Lake Malawi Species • First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

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First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:25 pm

Hi everyone,
I am new to the forum and cichlid keeping. Hoping for some advice to help me make up my mind about sticking.

I have a 75 gallon tank with two Eheim Classic canister filters (2215?, I think), fully cycled that I am maintaining the bacteria with pure ammonia. Ammonia and nitrite have been 0 for at least a week, nitrates are over 80, and will be doing a water change to lower before adding fish.

My tap water Ph is high, plus I have flagstone decorations and aragonite substrate. Tank Ph is around 8.2.

Onto the stocking question. I am completely overwhelmed with the stocking decision! I am still deciding if I should go with peacock, haps, some combo or Mbunas. There are a few factors that are important to me:

1. I prefer not to have blood in my tank. I know cichlids are aggressive but hoping that I can come up with a stocking choice where I won’t have fish kill other fish
2. I like blue fish. I really like c moorii and star sapphire (Placidochromis something)
3. I like striped fish. I love Frontosas, but I believe my tank is too small :(
4. I would love to see a process of breeding, but not interested in selling fish or being overrun with fry. I only have a 10 gallon planted tank that currently has some snails, ghost shrimp, a placo and a single guppy.
5. I Would like to add some catfish if stocking levels allow. I have a sizable Pleco that used to live in this tank when I bought it that I plan on putting back in
6. I would like to have more than one species of fish in the tank for color, but if that’s not a good idea because of the breeding, I can count catfish as another species

From what I understand if I want to breed any peacocks, then I can only have a single species. In that case what else could I add to the tank?

Could I have a single species for breeding (eg blue dolphins, star sapphire or a peacock) and different species for more color?

Could I use the 10 gallon to raise some of the fry?

I will stock in at least two batches. First one is this Sunday and second in about two weeks when my LFS has a 20% off sale and a larger selection.

Attaching a photo of my setup.

Thanks for any advice!
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jcover » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:08 am

Your tank is too small for C moorii and star sapphires.

I would suggest peacocks or mbuna for your tank. Mbuna you will get lots of colour but more aggression.

Peacocks you will get a couple of colourful males (maybe only 1) and drab females, unless you go all male only. All male tanks, however, are rather difficult to achieve. They can take some years to establish properly.

To supplement a breeding group of Peacocks, you could add some synodontis catfish (multipunctatus). You MAY be able to add Labidochromis caeruleus...

I personally would use bristlenose plecos..

A 10 gallon can be a temporary place for fry to raise. If you leave holding females in the tank, you wont have to worry about saving fry.

Frontosas need a minimum 6 foot tank.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:14 am

Agree 100% with jcover. I would suggest 1m:6f Labidochromis caeruleus and 1m:6f Pseudotropheus acei for peace and color and fry. The 5 Synodontis multipunctatus for fry control. Leave holding females in the tank.

Your fry will eat your shrimp in the 10G, and probably the guppy too, I would not use that for cichlid fry.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:50 am

Thank you for the suggestion. If I go with only yellow labs and acei, can I also add some rusties? If so what numbers would you recommend of each of the three species?
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:55 am

Shoot for a max of 20. If you add rusties you don't have as many blue fish.

You could also do the labs with Cynotilapia sp. hara.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:15 pm

I know this is a 180 turn but I am curious about the white lip mdoka. How big do they get? Wikipedia says 6.2”, which should work in my tank? Other sites say 10”, which wouldn’t. I LOVE that fish. I am finding that I am really attracted to haps, and generally bigger, slower fish more than the smaller, quicker mbunas.

If those don’t work, any suggestions for a single species of haps that I could have a colony of in my 75 gallon?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate the advice :)
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:40 pm

I don't see any reputable source saying less than ten inches. Sounds like you need to dump the 75G and get a 72". :thumb:

A commonly available blue hap that is likely to work in a 48" tank like a 75G is fryeri. But would you want one colored fish a 15 silver ones?
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:46 pm

I would not :) that’s why I was attracted to the above haps - females have the same color as males.

I don’t see a bigger tank in my future :( even this was a stretch as nobody in my family shares the passion, to say the least...

I’ll keep pondering and reading about other setups.

Thanks for the info
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:24 am

I am down to considering the following mbunas:

Acei
Cynotilapia sp. hara (is this white top afra?)
Maylandia callainos
Metriaclima callainos, Pearl (are these two callainos the same, just different color)
Yellow labs
Kenyi

I will definitely include the acei. I am not a huge fan of yellow, although a few yellow fish do add a nice pop of color. That’s why I was considering kenyi, plus I get striped blue females. Some people say they are very aggressive and some say they are not. Any personal experiences?

How many breeding harems would you recommend? I understand I should have about 2 fish so make to female ratio would change depending on the number of groups.
Do you see any issues with any of the above combinations?
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby ken31cay » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:38 am

jasminaj wrote:That’s why I was considering kenyi, plus I get striped blue females. Some people say they are very aggressive and some say they are not. Any personal experiences?


They are very aggressive. In a 75gal you'd want only 1 male in the tank with at least 7 females. As juvies they're all light blue with dark blue bars, very pretty. As they mature the males turn a nice bright yellow/orange. The females retain the juvenile colors but those colors fade and they're not nearly as attractive.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:44 am

*20 fish total, not 2 fish :) does that total include only cichlids or catfish and Plecos?
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:00 am

The max species would be 4 because you need 4 females and 1 male of each. That is for peaceful species unlike kenyi.

You could also do 1, 2 or 3 species but add females to each group to get about 20.

Choose species that look nothing alike. So you would not want hara and blue callainos and acei...choose one of those.

You could do acei and callainos pearl because they look nothing alike.

If you want a bright blue, consider Pseudotropheus cyaneorhabdos Maingano. 1m:7f for these as they can be feisty (much less than kenyi though).

Exclude catfish and plecos, but 5 Synodontis and 1 bristlenose are a good count for those.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:41 am

Is the reason I am choosing species that lol nothing alike to reduce aggression or to prevent cross breeding? Or both?
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:02 pm

Both. Managing aggression leads to a healthy tank. Cichlids that are worn down by excessive chasing and even numerous minor injuries are prone to illness and this can spread throughout the tank.
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Re: First cichlid tank stocking - 75 gallon

Postby jasminaj » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:44 pm

Just wanted to update with my final selection:

5 (1:4) of each:
Acei
Rusty
Callainos pearl
Yellow lab

5 catfish
1 bristle nose pleco

One final question about how to introduce this many fish. I only have the catfish and Pleco in the tank (as of today). I am mail ordering the cichlids to arrive on Thursday. Can I add them all at once and be ready for water changes if there is an ammonia spike? I’ve been cycling with ammonia since 1/1 and the tank can process 3ppm in 24 hours.

Thanks!
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