General African Cichlid Discussion • New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you pref

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New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you pref

Postby BigBeardDaHuzi » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:00 am

I am still in the planning stages for my big tank. The tank I am looking at now is 48x24x30high. The logistics of the tank are all coming together, but the basic direction is still up in the air.

I am drawn to the Africans. I have kept a lot of new world cichlids in the past and I am kindof looking for something new. All of the color and flash is appealing. And I like how much research goes into keeping Africans.
However, peaceful and "easy" has its appeal too. Restful is probably a good word. If I did Angels, the fighting would be considerably less. I wouldn't have to work at putting in large batches of fish all at once (and I wouldn't need such a big quarantine tank). Also, I could do a planted tank, which is nice. And it would also allow a lot of different tankmates. Letting my children pick groups of fish certainly has its appeal. But I am scared it would be boring.

Oscars, flowerhorns and even puffers are still on the table too, although a little less likely.

I know there is no one right answer on this, but I am curious what you all think. If you had a big(gish) new tank to play with, what would You stock?
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby ken31cay » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:29 am

My thoughts:

For africans the tank length is the most important measure. Generally speaking, your tank's 48" length will limit your stock to =/< 6" fish in a fully stocked tank or a more sparsely stocked tank of somewhat larger fish.

RE: colorful/flashy fish: I think alot of people starting with africans are attracted to this, which is usually an all-male hap & peacock tank. The females are plain and virtually colorless. I started with this myself and filled my tank with beautiful fish I ordered from a quality supplier in the U.S. The fighting was too much for my liking in my 180gal tank (72" long) so I moved the fish to my 450gal and the fighting died right down due to the ample space in the tank. But in a few months I became bored with the tank and I think it was partly because it being an all male tank it was missing all the natural behavior of male/female interactions. Just a bunch of male fish cruising around the tank looking at each other :) That was my experience.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby Bamzam » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:32 am

If you're interested in bright colors and variety, I think a planted discus community tank with some schooling tetras would provide that. You won't have to deal with aggression, but the discus are very tame, so not sure if you'll find them boring. The schooling tetras are cool to watch and you could add even more variety with some rams that are also colorful.

That was my last tank and I wanted to try something new and was also drawn to african cichlids. I was told something similar as above about all male peacock/hap tanks and it was compared to a pretty/moving picture without much interaction. I opted for a mixed gender peacock/hap so I bought 2 species of mixed gender peacocks/haps (juvies 1-2"). It feels like i got the worst of both worlds bc now I deal with aggression and my tank has no color lol. But I'm hoping it pays off in the end when they mature. Hopefully will have a handful of colorful fish and get to see some cool interaction between the males/females.

Just my experience with the 2 so far, hopefully that helps.
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby DJRansome » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:56 am

Because you have purposely chosen a tall tank I would want fish that take advantage of that. I would do the angels or the discus. Africans like a longer tank and will spend more time in the lower half of the tank.

Peaceful and easy with Africans in a 48" tank? Yellow labs and either acei or Cynotilapia hara 10 of each.
125G Borleyi, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Similis, Petricola
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby sir_keith » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:36 pm

This may sound odd coming from someone who has kept Tanganyikans exclusively for 20+ years, but if I had a tank like yours I would go with angelfish, and plant the tank heavily with jungle Vallisneria. Angels were my first 'tropical fish love,' and I still think they are amongst the most beautiful of freshwater fishes. There is just nothing else like them.

But by all means don't go with angels purchased from the LFS. My top choice would be wild-caught Pterophyllum altum, which are absolutely stunning. My second choice would be wild-caught P. scalare from Peru. My third choice would be stock purchased straight from a dedicated angelfish importer/breeder, preferably F1 or F2 from wild. Any of these fishes will be so much more interesting, challenging, and yes, aggressive than domesticated angels, which have been bred in captivity for more than 100 years, and are many generations from the wild. Here is one of my favourite breeding pairs of F1 angels that I obtained by crossing a wild-caught Peruvian scalare female with a black male, many years ago. Just stunning fishes, and someday I will keep them again. Good luck! :thumb:

Angel_Pair.jpg
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby ken31cay » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:57 pm

sir_keith wrote:...My top choice would be wild-caught Pterophyllum altum, which are absolutely stunning. My second choice would be wild-caught P. scalare from Peru. My third choice would be stock purchased straight from a dedicated angelfish importer/breeder, preferably F1 or F2 from wild.


RE: wild caught altums: agree stunning and especially challenging. The importers that I've heard of leave the acclimation up to the buyer.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: New tank directions - Africans or Angels -Which do you p

Postby BigBeardDaHuzi » Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:03 am

Lots of great thoughts.
Thank you everybody
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