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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yellow fellow fish keepers, new to the form here and would like to share my Mbuna tank! So far everyone's getting along great and no bullying! Tank is 3 weeks old and has previously been fully established.

Equipment:
-Fluval FX6 Canister Filter
-Sicce Voyager Nano 2000 Wavemaker
-Marineland 200W Heater

Decor:
-40lbs Caribsea Aragonite Substrate
-20lbs Blue Marble Rock

Stocking List:
- 4 Pseudotropheus demasoni
- 4 Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab)
- 2 Iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty)
- 1 Pseudotropheus crabro (Bumblebee)
- 1 Maylandia callainos (Cobalt Zebra)
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

The tank looks pretty. I would expect some problems with the stocking in 6-9 months as they mature. In the meantime I would stack the rocks up higher in the tank to give the fish territories and places to hide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! I was wondering what age they would reach when the aggression sets in. I stacked low due to not wanting any to fall off and risk breaking the tank or hurting fish since they've been digging like crazy. I plan to redo the rock work as they mature and give them larger hideouts and structures. How do you think I did on the stocking list? I took the advice of the lfs with a grain of salt, so I tried to do as much research as I could to see what species were compatible. My first plan was to get an all male multi species tank with 12 species total but that proved hard to find. So I settled for what I could find at my lfs. From what I was told most were males and some undetermined but I don't understand how they could tell since they aren't even sexually mature yet to vent. I have a backup tank incase things get intense in there.
 

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alexkowalik said:
Thank you! I was wondering what age they would reach when the aggression sets in.
They become aggressive when they spawn. The rusties, labs and demasoni can spawn when then are 1.5" long, including tail.

alexkowalik said:
I stacked low due to not wanting any to fall off and risk breaking the tank or hurting fish since they've been digging like crazy. I plan to redo the rock work as they mature and give them larger hideouts and structures.
You put the rocks on the glass before adding substrate so they cannot dig underneath. When you redo the rockwork the fish will have to re-establish territories which can mean more aggression instead of less aggression.

alexkowalik said:
How do you think I did on the stocking list? I took the advice of the lfs with a grain of salt, so I tried to do as much research as I could to see what species were compatible.
A 46G bowfront is a 36" tank which is generally considered too small for most mbuna. It's not that the fish are not compatible...except you have 2 Metriaclima (the callainos and the bumblebee). But too many species, and some aggressive ones in a tank that is too small.

alexkowalik said:
My first plan was to get an all male multi species tank with 12 species total but that proved hard to find. So I settled for what I could find at my lfs.
For 12 males you would be better with a 75G tank that is 48" by 18" or larger.

alexkowalik said:
From what I was told most were males and some undetermined but I don't understand how they could tell since they aren't even sexually mature yet to vent.
I have a backup tank in case things get intense in there.
When you do a male tank ideally it would be one of each species and no look alikes to manage aggression. When none of the fish look the same, they are less likely to view each other as competitors and fight.

Because the yellow labs are among the most peaceful mbuna, I would keep them as a single species in this tank and shoot for 1m:4f of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh wow, I should have joined the form before trying to do all the research one my own. Some good info. As for the two Metriaclima I was concerned as well. I didn't know much about the size difference of species when I was looking at my lfs and was told they would only reach a max of 4" so they will most likely have to be rehomed in another tank when they mature. My whole idea was to get all mbunas under 4" such as the Demasoni and labs. The Rustys were only intended as a solo male, however once I got home and really looked at my new (red top zebra...) it was clear it was a second rusty. I Tried Very Hard to find fish and talk to people at different Aquarium stored as for what species would go together and what wouldn't and it was very hard to get straight up answers. My backup plans is a second tank and if they really don't workout I can return to my lfs to rehome them. Do you think 12 is a good number in my 46G tank? I initially read 10 for every 30 gallons. so I figured 12 since mine isn't normal tank dimensions with the bow. Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it! And Sorry for the paragraph! I don't know how to respond to multiple questions like you did!
 

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12 is not a good number for a 36" tank for territorial, large, bulky fish like Malawi. Stocking by gallons works for small, slim fish like neon tetras. You are better off with a 48" tank, even if it is still only 12" inches on the sides. If you were to get a 48 x 12 tank for your second tank, think in terms of 3 species with 1m:4f of each or 15 fish. It would be a much lower number with all male.

At this point, you are facing decisions...keep the 36" tank or not. Will your backup tank be larger or smaller? All-male (more difficult) or mixed gender? Mbuna or haps and peacocks (more peaceful if you ultimately want all-male)?

Note that demasoni is a difficult fish to keep.

Rusty is 4"
Labs are 5"
Crabro (bumblebee) is 8"

Since africans are territorial, you stock by the length of the tank and not the gallons. If you consider the front-to-back measurement, when you have a bowfront tank you go by the sides and not by the dimension in the middle.

