South American Cichlids • New hobbyist seeking advice!

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New hobbyist seeking advice!

Postby Hamish » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:42 am

Hey all,

I'm a brand new fishkeeper picking up the hobby around 2 months ago, and have learnt a lot from this great website during the past two months. :thumb:

I currently have 4 tanks;

15g- A pair of blue rams. They spawned for the first time four days ago (around 100 eggs) but ate them all within 2 days :-?

15g- A pair of Cockatoo Cichlid and a gold fish

35g- a pair pf Blue rams and tetras

50g- Mixture of tetras, blue rams, a pair of agassizii tefe, a pair of cacatuoides super orange, 5 dwarf gouramis

Here come the questions :D

1.) Why did my pair of blue rams in the 15g eat all their eggs? An employee from a LFS told me they have a tendency of eating their own eggs when they're stressed or feel threatened (I was so excited about the spawn I spent a considerable amount of time staring at the spawn site and taking pictures :P ). He said me being too close to the tank was the main reason they ate their eggs and in the future I should stay well away from the tank when they spawn. He also advised me that if i wanted to peek, i should do it a couple of feet away. Can anyone confirm this?
Here's a pic of the spawn site

2.) I'm planning on buying my 5th and final tank in a week or so (although my wife's not too happy about it :lol: ) I'm leaning towards a Juwel Rio 400 (a little over 100g/ 151cmx 51cmx62cm) and will be adding extra filtration and co2 cannister; its going to a densely planted tank. Will i be able to accommodate 5-6 pairs of dwarf cichlid of different specimens along with 2-3 schools of tetras?
Possible stock list:
a pair of Pelvicachromis taeniatus " Bandewouri
a pair of Ap. hongsloi II
a pair of Blue rams
a pair of Ap. agassizii "fire red"
a pair of Ap. paucisquamis

3.) Would co2 lower the ph substantially? I have installed a RO filter a month ago (ph reads a little less than 5 from the tap). I'm concerned if I do add co2 to my new tank my ph would be way too low.

Any suggestions and advices will be greatly appreciated :)

Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:10 pm

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Postby DeadFishFloating » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:57 am

Nice looking tanks.

Hahahahaha 5th and last tank...I see more coming if you've only been in the hobby a couple of months and have 4 already, and am planing a 5th.
Dwarf Cichlids. Big personalities in small packages.
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Postby Toby_H » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:55 am

I'm planning on buying my 5th and final tank in a week or so


I remember buying my 5th and final tank… but my 6th and final tank was nicer… but you should have seen my 8th and final tank, it was nice… but not as big as my 11th and final tank…

1) Young pairs often make a few mistakes along the road to parenthood. To put it simply, they’re new and not good at it yet. In time they will learn the ropes, get more comfortable and less stressed out. It sounds like your LFS employee was on the right track.

2) I’ll leave a stocking critique to those more experienced with Dwarves…

3) I’m no old pro with plants either and have never set up a CO2 system… Although I do have very soft water out of the tap, I usually say the PH is around 6 because people get a little weird if I admit it’s actually lower than that. My SA/CA Cichlids do fine in such water and spawn readily. I think your soft water Dwarves will do just fine even at such a low value. Plus keep in mind that PH is read on a ratio chart, not a linear chart. So the difference between 5 and 6 is 10 times the difference between 6 and 7... So although it doesn’t take much to swing a 7 to a 6... It takes 10 times that to take a 6 to a 5... And 10 times that to take a 5 to a 6... I would start the CO2 and simply monitor things closely when you do…
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Postby cichlidaholic » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:30 am

I can't help you with the Co2 system, but I just wanted to say that your tanks are stunning!

Oh, and a big "yeah, right" to the 5th and final tank! :lol:

110G - Perspicax Red Top Ndumbi, Demasoni, Yellow labs, Metriaclima Callainos

Check out the blog on the home page if you haven't already!!!
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Postby DeadFishFloating » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:40 am

I'm just wondering where he's managing to fit all his tanks in his unit. Hong Kong is notorius for lack of space, lot's of high rises with small units.

So he may only have room for 5 tanks.
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Postby Big Vine » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:38 pm

Well, the one's he's got so far all look fantastic! :thumb:
75 gal. - 11" tiger oscar
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Postby Dutch Dude » Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:39 pm

Just new in the hobby :o Well I'm stunned! Your tanks do look very nice and look to be of someone who knows what he is doing!

