General African Cichlid Discussion • Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

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Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:12 pm

Hi there!

( I originally posted in the Lake Malawi section but feel free to suggest me some stocking ideas from other lakes as I would not mind a tank from another Lake, even from another Continent )

I have a 40 gallon that is 36" long.

I emptied it a while ago as I wanted to change the substrat from gravels to sand since I wanted to get some Lake Tanganyika shell dwellers. At the moment my tank is empty, but its HOB filter is still running in a 5 gallon with plants, a massimo ball and sometimes some fish food to keep the bacteria alive. Hopefully, when I will refill the 40 gallon and bring its filter back, I won't need to cycle the tank again as the bacteria will still be alive.

I also have a large sponge filter with an electric pump that I also plan on using if necessary.

My plan was to go with Multifasciatus, but them being so small I feel like it would be a waste of a nice 40 gallon when I could get them a 10-15-20 gallon and they'd still have lot of place to create a nice thriving colony. So I still want them, but for my second-to-next project.

So now I'm open to suggestions for my 40 gallon / 36" .

This will be my first Cichlid tank, and even though I read a lot about Multifasciatus, Cyps, and Paracyps and could say I'm starting to know them decently, I am a complete virgin for other Cichlids (African, South American, etc). The closest I've had was a German Blue Ram, which I loved.

Anyways, this time I would like to have cichlids that are bigger than Rams, but not so big that I end up getting only 2 or 3 fish in my tank.

If possible, I'd like a community tank, even though I know it might be complicated in a 36" tank.

I have a specific look that I like with my cichlids, and it's the punk look. So a big and long dorsal fin that is pointing up. I don't like bulky fishes like Oscars or those with a big lump on their head. I'm not a fan of the shape of most juliies neither.

Here are a list of a few fishes that I like their looks (note that I know they're all from region and they don't fit together, it's just to help you guys visualise the look I like haha)

- I absolutely love the look of the Caudopunctatus
- I also love the shape of the Multifasciatus (but would like bigger), as well as Similis (same thing, would like them bigger)
- I love shapes and looks of German Blue Rams (but looking for bigger) and Bolivian Rams, but would like something bigger too.
- I love the shape and look of a lot of Apistos too, like the Caucotuoid (even though then I prefer their dorsal fin to be of equal length - while the Caucotuoid has longer in front and back)
- I LOVE the look of Aulonocaras A LOT, like pretty much all of their colors - but know nothing about them
- I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE LOOK OF THIS FISH BELOW (but I'm not sure about the type - The seller said it was a Firefish very rare when pink, and that it was 6 inches, but I cant find others online) :

Image

So yeah, I think you pretty much can see the pattern I like. Big and long dorsal fin. No need for them to be electric blue or multicolored or anything, but there's that specific look that I like.

(oh, and besides that specific look, there is also the Pseudotropheus saulosi that I like, even though they dont fit the pattern)

I don't know if they'd fit but some setup I could imagine having would be, I dont know, maybe some Caudopunctus, some Saulosis, and maybe some Similis at the bottom ?

Or maybe one of those pink beauties pictured above, a calvus, and some Caudopunctus.

I don't really know, those are the cichlids I know by names, but I'm open to any suggestion.

If possible I would like to avoid species that you need to buy 6 at first, then wait for a couple, and then sell back the others. I'd like fish to stay with me. I don't need fish that breeds because I know it could cause some agression and my tank is kind of small for fighting.

So yeah, please give me suggestion of stocking. If possible, the amount I should get for each one.

My tap water pH is 7.8, but I have crushed corals, I have some Cichlid buffer and even some Cichlid salt.

I also have a bunch of Escargot shells already bought (about 75) and I'm ready to get my hand on a lot of flat rocks to make caverns (or even make some in styrofoam + cement + let them cure). So yeah, I'm ready for anything, I just need suggestions ! ...as well as discovering new species I might like !

PS : My girlfriend has a little crush on the Pseudotropheus Saulosi, so any combination with them are more than welcome :) ...but feel free to give me other suggestions, even without Saulosis!

