Lake Malawi Species • Clean up fish ideas

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Clean up fish ideas

Postby Chrislisk » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:48 pm

Hi all. I have had a BN plec in my Demasoni tank for the last year. I knew he wasn’t looking his best of late and always hiding.....I rarely saw him. When I did drop in an algae wafer for him when I spotted him, my demos in a second would pick it up and take it off somewhere between them. Recently I’ve moved him to a tank of juvenile Hongis and he is loving life completely, he is out and about and looking so much better. I don’t intend to return him but now also thinking I will need to move him out of the Hongi tank when they get older. My question is what fish will do the same as the plec was but won’t get bashed up or scared to leave his cave, I have two breeder tanks and the others are nursery and grow out tanks. I don’t want catfish as they will eat any free swimming fry. I have 6 tanks for breeding and would love to find a fish that works for them all. A friend has baby snowball Plecos but I’m concerned about putting them in as I’m told they are not even as hardy as the BN and he looked bad. Reading lots about plecos and Mbuna tanks it’s maybe 50/50 if it works. Does anyone have any advice or a fish that would work or has better chances.Thanks
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby fishboy75 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:36 pm

If you're trying to raise the fry, then no, there aren't any suitable replacements. The only reason I keep Bristlenose in any of my cichlid tanks is for algae control. I don't consider them to be a great scavenger of leftover food, though.
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby Chrislisk » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:25 pm

I am raising fry yes. So basically there is no plecos that can work in Mbuna tanks. How would plecos get on in my grow out tanks? All juveniles leave them at around an inch in size. Would plecos work in those tanks? Maybe I’ll leave my breeding tanks without a clean up fish.
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby fishboy75 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:33 pm

They would be fine with 1 inch fry from my experience. I have them in with more peaceful mbuna like yellow labs, acei and giant demasoni with no problems, as well as haps and peacocks. I also think it sometimes depends when you introduce the fish. If you have an established tank of adult mbuna and introduce the plecos later the mbuna seem to pick at them. If they are introduced at a younger age it seems like the fish just get used to them being around. I also have Dwarf Petricola in with my mbuna and they never bothered them, even when the mbuna were about an inch.
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby Deeda » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:36 pm

You could use Ramshorn snails in your fry tanks to clean up excess food.
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby DJRansome » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:49 pm

Or feed less.
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75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby Kagia » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:38 am

You could try nerite snails if you're having issues with algae. I've never had them, but people do keep them with mbuna. They tolerate the high PH and aren't able to reproduce in freshwater.
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Re: Clean up fish ideas

Postby DJRansome » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:34 am

All true about nerites. However I did not find they cleaned more algae from the glass than the mbuna, and the mbuna harassed them enough (without killing them outright) that they were unable to live their full life span in any of my African tanks.

It's a shame because they are very cool. They do leave fairly permanent white egg cases all over your rocks but nothing hatches.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
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75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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