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Hello,

I have a freshwater community tank and am getting interested in cichlids. The tank is a 72 gallon bow front with two emperor 400s, a powerhead, and sand for substrate, with quite a few rocks and fake plants.

Currently I have:
5 zebra danios
4 neon tetra (mature)
1 betta
1 red-tailed shark
2 buenos aires tetra
1 pleco
1 clown loach
1 dwarf gourami

I have heard rams (bolivian are less tempermental to tank conditions), apistos, kribs, and keyholes are all resonably behaved and would blend with a community tank. Is that a correct assumption? Are there any others I should look for?

Second, I live in the Kansas City metro area and have looked at several fish stores but none carry any of these kinds of cichlids; they only carry the common ones (oscars, jack dempseys, convicts, etc). Any suggestions on locating a LFS that carries uncommon fish?

Third, I was reading on here and someone was talking about installing a "USJ"...what is that? It sounded like some kind of filtration system.

Thank you for your time,
Matt

P.S. Forgive me if this has been posted, but the search option would start, but then load a blank page. After trying several times I just decided to join and post.
 

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bolivian rams and keyholes make great community tank additions. rams will bicker amongst themselves but they leave everyone else alone. keyholes might go after neons might not. they are generally peacefull though.
 

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I'm in in same postion... Wanted to graduate into cichlids and was having difficulty locating smaller dwarf cichlids recommendd for community (rams, apistos, dwarf acaras).

After some research and water testing, I find that my water is really not suitable for such fish. I have hard water with pH ~7.4-7.6 and those Dwarf SA's typically like it soft & pH <7.0, although the Bolivian is probably the most tolerable. But don't get discouraged, as many have kept SA's in less than idea conditions with no probs.

Then the hard part is finding them, I occasionally may see a Bolivain or Blue Ram at LFS. The only thing I can assume is it is too much work for LFS to keep such fish with our ocal tap water and/or most people do not buy fish that require ongoing water conditioning, ie RO/DI...
 

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Keyhole cichlids would be a wonderful addition. I have kept keyholes with many of the same fish you listed and they have always done well. They are a little shy, but they have cute little faces and can be strikingly beautiful (especially during feeding) when the black line down their faces really becomes pronounced.
 
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