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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So recently upgraded from a 10 gal tropical community setup to a 20 gal Cichlids setup. Only have 1 in there till the levels come up in the tank. Pet store advised 1-2 week till I add more to bring up amonia levels. He is currently sharing the tank with a small pleco. Have been doing some reading and here is what I gather, and PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.

Try and get different types and colors of Cichlids (going with African variety) so they dont see each other as much of a threat. (Currently the 1 in there is an Electric Yellow)

try and get them all the same size to advert early dominance

Keep tank around 76 degrees to slow metabolism and reduce aggression

and give them stuff to hide in and behind.

Slight "over crowding" may be good to keep the aggression down

So now for my questions....

When I read about over crowding, I dont want to stress them out, so looking for what the max number that can go in this tank giving them enough to keep aggression down, but not soo many that it stresses them out. Currently I was thinking 3-4 total, but after reading now i am not sure.

Are there any other fish (other than the Pleco) that I should be looking at to "help" the overall tank situation?

I am guessing the tank needs alot of work in terms of environment although the 1 in there now seems to enjoy playing in the air bubbles and swimming in and out of the barrel thing and the rock thing on the left. I also am not expecting that live plant on the left to last all that long, just a carry over from the old tank. Keep in mind this is my daughter's tank (which is why there is a BRIGHT thing dead center :p )

So whatever info or advice you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Just whats there now...

Pic in Reply...
 

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Unfortunately a 20 gallon tank isn't going to be large enough for Yellow Labs, (Labidochromis caeruleus).
I recommend either stocking your tank with something other than malawi cichlids, or buying a larger tank.
At minimum, you need a 33g 'long' (48 x 13 x 12), ideally, a 55g.
You might get away with a 30g (36 x 12 x 16) for a smaller single species setup, like Pseudotropheus saulosi, housing 1m and 3-4 females.
Also, I hate to add to the bad news, however, fishless cycling using pure ammonia is faster and doesn't require subjecting any fish to toxins.
 

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+1, you'll have a bloodbath on your hands. You'll be back to one fish in no time. Sorry.

There are plenty of fish that would work, check out the cookie cutter setups in the website's library. One I have experience with are kribensis, a pair of them would be very happy in that tank along with a group of small schooling fish. My kribs would have spawned in that barrel for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info.

It is days like these that make being a dad the hardest. Guy at the pet store told her she could put 3 maybe 4 in here, so she has had her heart set on that, and come to find out that isnt true at all. This is going to be fun news to break :/

Wish I had the room for a 55gal tank, then I would be set :p
 

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"Keep tank around 76 degrees to slow metabolism and reduce aggression"
This sentence is a corect one but not right becouse you cant't freeze the fishes so they are not agressive. There are some people who do this with fishes and reptiles (also cold blooded) but it's not the right way. They are not agressive because they are freezing !

"and give them stuff to hide in and behind. "
This will increase there agression because they will try to establish teritories. That meens that they develop natural behavoir - in my opinion that-s great because that's my goal - to make the fishes feel like home :)

Slight "over crowding" may be good to keep the aggression down
That's a lot like low temperature.

So, it's only my opinion but i don't sugest you to freeze them, empty the hiding places and over crowding the fishes just to determine them to be nicer to eachother.

If you wish to watch my latest Malawi setup you will see that there are a lot of juvenile and new borns, some big males from agressive species (interruptus), they are all happy:

Sorry for my english :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since the setup I was thinking with this tank is a no go, and doing a bit more research, does this sound like it makes sense or am I still not even close?

2 x Dwarf breeds (Apistogramma species)
2 x kribensis (read these can mix with community fish)
# x general community tropical fish like Danios, little neon tetra schooling fish, etc

trying to see if there is a mix of some common small tropicals and some of the "better" fish so she has a good mix in her tank.

thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks!
I am glad there is a place where people are willing to help before you are waist deep in a losing battle :)
I will be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Now to figure out what piece of furniture I need to move to fit a larger tank for MY tank hahahaha
 

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I must warn you that I have found that in a short matter of months I tend to know more about cichlids than the employees at the store, both big box and local. In no way do I consider myself more than mediocre in the knowledge of cichlids. I just mean that I would be very cautious of information and suggestions you get from store employees. They are trying to move product and make a profit. They aren't paid to be the most knowledgeable employee. This website has been fantastic in helping me figure out what I can do successfully with my equipment and the people on this forum have been a great help when problems arise.
 

