New setup for 75 gallon cichlid aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by crystalm04, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Hello everyone! So this will be my first time keeping African cichlids. I purchased a 75 gallon aquarium that will be in next week. Trying to get prepared. Going to be doing a fishless cycle and I'd like to know what would be the best way to do that. I've heard its best to add all your cichlids at once after tank is cycled to help with aggression issues. Of course that goes against the contrary of just adding a few fish at a time. How would I go about adding them all at once without having an ammonia spike? Also I'm going to do sand as substrate. What's the best way to help keep it clean cause I've heard it can form toxic pockets, would snails be a good way to go in that matter? Also where would be a good place to purchase rocks for my aquarium? If they don't carry any at my LFS would rocks from Lowes be a good alternative? Guess that's all my questions for now.... Thanks all in advance.
  2. BigBoom217Valued MemberMember

    I'll try answer most of your questions. First you have to be careful with a fishless cycle with cichlids only because like you said, a large amount of them have to be added at once and you risk overloading the bioload. Like if your dosing 1ppm ammonia and the fish you add produce 5ppm.... I'll tell you what most people do and probably get yelled at but it works. Add 1/2 or 1/3 of the stock with the addition of some bottled bacteria such as tetra sage start or api quick start any if them will work let that run for a week then introduce the remainder of the stock with another dose of bacteria and then your good. That's the way my lfs does it and I helped him stock a 600gallon tank with some 2500$ worth of fish alone all survived the process. Alternatively you could cycle with throw away fish like feeders but that generally is frowned upon OR you could do a fishless and add them all at once if you do that it won't hurt to add bottled bacteria anyway just to be safe.... fishless with a bacteria additive , adding stock all at once I'd say is ideal.

    As far as sand as long as you get cichlids that dig they will stir up the sand enough to prevent pockets the only snail I know that moves substrate is the Malaysian trumpet snail which are seen as a nuisance.

    I've had a hard time finding aquarium safe rocks because most of the slate that is sold at Lowe's and home depot are small and flat... the lava rock is always small too just Google aquarium safe rocks and I guess go treasure hunting.

    Edit: look up designing a cichlid tank you should aim to aquascape a tank that you like to look at but also works as a functioning environment for cichlids

    Sent from my E6782 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

  3. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Thanks so much for your reply. I've heard one can use minnows to cycle but that's frowned upon also. even though I use minnows for bait sometimes..... I'm already doing a 37 gallon with stability and fish in because the API quick start did not work at all. So I do have my personal judgments on API quictstart. As far as fishless cycle and using ammonia along with stability I just don't know exactly how much ammonia I would need to dose...I'd rather not risk the life of my cichlids and use minnows or such to cycle. Just trying to get it right this time cause its been strenuous with a fully stocked tank already as is with my 37 gallon and cycling, due to a lack of knowledge on my part and a product that didn't work. As far as the type cichlids I am getting I'd like Mbunas. The snail you mentioned is the one I had heard of and I know they can be a hassle because they reproduce themselves.. if I'm correct. I will google aquarium safe rocks and go from there. Just wasn't sure as I am new to this if Lowes rocks would be safe. Ok .... Guess I have some more research to do and again thank you for your reply. My LFS owner is amazingly knowledgeable as well although we do tend to have our own points of view on certain matters.

  4. BigBoom217Valued MemberMember

    I use tetra safe start. Cycled my 125 in eight days stocked with an Oscar a green terror and a couple pictus catfish and giant Danios no problems

    Cycled my 40 that way, 20, 7.5, see a trend here? Haha

    I'll always do fish in with tss that way the bacteria grows to the bioload yada yada

    Come to mention I remember having trouble with quick start too on my first 10g BUT tetra safe start is proven and they use it in the Georgia aquarium

