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Help with Mbuna stocking for 125g

Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:11 pm

Hi folks,

Looking for advice stocking my 125 gallon I'm setting up as an Mbuna tank. After much reading, I've ended up here...

Metriaclima sp. "msobo" Magunga ...3m/7f
Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos "maingano"... 3m/7f
Labidochromis sp. "hongi" ...3m/7f
Cynotilapia afra "white top galileya reef" ...1m/3f
Tropheops sp. "red cheek"...1m/3f

Let me have it. My first mbuna tank.

Re: Help with Mbuna stocking for 125g

Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:36 pm

I think those 5 species should work well together in a 125g. It's actually a pretty similar mix to what I have in my 125g..and they are doing very well.

My main concern would be..that you most likely won't be able to get away with 3 males of your first 3 species..and it's likely the 7 females of each would slowly dwindle to none. I would go with 2 males at most for those species and then up the females to maybe 10 each to start with (if you do try to keep 2 males of each).

Are you able to by sexed fish?..or are these the m/fm ratios you are hoping for..after buying a bunch of juveniles and sorting them out as they grow? I finally have the Male/Female ratios the way I want them in my 125g and that has been the hardest part with this tank.

Re: Help with Mbuna stocking for 125g

Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:47 am

Kev gives great advice.

I'll add a bit...
The amount of males you want to end up with and the amount you actually end up with will very highly likely vary. Same with females.

You're playing a numbers game. How lucky do you feel at the roulette table? That's how you're ratios play out with cichlids.

You may find 3 males of 1 species leads to problems or killing off to 1 male. Or 4 males and 2 females works out for a bit. Those ratios are tough to hit unless you stock a massive amount at once. In the end, 10-14 of each species gives a shot at a manageable group(s).

Each male wants a zone. If each male of each species can stake out a zone, then you're likely to have all species spawning. Multiple males of a species will generally never have their own zone. If it's a very aggressive species, then they occupy zones that could potentially be used by other species. In this case, you may have 1 species dominating the landscape.

Your list is good, though. Well thought out. I'd say it's a good mix. But hitting those ratios may be a pipe dream.

Re: Help with Mbuna stocking for 125g

Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:06 am

Yeah, as time goes on I think there is a good chance that multiple males of the same species does not end up working out well and you might have to remove some.
I'll relate my story with electric yellows over the last 3+ years in 4 tanks. These originate from the box store. IMO, I don't believe they are hybrid (at least they don't look it to me and are very consistent in appearance over the generations) though who knows for sure, maybe they got a little red zebra in them (?). There definitely more aggressive then the electric yellows I had 15 years ago. There not particularly aggressive towards other species but like a lot of cichlids are highly aggressive towards there own kind. The conspecific aggression is nasty.
At one time, the worst was my 125 gal. Two rival males. One with a third of the tank the other with two thirds, at each other's throat all the time. Threatening all day long. Three females all pushed up to the top of the tank, trying to look invisible and both males not even accepting them in this area chasing them back and forth into the opposing male's territory. There's a theory that 2 or more males will preoccupy each other and therefor the females will have it better. Maybe that is the case sometimes, but definitely not in this tank! I couldn't decide which male I liked better and waited too long. The male that owned a third of the tank lost a scrap and got beat up. I removed it, but it died shortly after. The whole dynamics of the tank instantly changed over night. The females now swim the tank and have a more normal life. While it's not perfect, it's definitely the better of my yellow lab groups in terms of aggression. The very opposite of what it was previously with 2 males.
My 180 gal. had 5 males and 2 females. It became a war zone :lol: Tensions were high between the rival males. I made the decision to remove males before things really escalated. I can distinguish fish fairly well, but found out my ability to do so is not so good during a water change when the water level is dropped very low. The one female was obvious because it is the smallest of the group, but for the second female, I mixed it up with a male and chose the wrong fish. I made the exact same mistake with my younger electric yellows in the 75 gal. So after removing extras, I ended up with 2 males and one female in both my 180 and 75 gal. :lol: These groups didn't work well! My solution was to remove them entirely from my 75 gal. and remove the females from my 90 gal. and attempt my version of an all male tank. I now have 1:4 ratio in my 180 gal. Females don't always have it so great, but it's definitely better then it was before.

Re: Help with Mbuna stocking for 125g

Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:54 pm

I've also had some electric yellows that were crazy aggressive. In a 125, as well. Went on vacation and came home to 2 dead labs. Tank was stocked with 4 species groups. Also had a small group with larger hap species. They were very calm and only had light quarrels with one other.
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