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DJRansome said:
If you don't see many success stories about Malawi mixes in a 36" tank in the last 15 years and you can't get anyone to recommend one in spite of a plethora of recent posts, that tells you something right there.
The vast majority of recommended stocking on this forum that gets adopted are never documented because once the OP has stocked his/her tanks, the majority are never heard from again. No up dates. A few stick around, but often they end up changing their stock in short order. And there won't be any examples of 3 ft. tanks because these people are always get turned away with the advice on this forum, that it cannot possibly work, so they go some where else or avoid internet fish forums altogether. I've seen it work many, many times in 40 breeders over the years. Pretty common size tank for mbuna back in the '70's or 80's, IME.
Here's one example of a recommendation from Sam Bonstein: http://www.borstein.info/profiles/victoria/paralabsauvag.html Rock kribensis in a 40 gal. and Malawi as the recommended tank mate.
I've utilized 3 ft. tanks in the past for cichlid communities/species tanks but wouldn't today only because I have enough larger tanks. I've got bigger tanks (180, 150, 125) and wouldn't utilize a 40 gal. for anything other then for a fry tank. But if i were starting out and had nothing larger, don't see why I wouldn't attempt to keep 4-5" mouth brooders in them. As far as the 3 "Victorian -types" I have kept (Astatotilapia latifasciata, A. bloyeti and A. burtoni), IME they are all compatible enough with mbuna, though i have not kept them long term together in smaller tanks (only briefly) so i cannot personally recommend specific mixes in a 40 gal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
DJRansome said:
Keep this post available for Victorian experts who might respond. I have noticed that sometimes if there are lots of replies (even your own) people might think you have your answers and not post.

If there are old posts just reply to them and ask. The original member may not be around, but current Members can comment.

Please do not make a new post.
Understood.

I thought about that too, like when it shows that the last reply is someone knowledgeable, they might assume it has been answered.

BC in SK said:
DJRansome said:
If you don't see many success stories about Malawi mixes in a 36" tank in the last 15 years and you can't get anyone to recommend one in spite of a plethora of recent posts, that tells you something right there.
The vast majority of recommended stocking on this forum that gets adopted are never documented because once the OP has stocked his/her tanks, the majority are never heard from again. No up dates. A few stick around, but often they end up changing their stock in short order. And there won't be any examples of 3 ft. tanks because these people are always get turned away with the advice on this forum, that it cannot possibly work, so they go some where else or avoid internet fish forums altogether. I've seen it work many, many times in 40 breeders over the years. Pretty common size tank for mbuna back in the '70's or 80's, IME.
Here's one example of a recommendation from Sam Bonstein: http://www.borstein.info/profiles/victoria/paralabsauvag.html Rock kribensis in a 40 gal. and Malawi as the recommended tank mate.
I've utilized 3 ft. tanks in the past for cichlid communities/species tanks but wouldn't today only because I have enough larger tanks. I've got bigger tanks (180, 150, 125) and wouldn't utilize a 40 gal. for anything other then for a fry tank. But if i were starting out and had nothing larger, don't see why I wouldn't attempt to keep 4-5" mouth brooders in them. As far as the 3 "Victorian -types" I have kept (Astatotilapia latifasciata, A. bloyeti and A. burtoni), IME they are all compatible enough with mbuna, though i have not kept them long term together in smaller tanks (only briefly) so i cannot personally recommend specific mixes in a 40 gal.
I noticed that as well, when people get an answer the post just dies, not even a thank you. I think it's rude, you guys are not paid to answer our questions and you take a lot of your personal time to do so. Rest assured that once I set this tank I ask so many questions about, I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

As for the suggestions I found, I tried to bookmark only those that were suggested by someone who seemed to me like an knowledgeable member of the forum. For example I know that DJRansome has always given me great advices since my debut here, so when I saw a suggestion coming from him I bookmarked it, and if he went against someone else's recommendation I scratched that one. I also bookmarked some suggestions that were made by moderator, so I assume - I still might be wrong, we never know lol - that they were pretty knowledgeable as well. Finally, I also took advice that were quoted and approved by others a little bit more seriously as well.

