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Hey all,

My friend has referred me to this forum (used to have a 4ft african cichlid tank) and it is amazing. SO much good information, pictures and advice.

So I've purchased a 4 x 2 x 2 ft ( I think i need to get a tape measure to be sure lol) tank and a 3ft tank for the sump below. It was a friends tank which he never used so I got it cheap and it needs some piping and more stuff for the sump but I do not totally understand that yet.

I'll put some photos up tonight so hopefully you guys can maybe have a look and give me some advice.

I basically want to set up a African Cichlid tank and am hoping to go buy everything (except the fish) this weekend and get it set up and running so it will be ready in a few weeks for the slow introduction of fish.

I'm still deciding fish but ones I've come across so far I like are Mpunga, flameback, electric yellows, Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos. I really haven't looked to far and wide so the fish line up will change and I hope people feel free to recommend some cool fish.

I also read some people have like a little Bala/rainbow shark in with these fish and that is something that sounds AWESOME to me even though I've read its not recommended but they do work.

Yeah so any information or tips or suggestions are welcome. I'm going to put some photos up so I'd love some advice on the sump too.

SOOOOO excited about getting fish, Its killing me looking at my empty tank.

PS. How do I clean the tank i have now? I assume no Chemicals but its been sitting in my friends garage for a year or so and it wasn't cleaned out too well before it was put out of action and the good ole water wipe down isn't quite making it crystal clear.

Anyway look forward to chatting :)


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Hey mate, welcome to the forum. Melanochromis Cyaneorhabdos (Mainganos) are bruisers & will bash & kill any less aggressive fish so I'd leave them out. Not to mention diet diffs, Mbuna are algae eaters (vegos) whereas peacocks are shrimp & small fish eaters (carnos) & if a vego is fed too much protein it can cause bloat & other probs not to mention deficiencies in colour, growth etc. & vice versa. Proper diet is important for best health, colour & activity of your fish.

As for the sump help I'll leave that for someone else, I know a bit but I'm a canister fan so I'll leave the sump tips to the sump pros.

To clean your tank you have a couple options:

1. Razor blade or flat blade to scrape off salt residue, water marks, old algae etc. WARNING: be careful of nicking silicone with this method.

2. Methylated Spirits evaporate so can be used to wipe/scrub scum off but I'm not sure about metho's effects on silicone so I've always taped the silicone lines off to avoid gettin heaps of metho on them. Rinse the tank really well after this method to remove any residuals after the metho evaporates.

3. Balbo power pads from bunnings, no chemicals, inert in water & a great micropore pad that will never scratch your glass but it'll take a fair bit of elbow grease to do the job

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OK well I'll do some more research today on what type of fish I'd like as I haven't done too much research in that area yet as I'm trying to get the tank up and running.

Thanks for the Cleaning options too, great suggestions. I'll let you know how I go.

So hear are the pictures of my tank and sump. As you can see the back of the tank has 3 holes. 2 on 1 side (with bulk head i believe they are called) and then just one circular hole in one side.

Any advice would be welcome. I'm planning to go to a plumbing store on Saturday to pick up like pvc for the sump. Whats recommended here? hose or pipe? Advice?

Will post a fish list up soon.






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Also you say it is bad to have a Mainganos because they are bruisers. Is it not recommended to have a like display tank with all equally agressive males? Or is having a breeding tank better? I don't mind either. In fact I think breeding would be cool since I don't want a heap of dead fish but I always want to be able to sit there and watch the fish tank and be entertained.

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Ok Thanks [MENTION=625]butch50[/MENTION]. Is there much price difference between white hard PVC and black soft PVC? [MENTION=6851]Yoshi[/MENTION] Yes that does help. Gives me a good idea of how mine is meant to work. So you obviously have your outflow pipes under water to reduce noise yes? Any other tips to reduce noise.

And what about the contents of the Sump? like all 3 compartments. What am I meant to have in there? or does it depend on the type of fish you have?

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I am yet to put a pic up of my working sump (been a bit busy) but there is a section under DIY where it shows u peoples sumps for u to get ideas. i will try and get final pics of my setup tonight.

white hard pvc u have to glue or u will get leaks and u have to cut it with a hacksaw or dropsaw etc.

black soft pvc u will still get leaks but if put the bit of pipe into hot water (about 60 degrees c) it will soften it making it easier to connect into an elbow or tap etc.

if u clamp it and still find leaks you can do 2 things. use the blue glue and seal it forever. or i found a good idea which is to get teflon tape/thread tape and put some on male part of the issue joint and that sealed it very well. (still using a clamp as well)

I think you mean inflow.

