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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey yall, first post here. New to geos and South Americans, but not new at all to aquariums. Have had salt and fresh in the past, very successfully.

I have a brand new 75 G, cycled completely. I have some nice Driftwood that is staining the water somewhat, anubias, amazon sword, plants. Running a Fluval FX4 cannister at 700GPH. 300 w Fluval heater set at 80.5 ish. 25%water changes weekly

PH 7.6
NH3 - 0
NO3 - 0
NO2 - 10


I currently have 2 Balzani, 2 Pellegeini, 2 Electric Blue Caras. All Juvenilles. I believe my Acaras may be 1m, 1f

Not sure on the 4 geos.

I'd like to add 2 redheads, 2 apistogrammas, 3 or 4 panda garras, and a bristlenose. Was also thinking of a small school of lemon tetras or something similar.

Can anyone give me some advice on:
A: if my current stock is a good blend
B: if my filter can handle planned stock
(I'm overfiltering to hopefully accommodate a slightly larger livestock load)
C: will cross species aggression be a thing? Especially if a pair ends up breeding?
D: Worried Apistos may be too small amongst the Geos, and if so, would then consider a tetra

Thanks in advance!

Chad
 

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Problems ahead.
  • The Gymnogeaphus balzanii is a cool-water Cichlid species that will not thrive long-term in the conditions of your aquarium. Typically kept day to day at temps of 72 to 75F, they will need an over-winter 3 - 4 month cool down period of 60 - 64F to thrive. Failure to provide the cooler temps and the over-winter cool down period, will result in greatly shortened lifespan, with a gradual wasting away of the fish. This is a specialized Cichlid, that makes for a good aquarium species only if its specific needs are met as a keeping priority.
  • The Geophagus pellegrini will work, but stocking with two individuals is too low of a number to keep that species successfully, esp. if one of them is a male. This species is a 'harem-keeper' type, that needs multiple females for one male. Once maturity is attained at near adult size, the male will excessively harass a lone female kept with him. A good grouping for keeping G. pellegrini would be 1M-4F.
  • Do not recommend getting Red Headed Tapajos (RHT) to go with your G. pellegrini. A male RHT will mature and almost certainly dominate all other Earth Eater species in the aquarium. A male RHT WILL spawn with every other female Earth Eater kept with it, creating all kinds of Cichlid hybrids.
  • With a single FX4 you are not 'over-filtering' the 75 gallon tank. The manufacturers specifications and other things published concerning your canister filter are 'optimistic' when it comes to keeping a sizable group of fairly large Cichlids. Would strongly .recommend the purchase and install of a Hang On Back Aquaclear 110 or Tidal 110 filter to go with the FX4. The fish you are considering will appreciate the additional water flow (and oxygenation) provided by the dual-filtration as well.
  • The lemon tetras are going to be too small (and too slow) to avoid becoming convenient snacks for your Blue Acaras. Stocking with larger species such as the Black Widow or Serpae will work better long-term.
  • Once adult sizes are attained in your Cichlids, esp. if you stock with a 1M-4F harem of G. pellegrini, you are going to be hard pressed to keep the Nitrates in the water down below 20 PPM. Those Earth Eaters and the Asian Panda Gurras you want, are very susceptibile to poor water quality. Stress and all kinds of illness problems will inevitably occur for those fish if those Nitrates get much past 20 PPM. Be ready to perform some seriously high frequency/high percentage water changes to maintain healthy water conditions in this aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So, it seems I should trade my Balzani in for a couple more pellegrinis, ditch the red heads, or get rid of them all for all redheads? Would either 6 Pellegrini's or 6 Redheads at the appropriate sex ratios work well with the Acaras?

Also, am totally flexible on the Panda Garras. My guy at the LFS said Chinese algae eaters get aggressive with age. Just looking for a good algae cleanup crew.

Sincerely appreciate the response.
 

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I would definitely trade back the G. balzanii. A cool water aquarium featuring them is very nice, and can be stocked with some interesting live bearers, etc. that can live and thrive in those cooler temps. G. balzanii is not your 'typical' New World Cichlid community tank resident. As for the G. pellegrini or RHT, either species would work beautifully as a single species 1M-4 or 5F harem in your aquarium. Which species you ultimately decide on, is certainly a matter of your personal choice. :)
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I'm not too big personally on those Asian Panda Gurras. Yes, they look pretty cool when young. But, it seems that when they get up to larger, adult sizes their color sort of washes out. Those things need a varied diet to thrive in captivity, and a quality source protein is definitely on the menu. But unfortunately, as they mature into adult size their interest in eating algae kind of ends as well. These fish can become some pretty notorious fin and scale nippers in the aquarium. A single bristlenose placed in a 75 gallon tank, should be more than up to the task of algae cleanup duties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much for the input! Rethinking my entire stock now. My LFS owner says he's never cooled his Balzanis and has kept them near 4 years with no issue. He actually prides himself on being the "geo" guy in our city, but seemed genuinely confused as to what I meant by a "cooldown" period for them.

