New 75 Gallon! Need Some Ideas

hudsona85

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Hello!
 
Just recently purchased a 75 Gallon Marineland tank with Marineland LED lights. I am right in the middle of being a novice to intermediate as far as experience goes with FW aquatics. I have debated back and forth as to what I would like to put in this. I got as far as wanting cichlids as my way of advancing into the hobby. The next step I am taking is either to go for "African" or "New World" cichlids. The more I look around, the more I seem to lean towards "New World" cichlids.
Here is the catch... Most "New World" cichlids prefer pH level less than 7.0 and currently my tap water is running at about 7.6 consistantly. So makes me think of reasons of why to go for "African" cichlids... I really do not like the idea of adding chemicals to keep the pH down. Futhermore based on reviews of African cichlids, I hear consistantly that after a while they get pretty boring. I would love to have interaction with them which is part of why I am leaning towards "New World".
So far I have gone as far deciding using a sand substrate for them as well. I normally use pretty small gravel but as I find more information of cichlids, they seem to like sand better to sift through. I believe this can work both ways if choosing either "African" or "New World" cichlids.
I plan on gettting AquaClear 110 hanging filter system but open to ideas. I am somewhat apprehensive of using canister filters just from hearing horror stories of faulty equipment, the thought of water all over the floor, and god forbid the fish dying!
I have a Gold Serervum cichlid for a few months and already growing to roughly 4 inches in my 55gal. I am entertaining the idea of putting him/her in the 75gal if it makes sense to have "New World" cichlids in there.
The other challenge would be what actual fish to put in along with it. I hope I didn't leave out any info that could be useful. Thank you in advance!
 
 

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AmtotheBurr

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Cool tank! I vote African cichlids but I never had new world. They were always fiesty and fun. You should get the filter asap so you can start cycling. It may take a month to get the tank ready for fish. The good news is you have mature media you can use from your established tank :)
 
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hudsona85

hudsona85

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Thank you! I appreciate the thought. Any Ideas to what would be ideal for African cichlids to be in the tank? I don't know much about them other than the higher pH and they can have more of the African cichlids in the tank vs SA?
 

Far_King

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You've got plenty of storage underneath.  I'd go for an external cannister filter personally.  I always sit mine in old plastic tubs or washing up bowls in case of leaks - no matter how minor it saves cleaning up any mess or damp.  If you have something like an Eheim Pro there is a shut off so you can easily disconnect for maintenance without far of accidental syphoning.
 
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hudsona85

hudsona85

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Far_King said:
You've got plenty of storage underneath.  I'd go for an external cannister filter personally.  I always sit mine in old plastic tubs or washing up bowls in case of leaks - no matter how minor it saves cleaning up any mess or damp.  If you have something like an Eheim Pro there is a shut off so you can easily disconnect for maintenance without far of accidental syphoning.
 
I looked at some Eheim Pro series through amazon and saw bad reviews after bad reviews. I'm sure there are some reviews that do not tell the whole story. Then again, after seeing at least 20 of the same issue makes me kind of nervous. Was there a specific Eheim Pro that you had in mind that I could possibly be missing?
 

Goggy

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I choose african cichlids and Synodontis cats
 
But of course, if it were me i would go for a single Mbu puffer
Or a planted pleco tank
 

AmtotheBurr

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I'll take a photo of the cichlid tank at my local individually owned fish store. It is stunning. What cichlids do you like? I'll try to get the names of what they have in their tank. They're striped and large. One of the mommas in the tank was holding her babies in her mouth when I went last time. Dawww cute!
Plecos are a little boring to me, but that's just my personal preference
 
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hudsona85

hudsona85

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Goggy said:
I choose african cichlids and Synodontis cats
 
But of course, if it were me i would go for a single Mbu puffer
Or a planted pleco tank
 
 
As much as I hate to say it to the African Cichlid fans, I plan on going for the SA cichlids. i seem to be more comfortable in this area. Seeing as I have a gold Serevum eventually going to out grow my 55gal tank, its making more and more sense to move him/her when the tank is up and ready to go.
 
