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New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby daviddj » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:46 am

Hi All,

I am in the process of setting up the above tank having kept a reef tank for the past 12 years. The room in the pic was essentially a tank room dedicated to running the display tank which was only viewable from the other side where it is a hole in the wall tank. This room will hopefully now become a small sitting room with the tank viewed from both sides. To that end I want to set up a vibrant, colorful, quiet and easily maintained tank. I have no problems with the technical aspects of setting the system up but want to get my stocking right. The entire 5ft is usable as the overflow portion on the right is extra and I will be using that to locate heaters and external filter intakes.

After lots of reading (especially here) and googling I have come up with the following stock list; I am trying hard to stay focussed on what I want and not get sidetracked into adding this and that!!

Pseudotropheus saulosi
Pseudotropheus sp Acei
Labidochromis cearuleus
Cynotilapia sp Hara
Iodotropheus sprengerae
and 4 or 5 Synodontis Lucipinnis or similar

Can you make suggestions, give opinions, advice and suggest the numbers and sex ratio of each I should aim for.

Thanks in advance!!

Image
5x2x2: Mainganos, Rusties, Yellow Labs, Perlmutts, Acei, Petricolas
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Kanorin » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:23 am

The stocklist you listed would probably be ok, but for a show tank, it's very heavy on yellow and blue and I think you could get some additional nice eye-popping colors in there. A few options that keep most of your list intact.

Option 1:
M. sp. msobo or m. sp. "membe deep"
Pseudotropheus sp Acei (aka Ps. elegans, try to find the itungi or ngara variants)
Labidochromis cearuleus (nkhata bay)
Cynotilapia sp Hara
Iodotropheus sprengerae
and 4 or 5 Synodontis Lucipinnis or similar

Option 2:
saulosi (they have a new genus now, but I can't remember the name)
Pseudotropheus sp Acei (aka Ps. elegans, try to find the itungi or ngara variants)
Labidochromis cearuleus (nkhata bay)
Cynotilapia sp Hara
Iodotropheus sprengerae
and 4 or 5 Synodontis Lucipinnis or similar

Option 3:
saulosi or msobo or membe deep
Labeotropheus trewavasae or fuelleborni (I like the red top variants like thumbi west)
Labidochromis cearuleus (nkhata bay)
Cynotilapia sp Hara
Iodotropheus sprengerae
and 4 or 5 Synodontis Lucipinnis or similar

Male : Female ratios for most species aim for about 1:4. For the labs it's often ok if they are 1:3 or even 1:2, for metriaclima and labeotropheus go 1:5 or 1:6.
125G: C. aurifrons (luwino), trewavasae (thumbi west), saulosi, caeruleus (nkhata), rusties, S. multipunctatus.
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby daviddj » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:34 am

Kanorin, that's exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for, thanks. What would your advice on overall and group numbers be?
5x2x2: Mainganos, Rusties, Yellow Labs, Perlmutts, Acei, Petricolas
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Biciclid » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:59 am

Hi, I have recently set up two tanks with most of the species you mention as you can see in my signature, the 1st tank is coming along nicely (4 females did some holding but spat early as i think they often do the 1st time), 2nd tank put juvies in a week ago. In a big tank like yours I would definitely put the acei in, they look great and are the least likely to cause problems. I aggree that you should go either the yellow labs or the saulosi. It is a difficult one as, for "yellowness" alone I prefer the labs but the saulosi have the blue barred males that look great. If you get a bunch of these you could do 3m and a lot of females, this way you could skip the Cynotilapia (again I love mine but females are no great lookers) and maybe go for Labidochromis Perlmutt. I find thd pearl white with yellow fins of the males and the pearl white with black bars of the females makes for a lot of variety and contrasts well with most of the other mbuna and the scape that tends to be dark (although if your tank is viewable from both sides this may not be the case). I would chose between the rusties (i like them to the point of being the only species i have in both tanks) and the labeotropheus where you have great chice of either the red variants or the mcat/ob ones. Again for the sake of visual interest i would consider a striped fish, I went for Mainganos hoping them to be the least psychos of the lot. These are all pretty mainstream species, there are lots of other interesting ones but availability may vary. To recap if I had to limit myself to one tank I would probably have Acei, saulosi, perlmutt, labeotropheus and maingano; but as many on this forum will confirm the Malawi bug tends to get worse and worse so one tank no matter how big is never enough. Ciao from Italy
110gal Yellow Labs, yellowtail Acei, Rusties, C afra Jalo Reef, L trewavasae Chilumba
100gal Saulosi, Perlmutt, Maingano, Rusties, OB zebras
65gal Apisto Borelii, Hongsloi, Oto, BN, hatchet and pencilfish, tetras
45gal Fantail
15gal Taiwan Bee Shrimp
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Aaron S » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:42 pm

I agree with bicichilids recommendation based on the starting fish you suggest. I would probably switch the saulosi to yellow labs if you are getting the maingano though because you will have already gotten a fish that has the gorgeous blue/black contrast and the yellow labs yellow/black contrast is very striking.
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Biciclid » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:01 pm

Aaron S wrote:I agree with bicichilids recommendation based on the starting fish you suggest. I would probably switch the saulosi to yellow labs if you are getting the maingano though because you will have already gotten a fish that has the gorgeous blue/black contrast and the yellow labs yellow/black contrast is very striking.

