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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of setting up a 90 gallon Malawi Mbuna aquarium. I have an Eheim 2215 and an Aquaclear 110. I may use powerheads (Maxi-jet 900 or 1200 - should I?). I have a single 250W Jager Heater. I plan to use aragonite as a substrate and likely lace rock. My background is black.

Now that you know all the background info., I need advice on stocking.

Here is a list of several Mbuna that I would like to keep. I know that I won't be able to keep all of them together:

- C. afra
- L. fuelleborni
- L. trewavasae
- L. caeruleus
- L. sp. "Hongi"
- L. sp. "Perlmutt"
- M. auratus
- M. johannii & cyaneorhabdos
- M. callainos
- M. estherae
- M. greshakei
- M. lombardoi
- M. zebra
- P. sp. "Acei"
- P. sp. "Daktari"
- P. demasoni
- P. elongatus varieties
- P. flavus
- P. polit
- P. saulosi
- P. socolofi
- Tropheops sp.

Long list, I know, sorry. But looking at the fish above, are the majority highly aggressive or semi-aggressive?

Depending on whichever is the majority will help steer me in the direction I want to go.

Thanks so much!
 

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You've got a mix of aggressiveness on that list, but don't feel you have to have all aggressive or all peaceful. Yellow labs are often the most peaceful, but can mix with almost anything.

Rank them in order of your favorites and choose like 5 species if you are going for breeding groups. More important is choosing species that will not crossbreed. A guideline (with lots of exceptions) is to choose only one species from each genus. This is not true for pseudotropheus. And the most common cross-breeding risk that is an exception to that rule is that labidochromis caeruleus crossbreed easily with metriaclima estherae.

Now that I've totally confused you, post your choices and the members will critique.
 

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Looks like a potential cross-breeding nightmare (if you kept all those in one tank). :lol:

DJ's got it right, please post your top choices and we can try to help you from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't really care much about breeding; I'm more interested in a colourful, active display.

Maybe I could include like one or two breeding groups?

I mainly want a blue species, a white species and an orange/yellow species. Stripes and ornamentation are nice too, and I'd like maybe 1 or 2 OB fish.

My top 5 favourites would probably have to be:

Mel. auratus
Met. zebra
Met. callainos
Mel. johannii
P. saulosi

Again, I won't really encourage breeding from my fish. I plan to get max 2 or 3 of each species, sometimes individuals. If a hybridizing pair forms, I'll make sure to break them up.
 

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Maybe you don't want mbuna? Because they are harem breeders, they are better either in breeding groups of 4 or larger. This helps to spread the agression across more than one or two females. Any mouthbrooder can cross with any other mouthbrooder. We try to avoid this by providing either no opposite sex fish at all in the tank, or an appropriate number of females for each male as they will most often mate with their own species. The fish do not bond so you can't recognize a pair forming and split them up before spawning occurs.

Unfortunately with mbuna, no encouragement is required for breeding. Unless you have a single sex tank, you will get fry.

Or you could do an all male tank with a single male of each species (they can't resemble each other). Maybe read the all male article in the library and see what you think of that idea?

Auratus for example are difficult fish to keep because they are among the most aggressive. People have had the best success with very large groups of like one male and six or more females. 75G tank minimum for them, so you are OK with 90G.

From your list I would choose the last four and get a trio of Synodontis Multipunctatus for fry patrol. The Saulosi are dwarf so you could have a dozen 3m:9f and 1m:4 females for the others or perhaps more females for the Johanni.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright, I see now. If they need to kept in breeding groups of around 4, I'll do it.

I kind of figured that the auratus would be a no-go.

I did take a look at the all-male article, but since they can't resemble each other, there'll just be too much variation and I personally think it would look a bit tacky.

Which fish are the most aggressive from the ones on there, so that I could eliminate them from my choices?

When I come up with some options, I'll post them on here.
 

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Go to the profiles section and check outthe malawi mbuna. Then find the ones you ae interested in. The profiles will show you agressiveness, size, ect.
 

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Just wanted to share my ideas as I'm going through the EXACT same thing as you.
Mine may be a bit different because I want mine to spawn and produce fry. But as DJ said, you can get some synos to eat your fry if you don't want to deal with it.
My stock list will look like:

4 Aulon. jacobfreibergi Eureka 1m/3f
5 Psuedo. sp. Acei (Msuli) 1-2m/3-4f
These are going to occupy the upper levels of the tank and get larger.
5 Cyno. afra (Cobue) 1m/4f
5 Psuedo. saulosi 1m/4f
5 Iodo. sprengerae 1m/4f
These guys don't get very big and will stay in the rocks most of the time. With some of the groups at the end I might be able to get away with adding another male.
These mbuna aren't too aggressive either so they won't bother the peacocks. (depends on the fish sometimes)

Basically I have 5 different colored groups with low aggression and a breeding bonus :thumb:
I've thought this through very clearly and will be quite happy with the final product.
I'm also going to put a few bn plecos in and am thinking about clown loaches.

