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New Cichlid Tank Help!

Discussion in 'Cichlids' started by CelticSJU, May 22, 2019.

  1. CelticSJU Valued Member Member

    Hey everyone,

    My tank has finally matured and cycled and today I put my first cichlids in my 75 gallon tank that I got for Christmas! I am very excited so I purchased 5 fish at the LFS. I purchased 3 peacocks, one bicolor peacock and one Taiwan reef. The fish seem to be enjoying the new environment and there is no aggression. However, I have an issue. Currently, my tank is set up with a heater and filter... and now five fish. There is no substrate or rocks yet. I was planning on adding sand, but I do not want to damage the filter, which I head sand can do. Fow, it is barebottom. If anyone can tell me what kind of pool filter sand, I will look into that. Also, how can I distract the fish so I can scape my aquarium? Is it safe for me to add my hands in the tank and restructure the rocks.. Im a little intimidated by these peacocks right now lol.

    1) What kind of pool filter sand should I get?
    2) Is it safe (for me) to put my hands in the tank?
    3) Will the cichlids swim away when I put rocks in the tank to scape.... or will i have to go through the dreadful task of removing these behemoths and watch them flop in the net while I put them in a bucket?
    4) Lastly, one of the fish got stressed out and lost virtually all of its color. How long until that comes back?
    5) Also, there is some flowy white substance that sticks to a suction cup. What do you think this could be?
    Thank you very much for your insight and advice!

  2. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Boy, you are doing things the hardest way possible! How did you cycle your tank?
    My advice is to get all your substrate, decorations, rocks etc. rinsed thoroughly and ready to put into the tank. Get a clean 5 gallon bucket with a lid. The day you're going to put the sand and ALL the rocks, caves etc. in the tank, siphon 75% of the water out of the tank using some of the tank water to fill the bucket 3/4 full. Net the cichlids carefully and place them in the bucket, cover the bucket with a towel and set out of the way. Place all rocks and heavy objects in the tank first (cichlids move sand. Rocks and heavy objects can topple over if placed on top of the sand). Then pour your sand and other objects in the tank. Refill with fresh water, run filter and let sand etc. settle. Once water has cleared up, net fish back into tank. Peacock Cichlids aren't aggressive and won't attack you. Any pool sand will do. Coarser (larger grains) sand is better with cichlids if you have a choice. Any time you get new fish it takes a couple days for them to acclimate, keep tank dark and quiet their first day. The white stuff is probably a fungus. It will go away.

  3. CelticSJU Valued Member Member

    Thanks for the advice...
    1) Would it be bad to put the sand while the fish are still in the tank?
    2) How do you make sure the fish dont freak out so you are actually able to even catch them?

  4. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Yes, it's bad to put a whole tankful of sand in the tank while the fish are in it. Some of the sand, if it isn't a very coarse grain will be suspended in the water and your fish will be pulling that water through their gills.
    Use a big net, and just move it toward each fish slowly. Take your time catching them.
    How did you cycle your tank?
  5. esims12 New Member Member

    The fish will be stressed for awhile after all the moving back and forth. It’s normal that they will seem almost colorless. Buy some API Stress Coat and put it in the tank when you move them back after it’s full.

    I have my hands in my tank all the time. It’s a community cichlid tank so I have a few peacocks. Mine have never been aggressive, they will be interested in what I’m doing and swim around me. I did have one of my bigger ones bite me, I was fooling around in his cave, so my mistake.

    I personally would have wait to put fish in until the decor was set up, BUT I did completely change my tank recently and I added new sand in to mix. I kept my fish in and just poured the sand right in. My sand isn’t as fine as pool sand, it’s more of a course rocky type, so it sank pretty well. It’ll be cloudy for awhile, it took mine about half a day to clear up. I just made sure to put stress coat in before starting and then adding more a few hours later. My fish didn’t seem to mind besides the sand falling from the sky.

