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Results 1 to 10 of 34
  1. #1

    Default My not-quite-mine new 75 gallon cichlid tank


    4 Not allowed!
    I started this on my own thread, but after some lobbying (with thanks to RG, Laura and Slap) decided to give this tank its own journal.

    This past weekend I ran into the science teacher for my kids' old school. The school just underwent renovation, and with the new building and new science lab came space for an aquarium. She said one parent with experience in fish keeping was leading the effort to get it set up, but the teacher didn't know much about keeping fish tanks so they were trying to enlist 1 or 2 more parents volunteers to help set it up and maintain it. So, I volunteered :-) It's a great way for me to feel like I have a new 75G aquarium without spending the money or negotiating with Mrs Goldie for space at home

    They have already purchased a brand new 75 gallon acrylic, flat back hexagon aquarium (one back, 2 sides, and 3 panes at the front), with a fluval 306 canister and a fluval fluorescent bulb of some type. The lady leading the effort wants to set up an african cichlid tank, so an african cichlid tank it's going to be :-) The fluval might be a too small for the 75 (it's rated for 70, if it was my tank I would have used two of these), but I guess we'll have to make it work. It's a public school and this is funded by parents, so the budget is not unlimited :-)

    I went there Monday to get the equipment set up. They had also somehow gotten the manager of the fish section at the local petco to help them out, so as a bonus I got to meet him.

    The tank was already in place but empty. The location is great, it sits in a large window that opens to the hallway, so you can see it from the science lab and from the main hallway. It's just a few feet from the school's main entrance, so most visitors to the school will see it when they come in. We filled it up, added water conditioner, set up the canister filter and got it running. We had to drill some holes in the cabinet where the aquarium sits to be able to route the hoses (the teacher wants the canister inside a cabinet, out of the reach of kids) so it took longer than expected. The teacher also wants to route all hoses under the counter (again, out of reach), but the hoses weren't long enough -- so we did what we could, and they will buy additional hose to change it later. They also had gravel as substrate. The guy from Petco brought some decorations he put together himself with rocks and slate, as well as some they had already purchased. The want to add some plants, so they will have some java ferns tied to some of the rocks -- the petco guy volunteered to put that together for them and bring it to the school.

    They want to eventually have around 14 cichlids, but will start with about 4 or 5. I started explaining the need to cycle the tank, but the petco guy said he could actually bring lots of media from his own cycled tanks to significantly shorten the cycle time.

    We are on school time and on school budget, so they probably won't be ready to order fish for another 3 or 4 weeks.

    Progress will be very slow (it's going to depend on the availability of the science teacher, volunteers, etc) and I will only be partially involved, but I will post pictures and updates here every now and then.

    As a positive surprise, the petco guy was extremely knowledgeable. He knew quite a bit about cichlids and their needs, gave them great tips on how to stock (how fast, etc), and made some recommendations about stocking. He actually works part time at the local zoo helping take care of the animals! I wrote down the times he is at the store, and plan to visit every now and then to keep the relationship and support the store. If he is supporting the school, I might as well support the store in return :-)

    Other than "cichlids" (which I know nothing about!) the stocking plan has not yet been decided. I would love to help them prepare a well thought out stocking plan. I received some great feedback on my own thread for stocking suggestions. If they want to go with Lake Malawi cichlids, for instance, showmebutterfly recommended yellow tail acei, and cm12setx recommended Neolamprologus brichardi from Lake Tanganyka. I know absolutely nothign about cichlids, so it sounds like I have some research to do :-) This is an elementary school, so it should be fun for small kids to watch (aged 4 to 10 or so). I'm thinking it's better to have more smaller fish instead of fewer larger ones, and they should be colorful.

    To make it more of a learning experience the kids will actually participate in maintenance -- measuring parameters and keeping logs of pH, ammonia, etc. We will also prepare display cards with details on each fish we stock.

    EDIT: I couldn't get to take pictures Monday, but I will be there later this week and will take some FTS to share. The tank will be empty for now, though.