You might see some of these old thread pop around if you're following the Malawi section as well !

And I understand what you meant when you say you might stock 40B differently if you only had access to it than you are right now with access to way bigger tanks. I plan on getting bigger myself in the future, but I'm financially restricted at the moment. I hope I'll get experience from this tank and don't make any grave mistakes (but I ask a lot of questions, so I might be okay at the end :lol: ).
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
BC in SK said:
Tom Jones said:
There is never any guarantee with cichlids nor any way of for telling the future. The smaller the tank, the worse your odds of succeeding will be. Choose less aggressive specie and stock with sufficient numbers and you may have a decent chance. Encounter aggression problems at some future point might require removing an aggressor or a picked on fish. IMO, start out with at least 6-8 or more per species. You need sufficient numbers, especially in small tanks. A trio might have decent chance of working out well in a 180 gal., but it has fairly slim odds in 40 gal. for pretty much any mouth brooder.
Hey again! Even though I'm still "shopping around" in different lakes, I'm still having a strong interest in Victorian Haps.

Sorry if I haven't replied to your replies in other post, but I'm short on time at the moment.

I'm starting to get the idea that a dual-species tank with Victoria Lake cichlids might not be a good ideal. I'm able to take some chasing and fighting, but if I can avoid seeing major injuries I would feel better - Especially my girlfriend who does know I'm looking at fish that I describe to her as «kinda more aggressive than our Black Skirt Tetras», I'm pretty sure she'd be terrified to see me remove badly injured fish that might not survive their injuries. That being said, I've learned that mixing to groups of Victorian Haps together in a 36" tank might result in exactly that.

So, let's say I go with a single species. Would the fact that they're agressive ones matters as much, since they don't share their tank with intruders ? For example, when we say that Obliquens, or Piebalds, are very agressive : Is it against every other species in the tank, or against their own as well ? An if it's against their own, could a specific ratio with way less males than females be viable ?

I'm asking because my favorite Victorian Hap is the Chromogynos (esp. the Zue Island ones), and I'm still not sure if they're considered agressive. I've been told by DJRansome that the Piebalds were aggressive, but I believe he was referring to the Paralabidochromis sp. "Red Fin Piebald", but I'm still not 100% he wasn't referring to "most piebald Victorians" which would include the Chromogynos.

On the Chromos profile page from Cichlid-Forum, it says they're aggressive, but in an aticle on the same site, written by Greg Steeve, his specimens were on the opposite pretty skittish. Some others say they are aggressive towards their own male once they reach 2 inches, and I've seen other reviews saying they were pretty peaceful in a community tank. So yeah, I don't know what to think, but I love them.

1) I know they're not part of the species you had yourself, but do you have any knowledge on their level of intraspecies aggressiveness ?

2) Now, you said earlier in the post that if I *still* would absolutely go the dual-species route, you suggested to start with 6-8 or more per species. Would that mean that I could go 12-16 if I keep them alone ? As for the ratio, would a 3M/9M ratio (or a 4M/12F) be a good one ?

3) Since one the article on Cichlid-Forum said they could be skittish, would some dither fish like Giant Danios help ?

My next 2 questions are mostly "what ifs" : I know I said I'd go with a species only tank if I go with Victorian Haps, but if the answers to both those questions are no I will stand by my promise. I still consider a tank with only Chromogynos as one of my favorite potential stocking so far. But just in case, here we go :

4) I read in another post that Synondontis Petriocola are often added to Malawi tanks, without the need to lower the amount of mbunas in it. I know I'm comparing oranges to apples here but do you think a few could go there ? Since they'd be 2 or 3, they might not count as another small group lol

