Aaron S wrote:I am a really cheap person, so I understand the need to be realistic about costs. When asking for advice of the type you are asking for, I find it helpful to know where the person is coming from; so I will tell you that I have a 125gal with placidochromis phenochilus tanzania and labidochromis caeruleus. I used to have a terrible mix of randomly selected mbuna and my wife said "the fish are too mean", so when I upgraded in size I tried to get "nicer" fish (which she still says the yellow labs are too mean by the way).
So you will first have to figure out what kind of fish you want in your tank and what I can say is the best way to decide that is to ask a few questions:
1. How much movement do I want in a tank? (have you seen a beta fish in a tank? Have you seen spastic danio's or mbuna?)
2. Is the size of fish important?
3. How aggressive is OK? (this one is particularly important to your current situation - and is best described by examples of unacceptable aggression levels)
4. There are probably others...but that is all I can think of right now.
One thing you may not have considered based on your comments is to ask yourself do you enjoy watching the fish grow/mature? A large portion of the cichlids in the hobby will show color changes and behavioral changes as they mature and I find that aspect to be really amazing and one of the most fulfilling parts of owning the fish. I have no interest in buying fish that are not juveniles anymore because I miss most of that change.
I ABSOLUTELY enjoy the joy of watching/experiencing the "growing up" phase...to a point. I've tried to research online how long Lake Malawi cichlids take to grow from juvies to at least the color-morphic stage, but I haven't been able to find a that information. I do anticipate probably 40% water changes no less often than bi-weekly
Admittedly, if it would be 18 months for any noticable coloring to appear, I suppose I wouldn't be thrilled with that option. Perhaps thats why I'm drawn to the Young Adults as they still have 3-6+ months before full, mature coloration.