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 Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:28 am

Well, no go on CL trying to get rid of my 55 setup.  Coincidentally, the sailing season is over, and the weather is turning cooler, and there's lots of football on the TV = more time inside.    Liz was right- time will become limited when the weather gets nice, but you probably want to save that broken down tank stuff- you may need it.  Well, whaddya know....

So, since I have more time (again), I've set up my 55 into a Cichlid tank (probably Mbuna).   I did get another background from Universal Rocks (this one is flat) and I took a bit of a gamble on one of those Chinese made SunSun canisters- it's a monster- 550 GPH, with an internal UV Sterilizer, which is rated for a 220 gallon tank, in keeping with my belief in over filtering.  A couple of artificial plants, a bit bit of pool sand, and voila'!  

Here's what it looked like last night, prior to filling:


You can see how big that canister is....

It was filled this morning, and the big SunSun seems to run great- no leaks, VERY quiet, and no issues I can see yet.
I think I have my stock list finalized, but will probably run the tank for a couple of weeks before putting anyone in, excepting one of the Clown Plecos from the 46, who has gotten really big.  I did seed the canister with plenty of cycled media from my Rena XP4 on the 46, so I'm thinking this tank should cycle very quickly.   There's 5 trays in the Sun Sun canister- on the bottom, mechanical- then, bioballs- next it ceramic media, then a layer of filter pad under crushed coral. The last layer on top top is a polishing pad.  Lots of filtration!

Hopefully the crushed coral will help raise the Ph to where it needs to be for Mbuna.  My well water out of the tap is about 7.2-7.4, which is not quite high enough.
We'll see how it goes!

I think this hobby is a bit addicting.....nobody told me that....or did they?  Wink
Here a picture this morning after filling- water is still a bit cloudy....
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:45 am

It looks great, DL - even unfilled! The UR background will be perfect for African cichlids.  
All good luck to you in this new venture. ThumbsUp 

I'd like to make one tiny suggestion and that is to please remove the two fake plants.

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:20 pm

lol....I'm not too big on fake plants either, but I don't want to hassle with the fish eating live ones, and I wanted just a bit of color, other than the rock.  I thought about a tall one in the back to hide the heater/intake, but I didn't want one that big.  I dunno- it'll probably change...Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:34 pm

I would have been tempted to get some non toxic paint, and paint caveman looking things like buffalo and deer on that rock wall. Smile
  I really like the wall...

How much does it weigh, what's the thickness and how much did you spend on it?

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:54 pm

Looks great DL!

My only suggestion if you go with Mbuna is to think about adding additional
rock.

I've read some good reviews on the Sunsun, you should be ready to Overstock! Very Happy 

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:57 pm

@Sbane5001 wrote:
I would have been tempted to get some non toxic paint, and paint caveman looking things like buffalo and deer on that rock wall. Smile
 
Laughing 

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Thanks, Tracey-

Still looking for rocks....I got those out here in Louisa right from our lot. I do want to add some more, if I can find some that "fit"...

Sbane, the background is 48" x 20", and is about 1/4" thick, on average. I don't reckon it weighed over 2 pounds or so- very light. You can find them here:

www.universalrocks.com

Who knows, I may put some hieroglyphics on there or something....Wink

Lots of cool stuff!!
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:58 pm

DL, I posted on your other thread about water buffering.  If you think you will need the shells at all, I will be happy to discuss them with you.  

Also, I have an idea about plants for this set-up - actually two:Very Happy 
1. Get hold of some decent size Java fern and hang it from the top.  Orient it down from the top corners.  If it wants to grow upwards, have it come in from the side.  I suspect you could literally PIN it to the UR rock with push pins or something.  One, two, or several plants would work.  
2. Use fake plants, but not the ones in the pic.  Instead, rummage through the bag of fake plants that Ryland turned in at the last meeting.  Choose something fairly long and hang it down from the top.  
Both ideas involve hanging the plants down from the top, which is supposed to be more "biotopically" correct for the rock-dwelling fish.  
Hope this helps!