5) And while we're there could a smaller 3M/9M Chromos colony do well with a single male specimen of a bigger species ? (I have Peacocks in mind as I love them, but I don't know any "biggies" from Victoria - Maybe there'd be one that could fit and be beautiful at the same time - Or maybe a CA cichlid biggie ? I know a convict would be too aggressive, but maybe a single Firemouth ? Or a more peaceful Dwarf Yellow Convict ?) - Ok, I'm asking this out of pure ignorance and naive curiosity, so sorry in advance if some of my examples of biggies would make absolutely no sense in that setup lol

Like I said, I'm mentally ready to get NO as answers to #4 and #5, and still put a Chromogynos Zue Island species only tank pretty pretty high in my list :)
 

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Tom Jones said:
So, let's say I go with a single species. Would the fact that they're agressive ones matters as much, since they don't share their tank with intruders ? For example, when we say that Obliquens, or Piebalds, are very agressive : Is it against every other species in the tank, or against their own as well ? An if it's against their own, could a specific ratio with way less males than females be viable ?
First and foremost, in general, cichlids are most aggressive towards their own species. Conspecific aggression is a real thing. That's why you need a group for a species. If you have just 2, one will seek to eliminate the other. In general, even in big tanks, never mind just a 40 gal., one male of a species per tank. A single or many, and you likely don't have room for many.
In general, this is the hierarchy of aggression:
A)same sex, same species
B) same sex, closely related species
C)opposite sex, same species
d) same sex, distantly related species
E)opposite sex, closely related species
f) opposite sex, distantly related species
But any fish or cichlid in the tank can come into conflict over position in the pecking order.
When we say a cichlid is very aggressive it is usually not only aggressive towards it's own species but other tankmates, as well.
1) No, I don't.
2)Yes, for 2 species, start out with at least 12-16. Over time, some males will have to be removed. Depending on the species, you may very well end up one male of each.
3)IMO, dithers would not be necessary with yellow labs and some Vics are even more outgoing then mbuna! But if by chance your tank ends up scared or skittish, it wouldn't be hard to add them later. If you go with one species, then the extra bodies might add to the tank, and IMO giant danios would be the best bet to do well in a tank with aggressive cichlids.
4) Not to sure. Never owned many syndontis. Had one for a number of years, but not even sure what species it was (don't think it is one from lake Malawi).
5)Hard to say. Depends on the species and the particular situation of the tank. Never had a 3M/9f colony of chromos in a 40 gal. Not sure there is enough room for 3 male vics of the same species, to begin with. As far as CA, with African mouth brooders, I wouldn't put firemouth with any, unless they are real timid and wimpy. Firemouth is all bluff. When it comes to an actual physical encounter it is fairly likely to lose. A convict will probably do OK regardless of it's position in the pecking order and it has good chance of being the dominant fish, but 40 gal. isn't enough space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely copy-pasting your hierarchy or aggression is a notepad that I'll keep. Very useful information, and at the same time the order makes complete sense.

For question 2, I meant to ask how many fish should I get if I go with only one species. Like, earlier in the discussion you said that if I went with two, I should get 6-8 of each, so I wondered how many I should get if I go with a single species tank. Should I double the amount to keep the same total of fish in the tank, or would I go with a different number ?

Also, let's say I do 12 fish total, only one species, and I buy them all at once. Over time I noticed some fighting, how can I know if one is harassed more than the others if they look alike ? Let's say I end up with 4 males from my unsexed juvies : over time one would color up, and the three sub-dominant males would be duller, how do I know when I see fighting if it's always the same getting attacked (thus knowing I should remove him), or if it's always a different one which could mean agression is dispersed and could be tolerated ?

And let's say one is getting a beating in front of me and I decide to remove it right away, I guess once I start fishing with the net they'll all hide and run from cave to cave - I'm afraid at this point I might not know which one was getting attacked just before. Do you have any tips to differenciate them? Or do you simply remove males when they get physical marks of agression like wounds or chewed ? fins (also making them easier to differentiate)

As for #3, I also thought that a single species tank full of Vics would probably not need dither fish, but it was more of an excuse to maybe see a second type of fish in the tank :lol:

5) I thought Firemouths were badboys lol And I would have thought a convict would have been to agressive, even for vics. That shows how much I still need to learn :p So none of the two for that tank. I guess no single big boy would fit with them, either they'd be too peaceful thus bullied, or as agressive as the vics then not enough space.

