Lake Malawi Species • Mbuna Pic N' Mix.......

Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.

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Mbuna Pic N' Mix.......

Postby Kaosone » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:09 pm

Hi,
I've been hammering the Mbuna profiles section to find a selection for my tank & have a couple of questions...

Do I need to have either all aggressive or non aggressive fish to keep a blance in my tank? (assuming aggressive fish will pick on non-aggressive).

If I use the "Search by species characteristics tool" I can select mbuna's of the same temperment,water hardness & diet etc, which gives me 100's of results....

I am aware that I shouldn't mix fish which look similar bacause of cross breeding but what else should & take into account - like mixing fish of the same "scientific name"?

EG: Cynotilapia afra (Cobue) & Cynotilapia afra (Chewere), both afra's different colours - or is it down to the fact they have similar markings?

ImageImage

Thanks,
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Postby Kanorin » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:53 pm

I am aware that I shouldn't mix fish which look similar bacause of cross breeding but what else should & take into account - like mixing fish of the same "scientific name"?


Correct. Not a good idea to mix two extremely related species (in this case one could even argue that they are two subspecies or variants of the same species).

There are a few reasons for this:
1) The males probably look similar enough that they will see each other as competitors for females. Result is agression between the males.
2) The females probably look similar enough that males from either species or subspecies will try to mate with either group interchangeably.
3) If you're interested in distributing fry, it will be impossible to tell which fry are hybrids and which are pure.

In your example, you post pictures of the males, but try looking at the females from each. I know I couldn't tell them apart!
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Postby DJRansome » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:45 pm

They are both cynos and both blue barred fish. I wouldn't do it.

I do mix cyno sp hara and demasoni. But the hara are almost white and the demasoni are almost black. I wouldn't come any closer in appearance than that.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
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75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
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Postby GoofBoy » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:55 am

Do I need to have either all aggressive or non aggressive fish to keep a blance in my tank?


Yes and no, note the Temperament v. Conspecific Temperament - some species will pretty much only beat on each other, Pseudotropheus demasoni comes to mind as an extreme example, a lot of more peaceful mbuna will do just fine as long as they are NOT blue barred. And other species will be holy terrors in the tank with anything in the same confined space - Melanochromis auratus and Metriaclima lombardoi come to mind, where every fish in the tank better be prepared to go to war if necessary - in this tank milder species may not work out as well, the more aggressive you go the more hit and miss it will be - highly aggressive you really want a 6ft tank or better for the best chance of success.

If trying mbuna for the first time I would seriously consider avoiding anything that is highly aggressive (or Extremely aggressive), because they are not kidding - please read 'odds are good that there will be some dead fish unless you really know what you are doing and are on top of it' when this is mentioned.

Also, some fish (C. Afra Cobue ,a Ps. Polit come to mind) may not color up and look like their pictures if they do not feel like top dog in the tank.

I am aware that I shouldn't mix fish which look similar bacause of cross breeding but what else should & take into account - like mixing fish of the same "scientific name"?


As stated - the warring factor is the biggest issue (to me at least). Picking different names e.g. Metriaclima, Cynotilapia, is a good start (except Pseudotropheus is a catch all so ignore for that name), but most important is the not looking alike recommendation.

If you narrow down a list of fish you like the looks of, the board can help you on what has the best chance of success among those species.

Good Luck.
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Postby Kaosone » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:08 am

Hi Thanks everyone, I'll read through these post over & over to get to grips with it.

So a good starting point for me would be to use the search tool to select the water hardness which my tap water is as standard, then select fish that are peaceful/mildly aggressive towards other species (as I cant mix the species together) & see what results I can find that don't look similar to each other?


This is what I'd come up with so far using the cookie cutter & posting in the forum....

Labidochromis Caeruleus
- http://www.cichlid--forum.com/profiles/ ... php?id=713

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Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" (Msuli)
- http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... p?id=1460/

Image

I was then toying with the idea of Pseudotropheus Saulosi - http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/species.php?id=1 , but was warned about the male yellow lab hybrdizing with the Saulosi females

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& as a 4th species I was recommended Melanochromis maingano, as there striped patterns don't match those of the Saulosi's

Image

I think the 1st 2 are a good starting point for the tank as the colours are a good contrast & there non-aggressive so should make for a peaceful environment. Next phase is to add some blue.

I don't know a lot about the Maingano as there isn't a profile on them I like the colour though. Are they compatible with the Labs & the Acei? Perhaps I could get another striped blue species instead of the Saluosi which doesn't have yellow females?
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Postby michebai » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:27 pm

I have Mainganos mixed in with Kennyi and they seem to be doing great.

The problem with the Mainganos is that is almost impossible to tell the sex of the fish. From what I have read, the females tend to have a lighter belly, but the only "sure" way of sexing them is to find a female holding fry.

In my experience, my Mainganos are semi-agressive, which works out well with my semi-agressive Kennyi females and my pretty agressive Kennyi male (the boss).

