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Just got a 30g for free! Wondering how many i should put in. I was thinking 2 yellow labs, 2 perlmutt, 1 red empress, 2 saulosi, 1 bristle nose pleco, and maybe 2 lemon jakes.
 

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That sounds like a lot for a 30g esp with the mbunas and 1 haplo.

I know that overstocking is best but i think with a 30 g.. try dwarf mbunas stick with the saulosi, forget the labs and pearlmutt and i'm not sure what lemon jakes are but i can't imagine them being in any better situation with the others... you could go with maybe 6-8 saulosi but i'd leave it at that.

You could always try the setup u want and later get an even bigger tank just don't mix haplochromines with mbuna in a tank that size.

Good Luck!

Here are other dwarf mbunas you could try: demasoni - but they are super aggressive, i'd overstock and i wouldn't add anythign else with them. Rusty cichlids - not necessarily dwarf but they are pretty docile for an mbuna. cynotilapias.. hmm aggressive too.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't attempt a mbuna community tank in anything smaller than 50g. You aren't going to have enough territory to go around in a 30g tank, IMO.
 

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It also depends on the dimensions of the tank, in a 48"x12"x12" 30 gal tank you could keep mbunas, in a 24"x12"x12" 30 gal tank I wouldn't.
 

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In addition to the tank not being big enough, mbuna don't do well in pairs. They're harem fish and require 2-5 females per male, something you can't offer unless you do a saulosi species tank with the bn pleco as a cleanup crew.
 

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From my humble experience, I agree with the prior posters. Some things you might consider in a 30 gallon would be:

A saulosi species tank with 12 to 14 fish and a lot of filtration.
Ditto as above, but with demasoni.

A shellie tank with a trio of calvus or comps.

A breeding tank (1 male, 3 females) for a small peacock.

Another option is a species only tank for brichardi, starting with 5 and waiting for a male and female to pair off.

It's just my opion, but I think all the above have been successful by either myself or other posters.

I think you want to avoid the tendency toward, "one of this, maybe two of that, and maybe one of that."
 

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Why don't you try South Americans--like angels, apistogrammas or rams?
 
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