Low-tech 150 gallon mbuna tank
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:56 PM   #1
narhay
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Low-tech 150 gallon mbuna tank


Hi,

I posted this on APC, but I'll do it here as well...

I have a 150 gallon aquarium. It has dimensions of 72" long x 18" wide x 29" tall. I will be keeping mbuna in it (sorry, no discus!). Anyways, I really like anubias and java fern is pretty nice as well. I want to have a relatively heavily planted rockscape, with nothing in the sand substrate because of impending uprooting by the mbuna.

I want to know what I should do about the lighting. I have absolutely nothing right now. I looked at 2 of the hagen 36" T5HOs, but for near $400CDN after purchasing the bulbs, no thanks.

I want to be able to grow my low light plants relatively well. Are 2 coralife 96 watt fixtures over the 72" of the aquarium overkill? What about 3 x AHS 55Watt kits, but I'm not a particularly big fan/professional of DIY and I'd like to try and avoid it. Anything else? I'm not just limited to power compacts, but do realize I'm in Canada and don't have as much selection due to shipping limitations. I don't want to fertilize or dose CO2, or anything. Pretty much just want to have lights, plants and fish feces.

I would like to do the environment a favour and not have 2931920 watts of light over my aquarium, but I also want to grow my plants well. I don't want algae issues. And I don't want to overlap striplights. And finally, how would you go about planting the plants in the rocks? Crevasses are hard to find...do they do ok tied to individual rocks? Will they root themselves after awhile? What other plants could do well rooted in the rocks? Thanks.

Narhay.

PS: The 36" coralife 2x21W NO T-5 light was suggested to me, but they seem to be very difficult to find around here.

Also, supergluing the anubias to rock was mentioned. Will this damage the rhizome if I ever need to move it? Will tying it to a rock and then letting the roots attach themselves have the same effect?
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:01 AM   #2
hooha
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What type of Mbuna are you planning to get? Keep in mind that although there are some people who have been able to get a planted mbuna tank (even a high light, high tech tank), you'll have to be willing to accept the fact that there is still a chance all your plants will be chewed on by the fish. Even my anubias gets chewed up, I suspect it's my M. aureatus doing it.

That being said, if you're only going to do only Anubias and Java fern, then they will survive and propogate (albeit very slowly) with most any light source you plan on using. In fact, if you dont' plan on doing any fertilizing, I'd suggest you go with as low light as you prefer. The Coralife NO T5's would be a decent choice - you can actually get them shipped from Big Al's if you can't find them locally.
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Old 03-08-2007, 11:38 AM   #3
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hi narhay,

I keep an assorted 72 gal African that is well planted and have had minimal problems. I have many species of Anubia, java fern, onion, corkscrew val, jungle val, quill, and moss.

the key really is to keep the africans well fed and on a strict regiment. this will keep them from bothering with the plants other than to pick off algae. as far as holding down anubia and java fern, i have used fishing line which seems to be the only thing rigid enough. i tried bailing twine, and the africans thought this was a snack and ate the twine right off...lol.

Any particular species you looking at?

as far as lighting goes, i did a DIY using cfl and pvc pipe. i also don't use CO2 and have found that by just keeping it under 2wpg, you can still maintain adequate plant growth and avoid most algae. But i still keep a pleco to clean up the rocks and glass.

the plants will root themselves overtime, so as long as you tie them down good and keep the rhizome above the substrate, the will bloom. i suggest that you tie them to rocks first, then build your rock structures to accomodate the plants. Trying to fit them in after the fact is pretty tough and nothing but a headache (take it from me, i am dealing with that right now)

you can not avoid the cichlids uprooting plants sometimes, but overtime, most root structures will be strong enough to hold on (assuming you have a good substrate). i usually check every morning to see if they have done any "damage" and aside for a few random instances, they haven't done anything catostrophic. moving the tank around frequently (even just moving a few rocks), can give the cichlids something to "explore" other than your plants.

good luck to you!!
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:30 PM   #4
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I just got two of the coralife t-5 strips for freshwater tanks...from Big als's.
I am completely satisfied for the price, I have 84 watts of very bright lighting for 100$. I used ADA bright and Nile sands for substrate and if anything my tank is almost too bright w/ both fixtures. They take up little space..my tank is 36'X18'X24' and I could fit 4 fixtures under the canopy if needed! Just my two cents.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:18 AM   #5
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My fish list is as follows...they will be moving homes to the larger aquarium. I plan to add a female or two more of each species. I had a case of columnaris that decimated my fish population despite good water quality...

