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Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.
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Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:01 pm

I would like to understand the dynamics of tank length on the keeping of mbuna. My problem is basically this: I cannot find anyone who has any data or experience with a ten foot tank. From reading these forums, I learned that length is probably the most important dimension of the aquarium for mbuna as the average chase is less than 3 feet, but when you go all the way up to ten how does this change the dynamic? How many breeding groups could you keep? How many total fish? What would you absolutely NOT do?

Let's say the tank is 120"x30"x30" - 415 gallons

-Strum

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:06 pm

I would try 7 species and 35 fish. Except that you mention in the other post one species is demasoni, so just for them you want 35 or so.

If any of the species are aggressive types like auratus the answer would be different.

Each male would like to have 3 feet to himself. However much less you can get him to agree to before there is war is a little bit of an experiment.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Thu Sep 10, 2020 2:33 pm

Thanks for the replies. Somewhere in the back of my head I was hoping that all the rules would go out the window at 10 feet and you would say something like "10 feet?! Nah, do whatever you want." It does seem reasonable to keep it down to about 7 species or so... now to find ones that will work with each other.

SWMBO and I discussed and though we like the Demasoni a lot, it does sound like this would not be the setup for them. Great point on the other thread about the tear down to get extra males and holding females out. Who knows what we'll do. How would you stock it?

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:05 pm

SenorStrum wrote:How would you stock it?


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Sorry. I know this is a Malawi thread, but I couldn't resist. :o

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:44 pm

SenorStrum wrote: How would you stock it?


With bigger fish that you couldn't do in a smaller tank. The focus of my 450gal (8 foot) is Frontosa and I'm quite happy with that choice.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:02 pm

Maybe a species tank with a larger, colorful and peaceful fish (read a species that tolerates multiple males) like Placidochromis phenochilus Mdoka or Tanzania.

Or foae.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:08 pm

My tank has been very peaceful: fifteen Frontosa (4"-8"), six 4"-6" Placidochromis phenchilus tanzania, three 6" Protomelas sp taiwan reef, one 6" Dolphin moorii.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:15 pm

Thanks to both.

We almost got kicked out of the LFS the other day for mentioning that she thinks Frontosa are ugly. Who knew such a statement would cause bad feelings? (What do we use around here to indicate obvious sarcasm or good-natured trolling? insert that emoji here) I guess this hobby is very much based on personal preferrences.

The tank is actually an architectural element to the remodel. We both really like Mbuna, and this is the problem that we're having with the setup. When somebody gets a tank this big, it's because they already have a plan to keep something really big in it. Fronts, for example. What we CAN'T find is anyone who has any sort of personal experience with a busy mbuna colony in something like this. For what it's worth, we've decided against Demasoni. Maybe I'll take a left turn and go FOWLR.

-Strum

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:29 pm

I'd do the 7 species and just increase females within the 7 species if you need more individuals to manage aggression.

You will have a hard time finding 7 mbuna species that look nothing alike in any case.

For a six foot tank some do 3 species only with one being auratus, since they are so aggressive. You could try a lower number of species and go all aggressive if you like those types.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:04 pm

SenorStrum wrote:We almost got kicked out of the LFS the other day for mentioning that she thinks Frontosa are ugly.


I guess I know what you mean for some Frontosa but I have to say my wild-caught Zaire blue mobas are truly beautiful - outstanding colors & shape.

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:21 pm

I also think frontosa are ugly...as is any fish with a hump. I might have said not to my taste instead of ugly, however. :thumb:

Re: Tank Length and Mbuna

Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:30 pm

Yeah, it's one of the many stories in my life that feature a lack of tact and diplomacy on my part which subsequently ended with "anyway, that's how the fight started."

Sounds like you're smarter than me and likely don't have as many cool stories :D
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