Anyway, thats what I'm planning. Just an idea and maybe some inspiration for your tank :wink:
 

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My 2 cents on what would look really good and give you the colors your looking for are....
1. Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (blue with stripes)-called maingano
2. albino Pseudotropheus socolfi (white)-called snow whites
3. Metriaclima estherae (orange)-called red zebras
4. Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow with black on fins)-called yellow labs
There is a chance of the red zebras and the yellow labs cross breeding but if you're not going to distribute the fry it should be ok.
For a 5th species I'd go with P. acei. They swim more in the top part of the tank and I think help to bring the other fish up higher in the water too instead of staying low all the time. They are a schooling fish and one kind is bluish with yellow fins and the other kind is black with white fins.
I know these fish aren't on your list lol but check them out in the profiles section. I have all of these species in my tank and they get along fine together. The largest red zebra is the king of the tank but he doesn't hurt anybody.
With this list it's best to try to get 3-4 females per male. The yellow labs and acei are suppose to be exceptions and male to female ratio isn't suppose to matter so much with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so much for your advice guys. I definately have some ideas now. In particular I'll probably take a closer look at the Ps. sp. "Acei"

So, to start breaking things down, I think I will go for around 5 groups of 4 or 5, not-so-aggressive fish.
 

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From your original list these are the most aggressive, but the only other one I've seen people recommend actively avoiding is the Lombardoi.

- L. fuelleborni
- L. trewavasae
- L. sp. "Hongi"
- M. auratus
- M. johannii
- M. greshakei
- M. lombardoi
- P. elongatus varieties
- P. polit
- P. socolofi
- Tropheops sp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I saw some M. sp. "Msobo" at my LFS today and they were gorgeous!

They were small, around 2", but all were a nice yellowish-orangey colour. Do they all start off that way, or were they all females?
 

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Michael R. said:
I saw some M. sp. "Msobo" at my LFS today and they were gorgeous!

They were small, around 2", but all were a nice yellowish-orangey colour. Do they all start off that way, or were they all females?
M. sp. msobo are like Ps. saulosi, males and females both start out orange, and males eventually turn to the blue coloration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, ok, I really like the suggestion that Dewdrop gave me:

- Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (or M. callainos?)
- Pseudotropheus socolofi (white)
- Metriaclima estherae (red)
- Labidochromis caeruleus

That gives me a good mix of colours and I shouldn't have much trouble finding these fish at my LFS.

Two questions:

1. Are P. socolofi (white): 1. albino, 2. naturally white (found in the lake), or 3. line-bred?
2. The red zebras, M. estherae; don't they have an OB form? Could I add one or two of those?

Thanks!
 

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Just a suggestion for an all male tank: :D

6 YL, 4 Ps. Acei or Rusty cichlid and 1 male each of PS. POLIT, L. Hongi SRT, M. MAINGANO, P. Demasoni, M. ESTERAE, P. ELONGATUS Chewere or CHAILOSI, M. Callainos, M. SP. CHILUMBA LUWINO REEF, M. Greshakei, L. FUELLEBORNI and CYNO. AFRA Cobue or JALO REEF. 6 SYNO. PETRICOLA or Multipunctatus. :D
 

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I have similar tastes to yours. I would be cautious on the P. Socolofi.

I kept:

L. Hongi
M. Estherae
P. Flavus
P. Polit
L. Mbamba
C. Afra Cobue
C. Afra Jalo Reef
P. Elongatus

along with the socolofi. These groups were in the 70 gallon tank in different combinations along with Sooclofi, I only kept three groups at a time. And there was one male and two females of each species every time. The socolofi were the only ones in the tank the entire time. My combinations were carefully researched, but I kept losing fish. Eventually, I lost all of my fish except for my harem of Socolofi. They took all of my other fish out. And unfortunately they were my least favourite and supposedly one of the least aggressive of the bunch but they ended up killing the rest of my fish.

I don't know if I got a bad bunch of Socolofi and it usually is not the case, but I had to tell you my experiences. Just be careful with any fish you get. Remember, they are all aggressive even if they are only considered 'mildly aggressive' compared to the rest. You might end up having a group of fish you don't like too much killing about three hundred dollars worth of fish.
 

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The white P. socolofi are albino. They were pretty common to find around here where I live.

If you go with M. callainos instead of M. cyaneorhabdos for the blue color you can have trouble with the M. estherae(red zebras) breeding with them. Red zebras breed readily with callainos and yellow labs (L. caeruleus).

The red zebras do have OB form but I'm not familiar with it. I suppose you could have some but the regular ones would probably breed with them too. If you don't plan on keeping and distributing fry I wouldn't worry about the red zebras but if you do want the fry, I'd add the cyaneorhabdos instead of callinos and maybe look for a different yellow fish than the yellow labs because these are the 2 that the red zebras will most likely cross with.

Hope that's not to confusing lol.
 
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