 
AmtotheBurr said:
I'll take a photo of the cichlid tank at my local individually owned fish store. It is stunning. What cichlids do you like? I'll try to get the names of what they have in their tank. They're striped and large. One of the mommas in the tank was holding her babies in her mouth when I went last time. Dawww cute!
Plecos are a little boring to me, but that's just my personal preference
 
I am thinking with the Gold Serevum, I will need some that are same the same lines of temperment. From what I read, They are actually pretty peaceful. I had some in mind like the Firemouth and maybe Jack Dempsey. The thought of having those 3 in there makes me nervous. Then again, if they have similar temperments it may not be too bad.
 

Far_King

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hudsona85 said:
 
You've got plenty of storage underneath.  I'd go for an external cannister filter personally.  I always sit mine in old plastic tubs or washing up bowls in case of leaks - no matter how minor it saves cleaning up any mess or damp.  If you have something like an Eheim Pro there is a shut off so you can easily disconnect for maintenance without far of accidental syphoning.
 
I looked at some Eheim Pro series through amazon and saw bad reviews after bad reviews. I'm sure there are some reviews that do not tell the whole story. Then again, after seeing at least 20 of the same issue makes me kind of nervous. Was there a specific Eheim Pro that you had in mind that I could possibly be missing?
 
 
This is what I have on my 200 litre tank and it's superb.
 
I guess it depends which sites you look at for reviews, but it's all five stars here : http://www.charterhouse-aquatics.co.uk/eheim-professional-350-filter-2073-p-2693.html
 
I'm certainly happy with it's performance.  The only slight gripe I'd have is that the spray bar wasn't as configurable as I'd have liked and I felt there wasn't enough tubing so had to buy extra.
 

RobRocksFishTank

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Even though you have made a decision, I'm going to add a few things about Africans.
 
I don't know where you got the information about Africans being boring. They are far from it. The colors alone put SAs to shame. You also find all the typical cichlid behaviors and some not so typical. Absolutely nothing boring about that. African cichlids occupy all levels of the food chain, so there is no end to the variety. You might want to recheck your information on them so that you can make a more informed decision.
 
Since your water is more appropriate for Africans and you do not want to mess with the pH, the choice is obvious.
 
For every one of those horror stories about canisters, there are thousands of success stories that never get told. It's human nature to want to complain and the those nightmare stories are usually do to user error. Yeah, one has to take reasonable care to prevent catastrophes because you have a potential siphon that can drain a tank, but there are a couple of very easy things to do to prevent them.
 

AmtotheBurr

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I had a Dempsey and loved him. I saw some recently at the store that were shockingly metallic blue looking. So cool
 
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hudsona85

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Far_King,
I have been checking through Amazon.com and looking up info from there. I will check further into it as the new info you have given me has shown me some perspective on the situation. Thank you.
 
 
RobRocksFishTank said:
Even though you have made a decision, I'm going to add a few things about Africans.
 
I don't know where you got the information about Africans being boring. They are far from it. The colors alone put SAs to shame. You also find all the typical cichlid behaviors and some not so typical. Absolutely nothing boring about that. African cichlids occupy all levels of the food chain, so there is no end to the variety. You might want to recheck your information on them so that you can make a more informed decision.
 
Since your water is more appropriate for Africans and you do not want to mess with the pH, the choice is obvious.
 
For every one of those horror stories about canisters, there are thousands of success stories that never get told. It's human nature to want to complain and the those nightmare stories are usually do to user error. Yeah, one has to take reasonable care to prevent catastrophes because you have a potential siphon that can drain a tank, but there are a couple of very easy things to do to prevent them.
 
When I was looking at forums to join and at the same time figure out what kinds of cichlids to get into, that is what I found. I will also be honest and tell you straight up I really don't know much about African cichlids other than the pH difference. So forgive me if I have offended anyone in that regard.
 
Here is the interesting thing I have yet to figure out... In my tank setups as far as what water I use, the 29gal uses RO water from the local fish room with a pH of 6.4 and yet the pH stays around 7.4 with natural driftwood in the 29gal. The 55gal uses my tap water with stays at 7.6 and yet the water in the aquarium after a day and a couple days after that stays around 6.7 with no natural driftwood. Water changes are done weekly on all my setups around 15-20%. Both tanks have always stayed the same... I use the API liquid testers and not the strips as I have realized in the beginning stages of my journey with fish keeping and the free testing done at the local petsmart is not reliable at all.
I guess that was part of why I started to lean towards SA cichlids on top of what I found out and in fear of going for African cichlids with using my tap water and it falling below certain parameters that would be unhealthy for them.
 

