Lake Malawi Species • Some general questions from a newbie

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Some general questions from a newbie

Postby NotoriousSpring » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:20 pm

So I'm new to this, and I've got a few questions.

1: I'm currently building a 60 gallon, but it has a little more width than length due to the space I'm putting it in (36x20x20). Will this be ok for mbunas or is the length more important? If it's not just let me know and ignore the rest of these questions.

2: If it's all good, then what kind of mbunas should I put in it? I'm currently looking at Pseudotropheus saulosi, Pseudotropheus "acei," Labidochromis "Pearlmutt," and Iodotropheus sprengerae. (Do those have common names that would be easier to type out or do people usually just call them by their specific name?)

3: How often should they be fed? And what do ya'll usually feed them?

4: I haven't kept fish that really need the PH watched, I keep an eye on it and it usually seems fine. However, I know cichlids need a higher PH level than most fish. So how do you raise it and keep it balanced? When you do water changes does it shift dramatically or do you have something in the water that keeps it balanced? This question also applies to GH

5: For filtration I plan on using two Aquaclear 70s. Would I be better off trying another type of filter or should this work ok? I already have one so getting a second just seems the most cost efficient compared to a canister filter.

I think that's about it for now, but I'll be back when I inevitably have more questions
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby Fogelhund » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:46 pm

1. Length is more important, but you could get away with doing a tank with just Chindongo saulosi. They changed the name from Pseudotropheus to Chindongo a couple of years ago, but it's hard to keep up.

2. I'd go with just Chindongo saulosi. I'd get a group of 18 juveniles, and keep three males, and whatever females you get out of it. There is no common name.

3. Once or twice a day is fine. A good quality flake food, or small 1mm pellet.. for saulosi, I'd probably just do flake food to be honest.

4. This depends on the ph of your water. If you test it, at least 24 yours after it's out of the tap, you can find out what it is. Stability is more important than an absolute number. Anything over 7.6, and I wouldn't do anything.

5. Aquaclears are good fliters. Two Aquaclear 70's should suffice, as long as you do 30-50% water changes weekly.

If you have further questions, fire away.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby DJRansome » Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:46 pm

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!!

Length is most important. There is only one mbuna I would put in a 36" tank. If you want mbuna you would increase your options greatly with a 48x12 tank and even more (if you want acei for example) with a 48x18 tank.

Note I did not see Fogelhund's post before I posted this. :)
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby SenorStrum » Tue Apr 06, 2021 3:52 pm

DJRansome wrote:Welcome to Cichlid-forum!!

Length is most important. There is only one mbuna I would put in a 36" tank. If you want mbuna you would increase your options greatly with a 48x12 tank and even more (if you want acei for example) with a 48x18 tank.

Note I did not see Fogelhund's post before I posted this. :)



Note I did see both posts, but just wanted to say hi! :D :lol:

Also, I agree with them both. I love the Saulosi - Fogelhund nailed it as usual.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby Rhinox » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:56 am

+1 and also to add some inspiration, this is one of the tanks I always picture in my head when thinking about a small, saulosi-only tank

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/tanks/ind ... ner&u=8112

Image
Coming eventually: 125g Malawi
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:19 am

It and the fishkeeper that created it have had much to do with making Saulosi popular. That said YMMV because there are also lots of reports of fishkeepers who are able to get only one male to color well.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby sir_keith » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:18 pm

DJRansome wrote:It and the fishkeeper that created it have had much to do with making Saulosi popular. That said YMMV because there are also lots of reports of fishkeepers who are able to get only one male to color well.


So what do you think accounts for this? Tank size? Number of fishes? Sex ratio? Some combination of the above? It obviously has everything to do with the establishment and maintenance of the social hierarchy, so one obvious possibility would be that you need a tank large enough to support more than one co-dominant male.

This was one of the last Mbuna that I kept, back in the 90's when it was known as Pseudotropheus saulosi. At that time I was able to obtain a small group of WC fishes, but eventually had a large colony of F1 progeny in a 150g species tank, which was stunning, and looked very much like the picture posted in this thread, with lots of fully-colored males. For sure one of my favourite Mbuna. :fish:
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby Fogelhund » Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:29 pm

DJRansome wrote:It and the fishkeeper that created it have had much to do with making Saulosi popular. That said YMMV because there are also lots of reports of fishkeepers who are able to get only one male to color well.


