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  1. been a fish owner for about 3 months and really starting to get into it. currently have 2 mono's, 1 sailfin, 2 hongi, 2 albino, 1 white tail acei, 4 tiny elec yellows and one maingano (girlfriend died last week), all between 4-6cm (apart from the little yellows). after joining this forum, i've found a whole bunch of different fish that in time, would love to get. i 1. i have bought my fish so far in pairs an am wondering is this a smart move or should i be buying in bigger groups? 2. how crowded can it get? i have a 250ltr tank 3. where can i get some decent rocks for my tank (aquariums are crazy expensive!!)? i've been told i could try a landscape supplier so is there a type to ask for? 4. plants - live or plastics? 5. do i put salt in the tank? if so how much? 6. is coral sand the go? 7. are there some breeders in the gold coast area? any help would be appreciated. thanks guys tim
  2. Ok guys im going to start adding in Brisbane stores and Sunshine coast stores If you know of any post em up here and ill start putting together a list I know im lazy but I dont want to go through yellow pages to much I will need name address phone number Brad
  3. TIPS FOR THE NEW AQUARIUM HOBBYIST So you are new to the world of cichlids. This can be an exciting and trying time (it was for us) so we have compiled a list of tips that we ourselves used to help make this time as stress free as possible. This is meant as a guide only and shows the steps we took when setting up our aquarium, which has been running for 5-6 months now without any significant problems. RESEARCH When starting out, we found that research was the key to starting up a successful aquarium. Work out which fish you wish to keep and find out about them. This can be done by asking questions on the forum and visiting http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/ they have a great selection of cichlid profiles. Once you know the fish you wish to keep and have learnt about them the next step is to learn about water chemistry. SELECTING YOUR FISH When selecting the fish you want to keep there are a few things to keep in mind. Be sure to select fish that have the same kind of water conditions. Also aggression levels need to be taken into account. Some cichlids can be aggressive towards fish that look the same/simular (conspific temperament) as well as to the other males of the species. The best way to find out about your proposed stocklist is to ask forum members about their thoughts and experiences. WATER CHEMISTRY In my opinion, water chemistry is the most important aspect of a successful aquarium. Bad water chemistry can lead to premature fish death, causing much heartache and of course financial loss. Find out about the water chemistry needed for your selected fish and learn how to make this possible. Buffers can be used to achieve the required PH. These include using crushed coral or calcium carb as a substrate and/or using a store brought or home made water buffer. We use both calcium carb and Lake Malawi buffer by seachem. Water hardness is another area important when keeping cichlids. We learnt as much as we could and asked questions. To help with General Hardness (GH) we use Cichlid Lake Salt by seachem to increase GH and for Carbonate Hardness we use Carbonate Harness Generator. The Nitrogen Cycle is another important part of your aquariums water chemistry and Motorman has written an excellent article about it. It can be found through this link http://www.qldaf.com/modules.php?name=F ... opic&t=119 or by visiting the articles section of the forum. Some good articles on water chemistry can be found here http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/c ... y_list.php One final note on water chemistry is whether you are purchasing your fish from a Local Fish Shop (LFS) or a breeder, ask them about their water parameters, so you can replicate the environment the fish are already living in to reduce stress on the fish. FILTRATION Make sure your aquarium will have enough water filtation as cichlids can be messy. Whether you are using an internal, cannister or trickle filter or a sump, make sure the water turnover is high enough for the amount of water in your aquarium and has enough filter media to support your bacteria colonies. Remember the more fish in the tank the more filtration needed and you can never over filter your water. CYCLING YOUR TANK Once you have learnt all about the fish you wish to keep, Water Chemistry and the Nitrogen Cycle you need to cycle your aquarium to build up the amount of beneficial bacteria in the tank before you add your fish. Be patient at this time. We know you want to add your fish now, but cycling can mean the difference between a successful aquarium and a tank full of dead fish. To cycle your tank there are a few different methods. Two of the most popular are the fishless cycle and the fish cycle. The fishless cycle involves adding ammonia (pure ammonia not cloudy ammonia as t contains detergents ect) to the water to stimulate bacteria growth or to feed the tank as if fish where in there (this is the method we used). The fish cycle involves adding fish (goldfish, guppies) to the tank to stimulate bacteria growth. Ask questions of people on the forum about the methods they used to cycle their tank to find one that suits you. At this stage test your water regularly to make sure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are being produced in the tank. Once your ammonia and nitrite levels have returned to 0 do a 50% water change to reduce the nitrate levels in your tank to a level aroung 5 to 10 ppm. Be patience as this can take a couple of weeks. Now your tankis cycled and ready for your fish. ADDING FISH TO YOUR AQUARIUM Now you can add fish to your aquarium. Start by adding a small amount of fish (say 4 or 5) and slowly begin adding more fish every other week. The reason for this is to make sure there is enough bacteria in the tank to handle the amount of fish being added. Add too many fish too fast and you can risk having a ammonia spike which could kill your fish. NOW YOUR AQUARIUM IS COMPLETE Now that your aquarium is cycled and your fish have been added, enjoy your fish. They are amazing creatures to watch and i never tire of sitting in front of our aquarium and watching the fish 'socialise'. MAINTENANCE Weekly maintanence of your aquarium is need to keep your fish health and happy. As a guide, we do a 20 - 25 percent water change weekly and test the water parameters weekly. Filter maintanence depends on the type of filter you have chosen for your aquarium. Keep a record of the water chemistry (ph, kh, gh ect) and the filter maintenance performed. If something does go wrong in the aquarium these figures can help either your LFS or forum members pin point the problem. We hope you have liked this article and we wish you all the best setting up your new cichlid aquarium. With a bit of patience you can be sure that you have established an optimum environment for your cichlids. And remember ASK QUESTIONS, that is what the forum is for and the only stupid question is one that is not asked. All the best Josh and Kylie
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