Just so I'm clear, it would NOT be wise to mix Pellegrini and Tapajos, correct? But the EB Acaras can stay?
 

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Oh well.... sometimes being 'The Guy' (or Gal) about almost anything, is being able to constantly learn and adapt how you do things. Successfully keeping Cichlids in the aquarium is definitely no different. Below is a link to some specific online information regarding the Balzani. Not tough to find, there is a lot more info out there regarding this species. Their relatively small size and beautiful coloration make them very desirable as aquarium fish.

Gymnogeophagus balzanii (Paraguay Eartheater) — Seriously Fish

Unfortunately, there are some notable challenges for successfully keeping Balzani in the aquarium that must be properly addressed, to avoid possible failure down the road.

Yes to the Electric Blue Acaras.
And no - once again.... to avoid creating hybrids, I definitely DO NOT recommend mixing two different species of Earth Eaters in the aquarium. That is a rule applied to keeping ANY Earth Eater Cichlids in the aquarium, because a dominant male in one of the species will ALWAYS arise once maturity and adult size is attained, and begin spawning with all of the Earth Eater females kept with him. I'm serious! Large. Small. Different species? Nope, that just doesn't seem to matter with these guys. And a dominant male Red Headed Tapajos male? Yes, they are small in size.... but I've seen RHT males push off other male Earth Eaters of different species almost twice their size, with no problem. They are a VERY dominant Earth Eater Cichlid in the aquarium. The spawning/mating habits of a male RHT would make Captain James T. Kirk blush with envy! :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, I may find a new home for the Pellegrini's as well. I had hoped to mix species somewhat, and have a variety of colorful geos.

So now I'm thinking to add the Tidal 110 filter, and stock as follows:

6 geophagus Sveni or winemilleri
2 EB Acaras
1 Bristlenose
6-10 tetras of some sort that won't get munched. Maybe Buenos Aires?

Thanks again to all. I'm really trying to responsibly care for these fish and meet their needs.
 

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Okay then... and as they say (in a lot of things), size does matter!
Earth Eaters are a bit like African Cichlids in that it's okay to mix various species - if they are ALL MALE (or all female, for that matter). It's when you mix males and females of different Earth Eater species, that spawning and hybridization problems will inevitably occur. So for your relatively small-sized 75 gallon aquarium, you will need to stock carefully to avoid putting too much fish in the tank. It may help to inform, that Earth Eater Cichlids are notorious for being one of the most sensitive species to keep in the aquarium. HITH/HLLE and a host of other nasty problems are never far off with them, if the water quality slips and those measured nitrates rise up past 20 PPM. The larger growing G. wienmilleri you mention is not recommended for keeping in four foot long tanks. A 1M-4F harem of that species really does need a 6 foot long tank to move around in and be at their best. Your smaller growing harem of G. Tapajos or Pellegrini species of the Steindachneri group of Earth Eaters will be fine in a four foot long 75 gallon tank, as will the G. sveni you mentioned.
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I believe that the Buenos Aires Tetra is also a species that comes in too large for stocking in this community tank. If it would be just them and the pair of EBA's with that catfish? Sure! But, if you want to stock with 6 - 10 Tetras in the tank, you will need to look at stocking with (tougher/faster) mid-sized growing Tetra species, comparable to the ones I recommended above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you so much Auballagh! I may keep the Balzanis, but do a separate tank for them so I can cool them.

I'm set on Sveni. They're gorgeous, have the personality, and stay smallish. I'm definitely going to add the Tidal 110 as well. Maybe some more plants to help with nitrates as well, anchored to Driftwood and rocks. Trying to find a place where I can buy sexed Sveni is difficult, and expensive!!!
 

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Oh yeah, a 1M-4F harem group of Balzani would be pretty sweet. For a community tank featuring the Balzani, do a little research and you could stock with some live bearers that would do well in those cooler water temps and look good with the Earth Eater group.
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As for the G. sveni, you are right in that species is a bit rare and harder to find in the trade. May have to order them special. It might be best to just get 8 or so baby fish and grow 'em out a bit. When the group you want to keep matures out, you can then sell the non-keepers for well, 'tens of dollars' or something. :rolleyes:
(Or, possibly trade 'em out with someone who has something nice you want).
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The Tidal 110 is a really good HOB filter. It provides a surface skimming capability, that may make it the best choice for your aquarium.
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As for plants? Yes! Best advice I can give on them is to not half-a$$ the thing with a partially planted tank. Go with both Javas (Fern and Moss) and definitely load up on the Anubias. I've posted up some stuff about setting up substrate rotting plants in pots (glass goldfish bowls). Putting an Amazon Sword or three in three in there, would definitely help a bit in overall Nitrate reduction. You're still gonna be 'turning-to' on those periodic water changes to keep things safe for your sensitive Geos, but the plants will help a bit to keep things more stable. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, I'm trying to find your substrate rotting potted plants thread. I've searched and can't find it. Reading that Duckweed is a good nitrate absorbing plant.