  2. Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Sounds like it will be a fun venture. I would volunteer too if my kids school did something like that. But believe it or not they have a indoor Koi pond when you walk out of the office.
    125g planted freshwater South American Cichlid and clown loach tank.
    9 Angelfish
    9 Geophagus tapajos
    6 Clown loaches
    4 Brochis cory's
    2 Clown pleco's
    1 Black ghost knife

    Video of my 125
    http://youtu.be/bxFH8OGl47g

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Southeast Texas
    Posts
    21,917

    Awards Showcase

    Happy anniversary! - wgoldfarb A gift for two great years ;-) - steeler58 and here's to the next 20,000! - RiversGirl 20,000 post's 'NUFF SAID" ;-) - steeler58 Thanks for the Rep ;-) - steeler58 
    TGIF and thanks for the rep :-) - Taurus TGIF back at you ;-) - steeler58 for being an awesome fish friend! - nickellmama27 Thx for all your help! - BluewaterBoof it's the weekend - cm12setx 
    Thanks for the rep brother ;-) - steeler58 Here's to peace and quiet.  Have a great weekend! - WhistlingBadger Here's to peace and quiet.  Have a great weekend! - WhistlingBadger Just because ;-) - steeler58 Thank you for helping with my filter problem! - showmebutterfly 
    Happy Saturday back at you ;-) - steeler58 Sorry, no blue shrimp, but here's because you have N. davidi variants! - Anders247 Thanks for all the thumbs up! - Boundava An essential for the weekend :-) - Taurus thanks for the brisket instructions!  yum - RiversGirl 
    Troop and Military Support - Amber Alert - Bladder Cancer - Endometriosis - Equality - Liver Cancer - Liver Disease - Missing Children - POW/MIA - Spina Bifida - Suicide - steeler58 Breast Cancer - Birth Parents - steeler58 Cancer - Epilepsy - Foster Care - Gynecological Cancer - Rett Syndrome - aquariumlover10 Cancer - Epilepsy - Foster Care - Gynecological Cancer - Rett Syndrome - gronlaura Breast Cancer - Birth Parents - SeaLady 

    Default


    4 Not allowed!
    YES, we have a journal on the school project!

    Like you, goldy, I have very little experience with cichlids, but this will be fun to keep an eye on

    I'm subscribed
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,731

    Awards Showcase

    .`.`..`.> - korith Here's a CPD for you, thanks for your responses to my Journal :) - 1Sarah Thanks for tagging along! - Slaphppy7 Merry Christmas! - Slaphppy7 You need more fish! - steeler58 
    Happy Drink Like a Viking Friday! - KevinVA Happy Easter! - Slaphppy7 For a fellow tetra lover ;) - steeler58 Have another tetra in honor of your Diamond's :) - steeler58 Have another Cory! - steeler58 
    Have another Cory! - steeler58 Have another Cory! - steeler58 I like shoals. :) - Compass Happy Christmas! - Slaphppy7 superbowl 2014 - cm12setx 
    Here's to the retired life! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 Have another tetra just because ;-) - steeler58 Thanks for the plants! - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    How will this be managed over school breaks and the summer months?

  5. #5

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    That was one of my first questions ;-) The custodian that is at school on a daily basis during breaks actually has two fish tanks at home. She offered to take care of the tank during breaks. The principal also said we could recruit parent volunteers that would be authorized to enter the school during vacations and breaks (There is almost always someone at school during the daytime on weekdays, even on vacation -- either a security guard, or a custodian). We already have volunteers that come to school on vacation to tend to the plants and gardens, so this would be very similar.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Grayslake, IL
    Posts
    2,821

    Awards Showcase

    Thanks for playing, here's some candy for your candy bag - mommy1 Have a tetra :) - steeler58 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! - Plecos Thanks for the moss! - hydrophile Heres a lovely little Cafe Latte for you for your great amount of help! - Guppygalore 
    you ask for one - cm12setx in memory of yours. - cm12setx T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F. - showmebutterfly Cheers! - cajunqn81 
    You need a gourami! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.T.!....cheers! - Slaphppy7 For a fellow tetra lover ;-) - steeler58 For the new fish ;-) - steeler58 
    Here's to new fish and shrimp ;-) - steeler58 Sorry about your Cat I hope she/he rallies - steeler58 Thanks for all the thumbs up ;-) - steeler58 So sorry for your loss :( - steeler58 T.G.I.F. - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    Sounds like fun. I don't have any experience with cichlids eithers so it will be fun to learn with you.
    75g. heavily planted/CO2 w/ DW. Stock: tetra, gourami, cory, oto, loach, pleco, shrimp, snails and Neptune (betta)
    5g. planted w/DW, and female betta
    5g. planted w/DW, and male betta, and snail
    10g. CYCLED!!! Orange shrimp, and Chili rasboras
    20L CYCLED!!! Blue Pearl Shrimp, Epsei and CPD

