50 Gallon Malawi Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by DrSahl, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Hi all.

    As some of you know I've had a Orinocco based 50 gallon tank for about a year, but due to the plants, algea trouble and to much maintanence I decided to remake the tank into a Malawi tank (I had that many years ago for over 5 years without trouble)

    The tank is now empty and has been cleaned.
    Pictures below


    I am abit worried if it might look abit weird for the malawi tank, since the background was bought for the South American look, but I guess it can look alright, time will tell anyway.
    The background have been abit white over the year, so that might actually be ok.

    It took alot of time getting the fish out, but removing the plants, draining the water was easy enough (a far from a few roots that had tried to go under the background) the nightmare was getting all the gravel out, but in the end I managed to. If anyone else is scared about redoing their tank, I can tell that its easy enough if you set off the day to take care of it all and have paitience.

    As for the new build.

    I've been asking alot around here on the forum and thats because opinions, exprience and knowledge is vital before you start up and thats even if you have expirience yourself (I had malawi's many years ago for many years, but still want advice). So far the only thing I am certain of is that I want Saulosi in the tank, there are many possibilities even with a 50 gallon.

    So current plan.

    Substrate - Sand
    Rocks - Undecided, but I think I might get Kenya Rocks(looks similar to texas holey rocks).
    Fish - Saulosi 2m-5/6fm

    Fish I might add (only 1 more species if I choose not to run with all Saulosi)
    Afra cobue (might be to big/agressive?)
    Polit (heard its to agreesive?)
    Perlmutt (I am actually pretty hook on this one)
    Afra jalo reef (Suggest from a forum user)

    - Maybe I want to add some synodontis as well

    So do you have any suggestions for the setup? I would love to hear exprience from people that have had Saulosi and what they have combined them with and what rocks are best suited? I've heard lavastone is a no go and don't know the prices of other rocks/or where to get them in nature, this is one of the main reasons for the kenya rocks, they are fairly cheap.

  2. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Bumping this up for you

  3. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    So today I cleaned the sand I got and its now ready (but wont be added until Monday along with all the rest)


    I am still abit torn about if I am to do a species tank with 3m/9fm Saulosi or instead do 1/4 1/4 (or even 1/5 ratio) Saulosi and another species like the perlmutt

  4. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    So I've been gone a while and now ready to post a new update.

    Firstly I've cycled the tank with a bacteria (I've done it twice before with good result) and I could add fish even 24 hours after (but waited a few days)

    The tank have been semi scaped, but I still need to put in a few more rocks, when I get them to smaller pieces.

    I've done something that might make some people in here abit worried I am sure, but let me tell you what and why.

    My original plan was to get
    Saulosi 1m5fm
    Perlmutt 1m 5fm

    Or just 12 Saulosi or even 14.

    So what did I end up with? well I ended up with 3 m saulosi and 5 female (LFS would not sell the females without all 3 males) and then I bought something that might turn bad or might turn good.. Auratus 1m 5fm...

    Now the Auratus is a killer I know and its agressive ..... it might also be to large for my tank even (I've heard else alot of places, but still) I know this.

    Current plan. Overstock (but without doing it like a madman) and observe how the agression goes.. So far there has been no agression at all and the dominant Saulosi male have already claimed a cave. The male Auratus are "normaly mildly agressive" but so far get along with all others (maybe I am lucky?)

    It will keep the fish for now and eventually either.

    Keep it all and maybe get a larger tank (if no agression issues)

    Take out all Auratus (I know people that can have room for them) and keep Saulosi and get a few more females

    Keep 1 dominant Saulosi and 4 fm and the Auratus.

    I might add that I am actually using a Ehiem prof4. canister (I have no problem overstocking abit) so thats not an issue.

    I will post abit of the pictures under (the scaping, filling of water, adding of fish, etc)
    Feel free to comment about the tank and your exprience! I am also perfectly fine with people saying this might turn out bad or people that think it might work (again I know the Auratus would have been better in a 75g)

    My 50 gallon is 40inc, so its not a total disaster (I think the 75g is around 48)

    Rock sculping / sand - Sorry for the bad quality, but this is the only pictures I got.


    Now for the fish and how they look. you will see the dominant Saulosi, The Aurarus male etc.


    I will be posting a few more pictures during this or next week, once I get abit more rock etc in.
  5. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Just listing a few more picutes.

  6. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    I've had the fish over a day now and I've not seen much aggression from them.
    But I have noticed that they have begin to dig even more caves (they have undercut half the stones I have, but they are safe due to the placement beforehand.