from the sump to the tank is inflow (flowing into the tank u have ur fishes in)

from the tank to the sump is outflow

I dont care about noise in the garage and if someone is sleeping in the spare room it just sounds like it is soft rain. (if u dont like soft rain dont stay over lol)

the pipes just ended up like that. i am thinking of cutting them a little shorter (like 2mm above the waterline) so it mixes/breaks the surface of the water as i sometimes get a film on the surface. but if u r running it inside u could have it under the water or a spray bar.

the main area that i get the most noise is the 90mm stormwater (outflow) the drop from the 40mm into the 90mm and then the top level 90mm dropping down that 1-2 metres makes a bit of nose. but there are plenty of articles about it on google (quiet sumps)

if u wanted to come around then that can be arranged and i can talk ur ear off if u wanted to take notes or just get ideas.

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Welcome mate!

What suburb are you might be worth finding someone local and having a look at there setup I know that I understand stuff a lot better if I see it working. If your close to me I'd be more then happy to show you my setup and answer any questions you have about it.


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Oh right yeah I've had a look at a heap of sumps. So I'm pretty sure I can do the piping for it. Having a look in that DIY section does help.

Nah I meant the outflow pipe as in having that under water means it wouldnt make as much noise (obviously the inflow one has to be under water). Yeah I wouldn't care about noise either as it is downstairs (bedrooms upstairs) however my roommate thinks it'd be annoying when watching tv and I really do not want to move it to the garage where it will be hidden.

So you'd recommend a tap for the outflow pipe so I can stop that if I need? With my Sump I was thinking I need an egg grate and silicone some glass in the first chamber half way and then i can put sponge about it or two.

Then I'd just need some volcanic rock or something? I'm pretty much understanding most of this now except just what each chamber is meant to do and there is a lot of variation of what is in each section and didn't know if that was because of different fish or its all the same just different techniques?

Man that actually sounds awesome. What I might do is keep doing research today/tomorrow and then have a go Saturday. If I get stuck Ill post my progress on here and worse case maybe you can talk my ear off until I get it. I've got my work EOFY dinner tomorrow night so don't want to say yeah ill come and then end up with an epic hangover haha.

Thanks heaps though your advice has been very helpful so far.

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sections 1 and 2 are ur biological filter and mechanical filtering. the 3rd section can just be for the return pump.

biological filtering there is heaps of stuff. like the bio balls u have (but they are old tech) K1, and heaps of others

mechanical filters is like dacron (filter wool) and others

things that do dual are like coarse sponge, jap mat etc

you just have to google it or check the sumps section and the sponsors sites to get an idea what they have for sale, and take it slow. the worst thing u want to do is try and get it done in 10 mins and then have to rip it all out and redo it cause some bits dont go with others or that media isnt so great etc.

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SOOO I got the Sump piping done and the water in. Need to get a test kit today to get it all going. Issues: I may need a switch on my outflow pipes cause if I turn off the pump the sump would overflow. And I might need a battery back up.

Other things I need to get asap is like either Ballina white sand (looked at Bunnings and couldn't find it) or cichlid substrate (Calcium carbonate? I believe). I just need some grounding and don't know what to get. But I do like light colour on the bottom. Also I got 2 bits of Texas Holey rock. What else should I put in?

Also I feel like I need more stuff In my sump?





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u have to figure out the max water the sump can handle without overflow.

to do this run it at the min depth of water (so ur pump is just covered in water) take note of the height of water in the sump (measure or mark) then turn off the pump, u will see the water height change but it should not overflow (unless u have a fundamental issue) then measure the distance between the first mark and then the new water level with the sump pump off.

if u do this in cms. it will give u a basic amount in how much the water level will change with the pump off.

for example. my 4ft sump will change 7cms when the pump is off and all the water flows back to the sump. I have 3 markings. MAX!!! which is absolute max and if it is at this level and the power fails it will be right at the lids of the tank. the second one is what i would like to run it at, and then the min. if it is at that level the intake is just sucking in water.

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Yeah I tried to do this on the weekend however the lower the water got the lower the flow rate was. As soon as I take a bucket out so like only half the outflow pipes are underwater it stops dripping down fast and therefore cannot keep the 3rd section of the sump full enough to keep pumping the water through fast. I'm getting my friend to come have a look today or tomorrow. I'll have another look at it tonight.

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Noooooo. haha

ok i got a mate coming round after work to have a look at it for me. I bought this tank off him with the sump and he used it with no issues. So hopefully it just needs some tweaking. I'll let you know the result.

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he hasn't come over but i think i figured it out. I don't have a T section connected to my bulk head I have a 90 degree. So i've read having a T there will help it flow. Fingers crossed otherwise I'm moving to bigger bulk heads and pipes all the way down.

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