What do I need for a 60 Gallon cichlid setup?

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cabrerarm

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I recently got a 60 Gallon from a friend of mine which I was going to use for freshwater tropicals but I'm thinking about doing cichlids instead. I currently cicklyng the tank and I have the following equipment.
75 lbs pool filter sand
Black slate caves
1 piece of mopai driftwood
1 200 watt heater
1 fluval 306
1 aquarium hood with t8 6500k lights

My tap water comes out at 8 on tge ph scale my current amonia is at .5 but I'm still mid cycle

Can anyone recommend any good tips and or equipment?

Edit: found a pic of the tank here is the link.
http://imgur.com/6iI3q1Z
(Hoses have been moved to the appropriate areas.)

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Nympxzie

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You might want to scrap the driftwood. It will release tannins into your water which will lower pH. Most cichlid tanks don't have driftwood because of this. Otherwise it looks like you are all set!

Are you looking to have cave dwellers? Have you looked into shell dwellers? Do you know what lake you want to base your stock around? Mbuna/Malawi seems to be popular. Tanganyika tanks are very rewarding but the fish are much more sensitive ime.
 

Nympxzie

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Jack dempsey and convicts are from central and south america. These fish prefer a lower pH of around 6.5-7.5 though they can live in pH's ranging from 5.5-8.0 but should not be subjected to extremes since it wears down the fish more quickly over time. A south American cichlid biotope is different from that of an African cichlid biotope in that you do not need the shale to provide hiding spots for the fish to hide in. You can actually keep the driftwood in the tank for SA cichlids because of their liking for a low pH and softer water the tannins will help achieve that for you. You can add a few fake or real plants as well for them. You water is more geared towards african's but that doesn't mean that you can't keep sa's.

As a quick comparison:
SA cichlids: prefer soft acidic water, plants, driftwood
African cichlids: prefer hard water with high pH, rocks or shells for hiding depending on type of fish
 

Dom90

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They both come from Central America I believe and are among some of the most aggressive cichlids. Anders247 can fill you in on whether you can keep these two types of cichlids together.


 

Anders247

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Central american cichlids, which these are, actually prefer harder water. And JDs and convicts are fine in higher pH. Male convicts are less aggressive than females....
As for them being together, II wouldn't do in this size tank.
It doesn't stress them out being in harder water. That's old info.
 
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cabrerarm

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One thing that confuses me is that liveaquaria says some cichlids need 50 gallons so does that mean that I can only keep 1 fish per tank?

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Dom90

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LiveAquaria is one of the most inaccurate websites out there. They always put a lower minimum tank size than which is appropriate because they want to sell you more fish! The thing with fish and pH and hard/soft water is that most tank-raised fish can adapt to whatever conditions your tank has, provided you acclimate them slowly once you get them.
 
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cabrerarm

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The thing is u want maybe 10-15 fish in this tank but I'm not sure if I can. If you need that much space per fish then I'm only going to be able to keep a very small amount. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Dom90

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In an African cichlid setup, you'll want to overcrowd to reduce the aggression issues that usually come with cichlids. So in your case since you only have a 55 and not a 75 or bigger, you'll need to stick to dwarf cichlids such as Demasonis or Electric yellows.
 

Nympxzie

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Central american cichlids, which these are, actually prefer harder water. And JDs and convicts are fine in higher pH. Male convicts are less aggressive than females....
As for them being together, II wouldn't do in this size tank.
It doesn't stress them out being in harder water. That's old info.
If kept in 8.0 pH would their life span not be compromised? I am aware that fish can be acclimated to many different conditions so long as they are not wild-caught, but just like keeping guppies in soft water or Tanganyika's in 7 pH their life span will be shortened and overall health lessened.
 
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cabrerarm

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I've been looking at the dwarf cichlids they look great. I'm going to try to build a stocking list. See what I like and what will not eat one another.

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Anders247

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If kept in 8.0 pH would their life span not be compromised? I am aware that fish can be acclimated to many different conditions so long as they are not wild-caught, but just like keeping guppies in soft water or Tanganyika's in 7 pH their life span will be shortened and overall health lessened.
Nope. With the two examples you gave, both of those fish are hard water fish. Soft water is much harder for fish to get acclimated to than harder water. And with the aquarium bred JDs, they are fine in a higher pH. Even aquarium bred discus can now be kept in a pH of 8.
 

Dom90

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I believe the reason for this is, over time when fish are being bred in a tank in so-called fish farms overseas such as Thailand, the pH of their breeding tanks is the same across the board so the fish are forced to adapt to these conditions. Call it Darwinism or survival of the fittest. It'll be impossible for them to set a different pH for all the different kinds of fish they are breeding in these environments.
 
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cabrerarm

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After looking around online and researching a bit I think I'm gonna hold off on the cichlids until I have at least a 125 gallon tank. I'd feel bad putting them in my little 60 Gallon. Please forgive me for wasting your time.

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LeoDiaz

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After looking around online and researching a bit I think I'm gonna hold off on the cichlids until I have at least a 125 gallon tank. I'd feel bad putting them in my little 60 Gallon. Please forgive me for wasting your time.

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Mbunas or peacocks can work in a 60gallons tank many people have done it and they enjoy a high ph like the one you have.
 
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