Also stock by aggression as well as size. Just because a fish is small, does not mean it can be in a 36" tank or even a 48" tank. I misspoke above on the Crabro (bumblebee), it is psuedotropheus and not metriaclima. But a large, aggressive fish that loses the yellow bars and turns brown/black as it matures.

If the 36" tank is a keeper I would go with the 1m:4f yellow labs. They work because they are peaceful. There are not many Malawi recommended for a 36" tank, it limits your options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That makes sense, Initially I wanted to go with a peacock tank however I knew my tank was too small for them and decided to go with Mbuna, as far as stocking my idea was to go with an all male tank to limit the aggression however I quickly learned that sexing young Mbuna was very difficult and almost all my lfs could not guarantee males. I did however read that demasoni were very high on the aggression level and might not workout in the future so I have a backup plan of a new tank. As for my current spare I have a 55G breeder as well as a 20 tall hospital tank. The Current tank is a keeper I've had for almost 10 years. Before the Mbuna I had a single Oscar who just recently passed. (Hence the new setup.) I tried to read up as much as I could about which Africans I could keep in my bow tank and after research and talking to other fish keepers i narrowed it down to Mbuna. I asked around my lfs and was told the same. In the future I do plan to get a larger tank (around 250G) and if the current tank isn't working out I will re home my Mbuna into that within a year or so and add more. Now how would you recommend getting the ideal M2F ratio considering my lfs can't accurately determine sex at such a young age? Also as for the bumblebee I may end up bringing him back to my lfs as I was misinformed about they're size.
 

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Many of us buy almost exclusively online for quality and variety of options. Haps and peacocks are often sold as sexed adults. I would probably wait for the 250G to do your all-male hap and peacock tank.

I would also bring back the lone rusty so you don't have hybrid problems.

You could do the demasoni and the labs in the 55G but you would need another 8 demasoni (or more) to manage aggression. We buy unsexed mbuna and to try to get 4 or more females, we buy 8 unsexed juveniles. Then if the extra males cause problems, rehome them as they mature. Demasoni seem to do best in groups of 12 or more.
 

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I love your tank ! I'm in the exact same place as you. I'm you four weeks ago ! I also have a 46 gallons bow front and I'm doing an Mbuna tank. I have converted my community fish tank and got it ready for my soon coming Mbuna fish. If all goes well the first group will be here this week.

I'be already bought 4 x labidochromis caeruleus and will be adding 2 more groups of 4, for a total of 12. The second group will be demasoni but I haven't decided yet for the third one. I've been told not to buy them solo. I am new to cichlids (but not to fishkeeping) but the fact that I'm buying all my supplies and live stock at a store that is specialized in cichlids is a blessing.

Here is my tank, waiting for the fish :

https://zupimages.net/viewer.php?id=20/48/ip4k.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
DJRansome said:
Many of us buy almost exclusively online for quality and variety of options. Haps and peacocks are often sold as sexed adults. I would probably wait for the 250G to do your all-male hap and peacock tank.

I would also bring back the lone rusty so you don't have hybrid problems.

You could do the demasoni and the labs in the 55G but you would need another 8 demasoni (or more) to manage aggression. We buy unsexed mbuna and to try to get 4 or more females, we buy 8 unsexed juveniles. Then if the extra males cause problems, rehome them as they mature. Demasoni seem to do best in groups of 12 or more.
Im assuming you mean the lone bumblebee, as I have 2 Rustys at the moment. However I agree, no haps or peacocks until get a bigger tank. As for the current stocking I'm going to keep an eye on them and at the first sight of bullying I will re home if necessary. So far everyone is getting along great and no problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Idech said:
I love your tank ! I'm in the exact same place as you. I'm you four weeks ago ! I also have a 46 gallons bow front and I'm doing an Mbuna tank. I have converted my community fish tank and got it ready for my soon coming Mbuna fish. If all goes well the first group will be here this week.

I'be already bought 4 x labidochromis caeruleus and will be adding 2 more groups of 4, for a total of 12. The second group will be demasoni but I haven't decided yet for the third one. I've been told not to buy them solo. I am new to cichlids (but not to fishkeeping) but the fact that I'm buying all my supplies and live stock at a store that is specialized in cichlids is a blessing.

Here is my tank, waiting for the fish :

https://zupimages.net/viewer.php?id=20/48/ip4k.jpeg
Thank you! You have a beautiful bow tank as well! Its been a bit of a headache with the stocking and figuring out which species to get but so far so good. I hope your new friends work out well! I miss my Oscar but it is exciting repurposing an old tank and falling back in love with it!
 

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Sweet ! Why did you find it necessary to add a pre-filter sponge ?

Eta : never mind, I saw your other thread and it answered my question !
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That was quite a scare, however with the original filter intake the fish could not swim into it. I did however want more biological filtration as well as a barrier to keep fish food from being sucked directly into my fx6. Plus the idea was to have an easily removable bio loaded sponge to quickly cycle by tossing the filter in and repurposing as a sponge filter.
 

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Where did you get the blue marble rock?
 
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