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Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.
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Compatible 3rd species?

Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:02 pm

What would you all recommend as a 3rd species that would coexist well in a 6' tank with Aulonocara baenschi and star sapphire? I was thinking of just adding more quantity of the same 2, but afraid I won't get more than 1 male of each to color up. Would introducing a 3rd species instead give me a better chance of adding more color?

Re: Compatible 3rd species?

Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:21 pm

Actually this is more of a stocking advice question. I have a 6' tank that battled some things but is ready to be reloaded. There are 2 auloncara baenschi (1M/1F both probably around 3.5-4") and 5 star sapphire (still young ranging from 2-3").

I was originally going to order enough juvies to bring both species up to 12 each. But with the large male baenschi already owning the tank, I wonder if any of the new juvies would ever color up? Would it be better to just order 3 adult females of the baenschi to keep them 1:4 and then try a 3rd species?

Re: Compatible 3rd species?

Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:04 am

I would personally add more female baenschi (group of 1 male and 4 females), and up the star sapphires to 10. You could try another small hap to make it around 20 total fish since you are dealing with all medium sized species. I do think a large group of Star Sapphires would look great, however some options I think could work would be:

Sciaenochromis fryeri
Copadichromis azurues
Otopharynx lithobates
Copadichromis chrysonotus
Protomelas sp. "Steveni Taiwan"

Do you have any synodontis catfish in your group? Could be a good addition as well.

Re: Compatible 3rd species?

Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:35 am

I would tend toward the copadichromis or otopharynx. The sapphires tend to color better with other timid haps and peacocks. Definitely first add the peacock females.

Re: Compatible 3rd species?

Sat Jan 02, 2021 3:46 am

It is normal to only get one male of a species to show full color, unless you have a large group.

I would get more Baenschi but only expect to have one male. Then you could add one or two species in a 6 footer.
I would choose the Azureus over the Fryeri because Fryeri are more dominant.
Real C. chrysonatus rarely show full male color, though they are often mislabeled, not much for adding color but they (if real) are very unaggressive. Sometimes even Azureus are sold as Chrysonatus, as it is an old trade name.
Lithobates Zimbabwe would work fine as a 3rd group, very different from the first two, are not very dominant.
I wouldn't have any problem with adding juvenile Taiwan Reef, they are very different from you first two fish, and not terribly dominant.
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