View Full Version : Malawi Tank pics, or suggestions

H Two O Jo
03-16-2008, 03:37 PM
So if anyone has pics of theirs that would be cool.

I am in the process of setting one up, 55gal corner tank. Also any suggestions or ideas of how mine should be designed that would be great...I was already thinking of having alot of limestone and or Lace Rock (can these two be mixed?), I also like the look of a nice twisted up piece of African driftwood but I heard that can bring my ph down. Still in very much debate about the substrate as well(Sand, Gravel or Rocks?). I also would like to have a few either Anubias or Java Fern grown right to a couple rocks...The fish this tank will hold are, 3 golden mbuna, 2 kenyi, & 2 snowflake Cichlids. What other fish would you guys bring into this tank?

03-16-2008, 07:17 PM
I have some bad news for you bud, a corner tank is probably the worst type of tank you can house african cichlids in. As most africans are aggressive they just do not provide the needed footprint for the fish to flee if necessary. They are too small for the fish to establish a territory. Your fish will be stressed all the time. You will probably end up with 1 or 2 alpha fish in the end. The corner tanks are probably best for regular community tanks etc, not suited at all for cichlids sorry

03-16-2008, 08:29 PM
You can look through here and look at mine. I use Lave rock.

H Two O Jo
03-16-2008, 09:24 PM
I have some bad news for you bud, a corner tank is probably the worst type of tank you can house african cichlids in. As most africans are aggressive they just do not provide the needed footprint for the fish to flee if necessary. They are too small for the fish to establish a territory. Your fish will be stressed all the time. You will probably end up with 1 or 2 alpha fish in the end. The corner tanks are probably best for regular community tanks etc, not suited at all for cichlids sorry

I'm glad you're telling me this now, I didn't get the tank yet, was supposed to pick it up this week, ok so now im open for suggestions on what size tank to get, dang, this is getting more and more complicated...

03-16-2008, 09:30 PM
I really like the 75 or 90 gal 4 ft long tanks for africans. They are large enough to have a nice mix of fish and long enough for territories to be established and for fish to flee if required.

03-16-2008, 09:35 PM
40 long or 50 long work great.

03-16-2008, 09:37 PM
The money you would have spent on a 55 corner tank should cover the expense of a regular 75 gal tank.

03-16-2008, 09:51 PM
Might as well step up to the 125g for the extra length.

03-17-2008, 09:09 AM
yeah go for a 75.....

as for substrate, use sand. I dont think there should be any debate about this, mbunas live in the wild with a sand bottom, they dig in sand, the eat sand and spit it out. its all part of their way of life.

H Two O Jo
03-17-2008, 09:01 PM
Alright, I'm getting such a good deal on this corner tank I think I have no choice but to go with it...Hopefully it can be made suitable for my cichlids. I only have 7 fish and they are in a tiny little tank now and seem to be acting somewhat peaceful towards each other. I guess I won't buy anymore fish untill I see what happens. The last thing I want to do is make their life stressful. Worst comes to worst they will go back to the lfs. Just sucks because I really had my mind set on Africans...
And yes I am Going with sand. But is sand condusive to a UGF? I believe the tank my friend is selling me has an UGF and just by the name alone it doesn't sound good for use of sand. Also I wanted to ask, how did you guys support all the weight in the tank with all the rocks? Is there a technique for stacking them, or something I should line the bottom with to more evenly distribute the weight?

03-17-2008, 09:30 PM
It's possible to do a corner tank. It's just not as easy. And you have to be careful what cichlids you you put in there. I think I found this corner tank on another forum. It might be a bow front? But, it's possible... just not ideal.

Don't use a ugf if you can. They are not great with cichlids. Cichlids like to dig through the substrate/sand. So, it never works correctly. However, if you are going with a ugf... then use with a powerhead in reverse. There are also methods of screening the ugf pan that will help with sand. Although, i would just skip the ugf idea with sand.

Stacked rocks do not compromise the tank... water weighs about 8lbs/gallon (iirc)... so, you're not adding much weight. Just make sure the rocks are STABLE. They should be albe to support their own weight. I stack my rocks without water first. That way I know they are not going to collapse. Use flat rocks as risers and bases... and work you're way up. It definitely takes practice. You can lean them up against the backside of the tank for extra support too. But, remember, if the rocks bang up against the glass it can break or at least scratch the surface. You don't want either of those to happen. :)


H Two O Jo
03-17-2008, 10:42 PM
Appreciate the support. I'm def. going to try it with the 55gal corner... The thing is, my tap water is a consistant 7.6-7.8 thats why I want this type of fish. My options are limited because I don't want to constantly be fighting my ph down. I'm trying to do the right thing here, and certainly sparing no expense. I think I will go with a different filter all together because I have made my mind up on the sand. Thanks for everyone's help I am without a doubt learning a lot.

