55 Gallon Dwarf Mbuna Tank Decor & Substrate

  1. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Well I am t-minus 3 days to my 30th b-day :;jawsWhile I am not too excited about the milestone, I am excited that I have just gotten hubby approval to start o my 55 gallon tank as an early b-day gift. I want to make it a dwarf mbuna tank. I want to work very slowly on it though, as I am still pretty new to the hobby and I am still settling into my 29 gallon community.

    I already have the tank (it was an amazing deal...at least I think it was. 55 gallon marineland/fluval thick glass for $69.99). Today I am going to look at tank stands. I also want to start thinking about substrate and rocks. Any advice on sand types? I like the look of lighter white speckled with black sand (do not know what the name of the sand would be). I am also thinking about looking for rocks soon. Any suggestions on rock types?

    My tap water tends to be on the softer side (pH 7.2; kh - 1 drop changes; gh - 2 drops changes). I have been adding crushed coral to my tanks to raise the KH. For the cichlid tank, I wonder if there are any rocks in particular I should be looking for in order to raise my KH so I do not risk a pH crash.

  2. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    You'll need to really raise the KH and GH to keep rift lake cichlids. I'd add a lot of crushed coral to your filters and use limestone rocks in your tank as decor. You can get these from landscape stores for very cheap.

    It might also be worth adding buffers to your water to make it harder before you add it to the tank when doing water changes (Seachem has some good buffers to raise KH and GH).

  3. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Would you suggest Seachem alkaline buffer? Does Fresh Trace help for GH? I thought that as far as GH goes though, most fish can be acclimated to most conditions. Is that not true for the cichlids?
  4. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    Hard water fish need hard water to be healthy. Most soft water fish are fine in hard water.

    So no, that's not true for the cichlids. You KH is so low though, you should raise it for any fish. Your pH may crash with a KH that low, and that would be harmful to any fish (and your cycle).

    That'll work to raise KH, but you want GH to be high too.

  5. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Gotcha. The crushed coral has raised my other tanks to 3-4 drops of KH solution to change the color to yellow. But I don't know...with my soft water maybe the 55 should not be a cichlid tank. Hmm...perhaps I should rethink my stocking plan.
  6. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    Yeah, you'll still need higher than that for the rift lake cichlids. You could do a West African biotope and use the dwarf cichlids? Many are soft water fish.
  7. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    I think I have a new plan that I am super excited about actually....new thread to follow...betta sorority :)

  8. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    In a 55 gal?
  9. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    I think so. Would that be bad?
  10. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    I'm thinking it's too large - the height of the tank may make it difficult to surface regularly.

  11. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Nooooo!!!!! I didnt think about that. Hmmm...well maybe I should replace it with a 20 long. I dont know now. I have seen some videos of 55 gallon beta sororitys so I thought it would be okay.