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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I have decided to get out of reef keeping and go back to freshwater. Im trying to decide between keeping discus and malawi cichlids. Im leaning more toward the malawis though. I have a couple questions as I have not kept fresh water in a while and didnt have teh funds to do it very well when i did. The tank i will be using is a 125g with a 29g sump. I have a 6 bulb T-5 fixture over it at the moment.

1. I want to run the sump as my filter, what do I need to have in it? I have seen some making a tray system to put media in.

2. If I go with malawi cichlids, can I just use my aragonite sand that I have and maybe mix in some black sand?

3. How many different types can I keep? Im looking into have a few or more groups and it would be cool if they breed. I have a few types I like but dont have them with me.

4. I have a RO/DI unit, can I use this for the tank? I dont care for our tap water plus its rigged to a 55 gal drum for water changes.

Thats all for now. Looking forward to meeting you and thanks!
 

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1. I want to run the sump as my filter, what do I need to have in it? I have seen some making a tray system to put media in.

2. If I go with malawi cichlids, can I just use my aragonite sand that I have and maybe mix in some black sand?

3. How many different types can I keep? Im looking into have a few or more groups and it would be cool if they breed. I have a few types I like but dont have them with me.

4. I have a RO/DI unit, can I use this for the tank? I dont care for our tap water plus its rigged to a 55 gal drum for water changes.

Thats all for now. Looking forward to meeting you and thanks!
1) You don't need a lot in a freshwater sump. Just some media and a return pump, and heater is all that is in mine. I've got a bag of polyfill from walmart as my main mechanical media, and some pot scrubbies for bio. within the month, I plan on redoing my sump though, and will be using Poret filter foam, and probably nothing else. Some people go all out with wetdry and bioballs and filter socks and etc.

2) Aragonite is commonly used with malawi cichlids. You can surely mix in black sand if you'd like, but it'd be fine without it as well.

3) If you want breeding and a few different groups, you are probably going to want to look into mbuna. You can have 5 mbuna groups of 1m:4+f depending on the species maybe a few more females.

4) Yes you can you is, but you will then have to buffer the water. If you search through the library section here, there is a rift lake buffer recipe that will save you lots of $$$. What are your tap water parameters? Unbuffered tap water may be just fine for malawis.

Welcome to the forums and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mbuna is what I was looking at. Im sure not all of these are compatable as I have only been reading a few days, but here are a couple I have wrote down.

Iodutropheus Sprengerae
Pseudotropheus Acei
Pseudotropheus Demasoni
Cynotilapia Hara
Metriaclima Greshakei

You cant mix peacocks with mbuna can you?
 

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In a 6' 125 gallon tank you could do all five of those species as long as you have more females than males.

I. sprengerae and Ps. sp. "acei" are usually more easy-going than the others.

Some good rules of thumb to follow when considering species mix:
1. Try to avoid mixing species from the same genus. (i.e don't do Labidochromis sp. "perlmutt" & Labidochromis caeruleus) Doing so increases your chances of hybridization and inter-species aggression. Which segues into...
2. Try to avoid mixing species that look similar. Melanochromis johannii and Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos will not tolerate each other since the males will feel like they're 'looking in the mirror.' Also higher chances of hybridization if the males think they're courting another species' females because they look like their own.

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They all kinda look the same though other than color. I would probably need to decide between the acei and the demasoni though right?

Now Im looking a haps and like a couple of those as well. I really like the protomelas taeniolatus. Decisions decisions....
 

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cweber said:
They all kinda look the same though other than color. I would probably need to decide between the acei and the demasoni though right?
If you look closer, they don't.

I forgot to mention that the same genus rule goes out the window a bit with Pseudotropheus. Many, many species used to be classified as Pseudotropheus and many in the genus are simply awaiting reclassification. Acei and demasoni are quite different in colouration, size and morphology. You could stock them both.

cweber said:
Now Im looking a haps and like a couple of those as well. I really like the protomelas taeniolatus. Decisions decisions....
Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow labs) and acei are two of very few species that are easy to mix with haps. It can be done but it is difficult.

But of course, post anything you're considering for feedback!

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So what Im finding so far is mainly the food issue? That mbuna are mainly herbivours(sp) and haps are carnivours? And the size difference? The tank setup for haps seems to be a little more simple.
 

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I would probably need to decide between the acei and the demasoni though right?
As ridley explained, pseudotropheus is just a holding genus and doesn't necessarily mean that the fish are related.

You may though have to choose between the demasoni, hara, and greshaki, as they are all more or less blue barred. Its typically asking for trouble to keep more than one blue barred species in a tank, which is frustrating because there are so many nice ones. I have heard some success stories in keeping hara and demasoni together, but IMO even if they are compatible, I'm not sure I like the color combination - too similar, but not the same. Greshaki are also similar colored to aceis - bluish body, orange-yellow dorsal and tail. Not sure if different body shapes will keep them from fighting, which would probably be your greshaki killing who he doesn't like if they do fight.

If those are THE 5 species you have to have though, it might be worth giving it a try.
 

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cweber said:
So what Im finding so far is mainly the food issue? That mbuna are mainly herbivours(sp) and haps are carnivours? And the size difference? The tank setup for haps seems to be a little more simple.
Food isn't really an issue, all malawi (haps, peacocks, and mbuna) can be fed NLS cichlid pellets and get everything they need. Size is a difference, but in general, more often than not mbuna will stress haps and peacocks if kept in the same tank, and be able to outcompete them for food, because they are more boisterous. This can have at best an effect of dull colors in the haps, and at worse, stress related deaths and disease. If you get haps big enough and boisterous to not get stressed, they can decide to snack on the smaller mbuna.

If you went with juse haps/peacocks and no mbuna, you could have 1 male of lots of different species, you'd have lots of color and variety, but you wouldn't get any breeding. I didn't recommend this initially because you said you wanted breeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Im not set on anything yet, just doing lots of research. Those were just a handful I found I liked while reading posts. I still think Im leaning towards mbuna, but the more I read the more colorful fish I find. It looks like your more into mbuna. May I ask why and what others types you have tryed?
 

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cweber said:
Im not set on anything yet, just doing lots of research. Those were just a handful I found I liked while reading posts. I still think Im leaning towards mbuna, but the more I read the more colorful fish I find. It looks like your more into mbuna. May I ask why and what others types you have tryed?
I have really only got into the hobby about a year and a half ago. Since then, I have only kept mbuna. I started out with a smaller tank (55g), and chose to go with mbuna rather than something like an all male peacock tank because I wanted to see the interesting harem social interactions and breeding. As I acquired more tanks and finally upgraded to the 125, I just got more mbuna that were compatible with my existing stock. I've got 4 tanks operating (5 if you count my sump), and all or purposed with supporting my mbuna. The 125 is the main display. I've got a 10g with a bunch of fry, a 33XL holding 3 male rusties until I figure out what to do with them, and a 40br growing out some fuelleborni marmalades which will eventually replace the albino zebras in my display.

I do think there are some stunning haps and peacocks and I love looking at some pictures and live fish in person, but IMO the social interactions of the mbuna in addition to their color make them much more interesting and exciting. To get the same interactions out of haps or peacocks, you're pretty much limited to only 1 species, you need bigger tanks, and the females are dull colored.

In a couple years after I buy a house, I plan on building the biggest tank I have room for and think I can afford, and it first purpose will be... lots and lots of mbuna :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cool. That helps make up my mind then.

So it sounds like you buy a bunch of each fish and then pull the not so alpha males out and keep about 5 females? If you keep 2 males and 10 females of the same genus the males will probably fight huh?
 
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