Lake Malawi Species • After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So.. ?

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After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So.. ?

Postby Tom Jones » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:19 pm

*** TL/DR — or "1 line summary of the full novel that is this post":
( 40 gallon breeder > Asked 1000s of question for stocking > Will go with Yellow Labs > Listed all suggestions I got under a quote tag > List of questions about Yellow Labs )


Okay guys. I made a few new posts, and asked a lot of questions in other people's posts, on how to stock my 36" long 40 Gallon.

I've got a lot of suggestions, and read some more here, and I love them all. Here are some of my favorites, and thanks to those who made them.

I've listed the suggested combinations I received and found. I've put them in a quote square for those who'd prefer to skip that part :-)

Suggestions I received for 40G stocking wrote:
A) Saulosis alone
B) Yellow Labs + 1 Demasoni
C) Rusties alone
D) Yellow Labs + Rusties (with caution on the Rusties)
E) Yellow Labs + Jalo Reef
F) Lethrinops Red Cap alone
G) One species of Victorian Haps (my favorites were Chromogynos) + Giant Danios
H) 1x Firemouth + 8-10 rapid dither tetras + either a group of small cories or one small Pleco

And on another forum I've been suggested those :

I ) Pair of convicts
J) Pair or group of Dwarf Yellow Convicts
K) Pair of Thorichthys (other than a Firemouth) + a small school of big/fast dither

Edit : Back to this forum, but under my previous account, I also got those Tanganykan suggestions :

L) A Tanganyikan shell-dwellers tank (I especially liked the Multifasciatus)
M) 6x Caudopunctatus + 6x Paracyps + 2 Calvus/Compressiceps (buy 6 rehome 4) — that was my main choice for a while

/End

( I don't know why I listed those, that was unnecessary lol — I just had the list written down already — Maybe it will be interesting to someone ! )
[/size]


Okay, so yeah I think those that I like the most are the Yellow Labs. (I know Saulosis could be better, but I prefer the Labs with their Black line.)

So here : I chose the Yellow Labs ! :fish:

( Most probably as a single-species — unless favorable answers to questions #3 and #4)

I got a few questions :

1. In a species-only tank, how many should I get ?
2. I was about to ask for the M/F ratio, but I believe I'll get unsexed juveniles. So how many should I buy in order to get the perfect amount/ratio once I rehomed bullies and/or bullieds ?
3. Could y put some Synondontis Lucipinnis with them ? If so, how many, and should I decrease the amount of Labs if I put some ?
4. I'm pretty sure the answer will be no, but : Could I put a smaller group of Yellow Labs, and then add a single peaceful Peacock ? (*)
5. I've read that "mbunas best dithers are more mbunas" but I'll ask anyway : Could dither and/or schooling fish be added, and if so which ?
6. If I can either mix the Labs with the Synos, the Peacock, or the dithers, in what order should I add them ? My guess is that the labs should be last.
7. If they produce fry, should I do something specific with them ? If there's a peacock will they get more aggressive towards him, and how bad can it be ?
8. Will Synos eat the fry, and how will the Labs react to this ?
9. If kept alone in their tank (no synos, no peacock, no dither), do they take care of their fry by themselves ? Should I remove carrying/gravid female ? Should I remove the fry at some point ?
10. If they breed, will the couple go berserk against other labs ? And how bad can it get ?

I'll make sure to keep an hospital tank. I've been suggested a 20G + some dividers when asking about Victorian's hap. Would the hospital/gestating tank would need the same size with Labs ?

(*) I've read a post from a member on the forum that said he's "had success in a smaller tank with Labs and Aulonocara Maulana for years". (I guess it was Aulonocara stuartgranti 'Maulana Bi-Color') I don't want to expose the member in case people disagree with this, if he wants he'll chime in. I'm not sure what tank size it was nor how many Maulana and Labs, but it was in a post about someone wanting to stock a 36". I've also gathered a list of some other Peacock mentioned as being more peaceful than the others, but I'd really like the contrast with a A. Maulana.

That's pretty much what I'd need to know for now I think. As for proper filtration, substrate, water parameters, decor/caves, etc — I think I can find those online :)

If you feel I'm missing something, or if you want to correct me on something, if you have extra tips for me, extra warning, or if you want to comment the other suggestions I've received and quoted above, feel free to chime in !

