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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Help please! I'm a first-time cichlid keeper. One of my Acei Mbuna got killed today :( Probably killed by a dominate male. I only keep Mbuna in this tank. I understand that Mbuna's are aggressive in nature but wasn't expecting this much aggression. Put 12 of them in the tank last week. Got different size Mbunas in the tank. 2 Yellow labs are bigger in size comparing to other. Should I separate those bigger one? Could they be the culprit? I'm not yet able to differentiate males and females in the tank. My LFS was not much helpful sexing male/female while purchasing.

Tank stats:
Size: 45 gallons (36Lx18Hx16W)
Filtration: 2 Hobs (1600LPH & 500 LPH) & 1 internal (880 lph)
Last water change: Tuesday (40%)
Water change frequency: 40% per week
Substrate: River sand
Tank age: 5 weeks (4 weeks cycled)
Water temperature: 82 degrees
Last test results (7/3/19): pH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate - 20
Fish stock: 4 Yellow Labidochromis (2 of them are large), 2 Orange Zebra (Medium size), 4 Pseudotropheus Acei (Small size), 2 Melanochromis auratus (Medium size)
Fish food: Hikari cichlid excel (2 times a day).

Thank you.


· Administrator
40,886 Posts
Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

This is a great place to learn about keeping cichlids. Unfortunately I would suggest you rehome some of your fish to have a successful tank.

The first problem is that a 36" tank is too small for most cichlids from Lake Malawi like your mbuna. This includes the acei, the red zebras and the auratus. I would rehome them.

The second problem is that Malawi do best in harem male and lots of females. You could keep the yellow labs in your tank if you stock them with 1 male and 4 females. Kept in pairs, the male is likely to kill the female.

· Administrator
40,886 Posts
A good level of overstocking for a 36" tank would be 1m:4f of a small, timid mbuna. Yellow labs could work.

Auratus are one of the most aggressive mbuna. I would keep them in a 1m:7f ratio in a rectangle tank that is 48x18 inches or more. That would be a 75G.

With auratus even in that larger tank I would keep only 3 species. Choose yellow labs or red zebras but not both in the same tank because they crossbreed.
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