So some comment:
A CO2 unit WILL lower the PH. If you add pure RO water and set up a CO2 unit you can expect troubles. So for a proper advice we need to know the PH, KH and GH of your tap water. I suggest a mix of tapwater and RO water and adding the CO2 unit but all depends on the tap water what the mix will be.

Rams indeed are known for eating eggs especially inexperienced fish.

Be careful with the Jewel tanks. They are cheap and so is the quality. The smaller tanks are know for leaking over here. The Rio 400 is of a bit higher quality but uses thin glass. The bottom plane is OK but the front and sides are on the edge. I suggest a bit higher quality tank. If you plan on several dwarfs you won't need a high tank but you need to have a large footprint.

In your fish list I'd definitely remove the Pelvicachromis taeniatus. At first they don't belong in the set up but more important,...they are larger and more aggressive during spawning as the other fish. They easily can swallow a Apisto.

I suggest to add 2 harum's of Apisto's (1 male and 2 or 3 female). I expect 3 harum's to be to much. So I suggest the 2 harems of apisto's and a pair of Rams. This leaves you with plenty of room for a nice large school of tetras. Keep in mind that 3 diferent tetras of the same type probably become one large school. Maybe it is more interesting to have one large school of a certain specie like Cardinal tetra,...say 40 of them and a school of 15 Hatchet fish and a nice school (20) of dwarf Coridoras like the Hastatus. That should be an interesting set up I think. Keep in mind that you need to place more caves as apisto's.
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Postby Hamish » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:42 pm

Thanks for the comments/suggestions all :thumb:

I'm pretty sure this is going to my last tank (at least for a while lol) because like Deadfishfloating said, most of us do live in apartments due to the lack of space. Plus my wife's not too thrilled about me buying my 5th tank in a little over two months :roll: . Ironically she was the one that got me into the hobby lol. She bought my son 2 gold fish in a tiny fish bowl around 2 months ago. I couldn't bare seeing the gold fish living in such a small area; hence my first 15g tank :D .

nc_nutcase: I never really check the gh/kh of my water. I was told by the guy who installed the ro filter that the lower the ph, the softer the water will be, is this correct?. Right now i usually do 70% ro water 30% tap water for water changes. I also let the water sit for 3 days prior to the water change; I dont like using dechlorinators.
Regarding the Blue rams, how often do they spawn? Some people told me once evry two weeks, others said over a month? I placed more slate to the bank of the tank with plant cover. Out of line of sight from the front of the tank. Hopefully they'll feel less stressed there and stop eating the darn eggs :P

Dutch dude: I was always under the impression that Pelvicachromis taeniatus are around the same size as apistos, or a little bigger. I didn't know they could actually eat an apisto. Lucky I read your post in time as I was going to place an order for a pair today.
Regarding Juwel tanks, I was told (by the salesman) that they are pretty good tanks. I asked about a customized tank of the same size(the shop i go to makes customized tanks too), which would actually cost more than the Jewel Rio 400. But the salesman told me to stick with Jewel Rio 400. Any thoughts on this? Anyone out there have any experience with Juwel 400 tank? I leaning towards a all in one tank, adding extra filtration, co2 etc. What brands do you recommand other than Juwel?

Many thanks in advance :thumb:
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:10 pm

Postby Dutch Dude » Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:16 pm

I'm sorry,...P. taeniatus is indeed a small size and same size as the Apisto's. My mistake! So they wont fit an apisto in their mouth. But,...I don't think it is wise to put in so many species of dwarfs in your tank.

Abouth Jewel, thickness is realy on the edge, cheap stands made of chipboard but also cheap to buy. MP (nowadays Eheim) does have a better qualety tank (larger glass thickness) is a bit more expensive but does have the same qualety crappy chipboard stand. I don't know what is available over there. Why would he recommend the Jewel above his own product? Jewel tanks are the low budget tanks over here. Ooh by the way,....the internal filters aren't that good and I would rather go for a large canister,...or 2.

I have a MP tank (rock solid 12mm glass) of 90 gallon, the other 2 show tanks and the 50 gallon grow out tank are bough glass tanks and I build the stands and hoods my selves. I also replaced the MP stand for a self build stand. So for me it is hard to give you a good recommendation on brands that are sold over there. Watch out for chipboard stands. They do bend over time and troubles realy begin when you spill water or have a leakage. Chipboard will disintegrate when it becomes wet. Take a look at the glass thickness and the silicone bond! Maybe someone local can give you a better advice on a reliable brand. If a 20 gallon will leak,....well you get wet feet and have quit some work on cleaning. When a 110 gallon tank leaks you will know it before you enter the house!
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Postby DirtyBlackSocks » Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:47 pm

For being 2 months in you've done really really really well for yourself - I didn't have tanks looking that good until I was at least 2-3 years into things.

