General African Cichlid Discussion • Populating my tank...

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Populating my tank...

Postby CichlidWhisperer » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:43 am

I have a 46 gallon (36 X 21 X 12.5 inches) bow front tank. So far, I have added Kenyii (1 male, 1 female), OB Zebra (I think 1 male, 1 female ), Super Red Hongi (1 male), OB Peacock (1 male), Sunshine Peacock (1 male).

In trying to plan out what to add, I have elimiated a few of my favorites: Blue Dolphins (although I have been trying to convince myslef this will work) and Frontosa.

I am still playing with the reality of adding one Duboisi as my husband really wants one. I am concerned of the size of the tank, but more so mixing a duboisi with mbuna. Does anyone have exerience with this, what do you think?

Otherwise I am considering: Yellow Labs (an obvious choice for this tank I think), Brichardi (would like a pair), and Black Calvus (would like a pair). Does anyone have any thoughts on these?

Other fish that my husband would like include an Electric Blue and some Julies?

Any comments or other suggestions would be welcome as well.

Thanks,
Carol
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Postby james1983 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:32 am

46 gallons gives you alittle to work with, but youre still limited on space. i wouldnt keep the kenyi because of agression. if your 2 brichardi's become a pair, theyll pretty much take over the tank, the electric blue (S.fryeri?) will get too big for a tank that size. also anything you have that has a 1m:1f ratio will be trouble since africans don't pair up. i really dont know much about the duboisi. you could possible get away with 2 or 3 species groups of 4. im not really good on stocking numbers though. also most peacocks are wimps and are recommended to be kept with more peaceful mbuna like acei, labs, and rusties.
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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:39 am

Actually the kenyii are some of the more peaceful of the bunch and the male is extremely friendly and inquisitive, one of my favorites. The hongi is the only one who even picks on anyone, but I have to admit, it is mostly on the sunshine peacock. He does ok though and does not appear stressed. The OB peacock (probably due to being part mbuna, part peacock) fits right in and hangs with the mbuna. I really do want a couple of brichardi. I had them in my old tank (120 gallon) and they were wonderful and sweet, never having any issue with them tormenting anything. I wonder if it is the size or simply a matter of luck. Maybe some are more docile than others?
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Postby MalawiLover » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:11 am

OK, Unfortunately you are already off to a rather bad start. Since the others have expressed their concrens over the cycling of the tank, I will move on to the stocking issues. Proper cycling is the most important part of a new tank. Your fish will not make it reguardless of compatability if the tank is not cycled.

You have too many fish already and many of them are not compatable with each other or for your tank size.

Kenyi and zebras are extremely aggressive and should really not be kept in anything smaller than a 75g 4ft tank.

They (like all Malawi cichlids, and many Tangs and Victorians)are harem breeders. This meens they need to kept in groups of 1 male and 3-5 females of each species. Too few females will cause the males to harass the females mercilessly, possibly to death.

Having lone males is also a recipe for disaster. You need to do either proper breeding groups, or go all male with one fish per species. Single males will fight for rights with the few females that are around, causing the females even more stress and violent, often deadly fights between the males.

Dolphins (Cyrtocara moori) and frontosa need at least a 6ft long tank as they get large and are open water swimmers. Fronts don't usually do well in a community setting with mbunas and once the fronts get big enough they will eat the smaller species. (I have seen a 10" front try to cjhoke down a 4" yellow lab...both fish died).

I would keep the duboisi out as well. Everybody like the little spots, but they lose those as they mature. Adult tropheus are quite beautiful as well, but many people are very disapointed that they loose the dots rather quickly. Tropheus are colony fish and can be very difficult for new cichlid keepers.

Any one of the species you currently have could easily claim the entire tank as his territory and try very hard to kick the rest out. With nowhere to go, the trespassers are often killed when they don't appear to be leaving.

Take a look at the cookie-cutter stocking selections in the Library section for your size tank (footprint is all that matters with these guys, height is often watsed space). The 29gallon is actually the closest footprint, since a 40g long tank (the next example option is a 4ft long tank with really does improve things alot. The bow in the fron, doesn't add much eith as the "run awway" distance is still only 36".