Yup... Decisions decisions decisions, the only answer is to get more tanks so you can have them all. Failing that I don't think you will regret choosing either the labs or the saulosi. Although the yellow with black fins of the labs looks great I do think there is a point in having the latter with mainganos, yes they are both blue and black but the male saulosi has (vertical) bars while the mainganos have (horizontal) stripes with the females looking a little lighter and the males darker. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Regardless of the species selection I think the rockscape will need some planning as few "serious" mbuna tanks are set up to be viewed from both long sides. Ciao
110gal Yellow Labs, yellowtail Acei, Rusties, C afra Jalo Reef, L trewavasae Chilumba
100gal Saulosi, Perlmutt, Maingano, Rusties, OB zebras
65gal Apisto Borelii, Hongsloi, Oto, BN, hatchet and pencilfish, tetras
45gal Fantail
15gal Taiwan Bee Shrimp
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Kanorin » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:15 pm

Are all of the above species available to you via LFS or otherwise? We might be able to help narrow down based on what is available.
125G: C. aurifrons (luwino), trewavasae (thumbi west), saulosi, caeruleus (nkhata), rusties, S. multipunctatus.
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby daviddj » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:23 pm

Thanks all, some food for thought there. Bicichlid - I will be going something with the rockwork over the next few days and will post pictures for critical analysis! I don't know if I would term it a a "serious" tank :)
Kanorin - I don't know what my LFS can get me. I want to have a list, and am prepared to wait. It's too easy to give into impulse or poor advice when you're standing I front or tanks of potential tankmates. This is something I learned from reef keeping!!
5x2x2: Mainganos, Rusties, Yellow Labs, Perlmutts, Acei, Petricolas
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Biciclid » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:58 pm

Sounds like a good plan, good things coming to those who wait and all that... By "serious" I just mean tanks that are aimed at fulfilling the fish's requirements rather than the fishkeeper's quirks. As mentioned you have been doing, being myself a recently converted to mbunas I did a fair bit of browsing and have seen a fair number of stunning rockscapes then swiftly proceeded to do something probably not very "trendy" and then did it again but worse with the second tank. I think on one hand you have to give heed to the advice of the folks on this site who have the experience derived from having kept the little blighters for years, on the other every tank is like a different microsystem, what works in one may not work in another and the only way to find out is to try. Good thing is that, unless you buy really expensive artificial modules and you silicone them to the tank, it is easy to shuffle the rocks about. Probably with a tank like yours the temptation would be to put a thin ridge of rocks along the middle line of the tank but I wonder if this may not give the fish enough cover to make them feel safe. With your setup I would probably pile as much rock as possible up both short sides then do one or two big piles in the middle. In the few months I have been keeping these fish I have appreciated how much they enjoy having plenty of rocks to dart among but hopefully folks who have succesfully set up room divider tanks can give you more experience based advice. Ciao
110gal Yellow Labs, yellowtail Acei, Rusties, C afra Jalo Reef, L trewavasae Chilumba
100gal Saulosi, Perlmutt, Maingano, Rusties, OB zebras
65gal Apisto Borelii, Hongsloi, Oto, BN, hatchet and pencilfish, tetras
45gal Fantail
15gal Taiwan Bee Shrimp
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby DJRansome » Fri Sep 30, 2016 6:40 pm

IME the acei and hara are a similar mid-blue color. I decided to eliminate one in my tank...the acei made an exit. Nothing wrong with keeping them together...I just wanted a more dramatic contrast.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Petricola
55G Chrysonotus; 38G Demasoni
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Maingano; 33G Cobue
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby daviddj » Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:03 am

Ah yes Bicichlid, rockwork..... TBH I could probably do with some direction here too. After lots of googling malawi biotopes and aquascapes I am amazed at how artificial and sterile so many look. I though I would save a load of pictures and use them for inspiration; I saved two!! This is one of them...

