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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I plan on stocking a 36" long 36 gallon tank, and my centerpiece would either be a Thorichthys Maculipinnis/Ellioti or a Thorichthys Aureus / Red Flash.

I'd like to have suggestions on what else to put with him. I don't want a pair because 'cause I'd prefer a relatively pacific community.

Would have I have enough space to add another medium size cichlid pacific cichlid and some schoolers ?

I've been told that even a single Convict would be too agressive, but what about a dwarf yellow convict, which are supposed to be less aggressive ?

Could a Dwarf Acara (Nannacara Anomala) do the job to ? I always see the Keyhole cichlids suggested due to their pacific temper, but I don't find them appealing.

I do like Rainbow Cichlids though.

Could I go with smaller ones like Rams or Apistos ? Or they're be too small and/or not from the right part of America ?

As for schoolers, I really like the opaque and yet colourful look of pencilfish, but I believe they might be too small. Is there a "medium size" kinda Pencilfish ?

Could some of those weird rainbowfish with strange and very long fins like the Blue Eyes do the job ? I've heard that the Elliotis and Aureus are very shy and could benefit from the security of seeing dither fish flying around.

What would be your suggestions ?
 

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This aquarium could be pretty nice.
But well, let's work through this thing a bit first.
- Do you have/own this aquarium already?
- If so, what are the dimensions of this tank? That is, 36" long X ?? wide X ?? deep. In Cichlids, esp. Central American species - the more bottom real estate you can get - the better. Even sort-of compatible species (frenemies?) will claim territories. So, the more bottom room there is in the aquarium, the better things tend to work out for everyone.
- Is the aquarium running now? if so, do you want to grow live plants in it? Or, not?
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I see you are interested in staying with a locality region. A bio-type aquarium? if so, and you want more accurate dither fish. A species endemic to the Central American region?
Well then.... here's THE dominant Tetra species of the Central American locality.
*ahem*
Ladies and Gentleman, please allow me to introduce you to 'Ol' Nasty', Astyanax fasciatus 'mexicanus',
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Awwww... what a beauty! (ummmmm.... not?) But beauty may be indeed something best appreciated as something seen in the eye of the beholder. Oh yes! These admittedly homely looking Tetras are very Tough. Fast. Somewhat Predatory. And, can actually be a little bit Mean.
In other words - ALMOST PERFECT FOR KEEPING WITH CENTRAL AMERICAN CICHLIDS... (at least those species that aren't too big, and will just eat those mean ol' tetras!!).
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So, c'mon back with some more info. We'll see if we can recommend something interesting for you to stock this tank with, that has a pretty decent chance of working out. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey there! Thanks for your reply, your enthusiasm is well received hehe

I already have the tank and it was a bargain, otherwise I would have waited a little more to gather some more dollars in order to get a 75 and be able to get what I want hehe. But yeah, I got a 36" long 36 gallon ! and it's a 12.5" large as well, so not a big swimming surface. I would have preferred a larger footprint and a lower top but I think it's 19' deep.

So I know territoriality might become an issue , that's why I try to go with relatively pacific species. But I also don't want brainless fish that just swim aimlessly everywhere, I want to see some sort of territory and be able to point a specific part of the tank and be like "That's Elliot's flat. Only the pleco's allowed in". I don't hope for fighting, and if there is no chasing that would be even better (but I'm not dreaming either), but I like to imagine that they both feel like they belong somewhere, so I'd like a tank that is pretty densely decorated/planted. I'd love to have lot of driftwood, caves, real plants. I know real plants could be an issues, but I'd make research to get some solid ones, or some that could be glued to stuff, things like that.

Tank is not in water yet, as I need to redo the silicone joints. Cycling will not be an issue though, this will not be my first nor my last and I have plenty of cycled media to fasten this up a bit.

So yeah, I've seen your suggestion of schooling aaaaaand.... let's say I'm not sold ! haha, especially not the albinos version that looks like it's sick and bleeding. I must hope those might not be the only contesters here lol are they ?

To be honest, and not 100% purist about regionality, as long as all species could thrive in the same water parameters. So I could be open to tropical dithers of other region as lon as no one suffers from it. But if we can find one that fits the bio-tope as well as my tastes, that's even better I'm not a big fan of swordtail usually, but someone told me there were some wild types in that area and I googled Wild Types Swordtaild, and some are actually pretty cool ! However, from what I found ,some are also 6 inches long, and I'm not sure how easy it would be to find them.

So yeah, with all that in mind : 1st choice is either and Ellioti or a Red Flash.