As for me, I have a crush on the pink one I posted, and on Aulonocaras

I know my tank size will limit me a lot and that I might end up with only some species only suggestion, but, let's see !!






EDIT 1 :


I wanted to add in the list of cichlids I love the look, I wanted to add Jewel Cichlid.

I read that they normally try to kill anyone when they breed, but I saw a video from Prime Time Aquatics on YT where he has a lot of them in a 40 Breeder.

So yeah, feel free to add them in your suggestions, I could also be tempted in a species only of that specie if I can get more than 2.

(Unless they dont eat their fry, and then they can live in harmony with their offspring and form a colony.)


EDIT 2 :

I also love the love of Geofagus Altifron (shape is similar of Rams, which I do love too!) - However I prefer when they keep that shape and dont develop the lump on their head!

So thanks in advance :-)
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby DJRansome » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:49 pm

Altfrions is a 12" fish. Look at the Gymnogeophagus...some mature at six inches. There are pictures of the various types in the Cichlid-forum profiles under South America Eartheaters.
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:40 pm

Okay, I checked the Cookie Cutter for the 40 gallon for some ideas.

I love the idea of the Saulosis, but I believe I could get similar colors with Demasoni and Yellow Labs. Would there be a downside ?

Most of the ones I prefer are either Malawi Lake or Malawi/Victoria combo :

- Demasoni
- Yellow Lab / White Lab
- Pundamilia Nyererei
- Latifaciata

However, I also love those from Tanganyika :

- Calvus/Comprisseps
- Neolamprologus buescheri,
- Caudopunks,
- Paracyps
- Papilio Tremwe

I know a lot of people don't want to mix species from different lakes, but can it be done ? I know Tangs prefer higher pH than Malawi, but are there some overlaps ?

If someone is willing to help me here, let's go with 5 questions or requests :

1) Picking from the Malawi and Malawi/Victoria species that I've put above, what would be a good combination if I'd like to touch as many of these species as possible ?

2) Pretty much the same as question 1, but for the Tanganyka species. I'd like to get as many different species that I could get from those, while keeping my fishes happy.

3) If I could mix the two groups, what combinations could be interesting ? Here too I'd like to get as many different ones as viable.

4) Most Cookie Cutter combination on the ressource page put 1x or 2x Bristlenose Plecos as detritus eaters. I don't like them particularly, and I believe they get kind of big and poop a lot. Could they be changed for another bottom dweller ? Would some Clown Loaches be too big ? Could I get Xenotilapia Papilio instead, even if I go with a group from Malawi/Victoria ?

5) And let's say I don't get any detritus eaters or bottom dwellers, could I put some Shellies in one of the above groups ? I love Multifasciatuses, but I want them for a species only tank. But maybe those shellies that look like Calvus ? Or maybe Similis ?

Anyways, I'm now in peace with the fact that my tank is too small for Peacocks. I'm glad I found some other species I love. However, I love too many of them lol Please help me find a combination that could combine most of them :P
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:03 pm

Edit : Forgot to add in the list for the Malawi cichlids to pick from the Cynotilapia zebroids "Cobue"
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:20 am

After reading a lot and all night, I think I'd go with Yellow Lab with some other contrasting mBunas.

From what I read, Yellow Labs and Demasoni are a super popular duo, due to their blue/yellow contrast, and their constant comparison with the Saulosi. To be honest, I prefer the yellow of the Yellow Lab over the yellow of the female Saulosi. And I dont really like the look of the Male Saulosi while I love the look of the Demasonis.

However, from what I read, I need to have either just one, or 12+ Demasonis. And I'm not sure I could afford 12 Demasonis and 6 Yellow Labs in a 40 gallon breeder.

Or, could I ?


Anyways, so I was looking at alternative tank mates for my Yellow Labs (I dont know man, I love their look), and when I was browsing all possible mbunas and their size and etc, I thought to myself that maybe I could keep a bunch of Yellow Lab with a bunch of White Labs. So two colours, one specie.