    If you want to catch them and transfer them to add sand to your tank, it should be quite simple as you have no decor to work around. Just corner them with a large enough net and slowly encourage them to move to a spot where you can pin the net against the glass. I have no fears of my fish biting, so I use my hand/arm to encourage them into the net as well. If your not as daring as me I fully understand LOL. The best advice I can give you is to not be scared of hurting them when you catch them. They are pretty tough suckers. As long as you don’t totally nail one to the glass by his body or fin, your good.
  6. CelticSJU Valued Member Member

    Update: finally put my hand in. While bigger, they react the same as tetras so that is reassuring!
  7. Islandvic Well Known Member Member

    I used Quikrete brand of pool filter sand.

    You've got to rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose and a 5 gallon bucket.

    Patience is key when washing sand.

    If rinsed properly, as you add it to the tank, the grains will all sink straight down and not cloud up the tank.
  8. CCinBama Valued Member Member

    Just a thought, you can also use BDBS (Black diamond blasting sand) if you like the look of a black substrate. Just discovered it myself and will never use anything else again. It’s a little courser than pool sand, I have no problems cleaning it with the Python, and it causes no problems for my canister filter. Really love how it makes the colors in my cichlids stand out. And my cories love it too.
  9. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    No ya probably don't want to use BDBS (or any blasting sand). It's Coal Slag. You never know exactly what's in it. Here's the latest on coal slag and ash.
  10. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Yeah! I have Haps, Mbuna and Peacocks and they either swim away or just stay back. Not aggressive at all. I just used a commercial coarser black aquarium sand.
  11. CelticSJU Valued Member Member

    Update: I purchased 60 pounds of sand (Caribsea Aragonite) so it is good for Africans. I also bought some slate from Home Depot. I have made about 4 cave structures and they are currently getting glued together right now. People are telling me that peacocks and haps dont need rocks, but I feel the tank is a little empty so I think it will look good. I have also added 3 more cichlids (A sunshine yellow, Red Shoulder Peacock and an azureus that looks amazing)

    Is there anything I should look at to make sure everything is running smoothly?

    These fish poop a lot. I feed them eight pellets of Hikaru gold medium pellets (one for each in theory) twice a day. Ammonia is at the .25/.5 ppm so I have been doing daily 20% water changes

    Questions: When I add water during water changes, the sand shoots up. How do people with sand tanks keep this from happening? I might just buy a little rake or something to fix it after the sand is displaced.
  12. Islandvic Well Known Member Member

    How are you adding water during changes?

    Bucket method or a hose connected to a sink faucet?
  13. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    I put a glass bowl on the sand under the flow of the hose (I use a python hook attachment) water hits in bowl, not sand.
    You should feed your cichlids a food made for Cichlids. Feed them enough that the food is gone in 3 minutes. Dropping one pellet in for each of them is going to result in the bigger, more aggressive fish getting all the food and the more timid fish starving.
  14. CelticSJU Valued Member Member

    For background information: I have two python hoses. One that I use for my 10 gallon and another that I got from amazon that connects to the sink. Unforunately, that one does not connect to my sink and i cant figure out how to do it. As a result, I have been using the smaller python to suck up the water from the tank and put it in the bucket. Then I empty the bucket and fill it up with water and dechlorinate it and put it back in the tank by spilling it out of the bucket :)

    Sand shoots up everywhere lol

    The Hikari Cichlid gold is made for cichlids, but how many pellets should I drop in? Do you think 12 would be enough?
  15. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Try 12 then more if they gobble those in 6 seconds. Whatever they'll eat in 2-3 minutes. You could try putting a dinner plate on the floor of your tank where you pour the water in...
    Take a picture of your sink faucet to a local hardware store. They may have an adaptor that fits your faucet you could use when doing water changes.
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  16. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    Hey! Post a picture of your fish and tank when you're done with it! We ALWAYS like to see other peoples set ups! And I LOVE Cichlids!