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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Cookie Cutter Setup for 75-gallons
(48x18x20 in / 122x46x51 cm)
by the CF Moderators

75 gallons is a very popular aquarium. With this volume, the hobbyist can keep many different species and more of them as well. In fact, 60-70% of the cichlid species available to the hobbyist can be housed in 75 gallons. And as far as New World species are concerned, you will find your probability of stocking success is much greater than it might be with a 55-gallon aquarium. Listed below are several stocking recommendations for 75-gallon aquariums, some popular and others quite unique. These recommendations come to you courtesy of the Cichlid-Forum moderating staff.

As already mentioned, the stocking combinations are many and varied. It is therefore unreasonable to comment on every possible setup, even on just those within this article. Individual setups should be researched in order to understand what will work best for your selection. Items to investigate are water parameters, substrate, plants, rocks, and the diet of your fishes. Despite having said this, it behooves us to comment on a few setups.

In general, Tropheus and Lake Malawi Mbuna require lots of rocks. Nooks, crannies, and anything that can function as a cave is highly appreciated. These are readily claimed as hiding, sleeping, and breeding spots. Because of their aggressive nature, caves offer protection and rest to subordinate fishes. Some of the more popular rocks used include: lace rock, shale, slate, lava, petrified wood, tufa, pagoda, granite, and of course honeycomb limestone (aka holey rock).

The Purple & Yellow Mbuna Setup is ...), and dark or black rocks (e.g., lace rock).

The West African Setup could be arr...rge driftwood and being very heavily planted.

The East African Riverine Setup should be very well planted.

The Cave-Dweller Tanganyikan Setup ...a dark, sandy substrate with an actinic bulb.

75-gallon aquariums should be outfitted with a 250-watt heater to ensure a stable water temperature. Lighting is rather straightforward. A single 48-inch fluorescent light strip is the most common method. For planted tanks, consider using a second strip light. A little more expensive, but justifiably so is the 110-watt Power Compact.

Filter options are numerous. Keep in mind that the total water volume should be cycled through your filter(s) 4-8 times and hour. In other words, to adequately filter a 75-gallon aquarium your filter(s) should cycle a total of 300-600 gallons/hr. There are many ways to accomplish this. Some of the more popular filters are Hang-On-Tank (HOT) filters and canister filters. HOT filters include: Aquaclear 500, Emperor 400, Penguin Bio-Wheel 330, System 1 Pressure Filter, and Cascade 300. Popular canister filters include Eheim 2260, 2215, 2217, 2026; Fluval 404; Magnum 350; Filstar XP3. To really maximize filtration, many keen hobbyists will use a canister/HOT filter combo.

Wet/Dry filtration using a sump is a very effective method that requires little maintenance. Sumps are less popular however due to the higher price and additional work required to set them up. Sumps require a pump, either submersible or external. For specific product information and member reviews of these and other products please visit the Product Reviews Section.

75 gallons is large enough that one could also install Under-Gravel Jets (UGJ). UGJ are appealing for many reasons. First of all, they're cheap and highly customizable. Furthermore, they increase water movement at the bottom of the tank, elminate the need for vacuuming the substrate, and supplement other means of filtration.
Eye Plant Petal Tints and shades Font

Central American Aquarium

Peaceful CA Community #1

Herotilapia multispinosa - 1 pair
Thorichthys maculipinnis - 1 pair
Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus (Tetra) - 12

Peaceful CA Community #2

Hypsophrys nicaraguensis - 1 pair
Amphilophus margaritifer - 1 pair
Hyphessobrycon columbianus (Tetra) - 10

Aggressive CA Community

Archocentrus sajica - 1 pair
Herichthys carpintis - 1
Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus (Tetra) - 12

Single "Wet Pet" Aggressive CA Tank

Nandopsis haitiensis - 1
Parachromis motaguensis - 1
Parachromis managuensis - 1

South American Aquarium

Peaceful SA Community

Gymnogeophagus gymnogenys - 1:3
Apistogramma cacatuoides - 1:3
Laetacara curviceps - 1 pair
Megalamphodus megalopterus "Black Phantom Tetra" - 10
Peckoltia sp. L-333 "Yellow King Tiger Pleco" - 1
Chaestostoma milesi "Bulldog Pleco" - 1

Aggressive SA Community

Gymnogeophagus balzani - 1:3
Mesonauta festivus - 1 pair
Crenicichla compressiceps "Dwarf Pike" - 1 pair
Hemmigramus caudovittatus "Buenos Aires Tetra" - 8-10
Leporacanthicus galaxias "Vampire Pleco" - 1
Ancistrus sp. "Bristlenose Pleco" - 1

Pterophyllum scalare - 4
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi- 4
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis "Lemon Tetra" - 6
Hemigrammus bleheri "Rummy Nose Tetra" - 8
Corydoras adolfi "Cory Catfish"- 6

Symphysodon aequifasciatus - 4
Mikrogeophagus ramirezi - 4
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis "Lemon Tetra" - 6
Hemigrammus bleheri "Rummy Nose Tetra" - 8
Corydoras adolfi "Cory Catfish"- 6

Heros efasciatus - 1 pair
Aequidens pulcher "Blue Acara" - 1
Danio malabaricus "Giant Danio" - 8
Melanotaenia trifasciata "Banded Rainbow" - 5
Melano. boesemani "Boeseman's Rainbow" - 5

Lake Malawi Mbuna Aquarium

Blue and Yellow Mbuna Setup:

Select only 1 from A or B and 1 from C:

Group A: Blue:

Pseudo. elongatus "Likoma Is." - 7
Metriaclima callainos - 10

Group B: Blue & Yellow Dimorphism:

Pseudotropheus sp. "Msobo" - 7
Pseudotropheus saulosi - 12
Melanochromis johanni - 8

Group C: Yellow:

Labidochromis caeruleus - 10

Purple and Yellow Mbuna Setup:

Pseudotropheussp. "Acei" - 8 adults
Labidochromis caeruleus - 10 adults
Pseudotropheussp. "Acei" - 14 juveniles
Labidochromis caeruleus - 16 juveniles
* See note.

