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Hello everyone,

I've enjoyed reading this forum for a while, and finally decided I'd join up and seek some opinions now that I'm getting close to having my tanks set up again. They've been parked in my shed for the past ten years, since I've never had attractive stands for them (my wife doesn't want a display tank with an ugly metal frame - and I don't blame her too much).

I've got 3 x 4ft tanks, and 2 x 3ft tanks that I plan to set up over the coming weeks / months.

I hope to have four of them as planted tanks - depending on how I go with my first couple. And the other will likely be in my shed, probably just for breeding cichlids.

I've been looking into the canister filters for a while, and while the Eheim and Fluval look good, I'm probably heading more down the line of the Aqua One. I've seen the Aqua One 1200 in action, and seems to be quite silent, and simple enough to maintain. I was wondering on everyone's opinion regarding their own filter, especially if you've got experience with any of these non-Fluval, non-Eheim types. I haven't used canisters, as last time I had my tanks running, I had undergravel filters with my cichlids, and also for my planted tank (worked ok).

I've set up some 44-gallon drums to capture rainwater, as prefer this to conditioning the Bris water days - I came off the land where we didn't have town water, so am inexperienced with conditioning town water, and unsure of what works best here also.

Aiming for substrates using vermiculite mixed with clay; and then some nicer looking gravel on top. Was also considering mixing in some perlite to the underlayer to prevent compaction - but haven't used it before - so if anyone has experience with perlite, I'd love to hear about it. I could only see a benefit in it's porosity - perhaps useful in the filter, and to prevent compaction, but also heard that it often finds its way up to the top of your tank when you least want it to.

I think that is all for now - my stands are probably about a week away from completion, getting stained as we type. I'll try and get a few photos up as I can.

Look forward to hearing from you!

post-4972-14711624709796_thumb.jpg

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Yeh, I have one setup that will work perfectly with a sump - I've never tried it - and haven't really done any research into it either. But I've got a "stand" that will hold a 4ft tank (my breeder?) and a space for a 2ft beneath (big enough?).

Thanks for the advice regarding the sealants - I hadn't even thought of it, probably would only have noticed after i'd put all the landscaping work in then found puddles gathering around the tank.

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Why dont you just use one of your 3ft'ers to sump one of the 4ft'ers? I dont know your experience with fish, but banging up 5 decent sized tanks in one hit will be very time consuming, and very expensive. Maybe set up 2 for now, one with a sump, one with a canister, one with africans one with americans.

Go from there and see what you like. I jumped straight into 2 african tanks when i started only to find them small and boring so i moved onto americans. Costly excersize, but i learnt the hard way.

As for filtration, it all depends on how heavily you plan on stocking the tanks. I know you've said you looked into fluval, but you cant go wrong with an fx5. Best bang for your buck. Eheim have built an amazing reputation, but for the money your better off sticking with fluval.

As far as aquaone goes, plan above what your tanks volume. i.e, an aquaone aquis 1200 is rated for tanks up to 250L which is a standard 4ft. You are better off moving into the nautilus range if you want to stay with the cheaper cannisters, and grab something rated for say 400L. You can never have too much filtration.

I used to have a 1200 on my 4ft. Personally, i thought it was a good filter, however was on the brink of handling what it says it could. I upgraded to a fluval fx5 and definately wont go back. Next steps a sump when i can afford it.

HTH :)

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I do prefer American cichlids - only as that's what I've had in the past - I had Blue Acaras, Firemouths, Convicts - so nothing too tricky. I loved my bristlenose, although will possibly give him a miss this time if going planted... perhaps he can hang out in a cichlid tank once more. No experience with Africans - apart from Kribensis (these I really liked). I will probably have a couple of cichlid tanks setup, and a couple of tropicals. Like Corbiii suggested, they won't all be starting at once, as I need to ease myself back into things a little.

I do love guppys, and will probably have them in the mix - mainly for my little daughters who love the colours - I used to breed the snakeskin fantails and really enjoyed them amongst a mixed tropical tank. Was looking at Ottos or shrimp to help maintain my planted tanks. Add in some schooling fish - tetras more likely than barbs - maybe green tiger barbs will make a showing. Might also add in a dwarf gourami pair when I've got things established, and feel more confident.

Any suggestions on mixes of tropicals would be appreciated. I prefer the less aggressive varieties - obviously for a mixed tank.

Thanks for all the help so far. I really find this forum great!

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