Lake Malawi Species • Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

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Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby Cichlider23 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:45 pm

I'm setting up a single species 55 gallon mbuna tank, and am looking for species recommendations. I've been keeping mbuna for some time, but this is my first single species tank. I want to do a single species tank because I like when the fish breed (it's so cool discovering the babies, and watching them grow up), and because I think a single species tank will actually alleviate aggression. I've found in my mixed mbuna tanks, the dominant males tend to focus on their own species far more than fish of a different species, causing a situation where the females are getting harassed and the subdom males singled out. I figure more males and females of the same species will spread out the aggression and harassment.

I was thinking of Metriaclima lombardoi (AKA Kenyi cichlid), because they are dimorphic (easy to sex + color variety in the tank), fun to watch and usually pretty easy to get at the LFS. Also considering Auratus cichlid, because they are also dimporphic and the male is that awesome black color. In the past, I had a collection of what I think were Cynotilapia afra ("dogtooth cichlid"), which were really cool because the males could take on a variety of colors: subdoms were blackish, doms were light blueish and I had a few that were this beautiful dark purple (the females were a very unexciting translucent grey color though). A species like that, that can take on a lot of different colors, would be ideal.

Any recommendations? Would appreciate advice from anyone who has kept a single species mbuna tank before.
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby noki » Mon Jan 25, 2021 7:51 pm

Auratus and Kenyi are a pain, adults can look drab, adult females can loose their bright juvenile colors and you would have to really overcrowd to try multiple males. Hard to do in a 55g. Kenyi would be one of the worst choices. Auratus would need to be very overcrowded.

I think a barred Cynotilapia would make a nice interesting active group in a 55g, and the aggression is manageable. I like how the males change colors almost in seconds at times, and you can have multiple males in the tank. Don't get huge over time.

Saulosi make a great species tank if you can find good quality fish. Mild mannered with yellow-orange females and blue barred males changing as they grow. Don't get huge over time.
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby noki » Mon Jan 25, 2021 7:59 pm

Real Johanni. A little more aggressive but offering the yellowish to blue black contrast, as males turn black as they mature, would make for an active tank with contrast. Need to crowd.

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/species.php?id=760
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby DJRansome » Tue Jan 26, 2021 1:06 am

noki wrote:Saulosi make a great species tank if you can find good quality fish. Mild mannered with yellow-orange females and blue barred males changing as they grow. Don't get huge over time.
Plus one. IMO the kenyi are too aggressive for a 55G and multiple males are likely to be a problem. Not so much with the saulosi.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:09 am

In a single species mbuna tank, looking for a dimorphic fish, I'd recommend either going with Chindongo saulosi or the bigger Metriaclima sp. "Msobo". Out of the two, I'd pick the msobo.
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby jcover » Wed Jan 27, 2021 11:39 pm

Fogelhund wrote:In a single species mbuna tank, looking for a dimorphic fish, I'd recommend either going with Chindongo saulosi or the bigger Metriaclima sp. "Msobo". Out of the two, I'd pick the msobo.


100% agree with Fogelhund. Either would be great.
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby Chrislisk » Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:16 pm

I have kept a group of 14 Demasoni in a species only. They are aggressive but not list any and it’s been nearly a year since set up. They are really active and great to watch. Neon blue and black for both sexes too
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby Chrislisk » Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:31 pm

Meant not any.......yet
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Re: Mbuna Single Species Tank Recommendations

Postby Cichlider23 » Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:58 pm

I ended up going with Cynotilapia Afra Jalo Reef. They're all only about an inch right now, so we'll see how it turns out.
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