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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This first question should probably be in the setup section, but I don't want to flood the board with posts. I was originally going to go with white sand with black lava boulders, but I'm beginning to wonder if my black lava rock guy is going to come through, and nowhere near here carries black lava rock, so I may have to fork out the money to go with lace rock (I prefer the lace rock, but didn't like the expense). They recently landscaped some medians in my area with rock similar in color to lace rock and have some sort of black sand around them and it really pops.

Question #1:
If I go with lace rock, do you think white or black sand would look better?

The second is in regard to stocking numbers. I've decided on demasoni, l. caeruleus, yellow tail acei and m. estherae. I was thinking the following for stocking numbers:
demasoni - 13
l. caeruleus - 9-11
m. estherae - 5-7
acei - 3 (I was thinking fewer acei to have a "centerpiece" effect. I guess from my years of little community fish I've become obsessed with the idea of a centerpiece fish and the acei seem to be slightly taller in shape and larger than the other mbuna, and the tend to swim higher and in more open water, and since there doesn't seem to be anything that can tolerate mbuna, I thought the acei might be a good choice to fill the centerpiece)

Question #2:
What do you think of the number of fish I plan to stock? I have a 100 gallon with a footprint of 60"x16"

Thank you for your help!
 

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Whatever rock you buy, a lot of it will be covered with algae, so color doesn't matter much. I'd do dark rock and light substrate.

Your fish will be happier if you go with more Demasoni (to spread aggression) and Acei (because they are more comfortable in larger groups of 6 or more). I do not believe with Demasoni in the tank anyone will be looking much at the Acei. Acei are larger but the color is much more subtle. I'd also lower the number of labs for aesthetics...I find having an equal number of labs and estherae strikes a nice balance of "accent" colors. I'd do 20 Demasoni and 6 of the others.
 

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I'd add albino socolofi to the mix too :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DJRansome said:
Whatever rock you buy, a lot of it will be covered with algae, so color doesn't matter much. I'd do dark rock and light substrate.
Good point! I hadn't thought of the algae coloring the rocks.

DJRansome said:
Your fish will be happier if you go with more Demasoni (to spread aggression) and Acei (because they are more comfortable in larger groups of 6 or more). I do not believe with Demasoni in the tank anyone will be looking much at the Acei. Acei are larger but the color is much more subtle. I'd also lower the number of labs for aesthetics...I find having an equal number of labs and estherae strikes a nice balance of "accent" colors. I'd do 20 Demasoni and 6 of the others.
Interesting...I never thought of using the labs and estherae as accent colors. I like the way you think! :thumb:

I do realize the acei are much less brilliantly colored than the rest of the fish in the tank, which I thought would actually make them stand out a bit, but I didn't realize they like to be in larger numbers like that. Plus, you would know better than I how it would look, so if you say 6, then 6 is my number. :)

I guess I have a question #3. I had planned to stack the rocks pretty high in the tank...nearly to the top, with a section off center where it drops down in the shape of a V. Since there are a lot of things I'm not thinking of here, I just wanted to make sure that wasn't a problem that I hadn't yet realized.

Dewdrop said:
I'd add albino socolofi to the mix too
I did an image search and I like the way the albino socolofi look, but I don't know if I see them in this tank. Setting up this aquarium is already insanely difficult for me. As I said, I'm a community fish guy, and I'm used to fish of varying shapes and behaviors, each filling a certain niche. I also tend to like a tank that doesn't have too many different types of fish, but rather greater numbers of fewer species...usually 3 or 4. I also like the peaceful effect of an aquarium. So this tank is basically exactly the opposite of what I normally do. I'm dealing with a bunch of fish that are shaped the same, pretty much behave exactly the same and never have a moment even resembling peace. To then throw in another species of fish might just be more than my unevolved mind can handle. :lol: Perhaps someday I'll be ready for such a leap, but today is not that day. ;) I'm a bit of a simpleton, and I want to make sure I don't end up breaking this tank down in a few moths because I'm not happy because it looks too "busy".
 

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if you plan on breeding these i would reconsider the mix of labs and red zebras. just due to the chance of high possibility of hybrids. if you replace them with those so called albino socolofi's or even the regulars. all depends on what you want to look at. check out the other zebra types and find one thats not to close to the demasoni look.
 

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I agree with DragonGT83. While mixing labs and estherae is very disirable the extremely high risk of these to fish hybridizing is creating big problems in the hobby as far as these to fishes quality is concerned.
If you plan on beeding and distributing the off-spring, don't mix these 2 fish. If you are keeping them without the intention of breeding then go ahead.
 