If you go with a Lake Malawi tank you could probably do two species (4-5 fish per species) of the moderate aggression level species, like Labs or the dwarf species like Ps. saulosi. A very good combination that is both attractive and active in a 42 bow woyuld be Yellow labs and Ps. demasoni (4-5 Labs and 12-14 demasoni)

For some Tang options, you could so some shelldwellers like multies (if you want a colony) or something like a pair of Occies (if you want more personality) and a pair of calvus/comps. Julies can get very, very cranky if they pair up and breed. I had an entire 30g tank (36"x12" footprint) get terrorized by a single pair of julies. All the other fish were chased up to the water line and had to stay behind the filter tube to escape being attacked. They now have their own tank.

Do not feel disheartened by all this. We were all in the exact same place when we strated our cichlid adventure.
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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:35 am

First of all, I appreciate you comments, but I do have a little more experience than you seem to realize. While I have not had any large tanks in about 3 years, I maintained both a 60 and a 120 gallon tank for years. I have kept duboisi in the past and am aware of the color changes and their difficulties, although can not remember how old they were and the details.

I have cycled the tank and my ammonia levels are zero, as are my nitrate. And I am familiar with normal fish care and setup!

My tank is small due to various reasons at the moment, but it is well filtered with 2 Fluval 305 filters and a biowheel. As you will notice above, I stated that in spite of really wanting them, I have chosen not to get frontosa or dolphins due to the size.

As far as your comments about the bow front, it does nto add a thing for the fish, but does add something for us humans, and that is why we chose it!

As for your suggestion to mix small shell dwellers with calvus, I recommend against it as there is a chance they will get munched on in the middle of the night.

Don't worry about me being disheartened. I simply think you missed my question and spoke about what you thought you knew about instead of what I was interested in learning.

Thanks for you time,
Carol
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Postby MalawiLover » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:19 pm

CichlidWhisperer wrote:First of all, I appreciate you comments, but I do have a little more experience than you seem to realize. While I have not had any large tanks in about 3 years, I maintained both a 60 and a 120 gallon tank for years.


Unless those other tanks were also african cichlids, very little will apply to your current situation. African are some of the most aggressive and most territorial cichlids out there when compared by size versus aggression levels. It is a whole different aspect of fish keeping that just can't be learned from community tanks. The basic husbandry skills will cross over, but in terms of stocking levels, species compatability and tank size cichlids are their very own beast.


I have kept duboisi in the past and am aware of the color changes and their difficulties, although can not remember how old they were and the details.


Good to know. I was just going on what you wrote in your original post. So many people have been very bummed when they change color that I just mention it out front each time.

I have cycled the tank and my ammonia levels are zero, as are my nitrate. And I am familiar with normal fish care and setup!


As I said before what is normal fish care with community tanks is not normal fish care for cichlids, especially africans.

If nitAte levels are zero you have a problem. Zero NitAtes are impossible. Even if your tank is extremely heavily planted with very light stocking, you will still have some readable nitrAtes.

My tank is small due to various reasons at the moment, but it is well filtered with 2 Fluval 305 filters and a biowheel. As you will notice above, I stated that in spite of really wanting them, I have chosen not to get frontosa or dolphins due to the size.


I completely understand physical space constraints. I have had to deal with it before as well. It is very good that you decided for the better to not have the dolphins or fronts, but the species you have chosen are no more suitable for a 36" long tank than the fronts and no amount of over filtering can solve the problem of tank size. The anmount of waste they produce is really quite secondary to the compatability issues.

As far as your comments about the bow front, it does nto add a thing for the fish, but does add something for us humans, and that is why we chose it!


I was speaking only in terms of fish territories from the fishes pint of view (which is unfortunately the only view that really matters with cichlids). I love bow fronts. My saltwater tank is a bow.

As for your suggestion to mix small shell dwellers with calvus, I recommend against it as there is a chance they will get munched on in the middle of the night.


The comps/ calvus don't get as many as you would thing. Shellies are quite fierce and my multi population is still booming despite a trio of comps. In fact I was hoping for some fry control, but the adult multies keep the comps well away from the shells. I may lose a few hear and there, but it not really noticable and if the comps are kept well fed they really try it half heartedly when they are bored.

Don't worry about me being disheartened. I simply think you missed my question and spoke about what you thought you knew about instead of what I was interested in learning.

