African cichlids

  • Thread starter

ranga97

Well Known Member
Messages
536
Reaction score
3
Points
113
Experience
1 year
Hey fishlore,
if I go ahead with my 50gal purchase, what will I need to makean African cichlid tank look close to the beauty of a saltwater setup. How can I keep white substrate looking white and will yellow labs (3) go well with maybe a blue and black striped one ( don't no what they are called)
thanks in advance
all replies welcome
 

Nutter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
150
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
Welcome to Fishlore.

To get the look of a saltwater tank you will need to fill that tank with something like Texas Holey Rock or Limestone. Lots of it. Piles of rock almost to the waters surface while still allowing plenty of swimming room is pretty much mandatory in African Rift Lake tanks. Forget plants unless you go with plastic ones. Mbuna will soon destroy a tank full of plants.

To keep the sand nice & clean is just a matter of using a gravel vacuum each week when you do your water changes. Just hold the vacuum slightly above the sand surface & suck the detrius up off the bottom. Don't dig into the sand with the vacuum unless you want to suck a bunch of sand out of the tank.

We really need more info about the blue & black fish before we can say if Electric Yellows will be ok with them. There are at least 4 blue & black mbuna that I can think of & I'm not even trying. The most common one in Australia seems to be the Maingano which is probably a little too aggressive to be kept with Electric Yellows usually but can work if you get the numbers right. Perhaps you can find a pic of the fish your interested in & post it so we know what you have in mind & can better advice you if it will work out.
 
  • Thread starter

ranga97

Well Known Member
Messages
536
Reaction score
3
Points
113
Experience
1 year
Thanks nutter,
where can be the cheapest place to find limestone and what do I have to do to prepare it for aquarium use?
 

Nutter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
150
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
Well Perth is littered with limestone quarries so I just get mine direct from the quarry for $100 per ton. If there are any limestone quarries in your area that sell direct to the public you can probably get a good deal. Otherwise you will probably have to pay LFS prices which can be anywhere between $2 & $14 per kilo. You might be able to find some at garden supply centres or a local nursery if your very lucky. To prepare it all you need to do is file down any sharp edges then give it a good scrub under running water. After the scrub place small rocks in boiling water for 5 mins each, for large rocks just pour boiling water all over them making sure that you cover all surfaces with the boiling water. Some people use bleach to sterilise their rocks but I'm not a fan of that method.
 

Aquarist

Fishlore Legend
Messages
39,060
Reaction score
337
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore Ranga!

Nutter has you covered with great information. Here is a link concerning vacuuming sand substrate that you may find helpful. Give it a minute to load then hit play:


Best of luck with your new set up. I hope you can share some photos with us.

Ken
 
  • Thread starter

ranga97

Well Known Member
Messages
536
Reaction score
3
Points
113
Experience
1 year
Cheers everyone!
I'll try to share some pics when I get it and I live near the beach, can I wash rock I find from there? I've seen some great ones down around there
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,573
Reaction score
25
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
I don't know what your beach is like but around my area it is illegal to remove bush rock. You might want to check first.
 

Nutter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
150
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
Where exactly would you be collecting the rocks from on the coast? It's probably not wise if it is in or near a major metro area. There's usually lots of run off pipes etc entering the ocean in major cities. You would also need to be very carefull to make sure the location you want to collect from isn't a designated marine park. It's illegal to remove rocks, crustaceans & fish from marine parks & there are hefty fines if you get caught doing so.
 
  • Thread starter

ranga97

Well Known Member
Messages
536
Reaction score
3
Points
113
Experience
1 year
I think I'll scrap the idea of collecting from the beach (too many risks). What about that black volcanic rock, with the fairly rough and porous surface? Will it be aquarium safe? Where can I get some?
 

Nutter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
150
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
If your somewhere like western victoria you could just go out & collect the volcanic rock. It is aquarium safe & usually will raise the GH slightly which is good in rift lake tanks. Fish can injure themsleves on it if the honeycombing is very sharp so be carefull of that. If you can't collect the rock you will probably have to buy it from your LFS. The good thing about that kind of rock is that it weighs very little compared to other types of rock so you won't spend as much.
 
  • Thread starter

ranga97

Well Known Member
Messages
536
Reaction score
3
Points
113
Experience
1 year
Ok so.
I should buy some limestone for the water chemistry as well as a place to hide.
I'd like to get my hands on some lava whatever rock, black would look good. If I find this stuff lying around snapper in small amounts, how can I make sure it's got no living organisms or bacteria on it. And do I just sand off the sharp bits?
Sorry about all of my questions
 

Nutter

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,458
Reaction score
150
Points
308
Experience
More than 10 years
Questions are good. Means you care about your fish & want to make sure you do the best you can for them.

When I've used the lava rock in the past I just run my hands over it to find any extra sharp bits & give them a quick file down. You could give the whole rock a quick rub down with coarse sandpaper & it would probably help quite abit. It's pretty hard to be certain this type of rock is completely free of micro organisms given that it is porous. The best way is to boill the rocks for at least 10mins each. You need to be very carefull when you do this as there is lots of air in these rocks & as the rocks heat up that air can expand to the point of causing the rock to explode. Bring the water to the boil slowly with the rocks already in the water, this will greatly reduce the chance of this happening. Make sure there are no kiddies around when your doing this as you don't want them hurt if something does go wrong. It's pretty safe to do though so don't get turned off the idea of using that type of rock. When they are boiled just pour them out, water & all onto some concrete outside & let them cool naturally. DO NOT pour cold water on them to cool them faster. They can also explode from cooling too fast. That probably all sound a bit worrying but you will be fine so long as you bring them to the boil slowly & let them cool slowly. I've done it several times without incedent.

You should be aware that this type of rock has a tendency to float when first added to a tank so it would be wise to silicone the rocks together using aquarium safe silicone. That will prevent them floating & ruining your design & also make it so the fish can't easily knock the rocks out of place.

Granite is another very common rock that is good for rift lake tanks. Granite comes in many different colours & you can find it pretty much everywhere. Slate is another good one to use if you live somewhere that gold minimg has been carried out.
 

claudicles

Well Known Member
Messages
1,573
Reaction score
25
Points
123
Experience
5 to 10 years
I'd also check out a landscape supplier. They are likely to be cheaper than an aquarium shop.
 
Toggle Sidebar

New Threads

Similar Threads

Aquarium Calculator

Aquarium Photo Contests

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media





Top Bottom