40G Heavily Planted Cichlid Breeder (56K) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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40G Heavily Planted Cichlid Breeder (56K)

Okay so I've been keeping a journal on my 40 gallon breeder tank that I setup back in October, 2010. I've never kept cichlids before and really wanted to try them, but at the same time I really love heavily planted tanks so the goal of this setup is to combine the two. After a lot of research, I came up with a few Central and South American cichlid species to choose from.

Here are the latest tank specs:
- 40 gallon breeder, open top
- 78 Watt T5 HO lighting system (1x6000K 39W + 1x650nm 39W)
- Pressurized CO2 system with PH controller set to roughly 7.1-7.2
- Eheim 2213, with one of those cheap surface skimmers replacing the intake
- Koralia Nano 240 circulation pump
- 150W heater, usually set between 76-80F

I've been keeping a photo journal roughly every week so I'll just pick the one or two best weekly photos and post them here.

October 16, 2010
Getting the tank and stand ready:


October 23, 2010
Setting up initial rocks/coconut shells, partially filled with water and attaching the filter:

Putting in the initial plants and topping off the water. Adding stress coat and 10 feeder guppies to help start the cycle:


October 25, 2010
Everything running for a couple of days:


October 26, 2010
Adding an anubias from my old 10 gallon high tech setup that I took down:


October 31, 2010


November 2, 2010
One guppy claimed a cave, she thinks she's a cave dweller now, that's supposed to be for the cichlids:


November 7, 2010
The algae starts:


November 14, 2010
The algae REALLY starts:


November 21, 2010
Algae getting really bad:


November 22, 2010
The algae vacuumed up surprisingly easy:


November 23, 2010
For the most part the cycle seems complete and plants are beating out the algae:


November 28, 2010
After all my research I chose kribensis cichlids because they are supposed to be extremely common, good beginner's cichlids, easy to breed, and good with plants:


December 5, 2010
So the search for the common kribensis begins:


December 11, 2010
Found out 2 of my favorite LFS's are out of business:


December 19, 2010
Still can't find a place that sells kribensis:


December 26, 2010
STILL looking for kribensis, ordered some from a LFS:


January 2, 2011
Kribensis never arrived so I order them again. In the meantime, my CO2 regulator decided to blow a diaphragm:


January 9, 2011
Ordered kribensis cichlids one last time. Plants are still doing good without the CO2, algae isn't really much of a problem either:


January 16, 2011
Gave up on kribensis and went with my second choice: German Blue Rams. I love these lil guys, the reason I was hesitant was the German Rams are supposed to be more sensitive and harder to breed and this was my first cichlid, but I figured I'd give them a shot because apparently kribensis cichlids are extinct:

Ended up going with German Blue Rams. I bought 6 juveniles, the fish man said he picked out 2 males and 4 females. After carefully acclimating them, 1 male died within a few hours:


January 17, 2011
German Blue Ram closeup. This is a pretty cool algae growing on the bottom, not sure what it is but it's really fluffy and doesn't really cling to the rocks very strongly so it vacuums up real easy, plus the rams absolutely love eating it:


January 21, 2011
German Blue Rams:


January 22, 2011



January 29, 2011



Phew, I finally caught up to today's date. I have a bunch of videos of the German Blue Rams I want to post at a later date.

Let me know what you all think of my tank so far. It's really cool looking back at the first weeks of the tank setup, I don't even remember when the tank was so empty.


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 01:56 AM
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looks good. i cant believe none of you LFS didnt have any.. if anything i see a plethora of kribs around here, odd.

i like your layout alot! your rams are looking super nice too.

Amy


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 02:01 AM
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Great job! Your tank is missing something tho. It another tank on that bottom rack! Thats what those stands are made for, might as well use it I really like your tank tho. Nice incorporation of plants and chichlids.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-02-2011, 06:20 AM
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Very nice!


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyGrl View Post
looks good. i cant believe none of you LFS didnt have any.. if anything i see a plethora of kribs around here, odd.

i like your layout alot! your rams are looking super nice too.