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The rock V formation sounds attractive. Try it, you can always change it next year!

It's true about the labs and estherae. If you want fry from either, you shouldn't mix them. My new Synodontis Mulitpunctatus seem to take care of fry patrol.
 

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Another thing to consider is your lighting. If you have high watts and daylight lamps - then I would go with a dark or mixed substrate with the texas holey rock. I would not want white everything as this will reflect too much light. I would use a dark background to show the colors of your fish also.

I have never had algae cover the rocks in my malawi tanks - I have had low wattage though (60 watts on 55 gallons).

I would personally stock the tank as follows with the fish you listed:

25 demasoni
6 yellow laps
6 red zebra or 6 albino scolofi
10 acei

and would add a group of 4 synos.

Just my thoughts - I have never stocked a tank larger than a 55, but would love to some day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for the input on the setup. In terms of the yellow labs and estherae, from what I've read, that tends to happen mostly when there is a shortage of estherae and the more aggressive estherae will out-compete the passive labs to breed with the lab females. However, in the presence of adequate estherae females, the estherae will keep the hanky panky amongst their own. Is that not the case?

As far as the breeding issue, I have no intentions of breeding them. I'm not sure what one would do differently if one was intending to breed them, but breeding seems like more work to me and it's something I've really never had any interest in. The only thing that's ever bred for me is livebearers, and their fry would mostly be eaten before reaching maturity, which was just fine by me. I've never been a fan of bottom feeders, but if I need a synodontis in there to prevent hybridization between the fish I'll buy one and hope I never see it. :lol:

emptyhead - I'm curious why you would increase the number of acei to 10. I'm not opposed, just curious about the reasoning.
 

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The demasoni will stay mostly around the rock work at the bottom of the tank as will the labs and red zebras and I think the acei will fill the tank well in the mid and upper regions. They are fairly passive mbuna and I like overstocked mbuna tanks and this is what I would try if I had a 100 gallons to play with.
 

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Hybridization is less likely with adequate females to every male, but in general, the red zebras are more aggressive than the labs, and the red zebra male is able to outcompete the lab male for lab females. The bottom line is, you can't be sure so you can't guarantee any fry are pure.

I felt the same way about catfish, but take a look at the Synodontis. They "school" way more than my Acei. They have a shark-like shape and manner of swimming...they have become one of my favorites! They have always been my son's favorite.

I'd much rather have Syno's than kill fry!
 

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Buy the rock that u like because ur the one who is going to look at it everyday, and if u have problems with algae, just get a trio of bristlenose pleco. The number of fish on ur first post looks O.K to me....just add 6 more Acei and 2 Demasoni. You can add another species in there.....like 6 Labeotropheus Trewavasae or Fuellebourni. :D
 

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I never have algae in my Malawi tank. I only turn the light on for viewing and the tank is not near a window. So I would say, get whatever color you like. I have lace rock and Texas holey rock on a the Eco-complete cichlid substrate. It works fine. If I had to do it over, I'd mix some small black gravel into the substrate to darken it a bit.

I second the synos. I have four multipunctatus and they couldn't be more fun! I have one p. acei that would get traded in at the LFS if I could ever catch him! he's peaceful, but his colors don't really do it for me.

I have a male peacock/hap tank, not a mbuna tank, so I don't have experience with that, but perhaps you could do a group of haps, like the Red Empress, which can hold its own against mbuna? Would give you a different color/look to the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I ended up with lace rock. It did cost me some money, but I figure I'll have this tank a while, so in the long run, it's worth it.

DJRansome said:
I'd much rather have Syno's than kill fry!
Well played, sir. How many synos should I add?

I've got the setup rolling with 6 yellow labs. Tomorrow I'm picking up the 6 acei. By the way, does anyone know how to pronounce "acei"? I'm going to give those two groups first shot at establishing themselves before adding the rest of the fish. Hopefully all goes well and everybody gets along as well as can be expected. Thank you all so much for the help. Without your input this tank would never have gotten off the ground! :thumb:
 

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Acei is pronounced like the letters...A - C - I.

I have both Synodontis Lucipinnis and Multipunctatus. For fry patrol I'd add 3 or more Multipunctatus. (They like to be in groups, and "school" way more than my Acei.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the pronunciation lesson and the syno recommendation. I'll see what's available here or what can be special ordered for me. :thumb:
 
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