Description:This is a 150 gallon mixed cichlid tank. Lighting is generic 6500K white LED shop light from Home Depot, retrofitted, nothing special, purchased for $45. Tank has built-in overflow with sump filtration. Sump is ProClear Systems, lighted with its own LED during daylight hours, no live plants below, but promotes brown algea growth in refugium so upper tank stays clean. Nerite snails clean the refugium. Return pump 950gph. Substrate is 60lbs of CoralLife crushed coral. All the plants are artificial.
Advice:After 20 years of doing this, I've learned that if you ask 100 people what the best way of doing something is (filtration, lighting, water chemistry, ect) you'll get 100 different answers...and they might all be correct
Plan your project before you start, have a vision for your tank and be patient. The final product might take months to achieve. Mistakes can be expensive, but don't give up. Read, read, and read about the fish you want to keep and their natural biotope. Cichlid tanks can, and probably should, be "over-populated" to dilute their natural aggression. Everyone gets chased equally.
IMHO, frequent water changes, particularly in a large aquarium, are overrated once a clean tank is established. I only add water to top off the tank, and rarely do significant water changes. My water chemistry stays stable with no detectable nitrates and my fish are breeding.
Filtration is the key, but whether you use biologic, chemical, mechanical, or whatever combination thereof does not matter as long as you have enough flow to maintain a stable system.
Algae in an aquarium is an inevitability. Algae control is the name of the game. Get it to grow where you want, ie out of site, and not where you don't. Nerite snails are the best (even if you have a live planted tank--they don't eat anything but algae). In my tank, I allow a constant algae bloom in my refugium. My LED up top is excellent for fish viewing, but not so much that it fuels algae growth in my deeper tank.