So let's go with this as a starting point :

- 6x Labidochromis Yellow
- 6x Labidochromis white


Now what's next ?


As for tankmates, I'd like to go get a contrasting color to their Yellow and White. Blue would be nice. Tank is too small I think for Demasonis, tank is too small for "blue" Yellow Tail Acei, tank is too small for the amazing purple male Tropheuses, and the Pseudotropheus socolofi seems too pale to contrast with the others.

Maybe the Blue Maylandia Zebra ? But they might get big. And apparently they're the most aggressive.

Cobalt Blue Zebras seems perfect in color and in size, but considering I'd need 10 of them to reduce aggression, I might be stuck there too.

I also read that it was not a good idea to mix mbunas with haps because of their diet : I'll either have permanently bloated Mbuna or permanently too thin haps.

To be honest, I don't find anything to put with them. Any suggestion ?

Should I still try the 12 Demasonis anyways ?

Or should I go with some Tropheus anyways ? The specific kind where the females look like yellow lab and the males have a great blue/purple color.

Or maybe I should dig even deeper and try to find another color that would contrast with the yellow and white labs. Maybe some red mbunas ? Any suggestions there too ?

Otherwise, I could go with some tangs. I really like the Bricardis and their community vibe. They make me think of Multies, but from rocks and caverns instead of shells. I would love them in a species only tank, but would also love to see them with some caudopunks, paracyps, regular calvus or some sumbu shell // However I don't know how many of their fry would survive, and if that'd be enough for them to have different generations of offspring all living together.

But anyways, for this tank I'd prefer bigger and more colourful fishes, hence the m'Bunas and Labs.
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby aconite » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:48 am

Hi,

I can only comment on your mbuna thoughts - I have no experience of cichlids from the other lakes or continents (apart from keeping kribensis a while back).

The consensus on the forum is going to be that 36" is generally too short for mbuna. Saulosi seem to be an exception to that, which is why they've been suggested. They're also one of the few dimorphic species that give you really nicely coloured males and females, so two contrasting colours from the one species which helps when you're limited by space.

I think that the 40G cookie cutters are based on a 40 Long, so a 48" tank. I'm not sure those suggestions can be applied to a 36" tank.

Not that it'll help here, but I don't think you'd need 10 cobalt blues to manage aggression (I'm assuming you're referring to metriaclima callainos). I have a group of 5 of these, and they're pretty chilled out the majority of the time, although they're only about 14 months old so things may change. They do make a nice mix with yellow labs, but again I think you'd need a 48" tank to keep them properly.

If it was me and I really wanted mbuna in a 36" I'd go for a group Saulosi, but then I'm biased as I really like them.

Good luck!
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby DJRansome » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:28 am

Correct, the 40G cookie cutter specifies that it is a 48x12 tank...same footprint as a 55G.
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Thu Aug 13, 2020 8:36 am

Thanks for the reply. Saulosi are suggested a lot, but one person in another forum told me that once the males get old, the dominant one might start killing the other males, so I might remain with only one blueish male and 90% yellow fishes lol.

I like your idea of having Yellow Labs with Cobalt Blue without having 10 of them though. However, I also read on another forum that mixing yellow labs (very peaceful) with mbunas or other Malawi cichlid would most likely become a bloodbath, since peaceful Malawi fishes are rare.

.....unless we get peacocks in the equation. Apparently they're super peaceful and it's possible to make a Peacock only tank, with one specimen per specie, and a few different species.

BUT

Thing is, I've been warned more than once here about having Peacocks in a 36" saying they could not fit there, but on the other hand on another forum they tell me to avoid Mbunas in my 40 breeder and go with peacoks instead lol

Im not sure who to trust anymore.

Some people suggest me some Jewel Cichlid species only tank, while others tell me they're super violent.

Some people tell me not to mix Yellow Labs with mbunas because of agression, but some other people tell me not to mix them with Haps for diet reasons.

