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Questions from a newbie-3D BG, filtration, lights,

7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago #34023 by PhilandLeeAnn
4. Sounds like you will definitely care about visible tubes, lines heaters, sponges and cords. Driftwood, rocks and anchored (plastic) plants can do much with planning. Your background can too, but you would need to plan and build that out to suit unless someone knows of prefab rock backgrounds with hiding places built in. My eyes tend to ignore airline tubing. Transparency helps. Looks is one reason to use reef ready like overflows on drilled tanks to put the vast majority of heating, filtration and aeration on the outside of the tank and only worry about the returns that are largely out of sight at the top of the waterline.

You could attach camouflage to some of the lift tubes, like clipping on a plastic plant, but it looks fake pretty easily. If you find a dye, I always wondered about shaping a sponge filter and coloring it to blend in.

I would suggest that a background is an expensive or time consuming commitment not easily changed and should be planned out in detail. If you haven't seen this yet: there are alternatives that look convincing like this link: www.aquariumhabitats.com/Rockmoduals.html Other things can be improved on as you go.
Last edit: 7 years 10 months ago by PhilandLeeAnn. Reason: 3d background link

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7 years 10 months ago #34022 by bloonguy
First of all you'll probably get a better response if you break this up into a few more smaller posts. You've given us a lot to tackle with this post. I'll give it a shot.
1&2 I have no experience with 3d back grounds so I won't touch these.
3. You've got more than enough filtration planned. I run my 55's with 2 6" cube sponge filters made with Poret filter foam. I run bare bottom tanks. I understand that you probably want more water movement to keep your subsrate cleaner and the power filters will do that for you. I would consider the sponge filter to be really unnecessary in this set up. The power filters are more than enough filtration.
If you want bubbles in the tank bury an airstone in the substrate.
4. See answer for 1&2.
5. 200w should be plenty. In winter I heat a 150g with a 100w and a 50w. In the summer the heaters are unplugged. Temps never drop below mid 70's.
6. Plants of any kind will be a losing battle with a mbuna tank. They will eat the live ones and dig up the plastic ones. The exception would be plastic plants firmly attached(think epoxy) to a heavy base, like a piece of ceramic tile. If you come to one of our swap meets check out Pearls Plants. She has some great examples. Driftwood will be fine. In my experience the inpact on pH is minimal at best.
7. Cichlids don't need any special lights. In fact they like it pretty dark. The lights you have will do just fine. If you've got the cash to burn you can play with different bulbs that might make colors pop a little more but your fish won't care one way or the other. There are a lot of different LED lights out there that do a lot of different things. Some are even programmable to change from daylight to simulated moonlight. You can spend huge amouts of cash on them but, again,your fish won't care too much.
Hope this helps some!

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7 years 10 months ago #34021 by pmsmith2032
I am new to this site and after reading numerous threads and articles on here over the past few days, I have a number of questions. This will be my largest tank (55 gallon) and first time trying African Cichlids (probably a multi-species mbuna tank):

1. I am going to create a 3D background and am leaning toward using Dryloc rather that Quikcrete. Does anyone have specific examples of ones made to look like river rock? I have hundred of river rocks at my disposal from our vacation home in Wisconsin (used for our landscaping now) and am going to pick a few for the tank. I have all colors (grays, browns, pinks, etc) and shapes and want the background to match/blend. I do plan on testing the rocks with vinegar/muriatic acid before using them.

2. I've seen that people use either Quikcrete dye of Fusion plastic paint. Which is better? I want to paint/dye the background one color and then add other colors to add depth and algae. I see some people "airbrush" shades but I have no idea how I could that.

3. I am planning on using one Aqua-Tec 30-60 (came with the used tank), one AquaClear 110 filter (will need to buy) and one Jehmco sponge filter(will need to buy). Does this seem like a good setup? How do I "power" the sponge filter....air pump.....powerhead? I've though about building some sort of filter but not sure what would work. Any other suggestions to keep flow to the bottom of the tank/agitation waste off the bottom?

4. Should I be concerned with how I'm going to hide all the pipes for the two HOB and sponge filter (I also have a in tank heater)? I know a lot of people build them into their background.....any examples of this? Do I need the filter before I start to build the background (I need to order the AquaClear 110 and sponge filters) or can the backgrounds be modified later?

5. I beleive I have 200W heater that came with the used tank (it might be a MarineLand Stealth Pro which looks like might be recalled).....is 200W sufficient for a 55 gallon tank? If not, what kind and size of heater should I get?

6. I would like to add something besides just rocks. I think driftwood looks nice and a few plants also look good. With the driftwood I'm concerned about where to buy it and leaching pH issues. If I go with plants I'm unsure whether I should go plastic or live. How much more work are live plants (I understand cichlids eat plants and tend to dig them up so I would go with something like Java fern attached with fishing line)? ANy comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

7. I am just starting to look at lighting. It looks like I got a cheap plastic hood with 4' fluorescent bulbs with the used tank.....I would imagine I should upgrade? I plan on building a wood hood so maybe LEDs?

Thanks in advance!

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