Howdy folks, I'm totally new around here, but have been keeping Cichlids for over 20 years. I started with a 4ft Malawi/Mbuna tank. When I got my own house I installed a 6x2x2.5 display tank with sump and got a colony of young T. Moliro. I had them for about eight years and bred lots, which were traded for store credit (i.e. fish food) at the LFS. I have been running a 40cm cube in my office as a quasi grow-out tank for the Moliro as well. Recently I traded all the Moliro for a colony of 17 F1 Frontosa Kigoma (3.5-4.5cm).
I am fully aware that this will most likely end up too crowded in the display when the fish reach a more adult size. I figured I'd let them grow up considerably and then thin the numbers by removing a few males to improve the ratios.
I wanted to add some other tank mates to the display tank, and also something interesting to the cube in my office. I picked up three small black calvus, one a bit larger than the other two, hoping it would end up 1M : 2F...but who knows what will happen until they mature a bit. They are currently living in the cube with a small Gibbiceps for cleaning. All three seem to be quite capable of displaying strong colourings and standing their ground. One of the smaller ones is definitely lighter in colour, but will still show some flare against the other two at times. I was hoping to get a pair happening and move them into the display tank. Also considered adding some shell dwellers (like Multi's or Similis) into the display, but hear/read that they can become very aggressive and territorial, even against bigger fish like Fronts. Lastly, I love the bright yellow of Leleupi and while they seem to be a common addition to Tang tanks, I still like them. I thought they'd make a good contrast to the black/white/blue markings of the Fronts and Calvus.
When I had the Ts in the tanks, I was running quite a lot of flow. The display has a Laguna Pond Max (?) 6500LPH return pump, plus a Tunze powerhead. The Ts didn't seem to mind the flow at all, and it certainly helped with filtration. When I got the Fronts I turned the Tunze off immediately, but they still seemed to only hang out huddled around the base of the rockscape, not to mention that getting food to them was impossible without it going all over the tank. So I added a T-piece into the return line and with a ball valve am currently running a decent volume of flow back into the first chamber of the sump. As they get bigger and more capable of dealing with a bit more water movement I'd like to ramp down how much water goes back into the sump, increasing the flow through the display. The return outlet to the display does not have any diffuser or spray-bar etc, it's just a 25mm PVC fitting, just below water level directed across the surface of the tank for gentle agitation. With the reduced flow the Fronts seem far more adventurous in exploring the tank, and feeding is much easier. (Currently feeding NLS grow and Cichlid pellets couple of times a day, and (thawed) Mysis shrimp every third day or so).
Things I'm not 100% happy with in the display currently:
1. Lighting. I have a 2x 80W T5 fitting, with a ~white bulb and a light blue bulb. I could get the specific bulb models if needed, but they are Geismann brand. The tank is super bright, which isn't bad for viewing. But is it too bright for the Fronts? Many Tang tanks I've seen are lower intensity, and definitely more blue to simulate the deeper water conditions that Fronts inhabit in the wild. I could swap the light blue tube for an actinic, which would reduce the overall brightness a bit, and add more blue to the tank. Worth doing? Also, the fitting I have is one switch. There is no option to ramp up/down the lighting, and I have no night-time lighting. Currently the lights come on in the afternoon and stay on into the evening until 9pm, then the tank is plunged into darkness, aside from household lights on in the surrounding rooms. I've considered a moonlight setup of some sort, or something similar to give some dim/dark-blue lighting after the main lights go out. Thoughts?
2. Weir overflow. I currently have no comb / mesh across the weir lip, and am frequently having to collect fish out of the overflow area. Aside from being a nuisance to me, I know it's stressful to the fish. I love that the open lip has a perfectly silent laminar water flow as the display is in the main living area of the house. Aside from a very gentle hum (barely noticable) of the return pump, the tank is silent. I'd like to keep it that way. What can people suggest to stop fish going over the falls into the weir? FYI The way I've got my durso standpipes setup I am not concerned with fish going into the sump.
Things I'm not 100% happy with in the cube currently:
1. The aragonite sand I have in there is growing a lot of surface algae. To the point that it becomes a solid blanket, and doesn't look good. The Ts I had in there previously were quite good at sand sifting and thus the sand stayed nice and white and free from algae. The new inhabitants of this tank (3x small Calvus, 1 Gibb Catfish) are not doing anything to the surface of the sand. I had contemplated putting some sort of sandfitter in there, but feel the tank is simply too small, unless it was turned into a species tank housing a small group of one type of fish.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts on my setup(s) and sharing more as time permits.