Thanks for you time,
Carol



No, I didn't miss the question. You wanted to know what else you can put in this tank. The answer is nothing. You already have too many fish and those fish are mostly either incompatable with each other or with the tank size. If you cannot change the tanks size (due to space constraints), then you have to be willing to change the stocking to match the tank. It may work for a litle while, but it will not end pretty and you will most likely lose many fish in the process. You are welcome to do your tank anyway you want, but you asked for opinions and we gave them based on our knowledge and experience.
125gMale peacocks/haps
95g-Malawi Mbuna
55g-Mixed community
30g-x2 Grow out
12.5g-Fry
IS YOUR DECHLORINATOR WORKING??
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Postby CichlidWhisperer » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:37 pm

I didn't know I needed to tell you my entire history for you to not talk down to me and give helpful suggestions:

Most recently I had a 120 gallon and 60 gallon set up with Africans.

Tha 120 had Frontosa, Brichardi, Yellow Labs, Peacocks of various assortments, and some others, although I would have to look back at old pictures to specifically remember.

The 60 gallon was mostly Mbuna, with some lamp. Osc., and probably a few others as well.

Prior to these, I have had other African tanks, as well as various South American cichlids since I was a child (unfortunately way to long ago!) My first personal tank (appart from my parents) was a simple 10 gallon with Molly's, Sword fish, Neons, and some Albino Cory Cats.

I moved cross country and thus gave up my 120 gallon and 60 gallon tanks. I am finally setting up new tanks (have had small tanks with tropicals and betas, but nothing with cichlids in about 3 years.)

I ahve had tanks about 50 gallons and am familiar with how many fish I can put in and at what point a larger tank is needed for their growth. My tank is not overpopulated at all and with my filtration system and frequent water changes (I have always done 30% water changes weekly), I am confortable with knowing my capabilities.

I was symply looking for anyone with experience in mixing some of these fish and see how it worked out! I can tell you textbook-wise which fish should and should not be mixed, but I am interested in possibilities and practicality of what works and that is what my post is about. i am not looking to breed at this time, simply having a happy, healthy, interesting tank.

I am also not interested in arguing with you about this further. I really am looking for people with the experience of mixing these fish in a similar sized tank... and there are people out there with such (in fact I made a similar post in response to seeing someone with a 55 gallon with various of the same fish I am considering...)

In any case, I wish you well with your type of fish tanks and I think I will stick to the ones that I like..

Carol
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Postby MalawiLover » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:46 pm

CichlidWhisperer wrote:I didn't know I needed to tell you my entire history for you to not talk down to me and give helpful suggestions:


If you do not explain where you are coming form when you ask a question, we have to assume the lowest level of knowlegde. It is much wiser for us to give you info that you already have and go from there, then to assume you have vast experience and miss giving out something vital.

For you and your fish, I wish you luck finding people who have done the same thing and had it worklong term.
125gMale peacocks/haps
95g-Malawi Mbuna
55g-Mixed community
30g-x2 Grow out
12.5g-Fry
IS YOUR DECHLORINATOR WORKING??
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Postby Dave » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:52 pm

Okay, let's not get upset. We are only trying to help here. Honestly CichlidWhisperer, I was assuming your experience with Cichlids was pretty limited based on your choices and questions. That aside, the entire point of the post is this:
...but I am interested in possibilities and practicality of what works and that is what my post is about.


Malawilovers' position and mine as well, is that your current setup is not practical, and the possibility for success is low, so adding more fish and creating an even greater mixture in this particular tank is likely pushing things too much. Honestly, I think you will enjoy your tank more if you stock it more appropriately, than to try to have your old tanks vicariously through this one. I am in the same boat as you, so to speak. I moved last year and sold off all my tanks, including my 6'-135 gallon, my breeding Zaire fronts, everything. I am chomping at the bit to get back into things, but it is slow going.

If you really want a mixture of fish, I think it can be done, just not with most of the fish you are starting out with.

Something that I tried successfully in a 58 breeder was several singletons that included one each of brichardi, julie, leleupi, calvus, eureka peacock, yellow lab, and a small group of N. multifasciatus. It can be done, but of the fish you are currently stocking, I would recommend keeping the Hongi and the sunshine peacock only.
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