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So I think most of the regular users of this forum know the cardinal rules of keeping Malawi cichlids. Look at the cookie-cutters in the library, go conservative with ratios/number of species, etc. This is all tremendously helpful, especially for someone new to cichlid-keeping, because it works a large majority of the time.

But I want to know what's worked for you that "shouldn't have."

I'll go first:

60g (48"x16(?)") footprint. Stocking list:
2m:4f socolofi
2m:4f:?juvies hongi
1m albino greshakei
2m:4f saulosi
2f unknown, likely Melanochromis something
2m:2-3f RZ

I'm pretty sure there was 1 more species in there, but can't remember right now. At one point, those numbers were much higher, but I sold about 1/3 of the fish at one point.

Never lost a fish, never had one take a beating. Tank was up for 2+ years.

Another one (not my tank, but I saw it and it's been running for 5ish years with no aggression-related deaths):

6x1.5x2(tall)
4m:4f Mel. auratus (serious)
4+m assorted peacocks (dead serious)
6(sexes unknown) albino socolofi
between 15-20 other assorted mbuna and haps, including YLs, RZs, I think a Red Empress or Taiwan Reef...

No joke. It worked. I completely agree with what you're thinking: that thing's a ticking time bomb. But these are all full-grown fish. I still agree, one stressor and it's going to be a blood bath.

Your turn!
 

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I always try to over stock my tanks. IME there is always more aggression with less fish. As long as you and the filtration keep up with the bioload, it works out well. When I stock conservatively I always have fish bullying others. If there are plenty of other fish to distract the bully, he barely pays attention to one fish very long.

Also, I have about 80 fry in a 29 gallon growout. Its only temporary, but it looks ridiculous.

In the 55, my Hara have a 4m:1f ratio. I didn't do that on purpose, but all the fry that survived ended up being males. I plan to get rid of them, when I decide to let go, but they actually got along for the last year or so. Hara are not always available, hence why I have a growout full of them for my selective pickings.
 

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My tank hasn't been up long enough to qualify for bending the rules and it working.

I believe when I brought up something like this a month or two ago, it was generally accepted that it should be up for 2 years before qualifying as "it works".
 

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When I first started out, my first tank was a 29G.

4-yellow labs (at least 2 females known)
5-white top hara (at least 2 females and 2 males- not sure about the 1)
2-sexfaciatus (Both male)
1-Scienochromis fryeri
1-common pleco
1-clown loach

Started the cycle with the 4 labs (and a Penguin 150 Biowheel) The rest of the fish were added within a two month period. Also added a 2nd Penguin 150 at this time. Kept this setup for 13 months. Never lost a fish and no one got beat up either. There were torn fins on rare occasions but that's about it. 2 of the female labs held on 3 separate occasions. 1 known to full term with visual on fries before they were eaten. The female afras held on 2 separate occasions. 1 fry survived which is now 1+ in.

All are now moved to a 75G with additional fish and species.

This may have worked because there were lots of hiding places.
 

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way back before there were fish forums to warn me against the idea :wink: , I bought a 33g long and put 6 Kenyi in it. 3 males, 3 females... no caves. I had that breeding group for a couple of years until I traded them in the local fish store. They produced insane numbers of fry for me... since then, I've read nothing but 2 decades worth of stories about these nasty fish that proved that my 33g group was a rare exception! 8)
 

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Everything I have tried that was not supposed to work...did not work. Less than 12 Demasoni... Leleupi and shellies... Peacocks and mbuna...
 

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umm... a couple months keeping 3 male 3" rusties alone in a 33XL sort of breaks the rules for me. Only planning on keeping them there until I decide which one I ultimately want to keep in my display, and find someone to take the other 3. I didn't expect 3 males of any mbuna species to tolerate being alone in any size tank for even this long without any other fish to spread out aggression.
 

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My tank has been running for almost a year now with more males then females. And it has been about six months since the last fish was introduced

I have two males that are supposed to b real big pains
One big male bumble be and a male auratus
Plus I have a big male yellow lab/zebra hybrid
Two male red top hongis
Two male ob peacocks
One frontosa
One Tropheus duboisi
Plus a few zebra males and some other random boys

The only females I have for sure is a female kenyi and yellow labs. I have only had to remove one fish from that tank and it was a female red empress that the ob peacocks chassed relentlessly.

That's my big rule breaking tank and for now all has ran smoothly and there has been little fin nipping and just a bit of fighting over caves or hiding holes.

And the other rules I'm breaking is I have a smaller tank with three zebras and a fire eel. But that's not as bad I guess. the zebras seem to care less about the fire eel.
 

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My tank has been going about 3 months:
1M:3F Melonchromis Auratas
2M:2F Kenyi's
1M:1F Labeo Twavasea
5 Ps. Elongates Likoma(unsexed yet)
1 Syn. Angelicas
NO Issues- all 1 big happy group all haging out together!

