Central American Cichlids • Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Discussion regarding only Central American Cichlid species. (Guapotes, Jack Dempseys, Red Devils, Firemouths, Convicts, Texas Cichlids, etc.)

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Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby Nitrivec » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi All,
I am a new member, joined a couple of days ago. I have been interested in fishkeeping for over 20 years, and have had various tanks on and off from a basic community setup to marines, Mbuna, a Julidochromis Marlieri species tank, and now a fully planted, fertilised and CO2 injected setup with a modest mix of fish (Corydoras Schwartzi and Panda, wild caught Pentazona barbs, Rummynose Tetra, Serpae Tetra, Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and a couple of Honey Gouramie).

Initially I bought the tank I have, a 175L 80cm x 45 x 55 Aqua One Aquience, to be set up as a biotope aquarium for breeding Apistogramma sp. That never transpired the way it was intended as I wanted to have plants, but got pulled into the planted aquarium / aquascaping scene (which I have thoroughly enjoyed). This meant I spent a fair bit of time learning various aspects of growing and maintaining a successful planted aquarium and it became more of a planted jungle than an Apistogramma biotope.

I did have a pair of Apistogramma Cacatuoides in there but for some reason the tank was not large enough for the male to escape the remonstrations of the female and he spent his time hiding behind the spraybar or cowering in the corner. I don't know if he was sick or just henpecked but it was not a happy time. I did hear that Apistos can be a bit finicky and if you get them over the first couple of months all is good but it can be hit and miss up to that point. I do not know the truth in that, though I would have thought the tank was ideal for them. I had a great bit of redmoor root which formed a nice cave, there was pretty dense planting, no fish that would have caused a dwarf cichlid any concern, pH of 6.4 and temp at 26degrees. Anyway I took them back to the shop in the hope that someone else could give them a more successful environment.

Now I am keen to maintain the planted look though would be happy to simplify the planting somewhat, and I would like to keep the feel of a "community" aquarium, though it does not have to be as peaceful as it is currently (I understand the relationship between dither/target fish and cichlids). But what I feel the tank lacks is a focal point in terms of fish.

To that end I would like to keep a pair or whatever breeding setup most suits, of cichlids. I have seen and fallen in love with Cryptoheros Nanoluteus and would like to explore the options I have for keeping some in this tank. However, I am after lots of alternative suggestions of fish that are equally as beautiful and of a similar size. (Except Jewels as although they are lovely they are a bit "common" for my taste. Don't mean that rudely but having lived in New Zealand where every man and his dog bred them and sold them on Ebay, I would prefer to do something a bit different).

My water is currently soft and a low pH so I suppose that South Americans make most sense. Having said that I would be happy to adjust my water chemistry for the right fish.

Just to briefly summarise...

Medium size cichlids ... similar to Cryptoheros Nanoluteus
Will cohabit with dither/target fish and Corydoras
Will not uproot well chosen plants

Thanks ;)
Nitrivec
 
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Sussex

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Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby NeptunesNeighborhood » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:16 am

You might want to look into Kribensis (Pelvicachromis Pulcher), they do very well in planted tanks and the males max out around 4 or 5" (sorry inches lol). They can get very territorial during spawning but in my experience don't kill dithers, but will kill each other without dithers present. The Cacatuoides have a reputation of taking up less space than the Kribs during spawning (around 30cm), so if you don't think there was enough room for the apistos, you might want to avoid Kribs. I really love kribs and they have great personalities, but they are African, not new world, just not part of Malawi or Tanganyika
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Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby Nitrivec » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:38 pm

Thanks Nept... Anyone else got any ideas for me ? Would like to get as many suggestions as poss before making a decision.
Nitrivec
 
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby Nitrivec » Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:16 pm

No one got any suggestions other than Kribs and Apistogrammas ? Is that all my options are ?
Nitrivec
 
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby jaynuge » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:03 pm

Kribs would do well... along with Curviceps and Nannacara anomala. These are great dwarf cichlids and have great personality.
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Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby Nitrivec » Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:06 pm

jaynuge wrote:Kribs would do well... along with Curviceps and Nannacara anomala. These are great dwarf cichlids and have great personality.


But as I've said, I dont really want run of the mill fish. I am looking for something a bit less mainstream and thought that being a cichlid forum that people might have a few ideas other than bog standard fish. I guess not huh .
Nitrivec
 
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby CjCichlid » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:19 pm

175L = ~ 46 gallons...

A few questions...
What dithers are you wanting to use?
The Apistos will be removed, correct?
Are you looking for just a single pair of cichlids?

With an aquarium that size, I'd choose from the Archocentrus, Cryptoheros, or Thorichthys genus's. There are less commonly seen species within each one of those. I'd recommend you do a bit of research and see which species interests you most. You mentioned you liked Cryptoheros Nanos, why not go with them? A pair should do quite well in that sized aquarium. Start with a group of 6 juveniles and wait for a pair to form, then remove the extras.
-Chris

135gal Central American Community

Updates and pics: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=237760
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Re: Converting from Planted Community to Cichlids

Postby freedom » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:19 pm

There are a quite few that would fit into the "community." I would suggest you find the proper fish you think would make the focal point and just research them a bit. The main concern I would have is the plants. All mine are plastic or synthetic material. I know most are hard on live plants and love to dig. Good luck and please post what you decide.
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