2 M. baliodigma, 4 Ps. sp. "Deep Magunga", 3 L. caeruleus, 1 Ps. demasoni, 2 Ps. elongatus "Mpanga", 2 C. afra "Cobue", 2 Ancistrus sp.-144.

Stocking list after addition of some females

1m/3f M. baliodigma, 2m/2f Ps. sp. "Deep Magunga", 1m/3f L. caeruleus, 1 Ps. demasoni, 1m/3f Ps. elongatus "Mpanga", 1m/2f C. afra "Cobue", 2 Ancistrus sp.-144.

My dad has the 36" T5 strip and his java fern did relatively poorly under it. Could it be that I wouldn't have enough light with this? What kind of wattage should I look for for the plants, at least a little algae growth for the bn plecos and grazing mbuna but not have green sand after a few days?

There is already anubias in their current 75 gallon and there isn't any nipping of it, or the java fern. The bn plecos keep it relatively free of algae.

Thanks for your suggestions...

Narhay
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:17 AM   #6
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sweet stock of fish. not very common species to have, impressed. You didn't get these at a lfs.

Anubia and Java fern do not need that much light at all. he t5 should have been more than anough. i was growing them both in my 72 with a stock fixture for the longest time. you won't see major growth, but they will grow. How long are you leaving the light on? Duration of light is also needed. what kind of w/c schedule are you doing?

You have any pics of your tank?
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:28 PM   #7
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That is a very light stocking of mbuna for a tank that size. I think it will look empty with that few fish. IMO. Tying the plants with dark thread to rocks has worked good for me in my mbuna tank. 2 x 96 watt pc should be enough to grow the plants you are wanting to grow.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:00 AM   #8
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i count 22 cichlids? he could stock alot more. but if their temperment is good, then you dont have too.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmccreedy View Post
I keep an assorted 72 gal African that is well planted and have had minimal problems. I have many species of Anubia, java fern, onion, corkscrew val, jungle val, quill, and moss.
What mosses are you having success with? My zebras and aceis thought the java moss i put in was dinner.

We need a "Planted Mbuna Tank" work group.
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Old 03-10-2007, 01:59 AM   #10
narhay
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Will I have algae issues with 2 x 96 watts of PC lighting? I'm thinking of going for 2 of the coralife fixtures. Are these worth it?

My fish stocking load is light...but it's what I want for now. Once things settle I'll add more mbuna but I don't want to overstock.

Here are some pictures...I don't have any water in the aquarium yet, but I'm trying to get that changed.

Levelling...


UGJs...just need to find two pumps.


Where they are for the moment...excuse the poor rockwork. It was made hastily.



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Old 03-10-2007, 02:04 AM   #11
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paint the stand black?
i hope that is not your only filter?
i only talk using questions?
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macclellan View Post
What mosses are you having success with? My zebras and aceis thought the java moss i put in was dinner.

We need a "Planted Mbuna Tank" work group.
LOL!! we so do. Believe it or not, my acei's are trouble makers, and do behave like children from time to time. i came home today and they decided to rip all the leaves off one of my jungle vals (and i know it was them...they were hovering over it like a trophy...lil bastards).

java moss has been the only thing i have used. but they were tied down real well and I had alot of it, so even if they ate some, it was a plenty there of.
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Old 03-10-2007, 03:50 PM   #13
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No, that isn't my only filter. I have an AC500 and another AC110 on the mbuna tank already, but I will transfer them to the new aquarium once I fill it up and transfer the fish. The UGJs will supplement the 3 AC500s (AC110 equivalent)...I was just using the new AC110 to position the flow of the UGJs.

I like the black on wood look, so I'm not going to paint the stand black. I am going to paint the background of the aquarium black...

That picture of my 75 gallon is a few months old. I have much more anubias and a few java ferns in the rock, as well as having replaced the antique AC2000 with a new AC110.


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Old 03-12-2007, 04:48 AM   #14
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What about a 2-36" 2x39 watt t5ho glo fixture from hagen? I found a good source for cheaper bulbs which would make them affordable...

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