Tank#2(haps)
1M:1F Nimbochromis Livingstonii
Im Eye biter
1 Male Orange shoulder peacock
3 P. Milomo(unsexed yet)
1M:1F Protomelos Taen. "fire blue".
2 Pictus catfish
NO issues at all,either
 

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Really, thousands of hobbyists have had success with mixed tanks over the years... mixed as in a bunch of different species together, males and females. Even including Auratus and Kenyi!

This obsession with "perfect" sex ratios or all male seems a bit extreme to me, the idea that this is the only way. Of course, you can always try for perfection, reality seems way less predictable. People should try to avoid disasters, but also hobbyists should be able to have fun. Many of theses rules are rather extreme but just basic guidelines.

There are many different ways to keep Malawi cichlids. Basic rules I've seen... the bigger tank the easier... adding juveniles is better and easier... they all will possibly hybridize.
 

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Glaneon said:
I believe when I brought up something like this a month or two ago, it was generally accepted that it should be up for 2 years before qualifying as "it works".
I would agree with that definition.

In my 36" 38 gallon I had 5 crummy labs (probably hybrids) with 1m/2f Tropheops sp. "red fin" and singles of demasoni & Ps. sp. "acei" (Ngara).

No one died but it only took about 5 months before there were fish constantly hiding and plenty of badly torn fins.

It's been a saulosi only tank since then, which isn't breaking any rules.

kevin
 

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Rhinox said:
umm... a couple months keeping 3 male 3" rusties alone in a 33XL sort of breaks the rules for me. Only planning on keeping them there until I decide which one I ultimately want to keep in my display, and find someone to take the other 3. I didn't expect 3 males of any mbuna species to tolerate being alone in any size tank for even this long without any other fish to spread out aggression.
the 33 xl I know is 48 inches long so technically no rules are broken when keeping yellow labs. how long is your tank?

I have thought of getting one of these 33 gal,48 inch long long tanks to try a species tank.

does anyone have experience with these?
 

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ridley25 said:
Glaneon said:
I believe when I brought up something like this a month or two ago, it was generally accepted that it should be up for 2 years before qualifying as "it works".
I would agree with that definition.
Me too. The first year the fish are maturing and until most of the tank is spawning you are not seeing adult interaction. Joea said once something like calling a tank a success too soon (at the one-year mark?) is like calling a marriage a success during the honeymoon. :lol:

Maybe I spend too much time in the Illness forum trying (and often failing) to help people with desperate illnesses wiping out their tanks. :oops:
 

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Ok, in the case of tanks consisting of Juvies you should wait 1-2 year to judge the tank stablished and successful but what is the waiting period for the tanks which are begun with stocking adult fish?
 

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vahid
6 months minimum in my experience, though even then, there are no guarantees. I once had apistos and amano shrimp together for quite some time until one day... the apistos discovered that a dead amano tasted good. They then ganged up on each shrimp till none were left!!!
 

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DJRansome said:
Maybe I spend too much time in the Illness forum trying (and often failing) to help people with desperate illnesses wiping out their tanks. :oops:
Maybe some people just have bad luck, I've never had an outbreak of anything in my tank other than algae. *Knocks on wood*

I do think we need to abide by certain rules, that is for sure. Tetras and Oscars don't mix, mmkay? The rules should be used as general guidelines, but some things are capable of working outside of the 'rules'. I think the problem comes with the online communities where people try to crucify each other because somebody is breaking the rules. It's this extremist mentality where everyone has to have the same stocking as everybody else or do things a specific way. What works for one person may not work for the next, that's how life works, even in an aquarium.
 

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It's not really an extreme, more of a guideline because "more often than not", certain combinations don't work well long term.
 

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Glaneon said:
It's not really an extreme, more of a guideline because "more often than not", certain combinations don't work well long term.
Right, this can be a very expensive and discouraging hobby, especially if you come home to 6 dead $9 fish because you didn't follow the basic guidelines. Sure people would never know if certain combinations or ways of doing things would work or not without trying, but as a forum we need to be pointing each other and newcomers in the right direction with the best advise.
 

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RRasco said:
I think the problem comes with the online communities where people try to crucify each other because somebody is breaking the rules. It's this extremist mentality where everyone has to have the same stocking as everybody else or do things a specific way. What works for one person may not work for the next, that's how life works, even in an aquarium.
I don't think that it is the rule breaking that gets folks jumped on here on C-F... it is IMO, the rejection of warnings that usually get attacked. I'm sorry, but the attitude of "well it worked for me, it can work for you" is just plain idiotic. Take my Kenyi tank example... imagine if I went around cichlid forums telling people to try a 33g long setup for 3 male Kenyi and 3 female? I predict nearly 100% failures... yet, it worked for me! Wisdom says that I must have been lucky. :wink:
 
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