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jbarilow said:
It is days like these that make being a dad the hardest.
Oh I know your pain! Keep the chin up - and don't let them name the fish if you can help it!
 

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I would not give up on your original plan so easily. I am currently watching a tank for my granddaughter which sounds much like what you want. It is a 29 so a touch bigger but it also has more fish. The bloodbath is not a sure thing at all. Our tank has an odd mix of fish the kids like. A large koi angel, a lemon tetra, three yellow labs, a male hap ahli that hid a lot, and several small fish, (mollies, platies??) All these get along well except for the ahli hiding more than wanted. I've just added two female ahli and it has brought the male out for the last several days. How fish act is as unpredictable as for people. If you want to try it, do it. Just explain to the kids (and yourself?) that you have to watch and see if they get along and if not change things. We are not married to fish for life and things change.
 

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PfunMo said:
We are not married to fish for life and things change.
It's REALLY hard to tell a kid that...

I have a hybrid that my youngins wouldn't let me do anything with. It somehow got lucky and lived from a spit in the 125. It's now 3".
 

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That is where many people miss the boat. Just because it is hard doesn't mean it is bad for kids to learn things. How long are they going to get by thinking that everything will go their way? Not very long. An easy way to ease them into the hard decisions is to let them get some experience that doesn't cost them much. Decisions on fish tanks are great for that. Kids have to learn and learning that bad decisions with fish have bad results is a lot better than letting them get old enough to make decisions about things that kill them without thinking about it having bad results. Four year olds are plenty old enough to learn that fish die if you do bad things. Avoiding the hard part when they are little leads to REALLY, REALLY hard things when they are teens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Glaneon said:
jbarilow said:
It is days like these that make being a dad the hardest.
Oh I know your pain! Keep the chin up - and don't let them name the fish if you can help it!
Looking at the pet store at the fish, we have been there soo many times lately she named one there. hahaha. a 3" really aggressive Blue Cichlid. hahaha. She was "almost" willing to give up her wanting MANY fish just for the one blue mean one. hahaha.

So I think a mix of dwarfs with community fish will actually give her something she will like. a few fish that will be a bit larger than the others and those small community fish that she likes to look at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So that Yellow Lab we had bought, he didnt make it. lasted 2 days. **** new tanks get me every time (got 5 gold fish breaking in the tank now). so it gave me an easy chance to come up with a new plan. now as I get this one established I already have that "now for dad's tank" thought floating around in my head. haha. Limited on space, so might have to do a large corner type tank, but I will figure something out. I want some Cichlids of my own haha
 

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PfunMo said:
That is where many people miss the boat. Just because it is hard doesn't mean it is bad for kids to learn things. How long are they going to get by thinking that everything will go their way? Not very long. An easy way to ease them into the hard decisions is to let them get some experience that doesn't cost them much. Decisions on fish tanks are great for that. Kids have to learn and learning that bad decisions with fish have bad results is a lot better than letting them get old enough to make decisions about things that kill them without thinking about it having bad results. Four year olds are plenty old enough to learn that fish die if you do bad things. Avoiding the hard part when they are little leads to REALLY, REALLY hard things when they are teens.
Heh.. just sayin, you have to pick your battles.

I have a 16, 14, 12, & 9 year old. I think I got the tactics down pretty well. I just don't like breaking hearts if I can help it. (and my kids are definitely not spoiled!)
 

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jbarilow said:
So that Yellow Lab we had bought, he didnt make it. lasted 2 days. darn new tanks get me every time (got 5 gold fish breaking in the tank now). so it gave me an easy chance to come up with a new plan. now as I get this one established I already have that "now for dad's tank" thought floating around in my head. haha. Limited on space, so might have to do a large corner type tank, but I will figure something out. I want some Cichlids of my own haha
He's got the cichness! Yay!
 
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