General African Cichlid Discussion • New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

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New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Drew31 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:49 pm

No idea if I'm in right forum or where I should be, so excuse the ignorance.

2 weeks ago, made a spur of moment decision and embarked on a 75G Cichlid Tank in addition to my 29G community. So, LFS "helped" w/ advice on getting it set up. Got it all set up on a Sat and w/ advice from store put 3 cichlids in on Sun to start the cycle. Since then I've learned much more on nitrogen cycle and fishless cycling, but that's where I'm at currently. I'm monitoring water quality, and planning first water change tomorrow. Fish seem to be doing fine. Been doing lots of research online since then. FilstarXP-L is my filter. Based on research I'll probably need to add more filtration eventually. Gravel substrate and using lots of Texas Holey Rock and Lace Rock, w/ a few fake plants. Still working thru that piece.

I'm a few weeks away from putting in more cichlids, but trying to do a better job planning ahead and thinking this thru. I've been advised I can fit ~15 cichlids in there(?) I'm most interested in color & behavior. Breeding doesn't interest me. Since it's my first cichlid tank, probably behooves me to stay on more peaceful side of things. I would like to have a bottom feeder as I like those & based on location, will probably need an algae eater.

So here's the 3 fish I have now:

Yellow Lab
Strawberry Peacock
Placidochromis electra

Now, I've since learned it's a general no-no to mix the Mbuna & Haps/Peacocks, which I've already done. That said, it seems if you're going to mix, the Yellow Labs have a greater chance of success. I do like them.

So my thought here is make the yellow lab my only mbuna, but since they do better in groups (from what I've read), add 3-4 more to have 4 or 5 total. The rest I'd stick to Peacocks/Haps. Listing a few that I'm looking at, but this is no where near an exhaustive list...just a few the store mentioned. I'm struggling to find some of the more recommended ones on the site at the store...difficult to reconcile names on some.

Aulonocara maulana (Store refers to as Bicolor Peacock)
Aulonocara sp "Lwanada" (Store name Lwanda Peacock)
Aulonocara koningsi (Store name Regal Peacock)
Aulonocara kandeense (Store name Kandee Blue)
Otopharnyx lithobates (Store name Yellow Blaze Lithobate)

As for Bottom Feeders/Algae Eaters, I've been recommended Clown Loaches & Chinese Algae Eaters as potential choices. From what I've read, clown loaches are hit and miss and do get large. Better choice seems to be the syndontis. The CAE can be problematic as adults. Also not sure numbers on these and if they count above or within the 15 cichlids.

Appreciate any advice or calling out anything I'm missing....obviously new to this.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:12 pm

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

All male is a challenging tank for your first one...and you will want extra tanks to rehome misfits until you reach stability in a year or two. Read the all-male article in the Cichlid-forum Library.

I would consider adding females to the males you have and doing a mixed gender tank. 1m:4f of each works well. Female haps and peacocks are silver or drab.

For all male you want no look alikes...so maybe one blue peacock. The kandeense is too timid to color up well in an all-male tank.

I like 12 adults in a 75G. The 5 Synodontis lucipinnis or multipunctatus are on top of that.

Don't add fish until your tank is cycled. Ideally I would return the 3 you have temporarily and do a fishless cycle with ammonia. Allow six weeks.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Drew31 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:26 pm

Thank you! Excuse my ignorance as I ask some follow up questions to make sure I'm clarifying.

Think I get what you mean regarding the all male tank and issues it can cause (plus from reading the article)

So... the idea w/ the mixed gender is it's generally less bickering, but you lose out on a the color with the females? So I might only have ~4 males w/ great color?

IF I go the more difficult route w/ all male tank, I need to just be prepared for quarantines/returns/etc. until harmony is established? Upside to this route is more color?

IF I go the all male route, make sure to keep them distinct looking to avoid aggressiveness? 1 of each color ideally.

How does my yellow lab mbunas fit into this. 4-5 of (male? female? mix?) plus whatever I do w/ the peacocks or haps

Appreciate the help.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:33 pm

Another thought. If you go all mbuna mixed gender you get 100% brilliant fish and none of the problems with all-male haps and peacocks.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:30 am

Have you 'stole' any media from your 29gal filtration to jumpstart the 75?
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Drew31 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:50 pm

Hey Iggy- No, I’ve not but that would have been a good idea had I been thinking!

Ammonia down to 0 but got the nitrites at moment. Using prime/water changes and stability for whatever it’s worth.

I do have a feeling I may be on the path of all male peacock/hap tank with a group of yellow lab Mbunas so working towards setting up a sponge filter for when I eventually have to QT.

I like the 3 I currently have so trying to proceed in most realistic manner.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:11 am

Not too late to take some media, or cut off some sponge/floss.

I've never attempted an all male tank. Any that I've seen, in person or video, do not appeal to me.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby punman » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:56 am

Yeah - stop the slow cycling. Take half of the media from your established tank. I assume you still have those three fish. Feed sparingly for a week and by then you might have decided which direction you want to go with your tank.

I have only cycled one tank in fifteen years - the first one. Since then I have always done the media transfer.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Drew31 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:58 am

I’ve been traveling, but you’re right on existing media. Once home, I’ll be cutting out a piece from the 29 to help speed the cycling. Should have thought of that.

I’m not sold on all male tank, just trying to understand, given the 3 cichlids I currently own, and w/out rehousing them, what would be an appropriate stocking. Which options specifically?
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby james1983 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:09 am

Drew31 wrote:I’m not sold on all male tank, just trying to understand, given the 3 cichlids I currently own, and w/out rehousing them, what would be an appropriate stocking. Which options specifically?


Pick one more hap species and do a breeding setup. The fish you have now, while not the most colorful, have pretty decent looking females.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby Drew31 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:51 am

james1983 wrote:
Pick one more hap species and do a breeding setup. The fish you have now, while not the most colorful, have pretty decent looking females.


So I find another Hap I like and get a male? Hap, not peacock? Then the idea is I get 2-3 females of each of the 4 species I will have.
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Re: New Here...First Cichlid Tank...Stocking?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:15 pm

You want 4 females for each species. Choose the new hap species to ensure the females look nothing alike.

For a breeding setup you want one peacock species/tank.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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