Image

While to me it looks natural, I dont know how close it is to ideal for the fish. If anyone here can point me to a picture of tank-scape that would be considered ideal cichlid real estate I'd appreciate it. Selling the idea of a tank full of algae covered rock after coming from a reef tank might be a tough one. :)
5x2x2: Mainganos, Rusties, Yellow Labs, Perlmutts, Acei, Petricolas
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Biciclid » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:03 am

As you rightly say coming frim a reef tank, or in my case a heavily planted one (that I still have...) setting up a malawi scape seems a bit wierd with no "life" to soften the edges or cover a multitude of sins, what you see is what you get (with a few uninspiring brown algae thrown in). Rather than looking at pictures of tanks for inspiration I watched plenty of youtube videos from the lake and what you see is loads of ugly brown algae covered boulders piled on top of each other with very little sand/silt. But the fish continually dart in and out of all the nooks and crannies so I decided that, although the end result was going to look artificial, I was going to pile on as many rocks (straight from the paddock outside) with as many interlinked "caves" as possible. Although aesthetically questionable at least for now it seems to be working for the fish, they spend most of the time darting in and out and seem to br swimming "with a purpose" rather than hanging midwater looking bored and with nowhere to go, as you see in videos of tanks with "mininmal chic" rockscapes. Some have said that once all the fish get fully mature one continuous rockscape can cause problems as the top dog will claim it all for himself, having separate piles may prevent that. If that proves to be the case it will be back to the drawing board for me.
Here is my 6 foot tank, again the rockscape looks artificial and clumsy but I can live with it as the fish seem to have a behaviour that appears "natural". I am not saying this is the right way to go about it, just my 2 (euro) cents. Ciao

Image
As mentioned I did even worse with the second tank, even bigger rocks!
110gal Yellow Labs, yellowtail Acei, Rusties, C afra Jalo Reef, L trewavasae Chilumba
100gal Saulosi, Perlmutt, Maingano, Rusties, OB zebras
65gal Apisto Borelii, Hongsloi, Oto, BN, hatchet and pencilfish, tetras
45gal Fantail
15gal Taiwan Bee Shrimp
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:12 am

Ideal rockscape? That's a good question, but you may get 2 schools of thought on that.

The fish will not care if you load the tank with rocks or fake castles from the LFS. Since you're looking at mbuna you'll want to add 'structure' from one of the tank to the other. You could head to the hardware store and buy concrete pavers then stack them together to create 'caves' and territories. Similar to this photo-

Image

But this is unnatural and boring, IMO. I feel that if you're setting up a cichlid tank for a display in your home, then you should take the opportunity to create a small piece of nature. Kind of like the picture you linked. I choose the same type and color of rock. I like a monster boulder that can stand on its own, then build around that. Although algae covered rocks set against a dark background may not excite everyone, it will showcase the fish perfectly.

This is my all time favorite rockscape. Again, it's for mbuna, so appropriate for what you're trying to do-


And Bicichlid gave good advice about watching a dive video from Malawi. But I believe you can achieve something that does look natural and not strictly artificial. We cannot fit Cadillac sized boulders into our tanks. But we can replicate the edge of reef as it tapers off into the sandy, deep stretches. Here's a dive vid-

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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby daviddj » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:52 am

Iggy - The 700L biotope was the other scape I saved!! They look easy but when you go to try and replicate them..... I'm thinking there must be some golden ratio of relative sizes that gives a look thats "natural" at any scale.
5x2x2: Mainganos, Rusties, Yellow Labs, Perlmutts, Acei, Petricolas
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Re: New to Cichlids 5x2x2 tank

Postby Biciclid » Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:15 am

Usually the "ratio" that visually seems more natural to the eye is the one that follows the "rule of thirds" that often photographers use for composing their shots. Probably your camera and your smartphone have a "rule of thirds" grid that you can use to view your tank with that superimposed. What kind of rocks are you thinking to use? As Iggy said the fish will not care what you use, as long as they are not sharp. I would avoid lace limestone (texas holey rock) as I think it looks really fake. Colour is relatively irrelevant as they will probably get covered in dark algae (mine are already a lot darker than in the photo above) unless your favourite pastime is scrubbing rock. The good thing owf spending 4 weeks or so cycling the tank is that you have plenty of time tinkering with the rocks, just make sure you put some eggcrate or similar on the bottom of the tank to prevent expensive accidents if a rock takes a tumble. Ciao
110gal Yellow Labs, yellowtail Acei, Rusties, C afra Jalo Reef, L trewavasae Chilumba
100gal Saulosi, Perlmutt, Maingano, Rusties, OB zebras
65gal Apisto Borelii, Hongsloi, Oto, BN, hatchet and pencilfish, tetras
45gal Fantail
15gal Taiwan Bee Shrimp
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