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:23 pm

I have a tall blade type plastic plant in my Peacock/Hap set up that I picked up from Michaels for about $6.00.

It's a fairly good size plant and extends out of the top of my 55.

True, it is not bio correct but I like it and it does provide a lot of cover and hideout for my fish when things get a little crazy...

I could see it in the corner of your tank where it could also hide some equipment.

You can see it on my CVAS 55 gallon video.

Deb's suggestions are good...

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:46 am

Interesting!  Hmmm...what to do....  Tracey, I'm going to cruise by Michaels today and see what they've got.  I dunno.   Deb's suggestions are good (I certainly wouldn't have known that) but, I don't think I'm going to do live plants at all in this tank. I assume that in addition to being "bio-correct" that by hanging them, they won't get dug up?   I may just do without plants of any kind.  I did add some more rock, and "re-rock-scaped" last night, so it looks a bit better.  I also think I'll swap out heaters- the one in my sump for the SW tank is black, so that will probably look better, and the sump is hidden in a cabinet, so you can't see that heater.  I shortened the spray bar return on the SunSun also, and it's now going across the top side of the tank from front to back, as opposed to top to bottom in the right back corner.  Since it's been shortened (less output holes), pressure seems to have increased, which is a good thing- more water movement in the tank.  Stay tuned...
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:04 pm

Updated photo this evening....still thinking about the plant thing.  Plants or no plants?  Live or fake? Plant or hang?  Don't know yet on that, but did do some rockscaping.  In these pics, the SunSun is hooked up.  You can see how I re-arranged the spray bar at the top right- quite an increase in water movement in the tank...


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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:32 pm

Congrats! the tank looks fantastic!
I've SunSun 404b and the water is crystal clear! I recommend getting a course sponge for the filter if you don't have one already. "Aquatop Replacement Course Filter Pad For CF500 Canister" fits perfectly!
Also I cut the intake tube so sand doesn't go inside the canister.
Here is a great video that may help you.
http://youtu.be/OS9olkrf-EU

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:36 pm

what kind of boat do you sail?
Let me know if you need a crew.
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:33 pm

Thanks, Trucha.   Working on it!  I'll check out the sponge replacement pads- I know I'll need them eventually. Yep- I saw that video- I did a lot of searching on them before I pulled the trigger.

I actually crew for some guys on a Tripp 38 out of Hampton, and race RC sailboats as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:22 am

Update!

I was a bit surprised at how long it took to cycle this tank (I seeded with some cycled media from my Rena), but it finally did cycle, using the ammonia Tracy recommended. Just about 5 weeks. I now have 0 NH4, 0NO2, and about 20 NO3 (big WC coming up today). I've been continuing to add a few drops of NH4 every day; the next day it tests "0", as do the Nitrites-yay!

I'm sticking with the minimalist plastic plants (sorry, Deb! Laughing ). I found a tall, weighted one for the back left corner to cover the intake, and per Trucha's suggestion, raised the end of it further off of the substrate. I did find this out- while our house is kept at 72 degrees, I discovered that I do not have to run a heater on this tank. I noticed about a month ago, that I had the heater turned all the way down, so I took it out. Now, after a month with NO heater, tank temp is 77.9- with no lights running. The lights should not be too much a of factor, they are pretty generic T8's. I'm thinking that the filter has such a big pump in it, that the heat from the pump keeps the water warm in such a small tank in relation to the size of the filter. It is a HUGE filter for this tank.

We're heading out of town for a couple of weeks over the end of this month, so when we get back, I'll be doing some stocking. I think this is going to be my list, or one of them- I found this article in one of the Cichlid forums:

"In a standard 55 gallon, I recommend three species (of 1 male and 5 females each). I would avoid the highly aggressive species like Pseudotropheus Crabro and Melanochromis Auratus. The P. Crabro (bumblebee) is a beautiful fish, but it grows 8” long and is extremely aggressive. The M. Auratus is not as attractive, to me personally, but it is a common fish to see in pet stores, and can destroy your tank (kill all of your fish, wreck decorations, etc.).

