Lake Malawi Species • Melanochromis auratus

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Melanochromis auratus

Postby KJD66 » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:40 am

Hi all,

Just stocked a new Mbuna tank. 4 species, 10 of each. One of the species is Melanochromis auratus. The breeder did tell me that they can be aggressive and they had a bad rep but this was mainly due to people keeping too few of them in a tank. He advised that if they were kept in a group of 10 or more with the right rock formation etc. then I should be OK.

I’m new to Mbuna and I have done a lot of research up to this point however I hadn’t appreciated quite how aggressive these guys are supposed to be. Now that I’ve read up on them I’m getting a bit concerned that at some point they are going to wipe out the rest of my tank. It’s day 3 and I’m already noticing they are starting to get a bit more aggressive.

The other species in the tank (10 of each) are:

Pseudotropheus acei
Labidochromis sp. hongi
Cynotilapia zebroides

Plus there are 5 Synodontis lucipinnis in there as well.

Do you think I should take action now or ride it out a bit longer to see if they settle down given that it’s so soon since I got them? All fish were added to the cycled tank at the same time.
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby Mr Chromedome » Wed Apr 21, 2021 11:25 am

I would certainly give it more time. Not much is settled territory wise after only three days. However, auratus should be watched, if they start to concentrate their aggressiveness on one or two fish, you may have to deal with it.
Happiness may be the door to Heaven, but Pleasure is not the Key. - attributed to Confucius
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby KJD66 » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:00 pm

Yeah as you say it’s early days so I’ll keep my eye on them. Thanks for the reply.
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:14 pm

What are the dimensions of the tank? I know of people who have kept auratus semi-successfully as a species tank in 48x18.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby KJD66 » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:50 pm

140cmx50cm so about 55 x 20 inches
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby noki » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:43 pm

Aggression is not that bad with juveniles, they are kids, but they still start to try to get territories and their place in the pecking order. Aggression gets serious when Mbuna get sexually mature. Auratus will fight constantly among themselves, and may stress out other species. I would agree that they are best in large groups, but overall your tank probably has too many fish.
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby DJRansome » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:15 pm

Maybe just the auratus and the hongi each in a large group.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby Haplochromine guy » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:26 pm

I would remove the Male Auratus (all of them yes) if they get aggressive. Africans especially get aggressive during breeding. If they're young that might work. Seriously, I personally think Auratus adults are mean, but I kept some young 1.8 inch fish in a 55 gallon without a problem for a while. I like to overstock tanks to try to create confusion, but I recommend placing a canister filter on the tank for too many fish. If it were me, Just don't include more than one Auratus per tank unless they are females.
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby KJD66 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:38 am

I have 2 Oase Biomaster 850 canister filters on this tank so that should be enough for this tank and stock level I think.

I will be keeping a close eye on these auratus and agree may have to remove the males if they start becoming too aggressive. Question is what to do with them then!
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Re: Melanochromis auratus

Postby Haplochromine guy » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:38 pm

Try selling them online or some of the stores you have in your area may take them in (Trade in for females?). Or the other option is to try and ensure that they are all males. That would mean no females to chase or fight over. The Auratus in general though are extremely aggressive, and I personally don't believe you need that many in one tank. Otherwise I don't know what to do...
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