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Low Maintenance 4Ft

motas

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Hey all I'm hoping someone can lend me some knowledge. Due to a sudden change in circumstances I have to move to an apartment instead of staying with my parents. Anyway I can't take the fish tank with me but would like to keep the tank and equipment. If worse comes to worse I can empty it and just keep this in the shed. However if possible I would like to keep it running with very little maintenance. It is a 4ft 200l tank with an external filter, dual t5 light and a heater. Right now it is fully stocked with smaller tropical fresh water fish however after finding out about cichlids I'd like to swap to them. A friend is going to take all mine to set his tank up. So I am looking for some help in setting this up. They can be fed daily and water can easily be topped up but I cannot do weekly water changes or monitor conditions. I will probably be removing everything and starting from scratch. So I'm looking for some suggestions:
What breeds of fish would suit this tank? I would like to keep my fairly large bristle nose (7cm or so) and I would prefer a variety of different types with different colouring etc rather than one species only.
What plants would be best to deal with the waste produced by these fish?
Any other tips to reduce dangerous chemical levels?
How long could I realistically leave it without a water change?
Thanks for any help.
 

Ninjouzata

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If you cannot do water changes then you don't need to be keeping any fish, sorry. :/
 

RRaquariums

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I agree with Nin completely on that especially if your thinking of cichlids as they need large weekly water changes I actually do a 25% water change on my 65 gal cichlid tank every 4 days.
 

fluttermoth

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What kind of cichlids were you thinking of?

There are, literally, hundreds of different cichlid species, ranging from small, soft water fairly peaceful dwafs, through to huge (two foot) aggressive hard water ones.

I'm afraid just saying 'cichlids' is of no use to anyone!

You really can't go longer than a fortnight between water changes, and that would be for a very lightly stocked, very heavily planted tank.
 
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Explain why you can't do a wc once a week?
  Low maintenance is one thing, no maintenance is another...
 
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The only way I could see you getting around this is an extremely heavily planted tank. If you went with easier plants, kept the stocking really light, you could probably get away with something alright. Keep in mind though, do you want to risk keeping fish in an environment that doesn't make them happy? I wouldn't want to consider this if I wasn't able to monitor conditions and be able to act if the need arose. 
 
On a side note, I had read an article once on a guy who had set up an almost completely self sustaining tank. He used sunlight, had a tight fitting lid, it was planted and he stocked with fish that were happy to live off algae. The sunlight was good for growing plants/producing food, the fish ate algae and produced nutrients for the plants, and the plants helped to absorb waste byproducts and convert C02 to oxygen. The only thing he had to occasionally do for the tank was top it up with the small amount of water that evaporated. I believe he did monitor water quality often and everything was great. His fish were happy and the tank was balanced very much like a regular eco-system. It can be done, but tricky.
 

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