Lake Malawi Species • Glenn's Tank Thread

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Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Thu May 21, 2020 4:44 pm

This is the logical progression of "Glenn's Tank Thread" under Aquarium Setup https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 4&t=390593

This list was suggested by chazeltine .....

1 male and 4 females of Chindongo Saulosi
1 male and 4 females of Psuedotropheous Acei
1 male and 4 females of Cynotilapia Afra
1 male and 4 females of Labidochromis caeruleus
1 male and 4 females of Labeotropheus trewavasae

An amendment was made by DJRansome .....

"For a different thought on stocking I like 4 species in a 48x18 tank. I would eliminate the afra (now known as zebroides) since they are blue barred fish like the saulosi, and the saulosi have colorful females.

I would also do 7 females for the labeotropheus as they can be more aggressive than the others."

after a discussion on Clown Loaches this thought was added

"They are way smaller than the loaches and MAYBE 8 inches long but sleek and absolutely not a problem in a 48" tank. Or go Synodontis lucipinnis...smaller and no parasite brooding. Also not as good at fry patrol"

So I will use this thread a a place to discuss the new fish for the new tank.

The tank is still cycling, I expect to have some Dr. Tim's One and Only tomorrow and will try his fish-less cycle.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 21, 2020 6:11 pm

So given the suggestions so far, and your original decision to go with Malawi, and your decisions so far, what additional information can Members provide to help you decide?

Mbuna or haps and peacocks?

Mixed gender or all male?

Save us flipping between the topics, what are the dimensions of the tank?
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Thu May 21, 2020 8:14 pm

DJRansome wrote:So given the suggestions so far, and your original decision to go with Malawi, and your decisions so far, what additional information can Members provide to help you decide?

Mbuna or haps and peacocks?

Mixed gender or all male?

Save us flipping between the topics, what are the dimensions of the tank?


I am thinking Mbuna, male and female

I am not a real fan of the coloring I have seen in Peacocks, but they are no as territorial.

Tank is 110 gal High (48 x 18 x30)
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Thu May 21, 2020 9:29 pm

DJRansome wrote:what additional information can Members provide to help you decide?



I thought about this and the answer right now is nothing, however after I do my reading I will have very specific questions.

Currently getting a handle on the three species, general characteristics.

Are there any top swimmers? Haplochromines? little concerned with the 1/4 of the Cichlids that are predators (no Fry survive, not that I want to bred, but the activity is nice to watch)

Just kind of thinking out load and will listen to any input.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Thu May 21, 2020 9:35 pm

Lake Malawi cichlids tend to swim at all levels of the tank...especially once spawning starts so for 7.5 years of their 8 year lifetime...all over the tank.

Of course your tank is 2X deeper than many, so I would not expect fish to hang out extensively at the top. Acei have a rep for this but I did not find it to be more true for them than any other mbuna.

There are not mbuna predators so not a concern. The occasional fry may survive but unlikely with the Synodontis in the tank.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Sat May 23, 2020 8:44 am

How do you identify Haplochromines, Mbuna, and Peacocks

Body shape, mouth, fins?

I cannot seem to find a good description on how to tell them apart?
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Sat May 23, 2020 9:56 am

Scientific name? I would not try to ID them by looking. Curious why you would want to?

Peacocks are properly called Aulonocara.

Haps in particular have a wide variety of shapes.

And although they are not commonly referred to this way, Aulonocara are haps.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby BC in SK » Sat May 23, 2020 1:21 pm

GlennLever wrote:How do you identify Haplochromines, Mbuna, and Peacocks

Body shape, mouth, fins?

I cannot seem to find a good description on how to tell them apart?

These are groupings used in the aquarium hobby and not really groupings that fit with scientific classification.
All lake Malawi cichlids in the hobby are Haplochromines ( belong to the tribe Haplochromini) and are thought to have a single common ancestor (monophyletic). There are actually a few Tilapines in Lake Malawi, but none are really in the hobby.
Mbuna generally refer to elongated fish that live and feed above the rocky areas. They are not a monphyletic group as DNA studies have shown some to be more closely related to peacocks and/or haps then they are to other mbuna. Aquarists distinguish these from other Haplochromines primarily on their body shape and by the fact that many hobbyists have become very familiar with all of the genera.
Peacocks are a monphyletic grouping as they are all members of the same genus, Aulonocara. In terms of appearance the distinction in look from "Haps" is not always so obvious, nor easy to explain with words, but as one becomes very familiar with the genus, aquarists recognize them as members of the Aulonocara genus. Aulonocara are more closely related to mbuna, then they are to at least some "Haps".
Malawi "Haps" are generally those fish that used to be in the genus, Haplochromis. They are recognized by hobbyists primarily by their deeper body shape. Over the last 40 years or so, these fish were removed from the genus Haplochromis, and placed in a multitude of genera. Today there are no Haps from lake Malawi remaining in the genus Haplochromis. This genus is made up of Haplochromine fish from outside of lake Malawi of what I would refer to as "victorian-types".
"Haps" are found through out lake Malawi, though they are some what more associated with sandy areas or really deep water, and some what less so from rocky areas (which mbuna are almost exclusively associated with).
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Sat May 23, 2020 7:15 pm

DJRansome wrote:Scientific name? I would not try to ID them by looking. Curious why you would want to?

Peacocks are properly called Aulonocara.

Haps in particular have a wide variety of shapes.

And although they are not commonly referred to this way, Aulonocara are haps.


