Lake Malawi Species • Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

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Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Smeagol » Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:08 am

I'm in the early research & planning phase for a new 75-gallon mbuna tank. I'd like to do a slightly modified version of the "purple and yellow" cookie cutter plan:

Pseudotropheus acei (6)
Labidochromis caeruleus (8)
?????? (6)

What would be a good 3rd species to add for a bit more variety and contrast? I don't want anything too aggressive. Thanks for any suggestions!
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Harlequin Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby noki » Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:35 am

A barred Cynotilapia would offer contrast with an attractive interesting Mbuna. Females are kinda drab if that offends you.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Fogelhund » Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:21 am

noki wrote:A barred Cynotilapia would offer contrast with an attractive interesting Mbuna. Females are kinda drab if that offends you.


Except for maybe Cynotilapia sp "Hara", where the females can be pretty nice too.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby DJRansome » Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:50 am

Agree on the hara, but when I had both hara and acei I found I was wanting more contrast. I would either bump up the counts or go with the barred Cynotilapia (like Cynotilapia zebroides Cobue) or go with rusties (Iodotropheus sprengerae).
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Smeagol » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:26 pm

Aw man, this is a hard decision! I like the rusties for color contrast, but I like Cynotilapia zebroides because none of my other selections are barred. What should I do?!

I'm still open to other ideas.... :-?
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Harlequin Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Fogelhund » Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:51 pm

I've never liked rusties to be honest. Most aren't that nice, and are more aggressive than most think.


You could always do Hara, Labs and Scieanochromis fryeri. But the females are silver with the fryeri.

A fish that isn't easy to find, but might make a great contrast is sold as Melanochromis parallelus in the hobby, but is actually Melanochromis loriae. I had these a few years back, and they were pretty might, and had great colour and contrast.
http://malawi.si/Malawi/Mbuna/Melanochr ... index.html
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Idech » Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:44 pm

Would Maingano be a good option ? They look really nice and they have stripes.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Smeagol » Mon Jan 25, 2021 11:06 pm

Yeah, I considered Maingano, but I thought they might be hard to find. Are they commonly available?
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Harlequin Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby DJRansome » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:08 am

Maingano are super, but not what you would call peaceful. Still workable. Try for 1m:7f. Always a good idea to order online (from a reputable vendor) for variety and quality and price.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby fishboy75 » Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:32 pm

Another black and blue barred one to consider is Metriaclima sp Dolphin aka Giant Demasoni. I know others have said they are skittish but I haven't really encountered that with mine yet. I have had mine 4 months now. I have 10 of them growing out in a 55 with 9 Yellow tail Acei. They were 1- 1.25 inches long when I got them compared to the Acei which were 1.5 in. They are definitely a more dominant species than the Acei and have outgrown them in this period. My largest are about 3.25 inches now. They are definitely fiestier and more aggressive towards each other than the Acei but I haven't seen any real damage inflicted and there are no fish exhibiting signs of stress. They will retreat to the rocks if I make sudden movements around the tank but come out eagerly to feed and will remain out with me watching. Their patterns and colors have intensified as they've grown and the 3 largest males typically show dominant colors all the time. They are definitely an interesting fish to watch as well, constantly picking the substrate for food and grazing on algae from the rocks and glass. Good luck with whatever you decide!
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Smeagol » Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:35 pm

DJRansome wrote:Maingano are super, but not what you would call peaceful. Still workable. Try for 1m:7f. Always a good idea to order online (from a reputable vendor) for variety and quality and price.


Is there a list of reputable vendors somewhere? What m:f ratio would you recommend for the P. acei and the L. caeruleus? Or doesn't it matter with those species because they're more peaceful?
75g = Yellow-tail Acei, Yellow Labs, Maingano
20g Planted = Harlequin Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Amano Shrimp
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Deeda » Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:07 pm

Members can PM you with suggestions for vendors that may do mail order if that is something you are interested in doing though may be limited by current weather.

Some other options are local fish clubs with members that may have what you are looking for. Unfortunately all clubs are currently not holding in person meetings. Some are on Facebook if you know the club link but you can check the Clubs link at the top of the page to narrow down if they have a website.

I'll PM you with a couple suggestions for NE Ohio.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Idech » Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:44 pm

Smeagol wrote:What m:f ratio would you recommend for the P. acei and the L. caeruleus? Or doesn't it matter with those species because they're more peaceful?


I’m new to Mbunas but I just want to warn you that just because a specie is said to be less aggressive, it doesn’t mean all the individual fish are. My most aggressive fish is a labidochromis caeruleus. He is the boss tank and a total tyrant. He is absolutely beautiful but I almost regret having chosen that specie.

My aceis (white tail) on the other hand, are exactly as they are described : peaceful, most of the time.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:21 pm

Idech wrote:
Smeagol wrote:What m:f ratio would you recommend for the P. acei and the L. caeruleus? Or doesn't it matter with those species because they're more peaceful?


I’m new to Mbunas but I just want to warn you that just because a specie is said to be less aggressive, it doesn’t mean all the individual fish are. My most aggressive fish is a labidochromis caeruleus. He is the boss tank and a total tyrant. He is absolutely beautiful but I almost regret having chosen that specie.

My aceis (white tail) on the other hand, are exactly as they are described : peaceful, most of the time.


One of the problems with many Yellow Lab strains, is that they've been crossed with red zebras, which tends to make them more aggressive. I don't know if that is the case with yours, or if you've just got a pain in the butt.
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Re: Looking for 3rd mbuna species recommendation (75g)

Postby Idech » Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:02 pm

I think mine is just a severe case of « pain in the butt » as I buy from a cichlid store that sells purebreds only as far as I know.
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