I dont know what to think anymore, it was easier for me when I was only thinking about Tanganyka cichlids like Multies and Paracyps lol
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby aconite » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:12 am

Not sure if it's possible for you, but getting a larger tank would open up a lot more possibilities...

Labs are peaceful, but they're still mbuna - in my experience they do chase each other at times, but with no real aggression. Mine are generally left alone by other species, and similarly leave others alone. I am keeping labs and callainos together without issue.

Perhaps stick with your original plan, and leave the mbuna for a future, larger tank?
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Thu Aug 13, 2020 10:08 am

Getting a new aquarium for the moment is not a possibility, especially because of finances, but also because of lack of a solid enough cabinet to hold it.

I thought maybe if I only get one species of peacock, like a 4" species, and I keep like 1 male and 4-or-5 females, it could do ?

Or if I get a Yellow lab species only tank (some yellows and some whites), with the right M/F ratio ?

Or maybe if I try the Saulosis option, even though the males might get aggressive once they mature. If needed, I could keep only one male for 6-7-8 females.

If I could not afford to have a community tank, or a two-species tank, and that I need to pick only one species, I'd like to pick one that that does not eat its fry, and even take care of them.

I know a lot of tanganyka species are super good parents and colonise a lot (Mutifasciatus similis, dwarf-calvus, etc) but those can make incredible colonies even in 10-15-20 gallons. I just thought that it was overkill to waste a 40G for some 1/2 inche fishes.

Also, my GF would like a tank with fishes at least 3-4 inches, she wants ig ones because we have small ones in our tropical 20g (dwarf gourami, diverse black skirt tetras and khuli loaches)

I wanted to go the cichlid route, while keeping the small ones for later projects (Rams, Apistos, Tangs : Multies and Bricardis) once I buy a smaller tank.

I thought Malawi and Victoria Lakes could have been a good try. Im open to South American cichlids too, it I really love the "punk" look of most peacock.

I knew that my 36" tank would limit my choices, but I did not think it might simply not be possible at all.

Well, not impossible, as the Saulosis are still possible. And the Jewel Cichlid too.

If that'd be only for me, I'd go with a huge colony of brichardis, but for my GF they're too small and not enough colorful :(
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby shiftyfox » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:39 pm

I too have a small tank 90x50x50cm and it is difficult to find Mbuna that work and give you the colour that you desire, but thats all the space I had..
I wouldn't put any more than 10 Mbuna in it. They soon grow fast and my yellow labs now look huge compared to when they first went in a year ago.
I first tried 5 labs 1M 4F and 4 Jalo Reef 1M 3F. The jalo female are dull but the male certainly makes up for it, in my opinion far superior looking to a salousi Male. I also think yellow labs are far superior looking to salousi females too.
Maybe if I had gone with 4 jalo female it might have worked out. Over about 3-4 months I lost all the female jalo and it was always when they were holding and about to spit. I’m guessing the Male killed them as they were weak from holding for 28 days ish. However it was the female jalos that I witnessed fighting on a few occasions.

After this and speaking to a few local breeders I decided to change it up. Now I wouldn’t recommend this, this is more of an experiment that I’ve been trying since December and could end in disaster.
Currently I have
4 yellow lab 1M 3F
2 Maingano 1M 1F
1 Rusty M
1 Jalo M
1 Neon Spot F
All are almost if not fully grown.
Tank is not brimming with rocks but there must be about 25 individual hiding places.
I guess I won’t know if it’s worked till about 18 months and even then you never know.
But colours look great and chasing is no more than I’ve seen in friends larger tanks. Fins on every fish are perfect.
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby DJRansome » Thu Aug 13, 2020 7:50 pm

I tried 1m:4f of stuartgranti (on the timid side) in my 36" tank and it was stressful for me and the fish. Remember with peacocks you get one colorful fish. I would be willing to try the one small, timid peacock species that does not work in all-male. Aulonocara kandeense. They eat their fry.