Why, I do not want to look like a idiot whan I walk in to buy some fish, or maybe I purchase online, never do that before.


BC in SK wrote:
GlennLever wrote:How do you identify Haplochromines, Mbuna, and Peacocks

Body shape, mouth, fins?

I cannot seem to find a good description on how to tell them apart?

These are groupings used in the aquarium hobby and not really groupings that fit with scientific classification.
All lake Malawi cichlids in the hobby are Haplochromines ( belong to the tribe Haplochromini) and are thought to have a single common ancestor (monophyletic). There are actually a few Tilapines in Lake Malawi, but none are really in the hobby.
Mbuna generally refer to elongated fish that live and feed above the rocky areas. They are not a monphyletic group as DNA studies have shown some to be more closely related to peacocks and/or haps then they are to other mbuna. Aquarists distinguish these from other Haplochromines primarily on their body shape and by the fact that many hobbyists have become very familiar with all of the genera.
Peacocks are a monphyletic grouping as they are all members of the same genus, Aulonocara. In terms of appearance the distinction in look from "Haps" is not always so obvious, nor easy to explain with words, but as one becomes very familiar with the genus, aquarists recognize them as members of the Aulonocara genus. Aulonocara are more closely related to mbuna, then they are to at least some "Haps".
Malawi "Haps" are generally those fish that used to be in the genus, Haplochromis. They are recognized by hobbyists primarily by their deeper body shape. Over the last 40 years or so, these fish were removed from the genus Haplochromis, and placed in a multitude of genera. Today there are no Haps from lake Malawi remaining in the genus Haplochromis. This genus is made up of Haplochromine fish from outside of lake Malawi of what I would refer to as "victorian-types".
"Haps" are found through out lake Malawi, though they are some what more associated with sandy areas or really deep water, and some what less so from rocky areas (which mbuna are almost exclusively associated with).


Thanks, a little above my head, but I will work my through it. I guess the best thing is to know before you go into a store, what you want.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Sat May 23, 2020 9:12 pm

If the scientific name is not on the tank, about face and leave the LFS. Don't buy from an assorted tank and think twice if all they give you is the common name.

You can glance through the genus names in the profiles here...all Aulonocara have the same genus name. Haps have genus names like Copadichromis, Protomelas, Placidochromis, etc.

That should help.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby GlennLever » Sat May 23, 2020 11:25 pm

DJRansome wrote:If the scientific name is not on the tank, about face and leave the LFS. Don't buy from an assorted tank and think twice if all they give you is the common name.

You can glance through the genus names in the profiles here...all Aulonocara have the same genus name. Haps have genus names like Copadichromis, Protomelas, Placidochromis, etc.

That should help.


Yes, Thanks

The store is a two store chain (true Mom and Pop pet store). I knew the original owner back 30 years ago, I bought my last 110 from him and I feel so allegiance to them.

My choices are limited, I have Petco, Country Max, Pet World (the Mom & Pop store).

1) I have read about online fish, is that an option? The obvious question is who is GOOD.

2) Once the tank is cycled, do I buy a bunch of fish, or start with lets say Synodontis iucipinnis?
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Sat May 23, 2020 11:35 pm

I would stock all at once. Mom or Pop may have the scientific name, even if they don't label the tanks with the names. Or they may be willing to order fish by scientific name for you from their wholesaler.

I order 99% of my fish online (the rest I buy from hobbyists I know well). Members can PM you with recommendations, you can PM them or you can look at Retailer Reviews.
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby sir_keith » Sun May 24, 2020 2:35 pm

BC in SK wrote:These are groupings used in the aquarium hobby and not really groupings that fit with scientific classification.
All lake Malawi cichlids in the hobby are Haplochromines ( belong to the tribe Haplochromini) and are thought to have a single common ancestor (monophyletic). There are actually a few Tilapines in Lake Malawi, but none are really in the hobby.
Mbuna generally refer to elongated fish that live and feed above the rocky areas. They are not a monphyletic group as DNA studies have shown some to be more closely related to peacocks and/or haps then they are to other mbuna. Aquarists distinguish these from other Haplochromines primarily on their body shape and by the fact that many hobbyists have become very familiar with all of the genera.
Peacocks are a monphyletic grouping as they are all members of the same genus, Aulonocara. In terms of appearance the distinction in look from "Haps" is not always so obvious, nor easy to explain with words, but as one becomes very familiar with the genus, aquarists recognize them as members of the Aulonocara genus. Aulonocara are more closely related to mbuna, then they are to at least some "Haps".
Malawi "Haps" are generally those fish that used to be in the genus, Haplochromis. They are recognized by hobbyists primarily by their deeper body shape. Over the last 40 years or so, these fish were removed from the genus Haplochromis, and placed in a multitude of genera. Today there are no Haps from lake Malawi remaining in the genus Haplochromis. This genus is made up of Haplochromine fish from outside of lake Malawi of what I would refer to as "victorian-types".
"Haps" are found through out lake Malawi, though they are some what more associated with sandy areas or really deep water, and some what less so from rocky areas (which mbuna are almost exclusively associated with).


Excellent post, and a nice summary of a complex issue. :thumb:
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Re: Glenn's Tank Thread

Postby DJRansome » Sun May 24, 2020 4:16 pm

If you have to buy the fish one group at a time for some reason, Synodontis last as they are the most sensitive to toxins in the water. Least aggressive group first so they have an advantage. Wait between additions so beneficial organisms can grow to support the new bioload. Quarantine each new group to be added in a separate tank for 3 weeks.
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