Gudgeon Man/Fry Lord
- Jun 25, 2021
- Reaction score
- NC, U.S.A
Thats a heck of a dream tank!! Makes me want to do the same one! Wish you the best of luck.A few people will probably know that my favourite fish are Nicaraguan Cichlids, in particular the females. This is because of a female I had for around 2 years who I called Elsie. You might remember her from my old avatar, I have no idea why since I lost her I havent gone back and tried to keep them again, so that is the 'dream'.
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Bit of a disclaimer upfront this project is a slow burn, I will likely be setting the actual tank up in late December but that is also the big news that Mrs Wills has agreed to my impossible dream of having a 4 foot tank specifically for a female Nicaraguan Cichlid and some friends Since we reached this treaty the concept of the tank has basically lived rent free in my head 60-70% of the time and I wanted a place to start putting these ideas down and I thought it would be good to share with people here and get some opinions on what I want to do.
I'm approaching this tank in a very different way to how I have any other in the past. Usually I want to look at rare, unique, unusual fish and sometimes these fish are not known to be the most colourful, they might be irridescant or spangled or cool behaviour but not in your face screaming colour. And following from the Nicaraguan Cichlid I want everything in this tank to be crazy colourful.
I often struggle with setting up tanks because of my tapwater, its hard and has around 25ppm of nitrate in it as well as quite high levels of things that cause algae. The hardness often leaves me a bit dispondant because it limits my fish choice without using RO water (which I do have access to now) but its actually pretty good for the centre piece of this tank Nicaraguan Cichlids.
So in my hard water there are 4 obvious groups of fish to look at for a tank like this, Central American Cichlids, Livebearers, Rainbow Fish and Synodontis Catfish. There are a couple of others too but these four groups are basically my plan.
(non of these pics are mine btw just found to illustrate my ideas)
The centrepiece fish will be (hopefully) 3 female Central American Cichlids and I want a Nicaraguan, Salvini and an Electric Blue Jack Dempsey
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I want females because all Central American cichlids can hybridise, Nics and Salvini are easy to sex, female Nics are super obvious, female Salvini get black spots on their gill plates (like this pic) JDs are harder but I'll do my best. I feel these three will work in a big 4 foot all are feisty but kind of in the same way. I think the Salvini has the worst reputation but I have seen them do well in a mixed tank, Nics are bolshy but I think would be able balance and the EBJD is possibly an outlier in that people say the EBs are quite a bit less aggressive than the regular JDs. Also aware of the health issues EBJDs are said to have so I'll be really careful on where I get one from to make sure I get the best chance.
Schooling fish will be Rainbow Fish, I'm really undecided on which species but I think it will be one of these three. All have their advantages and disadvantages but I feel all of them would be viable. The choices are Bosmani (which would look great with the cichlids and are a real wow fish especially some of the strains available now but the school would be smaller) Dwarf Neon (which would allow a bigger school but I've only seen really sickly ones recently) Kamaka (really nice Rainbow but quite rare, they stay smaller too so would be a bigger school than the Bosmani but would I ever be able to buy them?).
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Up towards the surface I'm mainly looking at livebearers. I think Platies will be ok and I really like the bright colours (I said I'm not looking for super rare lol) and Swordtails would def work, of either species I'd look at the sunsets, red wags and kohakus. To go with them as well I'm thinking of some Golden Wonder Killis who also match my criteria, bright colours and also do well in my water.
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Then down at the bottom, while giving the cichlids as much space as possible I want some of the black and white Synodontis species like Polli and Multipunctatus. While not a bright colour the white scales are so white they are bright in their own right so I think would look good with the others in here. I'm also tempted by some of the other Synos like Angelicus or the Pyjama ones which have a great pattern too.
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I may also add in some Bristlenose Plecs to help keep ontop of algae, maybe some snails in there too I don't think any of the fish I'm thinking of would be a threat?
I'm hoping to go for a 4x2x2 120 gallon tank, it will be rimless but I want black silicone and I'll be using a jump guard with clear netting this time as the black I have on my current tank is a bit distracting from the tank. Its going to be custom made as I want the stand to match my 100 litre which will be in the same room and the manufacurer has gone now but the custom people seem to be able to use the same bronze stone laminate I have on the 100 litre.
I think the tank is going to have a 3D background with a rocky effect. The one I want is super expensive and I'm trying to decide if I want to go with the silicone one or if I should just buy aquascaping rock and do it myself? Keep it natural?
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Substrate will be sand, but if I go with the 3D background I'll get one of the rubber floor mats too so the sand might not be super thick but also as the cichlids dig the stone effect base would be revealed. Planting I'm undecided on I'd like some of the bigger crinkled Crypts and some Criniums, I'll try and get some moss going on rocks or the 3D background and I also want to do some emmerged plants like Peace Lillys to help with my nitrate issues (from the tap and the messy fish).
For filtration I might go with the Oase Biomaster for the external filter but if I got the 3D background I could hide heaters behind that and go for one of the FX filters? Because of the nitrate in my tap water my plan is to use some chemical filtration in my filters rather than as a prefilter. I'm also trying to learn about nitrate filters which a few people have mentioned to me which uses a trickle system and grows an anaerobic bacteria that converts nitrate to nitrogen which gasses off through the water (I think...)
Like I say this is a really slow burn and I'm a few months away from buying the tank but it feels great to get this down and I'm really looking forward to hear peoples opinions on the plan. I'll update this thread as I start to pull together a shopping list of kit I'm going to get and hopefully someone will find that process useful too.