1m:4f yellow labs would work. They eat their fry.

Brichardi is a good idea...they mature at four inches and do NOT eat their fry and have the finnage you admire. Ususally with these you buy six and rehome four. Then the pair will tolerate their own fry.
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby Mudkicker1 » Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:00 pm

Listen up, forget anything from Malawi in a 36", you will end up frustrated and disappointed.
I personally wouldn't even do Saulosi in a 36 because it's kinds cruel to confine them in a 36" when they reach adult size.

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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:02 am

shiftyfox wrote:I too have a small tank 90x50x50cm and it is difficult to find Mbuna that work and give you the colour that you desire, but thats all the space I had..
I wouldn't put any more than 10 Mbuna in it. They soon grow fast and my yellow labs now look huge compared to when they first went in a year ago.
I first tried 5 labs 1M 4F and 4 Jalo Reef 1M 3F. The jalo female are dull but the male certainly makes up for it, in my opinion far superior looking to a salousi Male. I also think yellow labs are far superior looking to salousi females too.
Maybe if I had gone with 4 jalo female it might have worked out. Over about 3-4 months I lost all the female jalo and it was always when they were holding and about to spit. I’m guessing the Male killed them as they were weak from holding for 28 days ish. However it was the female jalos that I witnessed fighting on a few occasions.

After this and speaking to a few local breeders I decided to change it up. Now I wouldn’t recommend this, this is more of an experiment that I’ve been trying since December and could end in disaster.
Currently I have
4 yellow lab 1M 3F
2 Maingano 1M 1F
1 Rusty M
1 Jalo M
1 Neon Spot F
All are almost if not fully grown.
Tank is not brimming with rocks but there must be about 25 individual hiding places.
I guess I won’t know if it’s worked till about 18 months and even then you never know.
But colours look great and chasing is no more than I’ve seen in friends larger tanks. Fins on every fish are perfect.


I'm sorry to read about your experience about your Jalo Reef females. I wish I could offer some advice or explanation for you, but I can only offer guesses and my sympathies.

It's a sad thing that we cannot easily make males-only tanks, as I admit the male Jalos are breathtaking.

As for your current stocking, I really hope for you that everything turns out well, and it's possible you might be on the good side if you got no bad experiences since last year.

I googles all of your species and your tank must be mindblowingly nice to watch. However, I'm less than a novice when it comes to African Cichlids, so I will not try to reproduce what you have with my personal lack of experience. I read a lot about Multifasciatus from Lake Tanganyka, and even though I never had any yet I believe I know a bit about them, but when it comes to Malawi's mbunas, haps and peacocks, as well as those from Lake Victoria, it seems like the most I read about them, the more questions I have, and the most questions I have, the more confused I get haha.

It's funny how my 36" was considered ridiculously too big for Tanganyka shellies, but is almost an offical no-go for most Malawi and Victoria lakes cichlids!

If you have pictures or videos of your tank, feel free to share them ! as i'm sure it looks amazing. I wish I had the balls to go 100% all in and try things and learn on the field, but I must be somewhere on the spectrum because it seems like I need to have an answer for each question that I have and a solution for each problem I might face before I jump into a new tank stocking ! It's funny because outside of the aquarium life, my whole life is so freestyle, I ask no questions and just go with the flow - but when it comes to fish I have an obsession where I need to ask thousands of questions and gety thousands of answer otherwise I freeze and just postpone my projects haha
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Re: Stocking idea for a Cichlid community tank // 40G

Postby OuiBonjour » Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:35 am

DJRansome wrote:I tried 1m:4f of stuartgranti (on the timid side) in my 36" tank and it was stressful for me and the fish. Remember with peacocks you get one colorful fish. I would be willing to try the one small, timid peacock species that does not work in all-male. Aulonocara kandeense. They eat their fry.

1m:4f yellow labs would work. They eat their fry.

Brichardi is a good idea...they mature at four inches and do NOT eat their fry and have the finnage you admire. Ususally with these you buy six and rehome four. Then the pair will tolerate their own fry.


