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Best Single species colony?

4335 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  DJRansome
Im finally going to try a mbuna after a decade of keeping fish.

I want to do a large colony of one species in a six foot 125 gallon. Seems like saulosi is a great option. Does anyone have other thoughts? How many fish would you start with?
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Agree. Single species tank Saulosi is my vote. Color,activity can't be beat.
I would do 5m:20f.
Would I be fine to start with a smaller breeding group and build numbers by raising fry? If going that route, is 6-10 a good number?

Also I am not seeing saulosi readily available from my normal online vendors. I thought they were super common.
They are super popular, but not super common. I see them on the "good" vendor lists. Are you looking under Chindongo?

I would start that group in a 40B to overcrowd and manage aggression. I would also get 12 to try for 5 females...saulosi are reputed to be male heavy.
Unfortunately I only have one tank (20x20 fish room on the way though!!).

Can you drop me a hint via PM? I was not looking under their new name...darn taxonomy.
Is there a reason species tanks are not more popular?
People want lots of different fish and are not patient enough to try one species at a time.
Yeah I think you're right DJ.
Saulosi would make an excellent species only tank. I would try for a 25 to 30 fish colony with five to six males.
We had a group of three males and 8 females, in a species tank, for several years.
Is there a rule of thumb of how many males you can have colored up for other species in single species settings? I really like Cynotilapia jalo reef.
Some have success with 3 (or more). Some have 3 males and only one colors up. Some have 3 males and 2 are harassed. It's a lucky thing when it happens, and a long tank with a peaceful species gives you an advantage.

Saulosi are more peaceful and females are more colorful than Jalo Reef.
Cynotilapia are pretty much live and let live, and you might get multiple males in various degrees of color but probably only one in full intense color. Since Afra and Saulosi are smaller fish that are not terribly aggressive you can have many males but you must have plenty of females too so they don't get outnumbered. Like a Tropheus tank, keep it a mixed crowd and "hope" individuals do not get harassed. Eventually you may have to remove some males depending on how the tank works. Having one male in a 125 with 25 females seems pretty boring and pretty difficult to attain. The variable barred Mbuna are awesome but it is normal for only the dominant male to show full color in a group, the cool barring is about status.

Now other Mbuna get bigger and can get rougher and might be more difficult. Johanni with a bunch of yellow-orange females and black and blue males will make for a very active and attractive tank, but more challenging than Saulosi.
Saulosi can be challenging to buy quality fish with lots of females, everybody wants the females. Msobo also have orange females and black and blue males, but would be bigger and more aggressive than Saulosi and Afra.

Find a Mbuna that interests you, see if you can get some quality fish. Are you more interested in the male color? Or the overall tank color? Easier? Or harder?
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Im most interested in behavior and male coloration. I do like the dimorphic species because you can easily tell male from female while watching.

Having multiple males colored up is interesting to me because I assume you would see more than one male courting females, spawning and sparring with other males. I would guess non colored males are just trying to stay out of the way for the most part?

Cynotilapia caught my eye due to the interesting color and patterns. But Saulosi still sound like a better candidate for a big tank.
Unless the drab males are sick, they are also going to be courting females. They are even likely to succeed, but you will see behavior for sure.
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