Actually, the tank isn't new. It's been storage for a while. As I mentioned in the previous post, I ordered some cichlids from Mike's Cichlids in Florida. Their policy is to, at their discretion, ship an extra fish or two of each species in your order if you order multiples. This is in case of DOAs. That policy doesn't apply to single fish orders (singles of a species).
I ordered a pair of 5 different species, and they shipped an extra fish with four of them - Telmatochromis temporalis, Pseudo. Elongatus Chailosi, Pseudo Red Top Ndumbi, and Lamprologus tretocephalus. Not knowing behorehand what I would get in terms of extras and not knowing how many DOAs I might get, I erred on the side of caution and set up the 40g. However, I didn't do a final set up with it (e.g, I didn't add substrate, rock, or permanent filtration). I wanted to be prepared for extra fish that I knew I probably wouldn't add to either the 75g or the 55g, but I didn't relish the thought of adding sand to a tank that I might end up taking right back down.
Because the temporalis are quite small as adults and they were going in the 75g Tang tank, I just put them all there. I ordered two Trets, and they sent three, one of which was significantly larger than the other two. Due to their reputation as belligerent Tangs, I elected not to put all three in the 75g. Furthermore, I didn't want to put three Chailosi and three Red Tops in the 55g Malawi tank with the other tank inhabitants (mbuna). Thus, into the 40g went a Tret, a Chailosi, and a Red Top. Yes, that's two Malawi cichlids and a Tanganyikan. However, the tank is plenty large enough and the three species can co-exist just fine.
I added all three to a nearly bare tank, save for a sheet of egg crate light diffuser on the bottom. On top of the egg crate I added four or five rocks for shelter. Sadly, the Tret did not survive longer than 36 hours. I saw no evidence that it was being harassed by the two mbuna but I noticed it just didn't look right within several hours of adding it.
The next obvious problem was to add the sand while the fish were in the tank. That's not a process I would recommend for someone without experience with a sand substrate. One of the biggest nuisances with adding sand is that it will invariably cloud the tank. However, I was prepared for this possibility. Having the proper hardware (i.e., filtration) can substantially mitigate this and, thankfully, I had it.
Those of you who read the blog regularly, and have for a while, will remember the post on the canister filters I built nearly a year ago using large condiment bottles. I stuffed two of these bottles with polyester fill to help clear the water, in conjunction with the two temporary AquaClears I set up for the regular filtration.
You can see a photo of the tank below with the bottle filters on each end of the tank. The intake end of the right filter is stuffed with Polyfilter. I like to use this whenever I add anything new to a tank (decorations, rocks, etc.). It does an awesome job of removing toxins and other nefarious chemicals. All four filters had the tank cleared in a matter of hours.
The Cichlid Room Companion
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
American Cichlid Assoc.
African Cichlid Hub