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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am fuming mad at myself. I started a African Cichlid tank, run successful for two years. Lots of babies, magnificent large colourful fish. Then I added a batch of new fish straight to the tank. Long story short, it wiped out the entire population of 45 Cichlids. I have 4 left.

So now I am sterilising the tank and equipment and starting from scratch. A dirted tank with a Hamburg matten filter (new) The pump is rated 10,000 lph, and I am configuring it to recircute at the back of the matten filter to contol the flow.

I have two bags of organic potting soil, bone meal and blood, and three bags of black scoria as a the cap (5-10mm).

The idea is to create a balanced eco system with minimal intervention on my part. I can't fill the aquarium right off the bat, 600 liter water changes is a lot of wasted water. So I will start at 10 cm water and work my way up. Starting with fast growing plants. Anachris, water sprite and guppy grass.

If the water get stable, black worms go in, followed by bladder snails. If they thrive cull cherry shrimp goes in. As plants and animals thrive, slowly increase the water level. No filtration running.

At about 30 cm depth add swords and crypts. Which will melt and grow back. When they thrive, increase water level (max 60 cm). When it gets filled to the top, add a few turquoise Moscow Guppies and let them breed.

As the bioload increase significantly, slowly start matten filter on low flow. Increas the flow with bioload. Add brisstle nose plecos.

That is the plan. Is the plan sound?
 

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Welcome to APC!

The plan sounds good! The only suggestion I have is skip the bone and blood meal, you don't need that much fertility. It is good that you have a plan to reduce the flow from that pump. You probably will not need that much circulation.

Please post some photos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Thanks. The pump is definitely to strong. I started the pump to check circulation. Instant mud pool.🤔 Stirred up fine silt. I will give it some time to settle, if not a smaller water change. When it clears up, I can start planting.
Welcome to APC!

The plan sounds good! The only suggestion I have is skip the bone and blood meal, you don't need that much fertility. It is good that you have a plan to reduce the flow from that pump. You probably will not need that much circulation.

Please post some photos.
For the surface area and flow if 7cm per minute I only need 1,500 liter per hour size pump. Yeah, rather use a smaller pump than try to reduce the flow if this one.
 

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For the surface area and flow if 7cm per minute I only need 1,500 liter per hour size pump. Yeah, rather use a smaller pump than try to reduce the flow if this one.
Yes, for filtration and circulation we usually want a flow rate of two to three times the total volume per hour.

I'll respectuflly disagree with mistergreen about the bristlenose plecos. I have them in several tanks. As long as they have some suitable caves, they don't dig significantly.
 

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I'll respectuflly disagree with mistergreen about the bristlenose plecos. I have them in several tanks. As long as they have some suitable caves, they don't dig significantly.
I had one that loved sand. It moved sand into a mound in a corner. I gave it rocks for caves and it moved sand out of the cave as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had one that loved sand. It moved sand into a mound in a corner. I gave it rocks for caves and it moved sand out of the cave as well.
Thank you for sharing. Poor Bristle nose will have a hard time moving the pebbles around. I know they love there pieces if drift wood. Knibble the wood as well. They fortunately don't grow large and potential might knibble on plants. But I plan to have lots of plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@SchalkR - what would be the smallest tank I could breed cichlids?
African Cichlids? Very territorial. With just a trio I would guess about 200 liter. And plenty of hiding spaces, especially for the babies. My best success was to remove the mom. If she release the babies I remove her and raise the babies seperately (80 liter cube) Got about 20 per batch. I let them grow fairly big before putting them back. Better survival rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, for filtration and circulation we usually want a flow rate of two to three times the total volume per hour.

I'll respectuflly disagree with mistergreen about the bristlenose plecos. I have them in several tanks. As long as they have some suitable caves, they don't dig significantly.
Yip. Gave up and drained the water. I will also add a seperator between substrate and filter sponge. Japanese mat work quite well. Good stiffness and large pores. Won't need maintenance for a year ir more.

All responses welcome. Fresh perspectives reveals things I have missed. This will be my first large planted tank. Had some success with 160 liter tank. Dreaded hair algae made things difficult. I am impressed with snails and shrimps cleanup crew.

Looking at adding red ramshorn and golden apple snails. Malaysian trumpet tend to turn everything over. I rather have black worms dig the substrate. They double up as live food for guppies. Controlling the population.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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My study nano tank. Definitely not a shortage of snails. Shrimp culling is w bit tricky. I know males are less colourful. They are breeding well, maybe I should not mess with them until they get to much?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Recipe Ingredient Organism Dish Cuisine

Closeup, not so clear on the previous photo. Are the transparent brown greenish ones the "undesirable" ones reverting back to the natural shrimp colour? Good cleaners, but babies will probably become guppy live food. Population control.
 

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View attachment 74437

My study nano tank. Definitely not a shortage of snails. Shrimp culling is w bit tricky. I know males are less colourful. They are breeding well, maybe I should not mess with them until they get to much?
Looks like a fun, healthy tank!
Breeding shrimp is tricky. I would hold off on the culling until you get a big population going or you are forced to reduce their numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks like a fun, healthy tank!
Breeding shrimp is tricky. I would hold off on the culling until you get a big population going or you are forced to reduce their numbers.
I won't touch it then :) Don't mess with something that works. Initially I had berried females, but no babies. I had a tiny pump on the sponge. It failed and I put in an airstone. Then babies followed.

The substrate is just pumise/vulcanic rock from expensive ADA filter material that did not work. Plant, wood, shells. Ultra low tech. Prune plants, feed shrirmp, top up with rain water.(drip method not to kill shrimp)

Like you say, puts fun into having an aquarium. A nice distraction when I am working watching the shrimps and snails.
 

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African Cichlids? Very territorial. With just a trio I would guess about 200 liter. And plenty of hiding spaces, especially for the babies. My best success was to remove the mom. If she release the babies I remove her and raise the babies seperately (80 liter cube) Got about 20 per batch. I let them grow fairly big before putting them back. Better survival rate.
Just placed an order for a 50 gallon acrylic tank. It will be my first attempt at a Walstad tank with an all-dirt substrate which means I will be a bigger pest with questions than ever!
 

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This is probably getting off-topic for this thread, but aren't cichlids hard to keep in a dirted tank? I've never kept them before but my understanding was that they dig a lot, eat plants or something.
I'm not going to go overboard. No immediate plans for crypts or sword plants. Just some old-fashioned stem plants like cabomba and maybe some elodea. I'll rely on vals and sags for root plants. If they get devoured, i won't be out much coin. I have some experience with rams (are they members of the Apistogamma family?) and I don't remember them being that big a headache. I have an anubias that could use a new home; I can't imagine those leaves being easy to chomp on. The brand new lotus sprout is my main worry.
 
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