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Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.
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Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:32 pm

Hi all, first post here, I would like to start out with a thank you, I am new to this and have found lots of good information here in the forum!

I have a 75 gallon tank (sand substrate with rocks) that has had fish in it since December 1, 2019, the tank has:

1 Rhino Pleco - Pterygoplichtys Scrophus
3 Clown Loach - Chromobotia Macracanthus
1 Pictus Catfish - Pimelodus Pictus
5 Red Zebra - Maylandia Estherae
5 Yellow Lab - Labidochromis Caeruleus
5 Golden Mbuna - Melanochromis Auratus (one of which just changed color)
5 Blue Johanni - Meanochromis Johanni
4 Yellow Tail Acei - Pseudotropheus Acei
2 Powder Bue Acei - Pseudotropheus Socolofi

Everything has been going good, however I noticed after about 6 weeks the largest Red Zebra, (who is also the largest fish in the tank) has started chasing the other fish (only the cichlids) around and generally asserting dominance. He doesn't seem to actually nip at anyone but I do have two Yellow labs and two smaller Red Zebras that spend a lot of time hiding now. Everyone still comes out to feed but I am concerned that the aggression could escalate.

Should I remove the large Red Zebra, (will the next fish in line just take his place) or is this normal behavior and I shouldn't worry about it.

Thank you for any help you might provide!

Re: Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:53 pm

In a properly stocked tank harmless aggression is expected.

However, you have too many fish for a 75G so harmful aggression could result.

Your max stocking should be 4 species if you choose relatively peaceful mbuna...which means the auratus and johannii don't fit the criteria.

You would also stock 1m:4f minimum for a species, so the socolofi are at risk.

Which is your must have species? We can suggest what species to keep or a different tank size based on that.

Re: Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:52 pm

A side note, that I'm not sure if you're aware of or not.. the clown loaches will definitely outgrow your tank - it will take a while, but it will happen. I personally don't find them to be good tank mates for mbuna because of their difference in diet requirements.

Like DJ said, keep the number of species down, and keep smaller, less aggressive species and you should be fine. Acei are a fairly large mbuna, I personally like them in a 6 foot aquarium.

Yellow labs and Red Zebras can and probably will hybridize. I would avoid this combo if possible.

Re: Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:19 pm

Thank you both for the reply, sounds like I should have asked this question 2 months ago. At this point I'm thinking of removing the Melanochromis Auratus and the Maylandia Estherae, this would reduce the species count by two and the total number of fish by 10.

Thank you both for the responses!

Re: Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:06 pm

Quick update, I removed the Auratus and the Maylandia Esterae (LFS was nice enough to take them from me) and things are going much better in the 75. Thank you again for your help!

Re: Tank Aggression, is some to be expected?

Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:54 pm

I would add some female socolofi...they are pretty aggressive and having 2 is a risk.
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