You got a solid point here when you pointed out to me that a 36" peacock tank would mean only one species, only one male, so only one colorful fish .....and 4 or 5 dull-pale-grayish females.

I wish we could live in a world where I could just get one male peacock of this species, then one male peacock of that species, then one male peacock of this other species, and so on until I get 6 of them and call my tank complete. I'm thinking maybe the lack of females would lower the need of competition between males, but on the other hand males will still be males, and I'm pretty sure they'd be less colorful anyways if they'd not have any female to impress.

So now, thinking that the above utopia is i believe not possible, or at least not possible for a beginner, I'd say that a peacock tank is pretty much out of the equation with my current tank. (unless you tell me I could get different single males from different species of peacock and that this could could be doable, then I'm all ears - but yeah.... let's get to the next option).

It seems like I have only 2 options if I want to go with African Cichlids.

1) A tanganyka tank that gives me more open doors for stocking option with a 36" long (multies dont need a big tank, brichardies neither, and even a community tank with shellies and rock-dwellers could even be possible in a 36" long, so yeah...)

2) Saulosis(es) - (even though the person who posted right after you said a 36" long would be too small, and even cruel, for Saulosis. I know I might be wrong, but I feel like 6-ish specimens of a species that is 3-4 inches long once adult would probably feel less crowded in a species-only 40g tank with lots of caverns than 10-15 mbunas would feel in a 55g that is voluntarily overcrowded to avoid aggression, which a lot of experienced African Cichlids owners seems to do) - No ill thoughts against the poster who said he wouldn't do it, as I would never judge someone who speaks his mind when he truly believes he's seeing animal cruelty, however I feel like having some Saulosis(es) in a 40 gallon might not be that cruel. However, I'm aware that I don't know anything about African Cichlids and that I might be wrong. So please correct me if I'm wrong.

Now... As for #1 (having Brichardis) - I love them and i want to have a tank for them very soon. I love their family values where everyone is looking out for everyone's fry, as well as I like their look and their ways of building colonies. However, I feel like I could get them to build a colony as nice in a 15 or 20 gallon. Same thing with Multis. I feel like using a 40g for 1.5-2" inches long fishes might be overkill when I could get the same result in a smaller tank and use the 40 for something else. Also... my girlfriend is not as fan as I am of the white/grays/pale-yellow colors of the Tanganyka's friends. I must say I LOVE the look of Caudopunks, Multis, Similis, Calvuses and Brichardis. But when my GF looks at them, she sees small pale fishes with no colors.

So yeah, She wants them big and colorful. I know I'll have my Multi/Paracyps tank one day, and I know I'll have my Brichardis species tank one day too, but it seems like the current compromise right now is that our current 40 gallons needs to get colorful and "not too small" fishes. If we can get colorful and big fishes, that's even better.

So yeah, a lot of talk just to say that I think that the #2 Saulosis option would be my best guess here.

That being said, if Saulosis in a 40g/Br tank is not cruel, how many should I get ? What would be the best viable ratio ? How tall, deep and large should the "caverns" in the rocks should be ? And how many caverns "per habitant" minimum should I get/create?

I thought about piling some slate flat rocks all around and pile them the highest I could safely do. I thought I could even make some fake rocks with some flat styrofoam I have, where I could add some cement and gravel on them and let them cure. I could then pile them very hight without risking breaking the glass or being to heavy.

Otherwise, I thought maybe some paving stones ? Some have a nice reddish color and it could be nice with the white sand and the yellow +black/blue colors of the fish. Could it work ? My other guess would be asphalt, as it's easy to find flat slates. Could it work ? If its effect on PH would be to high, I have some krylon clear paint that I've used in the past on some rocks to prevent them from raising the PH in a tropical tank (and it worked).

Also, I'm pretty sure no tankmates would work with Saulosis in a 40g, but I though maybe some dither fish could make them feel more safe ? Any ideas on that ?

Thanks again!
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