Select 4 species (Max 5 of each):

Pseudotropheus polit
Pseudotropheus saulosi
Pseudotropheus sp. "Msobo"
Pseudotropheussp. "Acei"
Cynotilapia axelrodi
Labidochromis caeruleus
Labidochromis sp. "Hongi"
Labidochromissp. "Perlmutt"
Labidochromis chisimulae
Iodotropheus sprengerae
Cynotilapia afra

Do not mix any two species of Labidochromis, the Pseudotropheus saulosi with the Pseudotropheus deep or any two Cynotilapia species.

Larger, More Aggressive Mbuna Setup

Select 1 species from 4 of the various groups below (Max 4 of each) , for a max total of 4 groups, and 16 fish. :

Group A:

Labeotropheus trewavasae

Group B:

Melanochromis johanni
Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos
Melanochromis auratus

Group C:

Metriaclima callainos
Metriaclima estherae
Metriaclima lombardoi

Group D:

Labidochromis species

Group E:

Tropheops tropheops

Group F:

Pseudotropheus elongatus types
Pseudotropheus flavus

Group G:

Cynotilapia afra

Lake Malawi Haplochromine Aquarium

Blue and Yellow Haplochromine Setup:

Select 1 from each group:

Group A: Blue

Cyrtocara moorii - 4
Placidochromis phenochilus - 5
Copadichromis azureus - 6
Sciaenochromis fryeri - 5

B]Group B: Blue & Yellow:[/B]

Protomelas sp. "spilonotus Tanzania" - 1 pair
Otopharynx lithobates (Zimbabwe) - 4

Group C: Yellow

Aulonocara baenschi - 2 pair
Aulonocara sp. "Stuartgranti Maleri" (Maleri Is.) - 2 pair

Mixed Lake Malawi Aquarium

Mixed African Aquarium

Red, White, and Blue Mixed African Setup:

Select 1 species of each color:


Ptyochromis salmon - 6
Haplochromis sp. "Flameback" - 6


Labidochromis chisumulae - 6


Placidochromis phenochilus - 4
Cyrtocara moorii - 4

Tanganyika Community

Select only 1 Tropheus species:

Any single Tropheus species - 12 - 15

Spathodus erythrodon, Eretmodus or
Tanginicodus - 1 pair of one species

Tanganyikan Sand-Sifter Setup:

Xenotilapia papilio or flavipinnis - 6
Paracyprichromis brieni or nigripinnis - 8
Altolamprologus calvus or compressiceps pair
Reganochromis calliurus - 6
Phyllonemus typus - 4

Neolamprologus brichardi complex - pair

Altolamprologus calvus or compressiceps - pair
Neolamprologus buescheri - pair
Shell dweller pair of choice - 'Lamprologus' (Shellies)
brevis, multifasciatus (group), meleagaris, ornatipinnis, ocellatus, speciosus, similis (group), Neolamprologus signatus
Cyprichromis leptosoma (12) (non-jumbos)

Lake Victoria Basin Aquarium

Haplochromis limax - 1 trio
Pundamilia sp. "Crimson Tide" - 1 trio
Paralabidochromis sp. "Redfin Piebald" - 6
Haplochromis sp. "83 Purple Yellow" - 2:4
Synodontis ocellifer - 1
Synodontis decorus - 1

Pundamilia nyererei (Makobe Is.) - 1 trio
Paralabidochromis sp. "Rock Kribensis" (Mwanza Gulf)- 1 trio
Lipochromis sp. "Matumbi Hunter" - 1 trio
Astatotilapia nubilus - 1 pair
Synodontis eupterus "Upsidedown Cat" - 1
Synodontis ocellifer - 1

East African Riverine Aquarium

Select 1 from each group:

Group A:

Thoracochromis braushi - 6-8
Haplochromis burtoni - 1:4

Group B:

Schwetzochromis neodon - 6-8

Group C:

Micralestes interruptus "Congo Tetra" - 10-12
Micralestes occidentalis - 10-12

Group D:

Synodontis eupterus "Upsidedown Cat" - 2
Synodontis ocellifer - 2
* See note.

West African Biotope Aquarium

Select 2-3 cichlid pairs from the list below:

Thysochromis ansorgei
Nanochromis transvestitus,
nudiceps or parilus
Pelvicachromis taeniatus
Steatocranus causarius
Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi (trio)
Anomalochromis thomasi
Teleogramma brichardi
(requires many rocks)

Select one option for catfish:

Synodontis nigreventris "Upside-down cat" - 6
Synodontis brichardi & flavitaeniatus - 1 each

Select one option for dithers:

Arnoldichthys spilopterus "Red Eye Congo" - 8
Brycinus longipinnis "Yellow Eye Congo" - 8
Phenacogrammus interruptus "Congo Tetra" - 8
Hemigrammopetersius caudalis "BlueCongo" - 8
* See note.

Madagascar Aquarium

Paretroplus kieneri - 2 pair
Ptychochromoides katria "Katria Cichlid" - 1 pair
Bedotia geayi "Madagascar Rainbow" - 6-8
Hypseleotis tohizonae "Goby" - 2

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