I hope this helps you in whether or not you choose the Maingano.
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Postby DJRansome » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:04 pm

There is a profile on them, they are Melanochromis Cyaneorhabdos. When you can't find a fish in the profiles list, just do "Find" and type in Maingano. It's the common name on the right.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
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Postby Floridagirl » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:58 pm

What size tank? 3 species is recommended for a 55, 4 could be done with a 75 or larger. If you can do 4, I would replace the Yellow Labs with Red Zebras. This gives you more color. You will have LOTS of Yellow with the Saulosi and Labs as Saulosi females are also yellow. Or, Replace the Saulosi with Demasoni and Giant Demasoni(Ps. Blue Dolphin).
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Postby promoe » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:27 pm

cobue and rusties look really good with acei.imo. the lab sp. textilus is pretty chill also one of my favs! for what its worth my cobue and lion mara hang with my perlmutt.my white top and orange cap are the only 2 species in my tank that seem to be extra agro.especially when the yellow top mbamba comes around.none of the mbunas are peaceful fish really.
personally i am tired of the labs,acei,maingano and saulosi cookie cutter theory.lol...man thats alot of blue and yellow!! i just dont see being happy with a tank/fish just like everybody elses.id pick the coolest species of fish in your eyes and go from there.like the cobue or chewere.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... p?t=197329
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Postby BurgerKing » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:56 pm

I'd suggest keeping the yellow lab and the acei. They are beautiful fish, look great together, and go well with just about any other Malawi cichlid. For the third species you could do a number of things, even keep some smaller peacocks. But since you said you wanted mbuna I'd recommend rusties or cynotilapia.

BTW, the research you're doing now is great, and will for sure pay off in the near future. Keep up the good work.
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Postby Kaosone » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:57 pm

Hi Guys, Thanks for the positive input................

My tank is a 260 Litres measuring 121 x 46 x 62 cm (48" x 18" x 25") - Do you think 4 species is pushing it & I should go for 3? I was told 4 would be ok. If I was going to go for 3 species instead of 4 would I just have to up the numbers of each species to keep the same total amount of fish in the tank?

It looks like I have a lot of choice's here. I could go with the Saulosi for blue & yellow, or ditch the Saluosi's in favour of yellow labs & Demasoni's - I take it I can't mix the Dem's with the Saulosi because of the similar colour/markings? Could I mix the Coube with either the Dem’s or Saulosi? There similar but not too similar.

I do like the maingano the females are nice as well which is probably why there hard to tell apart. So the problem here would be I could potentially add several maingano males into my tank as you cant sex them & when they matured they'd kill each other?

I've looked at the kenyi & it says they're difficult to keep, not recommended for beginners & highly aggressive so I've crossed them off my list. I also noticed that particular species come in a variety of colours & markings - Do they start off stripy & lose them as they mature? I also noticed that the "Red Zebras" come in blue, red, orange & orange & black, could I mix all these colours together as one species out of the potential 3 or 4 I put in my tank?

I must say I didn't know the whole Malawi/territorial thing was so complicated when I brought the tank (although now I am getting my head round it). I just figured you made caves for them & that was that. It's a good job I found this site & didn't just go by 15 "assorted Malawi cichlids" from my LFS. The deciding factor in not giving up & putting something else in the tank was that I'd spent £130 on the rock & already built the caves for them, so I am sure when it's stocked all this research will pay off!

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Postby Floridagirl » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:13 pm

Yes. Research is the key. As far as the Zebras, it's best to purchse from one collection point. If you can find they the Blue males, and Red females are nice. They are not really red, just brighter orange. You can usually find solid and Ob from the same collection point, as ell.

Someone else mentione Cynotilapia. The White topped Haras would look nice with the Yellow Labs, and Dems. The females are too similar to Acei to keep both in the same tank, IMO. The Haras don't get as big as the Acei, as well.

If you were going to try 4 species, I would suggest smaller fish. Saulosi, Rusties, maingano, and maybe Cyno Mwbeca could work. You'll eventually stumble on the perfect combination for you. Or...like most of us set up more tanks and move them around...lol
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Postby DJRansome » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:38 pm

Agree, four species. Avoid more than one blue barred species (don't mix saulosi, demasoni and cobue). Note that cobue need to be dominant if they are to color up well, and they are pretty timid.

When the maingano mature, just take out the main aggressor until you achieve peace. That's how you remove excess males. If you do the removing when fins first start being damaged and/or when fish first start hiding at surface/behind heaters/intakes you should not have a problem.

You might want to arrange your rockpile into smaller ones to create more territories. Right now it looks like you have a pile in the middle and open around the edges. Concern would be that one male would claim the whole thing and no territories for anyone else.

Think cubicles with substrate floor and rock walls, open tops. Break up line of sight between territories with rock piles. Make your caves and swim-throughs in the walls of the cubicles.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
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Postby Kaosone » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:32 pm

Thanks for that I was hoping 4 species was going to be the case, harder to choose but the end result will be better.

It's not really a rockpile I stacked larger pieces of rock up then used smaller pieces to bridges holes bigger holes between them making more entrances etc & create more hiding places as well as making it look more "natural". I guess it does look like a rock pile from the front.

I've taken more pictures from different angles showing all the entrances to the caves etc - Is this ok?

Image

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Postby canuckle » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:52 pm

Kaosone, I think your rockwork looks great! Just make sure you've got clearly different territories as well as hidey holes...the males will want to claim an area and keep it, so really obvious spots are best.
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