Amy
Thanks. Yeah I think every LFS around here assumes kribs are so common that they don't bother carrying them. Well I'm glad I ended up with the rams instead, they are really coloring up nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chad320 View Post
Great job! Your tank is missing something tho. It another tank on that bottom rack! Thats what those stands are made for, might as well use it I really like your tank tho. Nice incorporation of plants and chichlids.
Lol funny you should mention that bottom rack. I want to put another tank on the bottom but I'm scared. Here's what happened last time I did that: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...n-planted.html I'm not sure what happened, maybe the floor settled or something, but it caused the front of the tank to split. Luckily I was in the room. So I'm scared to put another tank below and that was only with two 30 gallon tanks stacked.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 12:53 AM
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Likin the setup man plants look great!, But now you have me torn between apistos and GBR's. Yours look so cool!
Your pal,
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-03-2011, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Okay so I finally got some YouTube videos uploaded of my German Blue Rams. I'm going to try posting them here, I think they click out to the full video...

January 16, 2011
Just bought 6 German Blue Rams:


January 17, 2011
Day 2, a few of them gobbling up algae:


January 29, 2011
Almost 2 weeks later, a couple of them started showing real aggression towards the other fish:


Okay so the reason I started posting my journal last night was because last night, February 2, I started seeing a real lot of aggression from a couple of the Blue Rams. Like one would just run around and beat up other ones who were just minding their own business in the corner:


Then I noticed that it was only 2 of them that were being mean, and they were being mean to all the other fish except each other. I've only had them 2 weeks and the male still hasn't developed all the features of a male ram, like it's dorsal fin is still rounded and it has a pinkish belly and has iridescent blue over it's black spot. Then I noticed them guarding the heater and started videoing them. Then I left them alone for 30 minutes and found what I think are eggs! There are a lot of white bubbles on the heater, but the dense quarter-sized white mass under the female in the 2nd video looks like eggs. It's easier to show you the video before they laid the eggs so you can see what the heater bubbles look like:
BEFORE eggs:

30 minutes AFTER:


I have more videos on YouTube, but I only posted a few here. So it looks like the rams paired off already and laid some eggs. I doubt they are fertile because, like I said, the male hasn't even developed his pointed fins yet so I'm thinking they are still too young. I read that they usually aren't successful their first few times, but this is cool if they really laid eggs and paired off already. Maybe it's beginner's luck.

Odds are if there are any fertile eggs they will cook on the heater, and if any hatch the million guppies will eat them. I started off with 10 feeder guppies and now have way too many and I can't catch them. I thought cichlids would eat feeder guppies, but I guess not rams. I managed to net a couple dozen guppies last night and put them in a different tank but there are still way more left.

Well I'll keep you posted if I confirm those are eggs. I'm excited but skeptical at the same time. I still can't even tell the male yet, they all look like females. It was weird yesterday, though, I fed them more than usual since I was home in a blizzard and the one definite female got super vibrant yellow literally minutes after feeding and then I started noticing this behavior.

Anyone know if the heater will cook the eggs? Heater is set to 80 and the male bit me when I tried to change it. I setup all these cool coconut caves in each corner with a smooth rock in front. Even though rams aren't cave spawners I figured hey if I was a ram I'd sleep in the cool cave and lay my eggs on the smooth rock in front, but then they ended up choosing the heater and hogging up the whole tank. I should have put a couple flower pots in there since that's the texture they seem to like. I was going to buy 1 more male to pair off with the other females but now I think there won't be enough room for another pair even in a 40 gallon breeder.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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Well I don't think the eggs from my young rams hatched. I noticed they ate about half of them the first day. I figured they were eating the bad eggs. They slowly kept eating them all until only a few eggs were left. If any of those few hatched I didn't see the fry. Anyway, the young pair is still guarding the spot, I'm not sure if they think the heater bubbles are eggs.

Here's a picture from the other day:

February 12, 2011:

I had a few loose strands of riccia that each have now grown to nice sized clumps so I tied one clump to a rock on the right side. Then I swapped out the coconut hut on the left side with a 4" terracotta flower pot to try and get the german ram pair to pick a new place to lay their eggs besides the heater.

Last weekend, right before the rams laid their eggs on my heater, my Marineland Stealth Pro 150W heater stopped working. I bought 2 so I just swapped them and emailed Marineland for a replacement. Thanks to this other thread https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/eq...heater-14.html , I found out that Marineland is recalling all of their Stealth Pro heaters. Sounds like my defective one was the last straw. Man after looking at that thread I'm kind of worried about leaving my spare Stealth Pro heater in the tank overnight, but at the same time I don't want to freeze my fish ... The spare heater's already having the same problem with being off by 4 degrees. I think I'll have to run to Petco in the morning and get a different brand heater and then turn off the Stealth Pro ASAP. It doesn't hurt to have a spare heater, unfortunately my spare happened to be the same defect as the original.


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