As a second centerpiece, I'm open to suggestions!

I like Sajicas, other Thorys like Firemouths, convict (or mayber Cutterri's ?) or nana convicts. Rainbow Cichlids. I also LOVE Nannacara Nanomala, but sadly now we're getting south a little. It's a shame if they'd don't fit 'cause I would have loved a blue male as much as a dark yellow/reddish female. Heck, I could even appreciate seeing a Pearl Gourami in that tank if it could survive and be happy in it.

As for the dithers/schoolers, something that'd look like a bigger pencilfish, or a smaller torpedo barb could be awesome. Or Like I said, those weird finned rainbowfish would work too. To be honest I don't know a lot about any schoolers or dithers in that region, or that would be happy in that water ,so Let's here what you have in mind ! (oh, I'm now a fan of hatchetfish and Silver Dollars either!)
 

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The Thoricthys species you are looking to get are very nice ones. I'm pretty partial to T. elliotti. And, good luck getting a T. macullipinnis... those are rare.
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So, dither fish. Yes, the Astyanax Tetras just aren't for everybody. And, for the life of me I can't imagine how those weird looking and blind, Mexican Cave Tetras became so popular. :oops:
With the Cichlids you want to stock you tank with, pretty much any dither fish will work that is not too small and will just become a convenient snack or something. Yes, I have seen even mid-sized Swordtails stocked with some smaller Central American (CA) Cichlids, including a single Firemouth, Thoricthys meeki in a community tank. Thoricthys, while pretty sturdy, are not known for being excessively piscivorous or even that mean.
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And now, what would work out as a Cichlid buddy (frenemy?) with your Thoricthys? Some things to consider in that, I suppose.
- Ideally, you want to stock with either two males or two female Cichlids. Spawning aggression could wreck this fairly peaceful tank pretty fast!
- If it's not completely possible to stock with 2M or 2F, then it will probably be best to get two species that are different enough to make spawning unlikely. Oddly enough, in CA this can be tougher to accomplish than it sounds, (The Cichlid species are probably more closely related from that area than in many other localities).
- And of course, we don't want to create the conditions of a ticking time bomb in this tank either. These Cichlids need to be able to stay together in this aquarium, when full adult sizes are attained. That is, for a good long time.
- And lastly, you want both Cichlids to originate from CA, correct? So, though there may be possibly other Cichlids from other locality regions (including Africa!), that would probably stock pretty well with your Thoricthys - we'll keep it to CA types, (At least for now).
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*clears throat*
"The Envelope Please? And so, the nominations for keeping in OuiBonjour's 36 gallon aquarium are":
- Rainbow Cichlid, Herotilapia multispinosa
- Yellow Dwarf Cichlid, Amatitlania nanolutea
- Nicaraguan Cichlid, Hypsophrys nicaraguensis
- Neet Cichlid, Neetroplus nematopus
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And yes, I believe that an individual of any of those Cichlids would go well with your Thoricthys. The Yellow Dwarf is the only Amatitlania type I would attempt stocking with your Thoricthys. if you wind up with a 1m/1F combination in there, any of the other Amatitlania types (Convict anyone?) will almost certainly attempt to spawn with your Thoricthys. Jeeeeze man, Convicts will probably display and attempt to spawn with LIVE PLANTS, if given a chance..... :roll:
The Neet cichlid is interesting in that they are one of the absolute worst species to keep in a community tank - when spawning. A spawning pair of Neets will take all-out levels of aggression to just about ANYTHING kept in an aquarium with them! But, (non-spawning) individuals of those Cichlids are pretty easy to stock with in a community aquarium. However, that species is probably the most sensitive to water quality conditions in the aquarium, than any of the other species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey ! Thanks a lot for the reply again :) I'm glad to read that pretty much any dither could do as long as they would be be considered a snack :)

As for the Frennemy, I still like the Yellow Nano Convict and the Rainbow, but the Nicaraguan are breathtaking !!

I'm fact... I saw some picture where their head is halmost whitish with no color (even males) and some have a very vivivid dark blue head. Do you know how I could make sure to get a colored one if I take it juvenile ?

Is it possible that it's head might not ever get blue since he would not have a female to impress ?

As for the Meet, they're super interesting and I like the fact that he would be like having a peaceful "potential maniac" in my tank! ...but my girlfriend is not into fish as much as I so I don't think a black fish would help getting her interested in that tank :(

So far I love your ideas and I starting to get some very interesting ideas in my mind, but since I'm not sure yet what species will be available when my tank will be ready, would you mind opening a few more enveloppes, just in case ? Hehe

Let's say I allow you to cheat a little and venture a little Souther, as long as the parameters would be compatible!

