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Discussion Starter #1
Got a renewed interest in aquriums again. Thought I would try making a cichlid tank.

Born date: 4/14/12

Had this tak decommisioned in 2004. Clean up time:


Adding lighting grid (from lowe's), sand, concrete blocks, ABS pipes and rocks (lace rock and unidentifed rock):




Amazon delivered my Fluval 306 on 4/18. Great build quality and good price. Happy with my purchase. Time to add plants (java fern and anubias bateri). In retrospect, should have added more rocks in corner to lift bateri, hard to see in jungle of fern:


Was skeptical about this LED light but it is fantastic looking to me.... I used to run MH lights over this tank in 2004 and the LED light gives me the same shimmering effect that I love.
 

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Oh, man, that'll look awesome when you've got it full of water and fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Too bad I don't get to see it everday since it's at my mom's house. She babysits my daughter often, so I thought I would revive this tank for my little girl. I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Going to add my otos today to keep algae in check. I'm currently researching on how to care for cichlids. I'm leaning towards electric yellow labs and demasonis. I think the contrast looks awesome. I just need to decide on the ratio. I was thinking maybe 6 labs and 12 demasonis. I would love to hear any suggestions from forum members.
 

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I had Ottos in with some fairly small bream that I caught and had in a tank for a while, and the bream ate them. I'm thinking they won't stand a chance with african cichlids around lol. I love the scape though, looks very cool looking. I've always been a fan of the rock wall look with sand, and the plants on top are a nice touch.
 

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I agree, with mbuna the poor little otos don't stand a chance. Mbuna do a good job of keeping algae in check all on their own.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Against everyone's advice, I added 8 otos and 50 RCS. The shrimp are in hiding, I only saw a few the other day. I was planning to just house the shrimp for a few days till I can get them in my nano tank. Big mistake on my part, I hav no idea how I'm gonna lure them out to catch'em. Gonna add 6 electric yellow labs on Sunday.

 

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Beautiful job with the plants and hardscape!

My only suggestion would be to wait a while before adding any more fish since the tank still has to go through the cycling process (unless you already put an established filter on it).
 

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This tank looks awesome already. What are you planning for mid-ground plants?

Also, if you don't want your shrimp to be an expensive snack, the labs (or any rift lake cichlid, for that matter) are probably not a good choice. If your gonna put them in that other tank, get as many as you can out before you put the labs in.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the generous comments. My light is at a fixed height, 3.5 inches off water level. I hope o don't run into alagae probs, but that's why I bought shrimps and otos. Here is a pic of my DIY:



@ kai808: thanks for the shrimp trap suggestion.. gonna google it now.

@ neoman: this is it. I won't add any other rock or plants. Gonna focus more on caring for the cichlids now. I'm happy with the way things turned out thus far.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
4/30/12:

Added 6 electric yellow labs... 2 males. These fish are fun to watch. Not bothering my otos much but they are hunting down my red cherry shrimp like there's no tomorrow.

 

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You'll be in for a treat when they get bigger, looks like some pretty solid yellows on those 2 in the front and the males will get some nice black outlining on their fins. Are you thinking about breeding?

Also, as far as stocking, IMO 12 Demasonis added to the 6 labs would be way too much, 18 cichlids between 4-6 inches each in a 44 gallon would just be asking for trouble. You'd probably be safe with 6 and 6, you've got a good filter for the tank and lots of rockwork for them to claim territories. I am really looking forward to seeing how this turns out though, I've seen quite a few demasoni/lab tanks and you're right, the contrast is awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Breeding these fish has not crossed my mind. I think this tank is to small for that. And I would probably sell or give away my fish when they get bigger. That is unless I get a bigger tank of course. And I'm gonna do 6-8 demasonis. 12 sounded good but probably not realistic.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Added 6 demasoni cichlids. Love the look of these fish. Shrimp and Otos have disappeared. Now I know better.



Noticed some hair algae on some java fern leaves.... overfeeding maybe? Added frogbit and duckweed. Let's see if it helps out a bit.



My cichlids seem to hide a lot in the rocks when I'm near. They dart into retreat. Is this normal? They seem scared of me.

Excuse the phone photos. Gonna start practicing with my DSLR soon... any tips are welcomed.
 

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i love the look of this tank and the rock an java fern are awsome. please keep updating. they cichlids will get used to you after a while. mine did that for a bit when i had them. get a chair and just sit in front of it for a while they will come out.
 
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