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All-Male Malawi Tank
by Joe Alary (aka Joea)

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The All-Male Mixed Tank

Water Fin Organism Fluid Fish


Ok, so you cant decide on just mbuna or just haps or peacocks, so now what? Can you go the route of mixing some of your favourite fish, regardless of the species flock? The answer is yes, not only is it possible but it is likely the best way to create the most interesting and colourful all male tank. Again, a large tank is best. A 75 gallon or larger is a good start. All the same rules apply for the addition of haps and peacocks. Mbuna on the other hand need a bit more stringency to keep the tank relatively peaceful. Stay away from aggressive mbuna that may dominate a tank or upset the balance youre trying to achieve. Adding a Melanochromis auratus or Metriaclima lombardoi may be a fatal mistake at some point down the road.

I would only suggest a few species of mbuna for a tank like this that will mix well with the likes of peacocks and calmer haplochromines. Labidochromis caeruleus, Pseudotropheus sp, acei, Labidochromis textilis, Iodotropheus sprengerae, Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos, Metriaclima callainos, Pseudotropheus demasoni or Pseudotropheus saulosi are species that can co-exist as a single species with the rest of your choices (remember the rule about similarly coloured mbuna here as well!). In some cases, rather than a single male, groups of the calmer species such as Labidochromis caeruleus and Pseudotropheus sp. acei can be added for a more intense group of colour.

Remember that these different fish are in need of different aquascaping. This is why a large tank is best. Cave dwelling mbuna will need rocks and caves in order to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Most haps and peacocks require some open, sandy areas for their comfort as well. A large tank allows you to provide both settings to keep everyone happy.

Feeding The Eclectic Group

Liquid Water Fluid Organism Fin


Care in feeding should be taken to provide your mix of fish with the necessary nutrients and food types the varying fish need. There are foods on the market that provide ample nutrition for both herbivorous and carnivorous fish in a single food. Its important to use foods of this type to prevent unnecessary illnesses or health issues.

As Your Mix Matures

Underwater Fin Organism Fish Marine biology


There will be times when the removal of a particular fish is necessary in order to keep the peace or balance. Remember, your mix of fish is unconventional and some fish may behave in a way that will ultimately disrupt that balance. In a standard cichlid tank, containing groups or harems, the removal of an aggressive, dominant fish will usually cause the number two fish to take over top spot. With an all male tank, this isnt always the case. You most definitely will have an Alpha male but hopefully, **** be more of a referee than a bully.

Persistence is the key to making and keeping your all male tank balanced. This process can sometimes take several months or even a year or more! Even then, the mix you have so painstakingly set up and maintained, may change at any time. A harmonious and peaceful all male tank may change overnight due to one fish that feels he needs to dominate over everyone else in the tank. If this happens, its best to remove this fish.

Fighting amongst males is normal and you will obviously get the odd tussle now and again. This is usually a dominance issue or simply two males who just feel like taking each other on and unless there is constant injury or obvious signs of a stressed fish, theres probably no need to remove anyone.

It can be a long and in some cases, expensive job trying to set up the perfect All-Male Tank. When done properly however, the final product can be a tank that rivals some of the most colourful marine tanks, with ten times the activity. Nothing sets off a living room, home entertainment room, den, dining room or any room for that matter, like an All-Male Malawi Cichlid tank. Good luck!
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