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My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:44 am

Hi everyone,

After keeping a SA/CA tank for nearly ten years I gutted it and have changed it over to Mbuna.Very pleased with my decision so far - such. different environment, loving the different mood of the tank.

Its a 450 litre 4 x 2 x 2 foot.
I have 2 x Fluval 305 canisters running on it.
A Mariglo marine blue/white LED light.
It is black background, white sand, and loads of Texas holey rock to help with the chemistry.
I will do my best to post a picture from my phone as well.

Initially I loved the idea of stocking with just a couple of contrasting coloured species for effect.
I initially added 10 x yellow labs and 10 x cobalt blues.
I am in the process of also trying to get a demasoni colony going - I started with six and ordered more, a week later I added six more but within a week I had already lost four - they were cowering and not coming out to eat, I can only assume being bullied by the other demasoni as the others don't go near them I understand I probably need to start with a much bigger group to end up with about 12 compatible/correct sex ratio fish in the end. I bought another 5 today (all my lFS had left) and they are ordering me another ten. Hoping to end up with about 12-15.

So now I have the bright yellow, the pale blue, and the dark striped blue of the demasoni.
It looks great...but I still can't help but feel it needs something more, another little pop of contrasting colour.

I was wondering about Acei but thought it might be too much blue... although I see sometimes they look more a lilac colour. I also looked at 'red' zebras but in my LFS they look more yellow than red and I don't think they'll contrast well with the yellows at all.

I'm looking for a conspecific (males females same colour - or at least where females are bright - I don't want any drab fish) preferably so I can keep going with my big groups of fish that look the same. I'm not a fan of Mbuna tanks with one of this, one of that etc so I hope you can appreciate what I'm trying to achieve and offer some suggestions.

So all up I'm sitting on at out 32-35 Mbuna with my current stocking at the moment.I also have 3 fairly large clown loaches left over from my old tank (I could not find anyone with a big enough tank for them - so they are staying for now, but I know this water chemistry isn't the best for them in the long run so hopefully will move them on when I can find someone appropriate to take them)

Interested to know thoughts on what else I might add, how many more I could add and how much room I have to work with really

Thanks in advance!

Re: My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:51 am

I’ve attached some pictures below
My tank
Some of the inhabitants

Re: My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:44 am

With a 48" tank you want to shoot for 20 mbuna. You can go over a bit since you need 15 demasoni, but probably 4 species is not going to be ideal.

3m:10f demasoni
1m:4f yellow labs
1m:4f cobalts

FYI in certain lighting acei can look periwinkle, but that is not going to contrast much with your cobalts.

Red zebras would crossbreed with your yellow labs so I would skip them.

Re: My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:48 pm

20 in a 120 gallon deep wide tank seems to really under stocked to me for Mbuna! A guide I had read was 8-12 per 30 gallons depending on size...

Re: My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:29 am

It looks like your fish are still on the small size. I have 24 mbuna in my 180gal and they're all around 4" now with more to grow. I can't imagine having more than this in there, even now it's a bit crowded. I'm sure my bioload will be maxed for the recommended 50% weekly water change.

Re: My 120 Mbuna Tank Stocking - Advice and Ideas

Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:49 am

I kept 25 in my 72" 125G tank. The fish are territorial, so stock by length, not gallons. The "inches/gallons" rule does not work well for territorial fish.

The height and the width does not add much if anything in stocking capacity for many of the African Rift Lake cichlids.
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