to trade let me know! They are happy and healthy. They never show aggression towards any of my other fish, just towards each other on occasions. The larger JD is a pretty active fish. The smaller JD is very very shy. The Parrot is my fav. to watch by far and such an amusing little fish to study. I have pondered the idea of building a tank to attempt to breed the parrots but I hear they are hard to breed. It's funny to watch him attack food that's bigger than it's little beak-like mouth. He just nips it to pieces with back and forth dart-like actions. The firemouth is honestly too small for this tank and he stays pretty hidden most of the time. I had quite a few, hoping to get a breeding pair but when the other tank crashed I lost 2 and then one got eaten while in this tank. He's almost too big to be eaten by the others but he's still small enough to get hurt.

I plan to eventually black out the back glass and change the substarte from gravel to black sand. I really like the black sand in Cichlid tanks. I also will be adding a couple of really small clay pots to the tank for breeding hopes.

The only problem Im having at the moment is just a tad bit of cloudiness with the water. It's not much but It's not as crystal clear as I would like it to be. I dont know what to do about it.

Eventually I want this tank to be my JD breeding tank and I'll have a smaller tank below it for the fry/babies.

Stephen Cooper
06-12-2014, 11:15 AM
Made some progress on the JD breeding tank. I went searching for black sand and after finding it, I decided to use play sand instead. I bought three bags of play sand less than the price of one bag of black sand. The bags were 25lbs each from Walmart for 2.79 a bag. One back of black sand from PETCO was $20.00. I also picked up a new aerator which was a much needed upgrade. I looked as some filter upgrades (Canister STyle) to get rid of my HOB style but decided to do more research on them. I also picked up some small clay pots to provide hiding spots for the the fish in the tank.

I removed all decorations, rocks, and the tree trunk from the tank and let the tank settle down for about an hour and clear up again. I then began the process of using a net to "shovel" the gravel that was in there out of the tank and into a 5 gallon bucket. I could not believe the amout of waste and food that was at the bottom. I believe if I ever use gravel again that I will go with an under gravel type filter system instead. I thought I kept my tank very clean but boy was I wrong. Once again I let the tank settle and in between moving gravel and decorations I was washing the sand. The sand I had placed into another 5 gallon bucket and simply used a garden hose to fill the bucket, then swirl the sand around within the bucket. I would then tilt the bucket to one side and pour out the dirty top water. This process was repeated several time until the water was clear. You can also tell when the sand is ready by scooping up a handful of sand from within the bucket and releasing it. What you are watching for is for the sand to fall back to the bottom and there be very little "cloud" from the sand. It took me about 8 washes with this sand until I was happy with the sand.
Next I carried the sand from the garage to the aquarium and used a coffee cup to add the sand to the tank. At this point I disabled my filters on my tank. I did not want sand to clog the filter media or cause any damage to the impellers of the filters themselves. Next I used the same coffee cup and lowed the cup to the bottom of the tank as low as I could go without hitting the bottom of the tank itself, then I poured the sand from the cup and onto the bottom. I did this in rows and intentionally created some high spots and low spots. I also added some flat slate rocks to the tank and poured sand around the edges so that the rocks were semi buried. I then added my driftwood root decoration back to the tank and in the middle of the branches I placed another flat rock. On each side I added a clay pot with the bottom of the pot wedged into the sand itself. After that I added the new aerator pump with new lines, line holders and bubble heads to the rear corners of the tank. I like to hook my aerators up with a one way check valve and a then put them in the tank. It will make sure you do not get any water into the lines and makes the pumps work easier. Nearing the end finally, I started to add rock and hiding places back to the tank and some small fake plants/flower that my wife had picked out. I was already loving the new sand. The tank seemed brighter and the fish were already sifting through it and exploring. The fish stayed in the tank the entire process.

Stephen Cooper
06-13-2014, 09:25 PM
couple of pictures.

Stephen Cooper
06-23-2014, 08:51 AM
I have not made any progress as of late, still working on breaking down the 45 Hex and stripping all the old silicone off the tank. That's quite a chore in itself. I did however pick up a new tank. I got a gently used 80 gallon for 40 bucks last night off of craigslist. It has a glass divider and came with a Marineland Penguin 200b (bio wheel) and a Aquatech 30-60. Now I have 3 Aquatech 30-60 in my "spare parts" cabinet. The penguin works but he wheel does not turn, It needs the little plastic "wheel holder" parts that pop into the side where the bio wheel sits into. I already cleaned the tank and water checked it. I also painted the back and sides black as well. It has wooden trim but I'm thinking about painting it black or just making new trim as well.

Im excited. My fish room dream is slowly coming togather. I have to figure a way to tie all the tanks together now. Im thinking of just doing a big "corner" display since the hex is a corner style tank with a 55 on one side and the 80 on the next. I'll then place them all together in a L shape and make a custom cabinet.