    Sent from my E6782 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app

  5. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Yee haw!!! I most definitely see the trend!! Thanks so much. My husband himself who's isn't into keeping fish like I am... He rather eat them... Would most agree with you. Thanks for the info!!! :)
  6. ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    You can avoid having dead spots in sand if you use a thin layer (say around 3/4"-1").
    The method of cleaning it is also a little different. As there is no room for waste or uneaten food to get being sand grains, it stays on top. So when cleaning it, it is sufficient to whirl your python inlet a couple of inches about the sand, and than just siphon up whatever gunk has come up. If you try to clean it like you would gravel, you will end up with sand in the sink you drain to, and will need to dismantle the piece at the tap in order to get sand out (not a big deal, the latter one, anyway).
    I collect all my rocks and wood (you won't be wanting wood-just thought I'd through that in):). Even though your Mbuna like hard water, you should be careful to avoid adding anything that will drive it too high, such as gypsum or whatever. The easiest and most accurate way is to place rocks that you think safe (granite, slate, basalt, etc) into a plastic bin, cover them with water, take the hardness level immediately, and then check it several days later to see if there has been a shift (note: cover the container to limit evaporation, as water lost to evaporation will concentrate your water, causing the hardness to rise).
    I am assuming that your LFS looks clean to you; as you are making a large purchase, they may be willing to give you a sufficient amount of old media to put in your filters and therefore obtain an 'instant cycle'. It would not hurt to back it up with Stability, but I have never needed to do so. All the best, rick
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
  7. LilChickenValued MemberMember

    Looks like everyone just about covered that. All I can add that sticks out to me is that you should never use feeder fish to cycle. Not only is it considered by many to be cruel to cycle with fish ( it causes stress and in some cases leading to death) but many feeder fish suffer from I ch and other diseases. Feeder fish, In my opinion and experience, should be left as feeders.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  8. BigBoom217Valued MemberMember

    I know a lot people will advocate to avoid buying feeders at all for any reason. Since we have all these high quality pellets and frozen foods now

    Sent from my E6782 using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  9. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Let me just make sure I'm understanding this all correctly. If I decide to use TSS than there has to be some fish in tank in order to produce ammonia for the bacteria to feed off of correct? If I want to do fishless I could dose with ammonia drops correct? If I decide to go ammonia drops I'm not sure how much to dose but I have heard to just start with about five drops and test after an hour and keep adding until you get ammonia to 1.0ppm and then to continue to dose daily with the same amount of drops it took to get to 1.0ppm and then start cutting back once I start to see nitrites. Is that right? I do already have an established tank here at home so what media can I use from that if I decide to go that route and how do I go about it? Just trying to get things right since I'm new at aquariums and I've never used an established tank media to cycle with. My questions may sound very amateur but I am amateur, lol. just trying to get options and knowledge of the different methods to cycle in order to decide on what my best course of action will be and to make sure I do it right. I've used stability for my 37 gallon and I still have a whole bottle of that left so I may do ammonia drops with stability.
  10. CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Yes, if you use Safe start or any bottled bacteria you need an ammonia source, either fish or 'pure' ammonia.
    With Safe start if using ammonia Tetra recommend dosing to no more than 4ppm with 2ppm being ideal
  11. ErbarryValued MemberMember

    I went with the fish less cycle, adding ammonia up to 4ppm, and had no spike when I added 12 fish at once. I recently changed to sand and I like it a lot more. My sand is light so you can see the waste easily so I take my battery vac and hold it about half an inch away and cleans up nicely, once done vacuuming I turn it off and stir the sand with the tube. I also bought cichlids stones, which are hollow, on Amazon and I like how it turned out so I'm going to buy more to fill it in.
  12. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    That is a beautiful aquarium. I love the light colored sand. I think the best route for me to go would be a fishless cycle using ammonia since when I do go to add fish I will be adding about 15 or so at once. If I use ammonia I probably wont need the stability then?
  13. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    I do like the stones too. thanks for the heads up on that as well.
  14. ErbarryValued MemberMember

    It took me maybe over 6 weeks to cycle with just ammonia on my 55g. I used ammonia and stability on my 10g I bought after my 55g and it was cycled and fish were in it before my 55g was done. Those stones have an opening in them where fish can hide but I turned it to the back so they aren't visible and fake looking. I bought the 10 big stone box but there is a 15 with small-large stones, I was just afraid of the cichlids outgrowing them.
  15. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    Oh ok. yes I did already view them on amazon. Well then since I already do have the stability I might as well use it. So you basically just kept on dosing daily to 4.0ppm until everything was coming back to 0?
  16. ErbarryValued MemberMember

    Not daily only when it would drop to around 1ppm and once nitrites showed I started dosing up to 2ppm but I think this might of caused my extremely high and long nitrite phase.
  17. crystalm04Valued MemberMember

    I see.... but on the bright side you were able to add all 12 fish without a spike so it was worth the wait. :)

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