thinking about setting up an african tank

  • MetalHead88
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MetalHead88 created the topic: thinking about setting up an african tank

ive had a ton of different fish before... and ive never had africans. i really like the idea of overstocking the tank. with that being said im thinking about doing some rearranging that will leave me with either a 55 or 35 gallon empty tank.

ill start with what i do know thats different then americans.
you can really overstock the tank
they like a nice high ph
1 cave per fish (or more) i have plenty of rocks and decor to work with so thats not an issue.

both tanks have a ph of about 7.0 so id like to get that up a bit more before dropping fish into it. ill be getting some coral or shells i went looking for some today but had no luck...

id like to avoid anything that gets big or thats overly agressive. i plan on going the "assorted africans" route just to avoid paying so much for a bunch of fish. ill spend a few extra bucks for a few that i like but i cant do that for all of them. whats a good species to work with? and how many?

anything else i should know??
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bassetman replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

The 35 is a bit small so you should plan on the 55 gallons.You will want about 20 Mbuna or a few less Peacocks. Good filtration is a must.

A drawback of the "assorted africans" is that all your fry will be worthless except as feeders.....and you will in all likelihood have a bunch of fry when the fish mature. Hybrid fry will not sell well, and should not be sold only as feeders anyway. If you leave the fry in the tank most will "disappear" but a few will survive.....the strongest and most aggressive will survive. Slowly overcrowding the tank beyond healthy levels. If you chose a single variety and get decent fish you can sell most of the fry with a bit of effort.

Seachem makes some products to help with your water, both buffers to raise the PH and Cichlid Lake Salt to harden your water. There are DIY recipes for a buffer that works well but the Seachem Malawi Buffer and Cichlid salt are very easy. For a 55 you would start with about 1 teaspoon of Buffers for every 10 gallon and the same on the salts and adjust for your water from there.....best to make a 5 gallon bucket and test that then make the water for the tank. then you add 50% of that with your 50% water changes every week.And your Mbunas or Peacocks will look great and be healthy


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MetalHead88 replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

bassetman wrote: The 35 is a bit small so you should plan on the 55 gallons.You will want about 20 Mbuna or a few less Peacocks. Good filtration is a must.

A drawback of the "assorted africans" is that all your fry will be worthless except as feeders.....and you will in all likelihood have a bunch of fry when the fish mature. Hybrid fry will not sell well, and should not be sold only as feeders anyway. If you leave the fry in the tank most will "disappear" but a few will survive.....the strongest and most aggressive will survive. Slowly overcrowding the tank beyond healthy levels. If you chose a single variety and get decent fish you can sell most of the fry with a bit of effort.

Seachem makes some products to help with your water, both buffers to raise the PH and Cichlid Lake Salt to harden your water. There are DIY recipes for a buffer that works well but the Seachem Malawi Buffer and Cichlid salt are very easy. For a 55 you would start with about 1 teaspoon of Buffers for every 10 gallon and the same on the salts and adjust for your water from there.....best to make a 5 gallon bucket and test that then make the water for the tank. then you add 50% of that with your 50% water changes every week.And your Mbunas or Peacocks will look great and be healthy


thank you for the info! 20 mbuna! i love it! im so used to having just a few fish even in my bigger tanks. yeah i plan on using the 55 gallon.

i really dont mind if the fry are useless. i understand that breeding is just about inevitable. and im sure some 1 will take them (or eat them)

id rather not use a buffer. i think i can get it up without one.
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bassetman replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

Just remember that swings in PH will not make the fish happy....Texas Holey rock is quite good for the Mbuna and will help keep ph up. Good luck and post pics.


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MetalHead88 replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

yep ph swings are no good. ill post pics when i get the tank setup..... whenever that is.
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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

MetalHead88 wrote: yep ph swings are no good.


As long as the total dissolved solids in your tank remains constant, a ph swing of 2 (eg. 6 to 8) is generally not harmful to fish.

“A sudden pH shock may also be harmful, especially to young fish. Within the range of pH 6 to 9, a pH shift of less than 2 units can be tolerated by most fish. If a large difference in pH exists water can be mixed to gradually acclimate fish.”

- University of Florida
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bassetman replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

a PH swing of 2 (6 to 8 as example ) will most likely kill many of your Mbuna. It will certainly weaken them significantly.


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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

Mbuna senstive like discus and tetras?
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bassetman replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

yes as far as PH and temperature swings are concerned. :)


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MetalHead88 replied the topic: Re: thinking about setting up an african tank

i think just about any fish is sensitive to large swings in ph.
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