    My 75g: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=119061

    My 10/20Lshrimp tank: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...801&highlight=

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,731

    Awards Showcase

    .`.`..`.> - korith Here's a CPD for you, thanks for your responses to my Journal :) - 1Sarah Thanks for tagging along! - Slaphppy7 Merry Christmas! - Slaphppy7 You need more fish! - steeler58 
    Happy Drink Like a Viking Friday! - KevinVA Happy Easter! - Slaphppy7 For a fellow tetra lover ;) - steeler58 Have another tetra in honor of your Diamond's :) - steeler58 Have another Cory! - steeler58 
    Have another Cory! - steeler58 Have another Cory! - steeler58 I like shoals. :) - Compass Happy Christmas! - Slaphppy7 superbowl 2014 - cm12setx 
    Here's to the retired life! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 Have another tetra just because ;-) - steeler58 Thanks for the plants! - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    4 Not allowed!
    It might be wise to establish some written schedule of feeding/maintenance so everything is covered and nothing is duplicated (like feedings), rather than leave things to chance. And maybe that one (knowledgeable) person take principle responsibility if problems arise, e.g., heater/filter malfunction.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Grayslake, IL
    Posts
    2,821

    Awards Showcase

    Thanks for playing, here's some candy for your candy bag - mommy1 Have a tetra :) - steeler58 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! - Plecos Thanks for the moss! - hydrophile Heres a lovely little Cafe Latte for you for your great amount of help! - Guppygalore 
    you ask for one - cm12setx in memory of yours. - cm12setx T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F. - showmebutterfly Cheers! - cajunqn81 
    You need a gourami! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.F.! - Slaphppy7 T.G.I.T.!....cheers! - Slaphppy7 For a fellow tetra lover ;-) - steeler58 For the new fish ;-) - steeler58 
    Here's to new fish and shrimp ;-) - steeler58 Sorry about your Cat I hope she/he rallies - steeler58 Thanks for all the thumbs up ;-) - steeler58 So sorry for your loss :( - steeler58 T.G.I.F. - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Yeah, a binder with the water parameters, feeding schedules, WC schedule, and maintenance sounds like a great idea. Not sure if the Science teacher is going to make projects out of this? When I was student teaching they set up tanks in all of the science labs and were doing a bunch of testing on a weekly basis to see how it fluctuated before and after WC, and feedings as well as doing observations on the tanks they were assigned to. One of the labs got a saltwater tank, the lucky ducks. They even set up a RO system in a lab for all of the tanks to share.
    75g. heavily planted/CO2 w/ DW. Stock: tetra, gourami, cory, oto, loach, pleco, shrimp, snails and Neptune (betta)
    5g. planted w/DW, and female betta
    5g. planted w/DW, and male betta, and snail
    10g. CYCLED!!! Orange shrimp, and Chili rasboras
    20L CYCLED!!! Blue Pearl Shrimp, Epsei and CPD

    My 75g: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=119061

    My 10/20Lshrimp tank: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...801&highlight=

  9. #9

    Default First attempt at stocking plans


    4 Not allowed!
    Since nobody at the school is knowledgeable enough about cichlids, I want to present them with a few options for "ready made" stocking plans, where they just select one plan to go with and minimize the risk of incompatible species or bad stocking plans. I have been doing quite a bit of reading on Cichlids. Whew! It's a whole different world.