What is your experience with saulosi?
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:37 pm

Zero. I am passing along information from the posts of Chapman76 and other Members who have had mixed results when trying to reproduce the tank in the picture or even larger size tanks single species multiple male saulosi tanks.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby sir_keith » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:24 am

DJRansome wrote:Zero. I am passing along information from the posts of Chapman76 and other Members who have had mixed results when trying to reproduce the tank in the picture or even larger size tanks single species multiple male saulosi tanks.

Then you're giving the impression that the tank in question is somehow atypical, based on zero personal experience. That's not a fair sample, because people are more likely to post how they have had a different experience than how they have had a similar experience. I had tons of Ps. saulosi back in the day, when they were new to the hobby and commanded top dollar, and all of my grow-out tanks displayed the marked sexual dichromatism that make this species so desirable.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:24 am

Based on zero personal experience, but on the experience of Members from 2005 until now. I agree people will post failed attempts to duplicate more than pictures of success, I will be sure to include that caveat ongoing. My comments were only about a 36" tank or smaller, and the ability to get multiple males to color in the small tank. In no way do I mean to communicate that the species is any less desirable because you may not get 4 males to color in a 30" tank.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby Fogelhund » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:58 am

DJRansome wrote:Zero. I am passing along information from the posts of Chapman76 and other Members who have had mixed results when trying to reproduce the tank in the picture or even larger size tanks single species multiple male saulosi tanks.


That's the challenge when you have zero experience in keeping specific fish, that going by a few "stories on a forum" is hardly evidence of anything. Surely by now, you should know that no matter what fish are mixed together, that normally work out, sometimes it won't. You can mix the same fish, in the same conditions, in tanks beside each other, and the results could be different. But to make hard recommendations on how tanks should be setup, ratios, or how people NEED to keep fish, without any experience is dangerous.

I think I've kept saulosi 5-6 times over the years. Sometimes in a tank as small as a 29 gallon, sometimes in a 125 gallon. Even in the 29 gallon I had multiple males in colour... in a 75 gallon one time I had one male colour. You never know, but as far as a good species for a tank that size, it's a great choice. Whatever males colour up, is what's going to happen.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:35 pm

Fogelhund wrote:You never know, but as far as a good species for a tank that size, it's a great choice. Whatever males colour up, is what's going to happen.
Agree.
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Re: Some general questions from a newbie

Postby SenorStrum » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:54 pm

If I were going to use one word to describe Saulosi coloring up, it would be unpredictable.

La SeƱora Strum and I read through a LOT of forum posts and discussion on the fish we were selecting to go in our tank, and we kept coming up with such a diversity of contradictory opinions, we decided that our philosophy with stocking would be to "intelligently just try it." So... I have had 15 Saulosi for the past 6 months in a combination of alone with synodontis, or mixed with other cichlids including peacocks and other mbuna. They are so weird... seriously.

We had 6 quarantined in a 20 with synodontis, so they were the only cichlids. The male that came with, who was already colored up, got vibrant and stayed that way. Then he got aggressive and was chasing everyone to the top of the tank. There were at least 2 other subdominant males in that tank who did not want to show signs of coloring up. Deference to the dominant male.

We had 6 other Saulosi quarantined with 6 acei and 6 rusties and 1 female obliquidens. Interestingly, in this group of 6, we only had 1 male, and he never did color up very vibrant in this tank. When we added him to the main display along with other fish, which around here would be called blue-barred, he toned WAY down. His black lines would almost go completely away at times - he looked almost powder blue like a hara.

HOWEVER - when I finally combined both of these groups, they took a day or so to sort it out, but now both show outstanding color and the other subdominant males in the tank are also trying to color. Multiple females are currently holding and there is neither inter-species nor intra-species aggression among these fish. They're truly weird. Indeed, last night, both males were swimming around the tank together like it were the most natural thing in the world, much the same way Acei do. Perhaps sometime very soon I'll start a thread on the culture of fish and individual aquariums.

My personal opinion would be to put 20 in there and keep them all. But that's just what I would do. I also anticipate somebody is going to yell at me for this post.
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