I also heard that some Africans (that are not from the Rift Lakes, also thrive in waters that are not super high PH like Malawi's, Tangs and Vic's).

I don't want you to be uncomfortable though. I'm not looking to put fish that wants ph 5.5 to 6.9 with fish that want 7.2 to 8.6 and then put my tank at 7.1 and call it a day. If I venture outside of the region, I'd really like them both to thrive confortably in the water, not just on the limits of what they can tolerate.

If this is not possible, so be it! But if you have some in minds, feel free to share :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, and one more thing : I've been told by some people that the Nicaraguan Cichlid would probably be too big for my 36", as they often grow to 10 inches. Should I go with something smaller ?
 

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Okay then....
Yes, the Nicaraguan Cichlid is the largest growing candidate on that list. And yes, while it is supposedly possible for an adult male to get up to 10 inches in length. I've never seen one larger than around 8 inches or so.... So, I definitely believe an individual Nicaraguan could be kept successfully with your Thoricthys in that 36 gallon tank.
And no, while the Nicaraguan Cichlid is definitely a pretty fish, that outrageous coloring definitely shows best during spawning displays.
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So, could it be on to other continents then? Individual (non-paired) Cichlids that I believe would co-exist pretty well with your Thoricthys? And, based on your priorities above, we are going to just skip over Cichlid species that may look upon your live plants in the tank as a sort of all-you-can-eat salad bar or something! :x
On this tour we'll stay clear of those more herbivorous types.
So, from the lovely continent of South America, we have the following recommendations,
- Blue Acara, Andinoacara pulcher
- Festivum, Mesonauta festivus
- Pike Cichlid, Crenicichla edithae
- Diadem Cichlid, Aequidens diadema
- Keyhole Cichlid, Cleithracara maronii
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As for the Pike Cichlid recommendation, most of the smaller to medium-sized species won't require special 'black water' or anything to be kept successfully in the aquarium. Plus, here is an excellent Cichlid-forum article on Pike Cichlids: https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... chlids.php
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Next up on this virtual recommendation tour, we're gonna visit a couple of interesting Cichlids from the continent of Africa! As follows,
- Buffalo Head Cichlid, Steatocranus casuarius
- Red Jewel Cichlid, Hemichromis sp.
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- The Buffalo Cichlid lives in the 'white Water' regions of fast moving rivers and rapids. Providing a source of strong current on one end of the tank (low mounted canister discharge?) will be appreciated by this species. The Red Jewel Cichlid has a nasty reputation for shredding all tankmates kept with them in community tanks. That will only happen if this riverine species is kept in pairs. A lot like the Neet Cichjlid from CA, these Cichlids are actually pretty easy to keep as individuals with other Cichlids. I've shown the species name as Hemichromis 'sp.', because there are multiple 'Red Jewel' species out there to consider for purchase. Aquarium-keeping recommendations are pretty much the same for all Red Jewels.
NOTE: One Hemichromis Cichlid species you must avoid AT All COSTS however is the so-called 'Five Star General', Hemichromis elongatus. Those predatory thugs are just absolute - BEASTS - from the start. And, a spawning pair of those maniacs will put an absolute Murderous Beat-Down on ANYTHING stocked in the aquarium with them (your HAND, baby crocodiles... ANYTHING!!). :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again for your reply Auballagh :)

I'm super happy to see Red Jewell in the list !I really thought they were super violent, even when they weren't breeding, so I never considered them even though I always found them super nice !! So you're telling me that a single individual wouldn't be more aggressive than any other semi-pacific cichlid in a 36 gallon ?

If so, I think this might be the winner !!! ...even though I still love the Rainbow and the Yellow Convict..... lol it wouldn't be a good idea to go with 3 cichlids right ? :lol:

So, let's say I go with an Ellioti/Masculopinnis (I think it's the same species but just the new name) and a Jewel-that-is-not-a-five-star-general, what should I know ? Should I avoid some dithers with a Jewell ? Should I avoid putting my hands in the water, like do I risk getting bitten ? And if I do get bitten, is it bad ?

I'll make a lot of hiding spots, caves, with different driftwoods on different horizontal levels. Do I need some specific kind of hidings for each specific species ? Should I only use plants that will be glued to things like Java Ferns and Anubias? Sand as substrate, and is pool filter sand with silica okay ? Is there a substrate color that is suggested to get their colors showing best ? Some feedind advices ?

What kind of filtration / turnaround should I have, and should the flow be agitated or calm ? Should I keep the water tannin tinted ?

