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Red Sea Reefer 250 - African Cichlids


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Hi all,

New to the forum – all though I have been reading in the forum for the last few years.

My family and I are living up in Kerikeri and recently started our second fresh water tank. Our first tank was a Juwel 200L community tank.

When my work situation permits I always want to try a marine setup as well, so when we decided to upgrade our fresh water tank we invested in a Red Sea Reefer 250. That in itself was a bit of a challenge as only one importer in New Zealand (Living Reef in ChCH). The first tank arrived to the country in Nov 2016, but unfortunately was on the train that was hit by the Kaikoura earthquake.

I finally got my tank in March and an absolutely joy to setup such a piece of high quality tank. It’s rimless tank with max capacity of 204 L and with a build in 40L sump.

From my previous experience I found it a hassle working with canister filters etc. And always wanted a simpler setup and easier to do maintenance – hence why I wanted a tank with build in sump.

I don’t have that much fish keeping experience, mainly from my childhood where my whole family back in Denmark had tanks.

Our 4 year old daughter really wanted some colourful fish so we decided on an African cichlid tank.

Anyway below are our setup and some photos.

204L tank with 40L sump

Eheim Compact +3000 return pump

Koralia wave maker in main tank

De Bary UV (running around 750 L/hr flow rate)

2 Al Prime Led (these are great and can be controlled wireless from an App)

Approx 3L bio material (matrix + ceramic noodles) in a homemade filter basket in sump

Decoration is cichlid stones with fake silk plants

PH 8.3 and Alk 8-9 dKH

For testing I am using Salifert products and a Hanna ammonia checker

For feeding I am using Hikari cichlid pellets as well as a Nori blended with small amount of dry shrimps.


We are on rain water tank (plastic tanks). I have a 3 staged + UV filtration on this + a filter basket at inlet into rain water tank with limestone chips and Akdolit (burned limestones granulates). The lime helps to increase the PH from around 5.5 to around 7.3. I am quite obsessed with having clean water for my house hold and I don’t think it’s healthy for either human consumption or your water heater with acid rain water...

Anyway to help increase the PH further and buffer the water I am using Seachem products.

The tank has been doing a fishless cycle for around 2 months and so far it appears to have a decent amount of bacteria’s.

We recently got or fish (all bought at the same time) and all juvenile:

12 yellow labs

1 Demasoni

1 Dragon blood peacok

1 Butterfly peacock

So far we are enjoying the tank and my daughter has already named all the fish. The blue fish got the name “Danger”, which is probably appropriately!

Anyway just wanted to introduce our tank and I am sure I will have question as we go forward. This is our first time having African cichlids.


Brgds Lasse

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