I'm jealous :P
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Postby bernie comeau » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:56 pm

nc_nutcase wrote: Plus keep in mind that PH is read on a ratio chart, not a linear chart. So the difference between 5 and 6 is 10 times the difference between 6 and 7... So although it doesn’t take much to swing a 7 to a 6... It takes 10 times that to take a 6 to a 5... And 10 times that to take a 5 to a 6...

I know this is a little off topic, but there is no greater difference in magnitude going from pH 7 down to 6 as aposed to pH 6 down to 5. In either case it is 10 times more H+ ions and 10 times less OH- ions. pH is a measure of H+ ions; the pH number indicates the concentration of H+ ions to its negative power ( and consequently OH- ions).

I guess the distinction is that pH 5.0 is already very acidic for an aquarium and one might not expect pH to drop too much beyond that (?) I dunno, I guess it might depend on how soft the water is but I have no experience with either acidic or soft water. The fish you have stocked do come from waters that can be even more acidic then pH 5.0, so lower pH would probably be just fine as long as it can remain stable; a rapid change in pH, on the other hand could potentially be deadly.
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Postby has_808 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:39 am

Very very nice tanks ... From my experience with dwarfs, I had a well planted 25 long show tank with a variety of dwarfs including peacocks and gold / blue rams ( which were always my fav ) with co2. In my observation whenever the rams have eggs around and they become stressed, they do tend to go and eat them. As for the co2, i would also recommend testing your tap for appropriate levels. The waters PH should lower if you add Co2
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Re: New hobbyist seeking advice!

Postby DCguy » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:02 pm

Hamish wrote:
Will i be able to accommodate 5-6 pairs of dwarf cichlid of different specimens along with 2-3 schools of tetras?

What do you want to get from the tank? If your objective is to fully observe the social interactions, mating, breeding, fry care, etc. of any species then you are best off with a single species.

If you want to enjoy watching several different species interacting with both its own species and others while attempting to create an environment that will allow for successful spawning and fry rearing, I think three species would be about it.

If you just want to enjoy a community tank of dwarfs without any particular desire to breed them you can easily have 6 - 10 species in this size tank. However, at this level you will have a tank that does not allow the fish to interact in natural ways.

The species list you provided includes three apistos, rams and a west african species. It is possible that you could put these five species together into the tank. However, if you want to observe pairing and breeding it will be critical that you aquascape as though you are working with a number of small tanks instead of a large tank. By this I mean that you need to provide a lot of distinct seperate territories that are ispolated from each other. If you can provide 6 or 8 of these small clearings with complex habitats and plenty of caves it my be possible to create a tank that gets divided up by the different types of fish. If you want to go with a typical aquascaping based on large features with a large common open area in the front you will not be able to achieve the number of isolated teritories that each of the species will need. However, they should coexist fine and it is likely that the more dominate fish will reproduce.

For complete information on dwarf cichlids visit
Your source for practical information on keeping, breeding and buying dwarf cichlids
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Postby Hamish » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:30 pm

Hey guys
After much thinking i decided to stick with a Juwel 400 :lol: . Here are a few pics





Hey Has808 and DCguy
5 pairs does seem too much as I do want them to breed. I'm really hoping i can fit 4 pairs in. My tank dimesions are 151cmx 51cmx62cm. Judging from the pics do you think i'll be able to fit 4 pairs?
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Postby Hamish » Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:50 pm

Here's a brighter pic.

Now the waiting begins :( I'm dying to stock my tank. With my 4 other tanks i always used Red eye tetras (very hardy fish; never had a problem) along with SeaChem Stability. I would add the recommended dosage everyday for a week then do a 50% water change (nitrate seems to have sky rocketed everytime i used Stability) Perhaps I've added too much?

I want to go fishless this time but I can't ammonia in pure form. I've been to a lot of fish stores and none seems to sell them. Where else should I look besides fish stores?

Oh btw Dutch dude Pelvicachromis taeniatus do grow to 8-9 cm. So you were right they might be able to munch on smaller apistos?

And sorry for the double post =P

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