    I've taken a few new pictures. I wish I could get a good pictures of the male Auratus and dominant Saulosi, but well my cam must be awful. I did notice one of the other male saulosis have been bruised abit (but he was that even before he was added to the tank)

    The tank is still exprienced the bacteria bloom abit and I've stirred the sand abit, so a few of the pictures might be bad visually due to that.


    I've also tried to post my setup on aqadvisor, I know a few in here used it, but I never really bothered to use that as a guidiance. But according to it, my tank is more 55g than 50.

  7. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    So just an update.

    Today I got some new lights for the tank (to bring up a more subtle blue light)
    I got 2 free test kits home with me as well and they read (digital ones)

    Nitrat - 0
    Nitrit - 0.28
    DH - 6
    Ph - 8.1
    cl2 - 0
    Carbon 5

    All seems to be fine.

    The fish are all getting along and the Auratus male seems to have reduced the aggression it showed at first alot! Its actually sometimes getting bullied by the Saulosi male.

    I've taken some pictures to showt he tank now and a few of the fish. I've gone for a natural look with abit of algea on the rocks because the fish seems to enjoy nipping it off now and then.

    The Saulosi has begun breeding as well as you might see in the picture.
    Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, my cam just don't seem to be up to the task


  8. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    So another update.

    Its a rather sad update, since I have lost a few of my mbuna's.

    I've had the tank up and running for some time now without any problems and then suddenly over a few days I have lost 4 fish. 2 of them had been stuck in one of the rocks in my tank :/ I have removed the rock and put in others and now try to find a solution (the others was meant to be extra's)

    I've also had 2 fish show signs of malawi bloat! I have never had it before and I think the fact I waited with removing the first fish showing symtoms have been the cause of the other one getting it (I took the last one out promptly)

    I have tested my water and its similar to the other I posted (all values are fine) I feed my fish a type of algea flake and two days a week they get pea's as well.

    There is no aggression in the tank at all, infact all the fish I have lost have been the Salousi (2 females and 2 males, both with bright colours)

    I have no exprience with the salousi and auratus beforehand but had no trouble with these issues when I had other malawi's years back. I wonder if the Saulosi is prone to the bloat ? I have read nothing to suggest that they need extra special treatment, infact most suggest its an easy fish to hold.

    The Auratus are thriving in the tank and the Auratus male is spetacular, he swims around like a underwater jetplane and always go crazy when you come near the tank (I know its due to food) the females also like shine.

    I will show some pictures of the new rock arrangement and the remaining fish. I would love any feedback on the rocks and I do plan to get more (I just don't want some with to small holes, I am really scared about it and everytime a fish is hiding I look for it in fear of it being stuck) but with the new rocks it should be less possible.

    Hopefully the rest of the Saulosi will survive and then later I can think about adding new females (I still have 1 male that is beginning to get colour)

    Again I am sorry about the poor image quality.

  9. emerald6Valued MemberMember

    I don't know about whether this prevents bloat, but I also feed my mbuna leafy greens. Maybe it's because of the fiber content. By the way, this tank looks a lot better than my tank (55 gal, current stock: 2 yellow labs, 2 red zebras, 4 aceis, 1 OB peacock)
  10. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Ty for the reply emerald6

    I have been thinking about using more veggies for variation (but I am abit unsure if they wanna eat organic Broccoli,Lettuce/cabbage and well I have even counted carrots as a variation) I guess I could try one of those and see if it helps.

    How long do you leave the leafy greens in ? minutes? hours? a day? (I've read different explanations about it and with the pea's I usually take all excess food out after 15 mins)

    And ty for the tank comment, I was afraid it was to few rocks now and I still want a few more, but I guess its not that bad.
  11. Lchi87ModeratorModerator Member

    I'm sorry to hear you've lost some fish but your tank setup is beautiful!
  12. tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    My Salousi and acei's eat the cucumber and zucchini I put in for the bn pleco. They like sweet peas too.
  13. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Ty hopefully the rest is healthy and hopefully I will be able to get some new Saulosi females, because I am abit scared that it will be hard on her being the only one left.

    I think cucumber could be a good solution will try that during the weekend.
  14. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Its been some time since I have been here, but I just wanted to give a little update on how things are. They are pretty well and my Auratus is very peaceful almost, infact he seldom hunts anyone (nothing out of the normal chase level) They all seem to thrive and they have dug tons of caves under the rocks.

    I have also had no problems with fish getting stuck after I changed the rocks in the setup, so thats great as well.

    I hope to get some pictures in here to show how the tank looks and how the fish have developed.

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