High Population Mbuna Tank - Nitrates, Algae, Circulation, and more

Discussion about cichlids from Lake Malawi

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AdamPowers
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 11:03 am

High Population Mbuna Tank - Nitrates, Algae, Circulation, and more

Post by AdamPowers » Wed May 11, 2016 9:50 pm

Hi folks, I run a 24/7 YouTube Live stream showcasing Malawi Mbuna Cichlids. There really isn't a purpose to the stream other than to share the joy I've found in staring at these guys for endless hours.

I'm looking for feedback and suggestions on how to further improve the current 75G showtank shown on the stream here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCichlidShow/live

As you can probably see the tank is heavily overpopulated. This is both by design and mistake. When I first got back into fishkeeping two years ago I wanted to build an Mbuna tank but I did not at all take into account the rate at which these guys procreate - especially when kept in a well-maintained tank. I started out with about 35 fish and now estimate the population to be around 60-80. I actually don't know the exact number. Sadly many of them are hybrids due to my misunderstanding of stocking when I first started. And yes I'm aware that my population is badly out of wack. It works though and the fish are very happy. The problem is that I'm changing 50% water every 5 days and still fighting to keep nitrates below 40ppm.

The tank sports a ridiculous amount of filtration. I currently have:

2x Fluval 406 canisters (385 Gph ea)
2x undergravel jets with prefilter sponges (450Gph ea)
1x Fluval C3 Power Filter (153 Gph)
1x Aqueon 110 (500 Gph)
--------------------------------
TOTAL 2319 Gph

I monitor NH3, temp, and ph with a Seneye probe. You can see the tank stats live here:

https://www.seneye.me/adamp/#p=37301

Typical NH3 is around 10ppm with ph stable at ~7.8 and temp at 77. The Aqueon 110 is filled with nothing but 1000 ml of Purigen. The Fluval 406s contain lots of Matrix bio media and filter floss. Between the 6x filtration devices the water stays amazingly clear and clean. BUT THE DAMN NITRATES... I just can't keep them down.

Any suggestions? Do I simply have too many fish in one tank? Up water changes to 50% twice weekly? Reduce the population? Or perhaps accept that 40-60ppm nitrates is okay?

Note that I'm building a massive new corner-shaped 187G tank for the stream. The new tank will sport 2x Fluval 406s and a 55G sump. It's also equipped with a continuous drop system that will rotate ~10-20 gallons per day. Unfortunately I can't easily install a drip system in the existing tank due to its physical location in the house.

One other item regarding red algae: My approach so far has been to (mostly) just let it grow. The fish seem to like it and it lends itself nicely to the look and feel of Lake Malawi. I clean the front and side glass but for the most part just let it do its thing everywhere else. Is this okay? As long as it's not cyno-type algae it's not a problem right? My only real concern (and I've seen this happen) is if I have a large algae die-off and the water gets polluted with dead algae particulates. This is something I watch for closely via Seneye and the stream cameras themselves.


Thanks in advance!

ha77
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:32 pm

Re: High Population Mbuna Tank - Nitrates, Algae, Circulation, and more

Post by ha77 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:21 pm

Hey no replies and I was bored so I tried to replicate your setup online.
For simplicity I input:

75g
60 Yellow Labs
6 Fluval 406s which equals 2310 (close enough to your 2319 Gph currently)
.

*****
Your aquarium filtration capacity for above selected species is 138%.
Your tank is too small - it will require massive amount of frequent water changes each week!

Your aquarium stocking level is 255%.
Your tank is seriously overstocked. Unless this setup is temporary, you should consider a larger tank.

Hope this helps!

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andrzej.ruciński
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:01 am

Re: High Population Mbuna Tank - Nitrates, Algae, Circulation, and more

Post by andrzej.ruciński » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:05 am

ha77 wrote:Hey no replies and I was bored so I tried to replicate your setup online.
For simplicity I input:

75g
60 Yellow Labs
6 Fluval 406s which equals 2310 (close enough to your 2319 Gph currently)
.

*****
Your aquarium filtration capacity for above selected species is 138%.
Your tank is too small - it will require massive amount of frequent water changes each week!

Your aquarium stocking level is 255%.
Your tank is seriously overstocked. Unless this setup is temporary, you should consider a larger tank.

Hope this helps!
Exactly .....too much fishes

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