Lake Malawi Species • Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

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Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby aconite » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:31 am

Hi,

I've recently dismantled my community tank and would like to set it up from fresh with mbuna. I've not kept them before, so this is all a bit new to me. The tank is a 300l / 80gal tank, 55" long. I plan to replace the APS 2000 cannister (I think these are marketed as SunSun in the US) with either a new Eheim or Fluval or two - the jury is still out on that, and also on the exact configuration.

I intend to start with juveniles, 1.5-2" long, and have the pleasure of watching them grow. Tank will be sand and lots of rock with no plants.

I've been thinking of an equal mix of the following:

Labidochromis caeruleus
Metriaclima callainos
Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei"
Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos

Does anyone see an issues with this combination? Are the mainganos going to bully everyone else? Any alternatives to them that would work, perhaps something reddish?

Cheers
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:25 pm

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

I would not stock both callainos and acei because the color differences are too subtle...I like more of a contrast. Acei are marketed as purple, but even in the best light they are periwinkle at best.

The mix is fine. Stock 1m:7f of the maingano (cyaneorhabdos) to manage aggression.

For red what about Metriaclima estherae instead of callainos. Then you would also want to swap out the yellow labs for white labs.
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby aconite » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:05 pm

Hi DJRansome,

Thanks for the response, and for the welcome to the forum. I've been reading here for a while, and this place seems to contain a wealth of information and knowledge.

Good point regarding the callainos and acei. Not sure I want to lose the callainos though, as I prefer the look of them to the acei. I'm also keen to keep the yellow labs - despite them being pretty common I'd like to have some in the tank, and I think they offset the callainos quite nicely.

Do you have any other suggestions of something I could use as a replacement for the acei? I'm not dead set on red, really anything that contrasts well with the other three on the list would be great.

Cheers.
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:31 pm

Rusties? Albino socolofi?

How do you feel about drab females? Cynotilapia zebroides? Labeotropheus?
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby aconite » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:27 am

Albinos are a good option. Not too keen on drab females, which is why I’ve been basing things on monomorphic species.

I went to my LFS today and they had some white tailed acei - they were a solid dark purple / black body with a white tail. Much darker than the standard acei. They also had some auratus - the females looked great with the yellow and black stripes, and the male looked i.m.o. nicer than maingano.

I’ve read that the auratus are pretty feisty. Thankfully if I went for them I’d be guaranteed a single male, which would hopefully help. This is my current list:

Melanochromis Auratus
Labidochromus Caeruleus
Pseudotropheus Acei (white tail)
Metriaclima Callianos

Any recommendations on numbers outside of the standard 1:4 given my tank size (which is going to be a bit of a lottery for three of these to start). Should I have more females for the auratus, in a similar way to your recommendation for the mainganos?

Thanks again for your help!
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby Deeda » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:59 am

I personally would avoid the Melanochromis auratus especially as a new Malawi keeper as they are aggressive fish and the males get ugly IMO when they mature. Here is a link to the C-F Species profile and under the photos under Articles there is a good write up on them.
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:26 am

I would also avoid auratus unless you are going to build the tank around them, stock fewer and more aggressive species and do special aquascaping. As Deeda says they are difficult for even experienced fishkeepers.

The way you get 1m:4f is buy 8 unsexed juveniles and rehome extra males as they mature.
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Re: Mbuna stocking - am I on the right track?

Postby aconite » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:44 am

OK, thanks to both of you - I’ll avoid the auratus, then.
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