building an mbuna tank.

thomas the plumber
  • #1
first, as this is my first post, hello to everyone!

and perhaps some quick background, I have decided to revamp my tropical community tank into a (an?) mbuna tank. I have kept fish for about 8 years now, most of which was with the 125 gallon all-glass brand aquarium that I am currently using. but, for the past 2+ years I have been more occupied with my first child, and the fish tank has seen more neglect than I would like to admit. As my son is slowly requiring less maintenance, I have decided to get my tank back in order and I wanted some opinions as well as someone to share my fun with!

the tank has been operating with a fluval 405 for 6+ years. prior to that I had a 55 gallon with an HOB filter. I have grown extremely tired of store bought filters of all kinds and all their flaws. my solution to this is a 30 gallon long tank, soon to be a sump. I have a polarizing filter in the mail, and once I can use it to check for tempered glass, I want to drill the 125 and cut my baffles for the sump. I'm still debating on what pump type and GPH to drop in the sump. assuming I can figure out how to post photos, ill get some cell phone pics up asap!

my changes to the tank so far have included changing from regular aquarium gravel to sand (washed and boiled from a local creek) and I have collected a good amount of rocks (also creek) to accommodate the mbunas. lighting is t5 bulbs (I forget color temp) 1 light is a 4 footer re-used from the 55 gallon and I added a 2 footer when I upgraded to the 125G.

any input is appreciated!
thomas the plumber
  • Thread Starter
  • #2


heres the tank and soon to be sump.the sump layout is my first version that I just doodled on and is very open to change.the tank is simply supporting my 3 fish left from the tropical community tank until I find them homes.
  • #3
Welcome to the forum
Do you know what specific mbuna species you are interested in?
I would try for at least 10x the tanks volume for filtration. I have a sump and canister my Mbuna tank.
I would get way more rocks, the fish should be able to swim through them. I can post a picture if you want. LeoDiaz can help with stocking.
thomas the plumber
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
its a long hike to the creek where ive been gathering rocks, and I only have a backpack, so my rock collection will continue to grow with time. I have not been able to decide on mbuna species yet, I get bogged down in scientific names and quickly get a headache.... I have also read both that mbunas want to be able to swim through caves, and that they want closed caves with one entrance only. was planning on putting both in the tank and letting them decide. as for flow rate of filtration, the sump and tank will allow a total water volume of ~ 140 US gallons, not counting rocks and sand. also, the sump will never be full. perhaps I could keep the canister running and remove the media filtration from the sump....
  • #5
My sumps only half full and it rises and falls depending on water changes and evaporation, I wouldn't worry too much. I would get as many rocks as you can, I have mine stacked in three piles, one on each end of the tank and one in the middle, I have just over 300 pounds and mine is a 100G

For stock, I have demasonii, yellow labs, and acei. Not sure if that helps you or not.

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