Seems like the best is to go with only the Vics and some Giant Danios. Would you do 12 Vics and 12 Giant Danios, or less Danios ?

Also, would I need more than one emergency tank ? Let's say there's a bullied male, I remove him and put him in the Hospital tank to heal before rehoming him, but then the next day there's another bullied. I think it would not be a good idea to put the second sub-dominant male in the same hospital tank since even though they're both sub-dominant, a fight for dominance will happen between the two and the weaker one will die. Should I keep more than one tank, or use a diviser (or two if I get 3 bullied males) ? And what size of tank would you suggest for those emergencies ? And I guess I should always keep it running with a couple of fish so that it's already cycled when needed ?
 

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Tom Jones said:
I'm definitely copy-pasting your hierarchy or aggression is a notepad that I'll keep.
Keep in mind, it is a generalization. The usual way it works with most cichlids. There is always exceptions or situations where it does not hold true as well as particular species where it does not really apply. For example, IME, auratus is completely unpredictable where it's aggression will be directed. Also need to mention that weight class is an important factor, as generally fish interact and compete with similar sized fish. Misconception that big fish pick on small fish; enough size difference and they are not perceived as a threat. Usually big fish pick on big fish and small fish pick on small fish. Also, coloration and marking patterns, some of the African cichlids are not only closely related, but also look very similar on top of that.
Tom Jones said:
For question 2, I meant to ask how many fish should I get if I go with only one species. Like, earlier in the discussion you said that if I went with two, I should get 6-8 of each, so I wondered how many I should get if I go with a single species tank. Should I double the amount to keep the same total of fish in the tank, or would I go with a different number ?
IMO, 8 would be sufficient as a total number of cichlids. Don't think you really need to stock 16, if your going with one species.
Tom Jones said:
And let's say one is getting a beating in front of me and I decide to remove it right away, I guess once I start fishing with the net they'll all hide and run from cave to cave - I'm afraid at this point I might not know which one was getting attacked just before. Do you have any tips to differenciate them? Or do you simply remove males when they get physical marks of agression like wounds or chewed ? fins (also making them easier to differentiate)
It comes with experience of keeping cichlids. By watching the tank and seeing if particular fish are getting excessively chased. IF particular fish are hiding all the time, especially if they are trying to hide in the upper areas of the tank. To remove fish, you have to remove decor. You have to look at your fish and note differences in shape, body pattern/marking and coloration. When removing particular fish from a larger group of the same species, I've sometimes caught all of them and placed each in one gallon pales, then examined them each to determine which individuals are the ones to be removed.
Tom Jones said:
Seems like the best is to go with only the Vics and some Giant Danios. Would you do 12 Vics and 12 Giant Danios, or less Danios ?
IMO, no need to stock more then 4-6 giant danios.
Tom Jones said:
Also, would I need more than one emergency tank ? Let's say there's a bullied male, I remove him and put him in the Hospital tank to heal before rehoming him, but then the next day there's another bullied. I think it would not be a good idea to put the second sub-dominant male in the same hospital tank since even though they're both sub-dominant, a fight for dominance will happen between the two and the weaker one will die. Should I keep more than one tank, or use a diviser (or two if I get 3 bullied males) ? And what size of tank would you suggest for those emergencies ? And I guess I should always keep it running with a couple of fish so that it's already cycled when needed ?
A 20 gal. should do. Keep a couple dividers on hand just in case you have a need for more then one "emergency space" . Also, you may very well want to remove a holding female to raise fry, at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thanks for the explanation and the tips.

If I go with vics, I'll probably take 8 Chromogynos and 6 Giant Danios + an extra 20 gallon with some dividers.

If people have other tips or suggestions, feel free to chime in !
 
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