Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.
Fri May 14, 2021 9:27 am
So recently I acquired a 75 gallon tank (48’), and I am cycling it as we speak. I had a cichlid tank of all male mbunas about 5 years ago in a 55 gallon (would like to have some words with the LFS that told me it would be a good idea for my first cichlid tank) and it ended with all of males being rehomed over the period of 6 months. I am now looking to give it a go again and still have a decent amount of knowledge from last tank so I’d consider myself a novice at this point.
I have done some research and it has led me to two options. First being 3-4 species of mbuna in harems of 1m-4f or an all male peacock tank.
I like the idea of having breeding fish, as I think it would be a cool environment to witness, but I don’t really feel like going through the hassle of raising the fry and then distributing them out. Also I want to maximize the variety of the tank and also the color. The reason I’m considering this is mostly because I have read that is the preferred choice for novices.
The all male peacock tank intrigues me for all the reasons the harems doesn’t. It has the color and the variety, but I am worried about the difficulty of managing a tank like this.
My main question is how difficult is managing an all male peacock tank? I would really like to go this route but if it is something that would be too difficult for me to manage, I am fine with going with the mbuna harem route as well. Thank you!
Fri May 14, 2021 10:12 am
All male is not TOO difficult, but it is more difficult. First you will have a hard time finding 12 peacocks that look nothing alike, so consider haps as well as peacocks. Set your expectations that not every fish will color...that is the main thing with all male. Also set your expectations that it will take two years to achieve a good balance. Have extra tanks and a rehoming plan.
If you can live with 50-60-70% colored fish, piece of cake. If you can't help tinkering to try to get every last fish colored, it might be too stressful and never be finished.
For mixed gender, let the moms spit in the tank and stock 5 Synodontis multipunctatus to avoid fry problems.
As you can see from my signature, I stopped all male and went with peacock/hap harems. I like to see the best color the fish has to offer...even if it is only one male per harem.
Fri May 14, 2021 10:47 am
Thank you for the quick reply. I hadn’t thought of all the fish not coloring, so that definitely changes the situation for me. I definitely agree with you in that it would be better to have 4 fish showing their full color as opposed to muted colors until the balance is reached. Also having the Synodontis will fix the fry problem, so my mindset has for sure shifted lol! I will definitely go do a little more digging and try to figure out which fish I would like to keep in a harem and then hopefully I can come back with a stocking list.
Fri May 14, 2021 10:59 am
Would this list be feasible for a 75 gallon?
-Msobo (or yellow lab) 1m-4f
-Aulonocara “Fairy red” 1m-4f
Fri May 14, 2021 11:23 am
I'm weighing the same options currently for my tank, mbuna vs. all-male peacocks/haps. My tank's a little bigger but the considerations are similar.
+1 to DJR's comments.
Additionally I would add, for me at least, mbuna seem easier to get a tank started. You can just buy groups of unsexed juveniles relatively inexpensively. All male is either much more expensive or more challenging logistically, or maybe both. For either method, the challenges of managing seem similar to me - individuals who are too aggressive or too timid may need to occasionally be removed to try to maintain health and stability. I haven't kept all-male before though so no personal experience there.
I started out planning for all male but may be leaning back towards mbuna now. Not fully decided either way yet.
Regarding your list, mixing mbuna and peacocks isn't usually recommended. The peacocks are too timid compared to the mbuna and most who've tried said it doesn't go well. I've never heard of a "Fairy red", however. It may be a hybrid strain and lots of peacock hybrids have mbuna mixed in. Maybe they would do better, idk.
Fri May 14, 2021 1:16 pm
Agree to skipping the peacocks with msobo. I would also skip demasoni...they are a more advanced fish that require a fair amount of effort and risk and not everyone has enough patience, determination and pure stubbornness to get them to work.
For the color of demasoni but more workable in a 75G I would do maingano. 1m:7f.
Sat May 15, 2021 6:15 am
Ok great. I still have about a week left in my cycling, so I’ll go around and check the stock at the LFS near me and come back with a more refined stocking list. Thank you for the help everyone!
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