For an easy, colorful stocking that will still be interesting to watch (breeding behavior), I would choose (1m, 5f) Metriaclima Estherae (red zebra, which is actually more orange and males will be blue or peach-colored), (1m, 3f) Pseudotropheus Acei (yellow with blue tail), and (1m, 5f) Cynotilapia Afra (blue-barred).

As another example, (1m, 4f) Labidochromic Caeruleus (yellow with black bars on fins), (2m, 10f) Pseudotropheus Demasoni (blue-barred) (so many more fish because this species is a dwarf species and the overstocking for this specific species curbs their conspecific aggression), and (1m, 5f) Iodotropheus Sprengerae (Rusties, brown and purple) OR (1m, 5f).

Either of these two lists would make a nice stocking list for a Mbuna tank."

Opinions?




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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:36 pm

Wow, that is really nice. I have been toying with the idea of one of those backgrounds for my cichlid tank. It look fantastic.
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:34 am

Here's just my personal opinion for the lists you posted. The first list is a good setup but me personally I would go with yellow labs just because i'm not a fan of the zebras. But its up to you what color combo you are looking for.

The second list is going to be based on luck. Demasoni are extremely mean but mostly just to one another. I have seen instances where it spills over to others in the tank as well. Personally I would keep the labs and rusties and replace the demasoni with cynotilapia afra or maybe another pseudotropheus species.
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:27 pm

I agree with Ben. IMO Demasoni are quite aggressive. Maybe not as much as Auratus but surely a close second in my experience along with what others have shared. Very attractive fish though. I also agree Cynotilapia Afras are a good choice with the mix. If you can find the Nkata Bay variety you will be very pleased. Get about 4" with very nice Blue and yellow markings. You certainly are going to have a great looking tank....Good Luck and keep those pics and posts coming.

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:08 am

Latest pics, cycled and ready for fish, with more rock.



In January, I believe that the stocking will be as follows:

5 Red Zebras (1m,4f)
4 Pseudotrophues Acai (1m/3f)
5 Yellow Labs (1m/4f)

I'm getting confused on all these species of Mbuna, with many sites/folks using the "technical name" (which is tough for me to remember and keep straight) and the "regular" names that I find so much easier to work with like "Yellow Labs", or "Red Zebras". Yikes. So what's the layman's name for Pseudotropheus Acai? Do I have Yellow Labs on my list twice? Or is a blue tail the difference?

Thanks everyone for all the comments and suggestions!
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:15 pm

Ahhh, a hobbyist with plan. I don't have much knowledge when it comes to Mbuna. I am enjoying you sharing setting your tank up. This is one cool hobby. Enjoy!!!  Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:54 pm

Yes mbuna can be confusing sometimes. That list should work out for you.

Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" are commonly called Yellow Tail Acei. They are a blue fish with a yellow tail and yellow towards the back of the dorsal fin. So no you do not have yellow labs twice.
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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:16 am

@Ben wrote:
Yes mbuna can be confusing sometimes.  That list should work out for you.

Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" are commonly called Yellow Tail Acei.  They are a blue fish with a yellow tail and yellow towards the back of the dorsal fin.  So no you do not have yellow labs twice.  

Excellent! Thanks for the help!

I guess I'll have to brush up on my Latin...... Rolling Eyes 
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:11 pm

Looks like a great choice DL Looking forward of hearing and seeing your results.

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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:07 am

In a stroke of great timing, I'll have this tank stocked this Saturday with a nice selection of Mbuna-pics to follow...

Thanks and big ups to DLW!
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PostSubject: Re: Well, can't seem to get rid of it, so...   Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:38 pm

Sounds like your about to be set up nicely DL. Looking forward to your pics. Good luck. Let me know if need any help.Good luck.
Ron

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