Byron

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When you are considering water parameters, the GH is actually the more important over pH.  African cichlids must have mineral salts in the water (please note I said mineral salts, not "salt" as in common sodium) so this means a higher GH, and the pH will naturally be comparable.  From your pH of 7.6, I would guess the GH may be on the low side, but this number you should be able to ascertain from your municipal water authority's website, or directly.  GH refers to general hardness.  You should also know the KH (carbonate hardness, or Alkalinity) as this buffers the pH.
 
The rift lakes are just about the hardest freshwater when it comes to tropical fish.  A pH in the 8's or 9's is ideal, though again the GH is the real issue.  A pH of 7.6 is at the very low end of the preferred range.  But this should pose no issues for many of the neotropical cichlids, depending which species.
 
If you are thinking of the Central American species, like Firemouths and such, you likely have the ideal parameters.  This area has moderately hard water with a basic pH in the 7's.  If you move down to South America, the water generally will be softer and more acidic, depending, and here you would be more into the dwarf cichlids.
 
There are safe and natural methods to adjust water parameters, though this is not always a wise move.  Raising the hardness and corresponding pH is much easier than lowering it.  African rift lake fish for instance can be maintained in tanks with a calcareous substrate, such as sand made from crushed coral, aragonite, etc.  As the minerals very slowly dissolve over years, they raise the GH and pH.  Adjusting parameters down is best achieved with diluting the source water using RO or similar.  I won't go into details, but it is much easier to be able to use your tap water as it is, with fish selected accordingly.
 
Byron.
 
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hudsona85

hudsona85

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Byron said:
When you are considering water parameters, the GH is actually the more important over pH.  African cichlids must have mineral salts in the water (please note I said mineral salts, not "salt" as in common sodium) so this means a higher GH, and the pH will naturally be comparable.  From your pH of 7.6, I would guess the GH may be on the low side, but this number you should be able to ascertain from your municipal water authority's website, or directly.  GH refers to general hardness.  You should also know the KH (carbonate hardness, or Alkalinity) as this buffers the pH.
 
The rift lakes are just about the hardest freshwater when it comes to tropical fish.  A pH in the 8's or 9's is ideal, though again the GH is the real issue.  A pH of 7.6 is at the very low end of the preferred range.  But this should pose no issues for many of the neotropical cichlids, depending which species.
 
If you are thinking of the Central American species, like Firemouths and such, you likely have the ideal parameters.  This area has moderately hard water with a basic pH in the 7's.  If you move down to South America, the water generally will be softer and more acidic, depending, and here you would be more into the dwarf cichlids.
 
There are safe and natural methods to adjust water parameters, though this is not always a wise move.  Raising the hardness and corresponding pH is much easier than lowering it.  African rift lake fish for instance can be maintained in tanks with a calcareous substrate, such as sand made from crushed coral, aragonite, etc.  As the minerals very slowly dissolve over years, they raise the GH and pH.  Adjusting parameters down is best achieved with diluting the source water using RO or similar.  I won't go into details, but it is much easier to be able to use your tap water as it is, with fish selected accordingly.
 
Byron.
 
Sounds like I need to invest in liquid test for the KH and GH to get a better description of what my water looks like. This really makes me think more of the fish that are already in the tanks and if they really are compatible with other fish and the parameters... Not only that but if they really are healthy as they look. Oy... The voice in my head is screaming at me saying "You still have much to learn grasshopper!" I really am glad I joined this forum when I did!
 

Byron

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Sounds like I need to invest in liquid test for the KH and GH to get a better description of what my water looks like. This really makes me think more of the fish that are already in the tanks and if they really are compatible with other fish and the parameters... Not only that but if they really are healthy as they look. Oy... The voice in my head is screaming at me saying "You still have much to learn grasshopper!" I really am glad I joined this forum when I did!
 
 
Before spending money on a test, check your municipal water website.  Unless you are specifically targeting the GH/KH (such as with calcareous substrate/rocks like I mentioned previously) these numbers will change very little in the aquarium.  So the tap water GH/KH will be what you generally have to deal with.
 
And yes, fish living together must share the basically same parameters, water flow specifics, environmental needs...there is a lot to a community tank.
 
Byron.
 

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