Again, a very big thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my millions questions! It's so appreciated! =D>
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:05 am

Hey guys, I got a reply on another board that said 12-15 adult labs would be a good amount for a 40G Breeder, and that I should get 25 juveniles to get to this amount over time by slimming the herd. He said I could get some Lucipinnis but their amount would depend on the size I get them at. Said 3 or 4 of them should not have a big impact on bioload , but I could lower amount of Juvenile Labs to 20-22 if I want to make sure.

Also told me against putting a Peacock with them because of their different diet : Labs would bloat from eating peacock's food, or the peacock won't be getting the proper nutrition it needs from the high vegetation level. Also discouraged me from getting any dither fish.

Since the Labs wont see the Lucipinnis as rivals, he said the order of introduction might not be important, but to put the labs last to be sure. Also said I should aim at a filtration of 10 times my tank volume per hours, which I think should be okay with my Aquaclear 50 (200 GPH) and my sponge filter connected to a JA-600 powerhead of 211 GPH.

Would you guys agree with those advices and numbers ? If so, this will finally be my final choice of stocking and I won't annoy you guys anymore hehe
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby james1983 » Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:55 am

I would do less fish, maybe 6. Labs are pretty peaceful, but also get decent size and having 12-15 in a 3ft tank will be packed. Also, diet would be a non issue with a quality food like nls.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby aconite » Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:38 pm

I think james1983 is right about the number... 12-15 seems to me like way too many normal sized mbuna for a 36" tank. I'm not sure you'd want more than a single male in there. While labs are chilled out, they're still mbuna. In my limited experience they can and do fight. I've had labs with tails chewed off, fins nipped, and males chased to the top of the tank, by more dominant labs. Maybe 1m:4-5f? And perhaps 3 synos for some variety, if you want.

Fry in your tank will get eaten by both the larger labs and the catfish. No need to take the holding female out unless you actually want to save the fry. I've had the odd fry survive (before I got synos) by hiding in holey rock until they're big enough to swim in the open, but then I don't want loads of small fish to deal with so I just let nature take its course and leave the holding females to spit in the main tank.

If it was me trying to populate a 36" I'd stick with a dwarf species. At least you could have a larger number of fish in the tank.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby shiftyfox » Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:24 pm

It’s a difficult balance as if you have too few they will just hide but like the others have said labs do get a good size and 12 will look like your tanks packed when they are fully grown
You could try 1M 7F. Eight would be plenty when fully grown IME.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:26 pm

Thank you james1983 and aconite for your input.

I thought the amount of 12-15 was in order to overstock the tank a bit, which is sometimes suggested with mbunas. You would still choose 6 (1M-5F) over the overstocking idea ? I would have still aimed at a very low amount of males if I went with 12, I would have either aimed at a 1m-11F or 2m-10f with very distinctive set of caves on both sides of the tank (hoping they'd pick on pile each).

As for dwarfs species, I only know Saulosis and Demasonis. Saulosis are not my favorite ones, and some people said they were even meaner than their Labs in their species tank. Demasonis are often portrayed as being more fragile health-wise. Are there other dwarf mbunas that I should consider ? I've heard of a few other dwarf cichlids, but they'd be from other lake/world (example Dwarf Yellow Convicts).

Also, someone in that other forum suggested me to go with an all-males mbuna tank instead of Labs only. Even though I'd love to do so, I'm pretty sure my tank is too small for a male-only. I remember seeing few different people asking about males only with tanks similar than mines, and they were all turned down. I think you guys always say a 55g (or maybe a 75g) is minimum for all-males. Anyways, I'm just sharing what I've been told in case someone would like to comment, but I'm sure this was not the best advice I got.

So, fewer Yellow Labs (6 >1m/5f) would still be the best choice over the overstocking option ?
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:28 pm

shiftyfox wrote:It’s a difficult balance as if you have too few they will just hide but like the others have said labs do get a good size and 12 will look like your tanks packed when they are fully grown
You could try 1M 7F. Eight would be plenty when fully grown IME.


Sorry, I started my reply before your post appeared. I think 8 could be a good compromise. I wonder what the others think.

I'd prefer them not to be hiding, as I don't think they'd accept dithers without shredding them to pieces lol.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby aconite » Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:18 pm

Tom Jones wrote:I thought the amount of 12-15 was in order to overstock the tank a bit, which is sometimes suggested with mbunas.


