Sand substrate for cichlids

Mystic White sand in a bucket. Photo by author.

If you’re looking for a good all purpose sand for your cichlids, I recommend Mystic White II. This is a pool filter sand that you can pick up at your local pool supply store. You can also purchase it at Walmart and several online stores. My pool supply store sells this for WAY less than I can get it online or even at Walmart. Nonetheless, what makes this sand so good?

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Best of the Best Award

I have to give a big shout out to all of the readers of The Cichlid Stage. I found out today that the site made the 2019 Top 100 Aquarium Blogs.

Compiled by the site Contented Fish, the Top 100 is actually more inclusive than just blogs (i.e., it includes magazine sites, online retail sites). It also encompasses both fresh and salt water sites.

Here’s what they had to say about The Cichlid Stage:

This site posts some fascinating articles featuring fellow fish lovers interviewed. Worth a read.

To say I was surprised about this recognition is an understatement. However, without you the reader, this site isn’t much more than a private notebook for myself. So thank you all who take a minute or two out of your day to visit, even if it’s just one time. I really appreciate it.

My tank vacuum and water change process

The complete set-up for my tank cleaning process. Photo by the author.

I have posted a few times about how I do water changes. All of my cichlid tanks, except my quarantine and hospital tanks, contain sand substrates. As a result, I use a system I created using Python water changers that easily minimizes loss of source water, cichlid fry, and sand. My process utilizes two Python brand water changing hoses and a few other components.

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OCA Extravaganza – Give Away

If you attend the Ohio Cichlid Association (OCA) Extravaganza in less than three weeks, look for me. The first three people who come up to me, introduce themselves, AND tell me they read the blog will receive a gift. On Saturday, I’ll be wearing a Cichlid Stage t-shirt (like the one below), so I shouldn’t be hard to spot.

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A cichlid mystery

Unidentified juvenile cichlid. Telmatochromis temporalis maybe? Photo by author.

The other night when feeding one of my tanks, I noticed a very small (~ 1″), solid black colored cichlid venture out from a little crevice and grab a morsel? I stood there watching in utter amazement. Why? There shouldn’t be any juvenile cichlids or even fry in that tank. It contains no breeding pairs of species…at least I thought.  The tank is a 75g community Tanganyikan tank containing leleupis, a male and female Neolamprologus tretocephalus, a lone female Julidichromis marlieri, a lone Eretmodus cyanostictus, two small plecos, some dithers and three adult Altolamprologus calvus (2x male, 1 female)

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A fatal mistake? Not so fast…

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Not long ago, I thought I had made a fatal fish mistake. My small tanks (< 30g) are filtered with HOBs, with the exception of one that is filtered with a small, external canister. And none of these tanks have back up air pumps for power outages. When I feed the HOB- filtered tanks, I typically turn off the filters, something I did as usual a few nights ago. I do this to prevent food from getting blown around and inevitably getting sucked into the filter intakes even though they’re prefiltered. At the time, I had three such tanks occupied. Two of those each contained a single adult Telmatochromis temporalis, and the third only contained a few juveniles. The two adult Telmats are actually my breeding pair. They’re segregated because they’re prolific breeders and, to be honest, I needed a break from caring for so many fry.

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Embracing challenges and responsibilities of cichlid keeping

Before I began this blog years ago, I already had some ideas about the type of content it would/should include. Much of what you read here on the The Cichlid Stage, to this day, was born from those ideas. However, posts that you don’t see much here are those in which I philosophize. Not that I don’t want to, but I wanted the blog content to be more practical.

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A little R&R

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Sorry about the short drought in posts. I took a little trip to the beach for some rest and relaxation.

I’m back now, so regular posting will resume.

Thanks for your patience!


OASE BioMaster Thermo 350

OASE external canister filter in shipping box. Photo by author.

Last month, I posted about the OASE company. I mentioned in that post that I would be receiving a BioMaster Thermo canister filter for review. It arrived!

As you can see in the photo above, OASE sent me the 350.  The 350 is one of three in their external canister line. Designed for 90g tanks, the 350 is the middle size of the three. The 250 is the smallest and designed for 70g tanks. The 600 is the largest of the three and makes a big jump from the 35o, specifically designed for 160g tanks.

Stay tuned!