Lake Malawi Species • Column Mbuna Tank Advice

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Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby treagan33 » Wed Mar 10, 2021 11:42 pm

I've been searching the forum for ideas and have finally wanted to reach out to get some advice. I have a 56 gallon column tank (18" L x 30" W x 24" H) decorated with some holey rock and live plants (picture attached). I know the live plants may not make it long term, but plan to adjust as needed, they're going strong for 2 months so far. To start, I purchased 8 small Mbunas (2 Acei, 2 Kenyi, 2 Melanochromis auratus, and 2 Metriaclima Callainos) from an "assorted Mbuna" tank. I knew these were ultimately not the end-game fish I want for the tank, but have a place to re-home the fish I remove. My ultimate goal is to get a mix of color and a breeding pair or 2. The Kenyi and Auratus will move from the tank soon based on what I've read and observed.

There are a couple of species I have been focused on based on their relative "peaceful" temperament including the Acei, Rusty Cichlids, Yellow Labs, and Chindongo Saulosi. I'd like to have at least 2 species for color diversity, but reduce the risks of hybrids. Any advice is welcomed from tank design to stocking concerns.
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:06 am

I would choose another type of cichlid or other fish for this tank due to the dimensions. Many mbuna do better in a tank that is at least 48" long regardless of gallons. Some like the auratus often do better in a 72" tank due to their aggression.

Know that Malawi are harem breeders and do not pair. A female kept alone with a male is at risk of being killed...even if it is accidental. If you want to keep 2 species and have them spawning, use a 48x12 tank and stock with 1m:6f yellow labs and 1m:6f cynotilapia cobue.

The acei are considered too big even for 48x12. If you want labs and acei, use a 48x18 tank and stock 1m:9f of each.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby Fogelhund » Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:23 am

You could do a group of saulosi in this tank, but I wouldn't do any other mbuna.
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby Auballagh » Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:26 pm

Pretty! But, it's the wrong kind of tank for Mbuna.
- An interesting Tanganyikan setup is definitely possible, plants and all! (Be sure and add in some Cryptocorne wendtii 'Red' to this set up)... :roll:
-
But, where I believe this aquarium will REALLY live up to its potential? Setting this up with a pair of Pterophyllum scalare (Angelfish) as the centerpiece 'show fish' of a New World community tank. That would be pretty amazing with a tank shaped like this. Heck man, go with a pair of Pterophyllum altum if you're looking for something a little more challenging/rare/exotic. Pull the limestone rock out for use with a more suitable tank. More plants. Bog wood. A dwarf pike (Crenicichla regani) in there to spice things up, along with a little shoal of bleeding heart tetras (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma) to keep things moving... then, finish up with a single Ancistrus catfish on algae detail. Oh yeah, good-to-go!? :thumb:
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby sir_keith » Fri Mar 12, 2021 2:14 am

Auballagh wrote: ...Heck man, go with a pair of Pterophyllum altum if you're looking for something a little more challenging/rare/exotic...


A little more challenging? While I do agree that this tank is more suited to angels than Mbuna, I wouldn't even consider keeping P. altum in a tank of this size. Altum angels are big, social fishes that tend to be very skittish in captivity, and trying to keep them in a small tank is a recipe for disaster. :o
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby Auballagh » Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:43 am

Good point.... and well, the tank is a nice tall one, at least . Yeah - it would definitely be best to just go with a nice pair of (calmer/easier keeping) Pterophyllum scalare for this.
-
Or, as I said before - Go Tanganyikan! (Just don't forget to plant out plenty of Crytpcorne wendtii 'Red' ) :lol:
Find What You Love And Let It kill You!
What matters most is how well you walk through the fire...
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Re: Column Mbuna Tank Advice

Postby treagan33 » Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:26 pm

Thank you for all of the advice! I like the Tanganyikan idea and will get a post on that board to decide on some species!
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