15 fish would be suitably overstocked for a 48"x12" tank. I can't imagine that many 5" fish in a 36" tank.

Not sure why you dislike saulosi? You would get two colours, could have more fish as they stay smaller, and the males have dark stripes along their dorsal fins similar to labs.I've not read of them being overly aggressive. My males do chase each other, but nothing too serious yet. They're only about 2.5" long though, so that may change in time.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:56 pm

I understand what you say about overstocking vs tank/fish size. Makes sense. I'll go with less. Do you think Shiftyfox's suggestion of 8 would be good ?

As for Saulosis, it is part personal taste (I love the look of Labs over the look of Female Saulosis : The missing black line on the female Saulosis make a difference to me), but it's also due to male on male agression : most shared experiences I found said they got to only one male overtime as the dominant male ended up killing all rivals once older.

Also, I got a message of someone saying :

(Google translated from French)

« They will always end up fighting no matter when they are introduced. I move/change the decor often to reduce agression.People say the Yellow labs are the most peaceful and I believed that until I saw a big Male Lab going after my big male Mpanga
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby aconite » Fri Sep 18, 2020 3:09 pm

I guess you won't know until you try... 1m:7f labs and see how things work out?
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Fri Sep 18, 2020 5:28 pm

Sorry, on my last message, the message I quoted was missing the last sentence. It said "however, from all my tanks I find my Saulosis to be the worst" (That's why I was posting the quote - without that sentence it made no sense in my reasoning of why I dislike Saulosis lol.

Anyways, I think I'll try 1m6-7f of Yellow Labs with 3 Lucipinnis and see how it goes. I'll get an hospital tank cycled and ready, just in case, and I'll keep an eye on how they goes.

As I'll get them as unsexed juveniles, should I buy like 12 and then slim down the herd as they grow until I get only one male ?
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby DJRansome » Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:56 pm

Since they are labs you may be fine if the ratio is a little off. Six-seven might be a good number total to buy. If you have to rehome 2 males, you are still left with 1m:4f.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:52 pm

Okay, thanks! I will lower this to seven juvenile labs total (and 3 Lucipinnis) and monitor how it goes.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby BC in SK » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:57 am

IMO, you would be better off starting out with a few more. 8 or so, is a decent number to end up with. If you start with 7 and have to 'rehome' a couple and/or lose a few.....I think you are setting yourself up with good chance to fail.
You still need numbers to make a group work, especially in a small tank! Only 4-5 cichlids total in a tank, while it is not impossible for it to work out, IMO has slim odds. It would have slim odds for less active, and less aggressive SA. It would have even slimmer odds for CA. And it really shouldn't even be considered for mbuna, especially for somebody new to cichlids!
Don't count on yellow labs being peaceful. They are only considered "peaceful" when compared to aggressive mbuna (such as kenyi or auratus). They are aggressive, compared to most cichlids.
I've had yellow labs during two periods of time. First time, from sometime in the late '90's to around 2005. Those ones fit the description of "peaceful", at least compared to other mbuna. My second time with yellow labs started almost 6 years ago. I had groups in 4 tanks (75, 90, 125 and 180 gal.)for a number of years. Nasty conspecific aggression. Far worse then any of my demasoni groups. I had 5 males in my 180 gal. at one time....it was a war zone! I removed and went down to one male; females were always having to hide most of the time. When I exchanged for a young, small male, the female pecking order was just as nasty....until the young male became dominant and acted just the same as the previous dominant male. Had 2 males in my 125 gal. Threatened each other almost constantly. Was about to remove one, but got beat up before I got around to it, and died the same day it was removed. Also, during this time, I got acei. Another mbuna that often get's described as "peaceful". The first couple years, they were ridiculously mellow for mbuna. But that changed as they got older, and they became fairly typical mbuna. Like 2 completely different fish: the very mellow when young, and like typical mbuna once they got older.
Fish are individuals and the situations they are put in are always different. Tanks change a lot over time, as fish grow, and pecking orders often change. Cichlid tanks usually need some numbers to make a functioning pecking order. It's mbuna and a species group. IMO, yellow labs are not some kind of exception.
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Re: After so many questions, I think I'll go with Y.Labs. So

Postby Tom Jones » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:35 pm

I understand what you're saying about the small quantities in mbunas. What amount would you suggest to start with ? Then trim down to what amount over time ?
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