Lake Malawi Species • 135 Gallon Stock Help

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135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby nickthefoxtoy » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:26 pm

Hey everyone, I still haven’t stocked my 72 inch 135 and it’s been set up for 4 months. I just can’t decide what to do. Currently it has a group of labidochromis caeruleus and a large male yellow tail acei that I had to regime from my 55 gallon. I would love to try my hand at an all male peacock hap tank, but I am concerned of the constant aggression issues you always hear about. I am curious if a group of yellow labs and acei could thrive with peacocks and haps and vice versa, and I am also looking for recommendations for fish that would give me the best chance at success. Some fish I have been liking:

Protomelas taeniolatas
Aulonocara maylandi
Placidochromis sp. phenochilus (star sapphire)
Aulonocara Rubescens
I really love the Aristochromis Christyi and Venustas but I am concerned about aggression and size for my tank.


I would love all fish recommendations, and any helpful ideas that could keep me on the right side of aggression. There are so many different kinds of fish it is almost overwhelming.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:03 am

I would skip the maylandi in a male tank because they often don't color well.

The pheno and rubescens can be on the timid side, so if you go with them I would stock to the more timid peacocks and haps.

The venustus and empress can be on the aggressive side, so if you go with them I would stock to the more aggressive peacocks and haps.

It's not that the venustus and empress are too aggressive for your tank...it is that if you choose more rambunctious fish, you might want to choose more rambunctious tank mates. Have extra tanks and a rehoming plan.

With 5 acei and 5 labs to start and if you choose large fish like venustus and empress you want to limit the number of additional males you add to the tank.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby nickthefoxtoy » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:47 pm

For extra tanks, how many would be recommended? I only have one 55 gallon that I can use as a “time out tank”. Would I need to get more? Also, do you know anything about the aggression levels of the Christyi? And is a 135 gallon tank big enough to house the more aggressive haps, or should I stick to the timid ones?

Also, it’s just one male acei, I didn’t plan to get females, unless you recommend it. But in all honesty he is one mean fish. Everyone says these fish are the more peaceful mbuna but I think I found the outlier. He is clearing 7 inches as well. Not really sure the best way to stock with him in there. Should I move him for the time being until the peacocks/haps are bigger? Don’t really want to rehome as I’ve had him for 4 years. Would females possibly make him calm down and focus on his species? Somewhat concerned stocking 4 or 5 3 inch males at a time would be a very expensive experiment and not in the best interest for my new fish.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:50 pm

A. christyi is an 11" fish. Peaceful as a single fish, but it hunts mbuna. Sounds like a bad mix but maybe others will chime in.

Time out seldom works. You can get away with one tank if you are good enough to catch a situation before the fish is sick, and go to the LFS for rehoming within a couple of days of when you remove the fish, no problems.

If you might end up with multiple fish awaiting rehoming and your auction is 2X per year you might need more tanks.

The aggressive haps (like venustus level of aggression) are OK in a 72" tank.

Maybe your acei is a hybrid. I would add females if you are going to have the female labs in the tank.

Welcome to the world of the all-male tank, no guarantees.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby nickthefoxtoy » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:08 pm

Okay, I think I will have to think about getting female acei. I will wait for some more people to chime in on the Christyi, but it does seem like it would not mix well. What do you think the best way to start the stocking would be? I’m assuming removing every rock might limit his aggression at the beginning to the new tank mates.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby Fogelhund » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:16 pm

My opinion, get rid of the acei... get a group of P. phenochilus, get a group of Red Peacocks... whether they are German Red, or Ruby Red... Aulonocara rubecens isn't a real scientific name... they are man made fish.

They should all get along fine, without too much aggression, and you'd have a great mix of colour.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:59 pm

I would stock the fish with the right amount of rocks according to their natural environment, but at least several in the tank to break up sight lines at least somewhat. A barren tank will not give you the best chance at seeing much natural behavior.

Fogelhund sounds like a nice tank.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby nickthefoxtoy » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:40 pm

Yeah I agree, I would not leave the tank barren for the long term. I also enjoy looking at the aquascape of a tank. I was just thinking/hoping by removing the rocks at the beginning when I initially stock, it would reduce aggression by him from a territorial perspective.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby DJRansome » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:52 am

One thing people don't realize is that changing the aquascape can go wrong as often as it goes right. If you add the rocks later, everyone will THEN have to cope with the change by deciding where their spot is in the tank and maybe have to fight for it. The main change to reduce territorialism is no females.
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Re: 135 Gallon Stock Help

Postby Fogelhund » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:04 am

DJRansome wrote: The main change to reduce territorialism is no females.


I've always found it to be, keep the right species together, in a tank of appropriate size. You still get aggression with all males, pretty much the same as with a breeding tank... except maybe when breeding itself... but then, if the tank is big enough, and the right number of species, that should work together, you have less issues.
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