    Since this is an elementary school with kids aged 4-10, I wanted to make the tank interesting and fun for them. So, I decided that lots of smaller colorful fish were better than few larger ones. I know that because cichlids can be aggressive and territorial you need to be careful which species you keep together, how many males, etc. After lots and lots of searching and reading, I came up with 4 possible stocking options. Or, I should say 4 possible starting points for stocking options, which are eagerly awaiting your critique and feedback. These plans were based on suggestions I found on websites dedicated to cichlids, so in theory they should work. Please feel free to comment, particularly on:

    • compatibility of the species
    • whether the numbers are ok
    • suggestions for replacements?
    • Are any of these are expensive or hard to find?


    I read that males are aggressive towards each other, so in the options below there is just one male of any given species, and the rest are females. If this is not ideal, please let me know!

    Also, Ideally they do NOT have to stock everything at once. I'd love a plan where they can add the fish in 2 or 3 waves instead of all at once. Partly because of budget, and partly to keep the "newsworthiness" of the tank alive for longer.

    Here they are, with my thoughts. I would LOVE some feedback on these!

    Option 1: Blue and yellow Lake Malawi Mbuna(20 fish)
    With just 2 types of fish, the idea here was to keep things simple but colorful.
    10 Labidochromis caeruleus
    10 Metriaclima callainos

    The idea on numbers 2 and 3 was to add some diversity. I like these a lot.

    Option 2: Mixed lake Malawi community 1 (18 fish)
    6 Labidochromis caeruleus
    4 Pseudotropheus acei
    4 Placidochromis electra
    4 Aulonocara jacobfreibergi

    Option 3: Mixed Lake Malawi community 2 (20 fish)
    4 Aulonocara stuartgranti
    4 Copadichromis mloto
    6 Labidochromis chisumulae
    6 Pseudotropheus saulosi

    Finally I tried to see how much diversity was possible. Perhaps this is too much, and I don't know if it is really feasible to keep just 3 of any given species, or if this will lead to aggression, but according to at least one website on cichlids, this plan should work.

    Option 4: Diverse community (18 fish)
    3 Labidochromis caeruleus
    3 Pseudotropheus acei
    3 Pseudotropheus elongatus chewere
    3 Pseudotropheus socolofi
    3 Labeotropheus fulleborni
    3 Pseudotropheus saulosi

    Other thoughts:
    • I also like Labidochromis sp. "Perlmutt" and Iodotropheus sprengerae a lot, but I'm not sure if it could fit in any of the mixes above, either in addition to or instead of one of the others.
    • I'd love some type of catfish, either a BNP, or perhaps one or more Synodontis multipunctatus


    So, after you are done slapping your forehead at my stocking ideas, I'd love to hear thoughts, comments, suggestions, or anything else :-)

  10. #10

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by SueD View Post
    It might be wise to establish some written schedule of feeding/maintenance so everything is covered and nothing is duplicated (like feedings), rather than leave things to chance. And maybe that one (knowledgeable) person take principle responsibility if problems arise, e.g., heater/filter malfunction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boundava View Post
    Yeah, a binder with the water parameters, feeding schedules, WC schedule, and maintenance sounds like a great idea. Not sure if the Science teacher is going to make projects out of this? When I was student teaching they set up tanks in all of the science labs and were doing a bunch of testing on a weekly basis to see how it fluctuated before and after WC, and feedings as well as doing observations on the tanks they were assigned to. One of the labs got a saltwater tank, the lucky ducks. They even set up a RO system in a lab for all of the tanks to share.
    Yes, the idea is that one of the science teachers (there are 2) will be the main person responsible for the tank, and nothing will happen without her. She will prepare binders with profiles for each fish, and logs of everything -- feedings, water parameters, etc. The idea is that different classes will be responsible for different parts of the log. So, 5th graders will measure and log ammonia, trites and trates, for example, 4th graders can measure and log pH, 3rd graders can log feedings. Or some variation, but all under the supervision of the teacher in charge.

    I showed the teacher all she needs to know about the filter. How to take it apart and put it together, and how to clean it. Maintenance, however, will be done by volunteers (mainly myself and the woman leading the project). So, we will probably take turns for WCs, and get together once a month for filter cleanings. We need to work out a schedule, and in the medium term we will also need to very carefully train 1 or 2 more parents on how to do WCs.

    All in all it's going to be lots of fun!

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