Anyways, any advice you might think of would be super appreciated :) As well as specific advices let's say I go with the Rainbo or the Cryptoheros!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And if I go with 2 cichlids and some dither, do you think a pearl gourami could fit in, or it would be harassed by the cichlids ? Sorry for the triple posts, it is not letting me editing my post anymore :/

and also, what would be the smallest dithers I could put without them being eaten ?
 

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Okay then! Sounds like all of these ideas are starting to come together into a plan. :D
So, to begin....
The African Red Jewel Cichlid. Yes, these can be some mean little gits. They are NOT an easy-going, quiet Cichlid species! To inform, Red Jewels have been called the 'African Convict'. The toughness, attitude and general disposition of those little Cichlids do provide a remarkable resemblance to the Convict Cichlid, Amatitlania nigrofacsiatus. But no worries, An individual Convict Cichlid will offer a level of aggression in the aquarium that just about any Thoricthys (Firemouth type) Cichlid should be able to take well in stride.
You see, Thoricthys is not exactly a shy, retiring sort of Cichlid species either! This older Cichlid-forum post will help a lot to inform the 'wiles & wherefores' of the African Red Jewel Cichlid,
https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpbb/vie ... 3&t=246578
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Oh, and NO Pearl Gourami. Absolutely. No. Freaking. Way. These two little 'tough guys' would absolutely destroy a sedate and peaceful Pearl Gourami placed in with them! If you want a Pearl Gourami you are in for a very different kind of aquarium. VERY different atmosphere and 'vibe'.
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Stuff time?
I believe you have a couple choices to consider.
1) Cheap and Quick: Hang-On-Back Filter (Aquaclear 110 or Tidal 110), with separate electric submersible heater.
2) More Expensive and Pretty: Canister (FX4) with Hydor in-line heater.
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Plants?
Decision time. This is something you are either ALL IN. Or not! You can't half-*ss this one, and expect good results.
- NO substrate rooting plants. Well no.... But, I totally recommend substrate rooting plants in a planted tank! Yeah, whuuu......? Contradictory much, bro?
*ahem*
Check this out:
https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 3&t=453821
- DON'T skimp on the lighting quality, and put those lights on automatic timers.
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Substrate?
- Pool Filtration Sand. You can mix in with some very small diameter gravel to the sand (the stuff you place on top of the potted plants), and you will have almost EXACTLY mimicked the bottom substrate of both riverine Africa and Central America.
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Dithers and Such?
- Minimum size for keeping with your two little 'tough guys' will be Serpae Tetra or Tiger Barb sized dithers. Anything smaller than that could be irresistible as a snack. I would stock with 6 to 8 to give them a chance to form their own groups and 'pecking orders'.
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Aquascape?
Build your furnishings in there around bog wood and rocks. I would try to build two, cave-like areas into opposite ends of the tank. Give those Cichlids as much space as possible to establish their own space and territories. Install/Build bog wood structures that go all the way to the surface of the tank. This will break up sight lines and help to identify boundaries. Affix non-substrate plants all over that wood and the rocks. Mountain lace Rock is an excellent choice as the rough texture makes for a good surface for plants to root onto. Lava rock will work good also, but it's hard to find good-sized pieces.
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Starting up?
- Install filtration, pool filtration sand and de-chlorinated water. Establish the beneficial bacteria you need with 'fishless cycling': https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/ ... _cycle.php
(I strongly recommend you find a source of filtration foam from an existing/cycled tank, and use to inoculate your new filter foam. Speeds up cycling a LOT).
- While tank is being fishless cycled (be patient, could be a few weeks), it will be time to install your rocks and bog wood pieces. Aquascaping begins! Purchase your plant lights and get them set up and dialed in for upcoming use.
- When you have established filtration: Plants! Go crazy. Get your Nature Aquarium on! Pot 'em up & affix what you get to wood and rocks. Be generous! It will take more plants to get this tank set up than you may at first think.
- Stock with dither fish & and a Bristlenose Catfish. Once again, be patient. Let them all get well-established in the aquarium and settled in. Slow - is fast in this game. Because if you have sick dither fish it's a lot easier to treat and work things out without your Cichlids being affected also.
- And then.... the piece de' resistance. The bow on the package! The final touch! Stock with both Cichlids! And yes, most definitely at the same time.
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Enjoy The Show! 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey, thanks for the very detailed advices!

I'm sorry it's been some very busy weeks. I really appreciate your help :)

I will come back when I have more time for more question and/or to keep you posted on my development!
 
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