Mbuna tank over filtered?


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I’m staring a 55 gallon mbuna tank with 16 Mbunas and I was wondering if my tank is over filtrated. I have a 75 gallon filter, another filter of 30 gallons and a power head. Please let me know?


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Corycatfishboi said:
I’m staring a 55 gallon mbuna tank with 16 Mbunas and I was wondering if my tank is over filtrated. I have a 75 gallon filter, another filter of 30 gallons and a power head. Please let me know?
IMO you can't overfilter. However, you can create too much turbulence for some fish. You don't need the powerhead for African Cichlids. I'd use airstones rather than a powerhead to increase surface movement. But that's just my preference. How about posting a picture of your Mbunas? We love pictures!


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Definitely not over-filtered, but you will be fine. Like the post above said, there's no such thing. I have a 75 gallon with less mbuna then you right now and it has two 350gph HOBs (Marineland suggests needing only one of these will filter a 75 gallon, I call ****) and a fluval canister underneath. I would ditch the powerhead and IMO using the airstones is unnecessary as well.The filters return pump will create the water tension your fish need to oxygenate the tank. Here is a video from the god Steven Poland explaining what I'm talking about:



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@Corycatfishboi, you probably will have more posts on your thread if you post any filter related question in the "Filters and Filtration" (in the Freshwater Tank Equipment section) part of the forum.

Filters and Filtration Forum

What model of "30 gallon" and "75 gallon" filters do you have?

A 55g is a great sized tank to start off with for African Mbuna! Your target number of 16 is perfect in my opinion and experience, especially with the right selection of species. The hard part is that there is so many to choose from !

Regarding how manufactures rate their filters, there is no standardization in the industry when a brand says their X model of filter is suitable for Y gallons of tank.

A 75 gallon filter really has no meaning, and this is unfortunate for new hobbyists.

A manufacture has no way of knowing what fish is in your tank, so when they say their filter is rated for up to a certain range of tank size, it is all marketing. Mainly so a brand can sell different size filters and they need a convenient way to differentiate them besides using the gph flow rating.

For example, an Aqueon "75 gallon" filter that uses cartridges will perform a lot different in respects to mechanical and biological filtration than an Aquaclear 70 filter that has double stacked foam blocks and a pre-filter on the intake tube.

Another example, a stock Top Fin Silentstream 75 filter with the included 2 cartridges provides no where near the same mechanical and biological filtration as the same filter that instead is loaded with blocks of foam sponge cut to fit the right side reservoir and a large bag of biomedia in the left reservoir. I used this same filter loaded with a foam block from an Aquaclear 110 (cut up to fit) and a huge bag of bio-media cycled from another tank to start up a new 65g community tank along with a Tidal filter. Those mods, along with a coarse foam pre-filter on the intake tube, turned the cheap Top Fin into an excellent filter.

My point is you have to think about how you can add your own media to the filter to best suit your tanks needs.

GPH flow rates are a different story. Dont fall into the trap of a certain size tanks needs a certain GPH or turnover. Every tank is different and filtration should be matched to the tank's stocking, the fish keeper's intended WC schedule, feeding, etc etc.

Here is a link to a thread on the forum that may help regarding understanding filtration, how to put your own re-usable media in them, and other filtration related time. Tons of pics and examples included, its a long read but well worth it.

Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters | 385506 | Filters and Filtration

Coincidently we have a 55g tank that is way overstocked with African cichlids. We originally had 15 or so male Mbuna + 2 Peacocks. Then my friend changed all his tanks to SW so I inherited a lot of fish from him. Our 55g easily has 20+ African cichlids, but luckily the aggression has been managed well (knock on wood).

I think the idea of having a power head in an African cichlid tank is actually a good idea. I would use one, but I already have enough flow in our tank.

The power head could be placed so it helps blow around any detritus off the substrate so it may be sucked up the intake tubes of the filters. Consider plugging it into a cheap mechanical timer, so it only turns on during the day while turning off at night to give the Mbuna a break from the current. This can really help keep the substrate from not loading up with uneaten food and detritus.

If you already have the equipment, then set everything up and start the tank.

You can always add more filtration in the future as the Mbuna grow.

Also, you can consider attaching your power head to a large sponge filter for extra filtration.

Most brands of sponge filters can be double stacked on top of each other. I know the brand ATI are able to, that is the brand I use. I've seen online that the ones Cory from Aquarium Co-Op sells can be stacked as well.

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