03-18-2008, 12:51 AM
I would still go for the 125g.:c1:

03-18-2008, 03:28 AM
Don't use the UGF, they don't work all the great and don't mix with sand. A canister or power filter would be much better. Aquaclear hang on back powerfilters are really good, i've used them for a long time. Also my 55 gallon goldfish tank has a rena xp3 canister filter and it has worked very awesome for me. The rena is super quiet (the tank is in my room) and setups very quick and easy. Many people also like eheim canisters and fluval. I would shop around and you could probably get a good deal, online www.bigalsonline.com is probably the cheapest place to get a canister. My LFS has a quarter circle corner tank with african cichlids and it is really awesome. They put a whole bunch of stacked rock along the back and the middle front was open swimming space. They broke it down and moved the big old fish out to sell but they have it back up with juvenile fish now again. Hope that helps!

03-18-2008, 09:31 AM
I'm trying to do the right thing here, and certainly sparing no expense.

If this is really the case then skip the "deal" on the corner tank. I persoanlly think a corner would work ok, but if the money is not a problem for you then why would you chance it? Long tanks are proven with malawi cichlids...

Buy a 4 foot long and use an external canister filter. UGF is not a great idea.. modern filters are so much better.

03-18-2008, 01:47 PM
Yeah... I'm not sure why you are going with a corner if you are "sparing no expense." LOL. If I was broke and it was all I could afford, I would try it. But, sounds like your mind is made up.

The best decision you have made so far is to not go with the UGF. You don't even know until you try it... but, I wouldn't wish that punishment on my worst enemy. I agree the aquaclear HOB is a great filter. However, in a corner it might be impossible. The rena xp3 and fluval 405 are good canister filters. There are others.. but, from my experience, these are the easiest to find parts and maintenance supplies at the lfs. I would check that out before you make a decision. Make sure you can get the things you need for it. It will make life easier.

If you currently have 7 cichlids and they are getting along good... then stick with those. You don't want to add too many variations of cichlids in that tank configuration. There is not enough room for them all to setup territories.

Keep us posted on your progress. Do not forget to cycle your new tank and filter!!! Have a look in the forums beginner corner for instructions on a fishless cycle. It seems to work well.

03-18-2008, 07:47 PM
I just read your previous thread... Please read asap.


H Two O Jo
03-18-2008, 10:59 PM
I guess I haven't exactly explained myself well. The reason I'm really getting the corner tank is I live in New York in a 2 bedroom aptmnt. It's not tiny but by no means is it large...The tank to me is convienient, cheap, and space friendly. There simply is just not enough room to put a reg tank in here, not to mention I have a roomate to deal with, fortunately he's into fish. I really appreciate all the time and patience everyone has had with me I am now going back and reading some of the stuff i wrote and I am certainly a rookie, lol...Posted in my other thread what i am going to do with my situation. Oh an ps- i am going to go with a canister filter...Thanks again to everyone!

03-19-2008, 02:18 PM
Good job... sounds like you are getting everything straightened out. I think 90% of the people who get into this hobby start that same way. I'm probably guilty of it too. As long as you learn from it... you are on the right track.

I totally understand the lack of space issue. I'm in the same boat. But, if you stick to one (maybe 2) species of cichlid... get the right mix of females to males, and create a lot of hiding places... then you could probably maintain a happy corner tank. 55g is a big corner tank. You could also add in a single african cat fish or something like that too. Generally, my cichlids don't mess with my catfish... and he doesn't mind them much either.

If you were creative and built up the center of the tank with rocks... almost dividing the tank in 2, then maybe 2 species would co-habitate together. Anyway, I think that's what I would do or at least try. You can always weed out a species later and trade them for more of the other species. If your lfs is cool with that thing.

Also, do some research for mildly aggressive cichlids... or check out dwarf cichlids.

H Two O Jo
03-19-2008, 10:51 PM
OK, everyone should be happy to hear the fish are back at the lfs... Kinda sad to see them go but at the same time it was the right thing to do. So now I got my 10gal "recycling?" with sand rather than marbles, lol. I will also be picking up the 55gal on friday and begin the fishless cycle with that as well... So 2 empty tanks and a whole website full of people with ideas, how bout sharing some of them

03-31-2008, 03:15 PM
How's the cycling going? I ment to tell you.... some people use something called egg crate in the bottom of their tanks under the rock to distribute the weight and protect the bottom. You find it the lighting section of hardware stores. I think it's a grid like looking stuff.
Let us know when you're ready to stock. In the corner tank, if you want to go with malawi cichlids, I think yellow labs and demasoni might work ok. You'd want to start with the labs. Their sex really doesn't matter much. I'd get 4 to start then add a couple more in a couple weeks. Then after a couple more weeks, add the demasoni all at once. They say a group of 15 of them works the best and gets along with the labs good. I'd start out with a couple extras of them though. They are a dwarf mbuna that only get maybe 4" long tops. Rusty cichlids (Iodotropheus sprengerae) would be a good mix with the yellow labs too and are more mellow than the demasoni. You'd want to buy several of them and weed out to have 1male and 3-4 females. These suggestions are just my opinions based on what I've read. Good luck and let us know how it's going.