Project Planning

Edik

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Hello,

I believe in planning to help to reduce the risk of f'ups - and you can never start too early. This project will not really be realised before I guess the end of this year, maybe even the beginning of next... It will end up being a Lake Malawi themed aquarium.

The technicals:
- Aquarium will be 2.5m x 0.8m x 0.8m.
- Filtration external but not yet sure what (2x Eheim or "just a second aquarium below as filter", really not yet sure - just big enough to ensure the content is filtered at least 2.5x per hour). I will have the filter set to a UPS to ensure that power outages of up to 1 hour can be covered.
- Heating will consist of 2 elements, one which starts with the lights going on in the morning and the second starting mid day until late afternoon. I want to have changing water temperature just like would be normal in nature.
- Lighting - LEDs but not spent too much thought on this topic.

The first open question is regarding the technicals - I am not sure if I should go with UV filtration or not. I have read a lot of good things about the use, especially with African cichlids. What do you think?

The aquarium will have sand as substrate - I guess 15cm or so. I was planning to go with dark sand and to have it relative finely granulated. the decoration will be stones, placed on the aquarium floor so they can't be brought tumbling down by digging exercises. No idea how much stone but a lot. I guess the rock pile will end up being 1.5m x 0.5 x 0.5. I want to make sure there are enough hiding places but also enough free water area for swimming. I also fancy to litter the floor with some snail shells.

Not sure about plants - the ones which would survive the water will I guess be seen as supplements to the menu...? Most pictures I have seen from the rift valley lakes seem not to really include vegetation. What do you recommend?

- - -

The finned actors:
Please don't give me hell, the aquarium does not have to be a purist Lake Malawi set up. If you can guide me to Malawi answers to my ideas, that is great. Otherwise I will be mixing a little...

I'm aiming striking yellow, red and blue - kind of the colouring and quantity I know from diving. I could imagine adding some stripes and dots. Very important for me is to make sure they do not cross breed - and that they are captive bred, I do not support wild caught. I also want to include carnivores to help with birth control if the mbunas would go into rabbit mode. All information I have is either from the internet or books, which I am 100% sure are not up to date so please be kind.

For sure and no way past them: Electric Yellow Lab Mbuna. That is the only fish which is a must. I want something like 40 of them. They are to be the main attraction.

The Cobalt Blue Mbuna or the Electric Blue Hap would fit the general picture. Here I am worried about cross breeding in and the supposed killer instinct of the hap towards any other males of their species. If mbunas I would aim for 20, no idea about the haps.

For the red I was thinking Strawberry Peacock but I seem to find a lot of people online who would not mix with mbuna? Otherwise the Red Zebra Cichlid but supposedly they turn yellow in captivity - and also the possible risk of cross breeding with the yellow or blue mbuna. Mbunas would again be around 20 and again no idea now many peacocks.

Other possible entries would be the Calvus (love their body form and colouring) and maybe Lamprologus ocellatus (do they actually have an english name?) - how can you not love them?

Would also consider Dwarf Peacock Synodontis (Dwarf Petricola Catfish?) if fitting but they like strong currents, not sure about the mbunas, etc. enjoying that. If possible, I would go for 5 or so.

As to the carnivore I want, I am absolutely lost. I only know the Malawi Eye-Biter but they get quite big and super grumpy - and want plants to be happy. Can't find any other carnivorous Malawi fish, which would not be way too big or aggressive. Would the Peacock, Hap, Synodontis or Calvus be able to curb any excessive breeding?

Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. I am taking my time with this as I want it to be prefect for the viewer but also for the inhabitants. The happiness of the finned actors is more important than anything so please be honest. As stated, everything is up for debating apart of the yellow labs.

Cheers!
 

NannaLou

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I think the first question is whether your water matches the needs of the fish you are thinking about..?
 
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Edik

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Sorry, took that for granted...

Our water is brick hard. Will need to tweak and monitor the PH value (varies between 7.5 and 8) but the dGH is perfect... It will actually be the first time I don't need to worry too much about the water parameters.
 

NannaLou

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I’m newish, and struggle with all the Ph stuff, but I know that those who do know will ask for that information.

I buy RO water for my Betta as I didn’t know anything about water hardness when I decided to get him (I had researched loads of other information though…)

I love the planning stage, good luck and enjoy
 
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Edik

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I’m newish, and struggle with all the Ph stuff, but I know that those who do know will ask for that information.

I buy RO water for my Betta as I didn’t know anything about water hardness when I decided to get him (I had researched loads of other information though…)

I love the planning stage, good luck and enjoy
The water parameters are one of the main reasons I’m opting for a Rift Valley setup.
 

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