African Cichlids vs Planted/Tetra Tanks During Power Loss

cwerth

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I recently bought my first house, so my wife and I are excited to get our first aquarium together (I kept aquariums for 10 years from middle school through college). We are looking to get a 125 gallon aquarium and are trying to decide between doing a 'typical' Mbuna tank (just sand/Texas holey rock) or a fairly heavily planted one with tetras, coreys, etc. Living in Southern Louisiana means we get some powerful storms coming through. If we lost power for an extended time and stayed home, we would just use a generator to keep the aquarium running. My concern is if we decide to evacuate and power is lost - would one of these tanks do better than the other?
 

Fish4dawin

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I recently bought my first house, so my wife and I are excited to get our first aquarium together (I kept aquariums for 10 years from middle school through college). We are looking to get a 125 gallon aquarium and are trying to decide between doing a 'typical' Mbuna tank (just sand/Texas holey rock) or a fairly heavily planted one with tetras, coreys, etc. Living in Southern Louisiana means we get some powerful storms coming through. If we lost power for an extended time and stayed home, we would just use a generator to keep the aquarium running. My concern is if we decide to evacuate and power is lost - would one of these tanks do better than the other?
A few things that I want to ask are:

What is your hardness (ppm)? Reason being, you have chosen two types of aquariums that have opposite water parameters needed. Mbuna need hard water (typically 200ppm +) and corys and tetras like water of around 150ppm and less.

Considering you have not bought the tank yet do you have any idea of what one you are planning on getting? If so what are the dimensions?

I don't have much clue about the power situation sadly. Although I doubt one tank would do better than the other. Other members here can also help out who are more experienced than me.
 

xxBarneyxx

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A heavily planted tank with a lot of smaller community type fish will do a lot better without power then one with no plants and a heavy fish load (which a cichlid tank will be).

The reason being that even if the filters fail on a planted tank the plants will be able to absorb the majority (if not all) of the fish waste.

Some people run heavily planted tanks with no filters and have great water quality. It must be noted though that they need to be well established with fast growing plants and no excessive fish loads.

A recent post on here was from someone that had to abandon their tank for a few months (think it was 4) and while it still had power it wasn't maintained at all. It was heavily planted though and after 4 months of being ignored the photos showed a pretty damn healthy tank.

The only issue you might have with a planted tank is lack of light. This could be partly solved with sunlight and mirrors in windows in an emergency.

Another issue with both tanks is temperature. Both tanks would eventually move towards room temperature with no heaters going. You can insulate the tanks to reduce this but it wouldn't work forever. Might be worth considering fish species that can tolerate cooler water temps. This might depend on your local temperatures though.
 
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cwerth

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Fish4Darwin:
I tested the tap water last week actually and the GH was about 15 ppm but the KG was 180 ppm with a PH of 8.2, so we were leaning towards mbunas since I'm much more comfortable adding stuff to the water to raise hardness as opposed to ph buffers which I have had terrible experiences with in the past and will forever avoid. The size of tank we are considering is 72"x18"x22.

xxBarneyxx:
4 months and still relatively healthy is incredible. I'm not as concerned with temperature if I lose power during the summer here since we regually hit 95F (35C) for highs and 70F (21C) for lows and the house would be warm without AC. But all bets are off if we have another ice storm that takes out power.
 

realzalio

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pH buffers don't work well to keep stable parameters, if you choose to do a soft water planted tank you will need a good RO water system
 

xxBarneyxx

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pH buffers don't work well to keep stable parameters, if you choose to do a soft water planted tank you will need a good RO water system
In the UK at least you can normally buy bottled RO water fairly cheaply as well which can sometimes be easier then buy and installing an RO system.

Mixing high hardness/PH tap water with RO is definitely the best way to do it.
 

Fish4dawin

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Fish4Darwin:
I tested the tap water last week actually and the GH was about 15 ppm but the KG was 180 ppm with a PH of 8.2.
This is still a little bit too low for mbunas. As Barney said above, heavily planted set ups generally are better if something bad happens. I would suggest going down the tetra and Cory route. You can have a large school of tetras and corys and you could probably add in some more centre piece fish such as angelfish or some other type of bright coloured fish.
 

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