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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I have kept fish for 16 years, but was never a fan of cichlids. But recently when I made a rookie mistake putting unquarantined fish into my 33 Gallon aquarium (48 x 12 x 12) which caused a mass die off, I figured it was a sign that it was time to try different fish. The tank has been treated with heavy duty meds and water changes etc. I am not jumping into getting new fish any time soon, but I want to start planning for when I feel the tank is fully recovered and safe.

When I restock the tank with all new fish, I want it to be a cichlid tank. I have only ever had German Blue Rams' and, as pretty as they are, they are weak and I have not had luck with them.

What I really want to do is make it like a biotype, so with a main cichlid and fish from the same area.

Can you all give me suggestions on what type of cichlids would be good for a 33 Long?
 

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Sorry things didn't work out with those German Blue Rams. :(
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A 33 gallon sized aquarium offers a LOT of Cichlid keeping possibilities, from a lot of very different bio-topes. As an example, here is one of my old 33G tanks,
'Blue Tang'

That aquarium was Tanganyika, all-Cichlid. And was a very cool, easy to keep set up!
Alternatively, there are a lot of Cichlid pairing choices you could consider that could represent riverine bio-topes in both the New World and Africa. Those kind of bio-tope setups are great if you like the look of live plants and bog wood, etc....
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Best way to start might be to look closer at your source of fresh water. Neutral or High PH? Soft water - or hard? Does it come from the tap with any measured Nitrates?
From there, you could possibly set things up that will thrive in your water (de-chlorinated) pretty much, as is. :)
 

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If you want a single fish and then tank mates of a separate species from the same environment...the African Rift Lake cichlids may not be ideal. Ideally they are not kept as singles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rift Lake cichlids aren't my favorite, but Tanganyika may be fun.

My pH is a 7.5 and no nitrates, nitrites or ammonia from the tap.

Yes, my thought was like a community. A pair, or single cichlid, and then some other fish from the same area.

I also have a 40 breeder with Congo Tetra that I want to put cichlids in as well. I was thinking an angel fish, but they're from SA and I like to keep fish together from a similar geographical area.
 

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Your water is just a little low in PH for keeping a Tanganyikan set up. This thread will help to inform how it's done to raise the PH and hardness of your tap water,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 0&t=454497

Plus, here is the info on my own 33G Tanganyikan aquarium,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/tanks/ind ... ner&u=2843

Just click on 'Blue Tang' and you're good to go.
NOTE: That was an experimental (completely one-off) filtration design for that tank. It worked great! However, I DO NOT recommend attempting a build of that system by the more casual hobbyist aquarist. A canister filter set up with a low discharge spray bar on one end, with intake on the opposite end, could achieve similar (non-surface skimming) filtration results.
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So, if the Tanganika-themed aquarium isn't gonna be quite right for you.... how 'bout an African riverine Cichlid tank? Your water is about right - right out of the tap! So, Congo Tetras much? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I love congo tetras, so I am down for a tank with them and African Riverine Cichlids.
I was thinking about Keyhole cichlids too, but may do them in a 40 breeder with angel fish.
Oh and i would love to do a lake Tang set up, so after I move all the fish around I will have a free 20 gallon long. I am sure I can do something Tang-y with that. (sorry bad joke, I am German after all!)
 

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Okay then...
I guess starting with the Congo Tetras then as the foundation species of the tank is as good a place as any! :D
First off, do you know if you have this species of 'Yellow Congo Tetra?



This one lives in the lower Congo river basin. And as a white water species, will be more naturally amenable to the mid-Ph aquarium conditions provided by your tap water. (The Congo Tetras that live in the middle to upper reaches of the Congo river could be more properly considered 'Black Water' types....).
Plus, there are a LOT of pretty cool, smaller Cichlid species that live naturally in that lower Congo river basin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Auballagh said:
Okay then...
I guess starting with the Congo Tetras then as the foundation species of the tank is as good a place as any! :D
First off, do you know if you have this species of 'Yellow Congo Tetra?



This one lives in the lower Congo river basin. And as a white water species, will be more naturally amenable to the mid-Ph aquarium conditions provided by your tap water. (The Congo Tetras that live in the middle to upper reaches of the Congo river could be more properly considered 'Black Water' types....).
Plus, there are a LOT of pretty cool, smaller Cichlid species that live naturally in that lower Congo river basin.
No, they're the standard Congo Tetra that I have.
I love blackwater set ups. Usually I set them up for Asian fish, but I think it would be cool to try something different with African fish. My LFS used to have a lot of dwarf cichlids, but as for Africans the only ones that I have seen are Pelvicachromis pulcher.
 

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Alrighty then...
Your 'normal' Congo Tetras are probably the ones that come naturally from softer, more acidic water regions of the river. And yes, they do adapt pretty readily to higher PH/more alkaline water conditions in the aquarium. But, the coloration and vibrancy of those 'upriver' Congo Tetras will definitely be pretty striking however, if they are kept in a true, Black Water aquarium.
As for Cichlids, the good ol' 'Krib', Pelvicachromis pulcher is definitely the 'tried and true' species for smaller aquariums or a more peaceful setup. At least they are pretty easy to get. And, a pair of those won't go on a murderous rampage and slay pretty much everything in the tank kept with them when spawning at least! The Hemichromis line of various Red Jewel Cichlid species is yet another CIchlid pair option you could consider.
If those choices seem a bit, well 'pedestrian'? Then this thread informs of some more unusual Black Water, riverine Cichlids from Africa that are definitely pretty nice.

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpbb/vie ... 8&t=454673

And no - I do not believe ANY of those African riverine Cichlid species - when spawning - will tolerate the existence of ANY other Cichlids kept in that 33 gallon tank with them. Your Congo Tetras should be able to handle the aggression, but any Cichlids will be relentlessly hunted down and killed.... So, to set this up, this will be one of those things where everyone else goes in first to get established. After that, a little, 6 - 8 member baby school of your African riverines will go in last, and the pairing compatibility games begin! (Best to pull non-paired individuals out when a pair forms, If you don't want the new pair to ultimately slaughter their brood mates).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I heard Jewel cichlids were super aggressive and should b kept in species only tanks. I don't think I would want them. Kribs on the other hand might be nice.
Now would you keep anything else with the kribs and Congo tetra in a blackwater set up, or just leave it with those two species. I was thinking like upside-down catfish.
 

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- HEMICHROMIS -
Whew.... what can I say? Yes, those Red Jewels have a (well deserved) bad rap for being 'all in' in defending those territories and spawning sites in aquariums.
Oh Yes.
Totally get it.
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And yes - those supposedly 'murderous' Red Jewels compare - weakly - against what is expected (and certainly delivered) in Central American Cichlid aggression.
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Hello! We're Convicts. And, we're going to WRECK your nice community tank.

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So in your black water, African Riverine 33 gallon long tank, I believe a 5 to 7 member school of Congo Tetras would fare quite well if stocked with those spawning Red Jewels. For any other Cichlids (of whatever species) kept in there?
Ummmm.... not so much.
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So, African Upside Down Cats? Yes! With anything BUT Hemichromis (Red Jewels), your catfish should do just fine in there. Spawning Red Jewels do have a tendency - yes - of identifying and attacking fish species they (rightfully) perceive as threatening to their spawning brood. And so unfortunately, Egg and Fry-Eating Catfish, are definitely on that, 'Must Destroy' list.... :(
 
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