Not expecting plants to Kreme from any water changes. But would like them to help stabilize a solid WC routine.

Thanks again Aub!
 

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Oh my.......

I've posted up some stuff about setting up substrate rotting plants in pots (glass goldfish bowls)
LOL!
Let's NOT set up some substrate ROTTING Plants! 'Rooting' would be much more preferable.....
Here is a good thread where the potted up plant thing is discussed.

Potting Soil/Plant Substrate for Potted Aquarium Plants | Cichlid Fish Forum (cichlid-forum.com)

Click on the URL link in one of those posts in the thread, and you'll find earlier detail on how to actually set those substrate ROOTING plants up. Plus, here is a thread with descriptors and some pictures of a 150 gallon aquarium I set up a few years back, with a good mix of non-substrate rooting and substrate-rooting potted plants.

Potted Aquatic Plants In New World Aquarium? | Cichlid Fish Forum (cichlid-forum.com)

That community tank worked out just fine. :cool:
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Oh, and duckweed IS a pretty good plant to use for Nitrate-eating purposes. I've found it works out best if set up and kept in plant refugiums, though. Those little things seem to get into EVERYTHING and be quite annoying, if you keep them in the aquarium.
 

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Earth Eaters are a bit like African Cichlids in that it's okay to mix various species - if they are ALL MALE (or all female, for that matter). It's when you mix males and females of different Earth Eater species, that spawning and hybridization problems will inevitably occur.
I think this statement is quite contrary to what most Geophagus keepers would claim.I think most aquarists see these species as not very inclined to hybridize at all. Some of the least likely of all cichlids to hybridize. Very, very few case are documented on the internet. Certainly nothing like CA cichlids or Malawi Haplochromine in terms of likelihood to crossbreed. That said, it's still possible for some of these species to hybridize, and if one wants to avoid that possibility, the only certain way is not to house any closely related cichlids in the same tank.
A discussion on cichlid forum about cichlid hybridization:Hybridisation

A discussion on MFK about the possibility of an immediate mouthbrooder ( Geophagus steindachneri) crossbreeding with a delayed mothbrooder ( red head Topajos) . Most see it as very unlikely and question whether it is even possible:Geophagus hybrid?
There is only one documented case of Geophagus hybridisation I have ever found on the internet. In comparison, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands!) demonstrating CA cichlid hybrids and Malawi Haplochrmine hybrids). But surprisingly, it actually demonstrates that a delayed mothbrooder X immediate mouthbrooder cross is at least sometimes possible (the very type of cross that is doubted in the previous 2 links). The title reflects upon the fact that most Geo keepers do not encounter hybrisation in their tanks but sometimes strange things happen:Geophagus hybridizing? I'd never seen it before... until now.
 

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It's just a bad idea to mix different species of Harem Keeping Geophagines in an aquarium with each other. Esp. when there are multiple females and more than one male of a different species in that tank. The Red Headed Tapajos is one such Earth Eater species that is notorious for having super dominant males. In the relatively small confines of an aquarium, I can easily see a male RHT pushing off the male of another Earth Eater species from his harem of females, and just taking over! My own personal experience with a group of WC G. crassiliabris, informed of an incredibly dominant male in a five female harem. Putting that super-dominant male in the 180 gallon aqaurium he was kept in with any other Earth Eater species, would have almost certainly been a Very Bad Idea.
 

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(the very type of cross that is doubted in the previous 2 links).
Actually, I some what overstated this. The link shows the results of a Geophagus parnibae X G. sp. 'orange head' cross which would actually be quite different then a steindachneri type ( G. steindachneri, G. crassabrilis, and G. pellegrinni) crossing with a delayed larvaephile mouthbrooder for at least 2 reasons.
Firstly, while G. parnibae mouthbroods it's eggs it actually lays them just as a substrate spawner would. Geophagus parnaibae — Seriously Fish So it's a delayed egg mouthbrooder. The male often will incubate eggs as well so it not only fertilizes the eggs but is inclined to pick up the eggs sometimes shortly after. The mechanics of the spawning act are not so different since both a larvaephile and delayed egg mouthbrooder perform the spawning act in the very same manner as a substrate spawner would. The Steindachneri types are true immediate mouthbrooders and perform the spawning act much as Malawi mbuna would. So there would be a greater barrier of spawning behavior to cross.
Secondly, as Mr Chromdome points out in my first link, a Red Head and a Steindachneri type are not that closely related. Just like the Brasielinsis group, the Steindachneri group is often referred to a 'Geophagus' in quotations because the thought is that once science looks at them in more detail, they will be placed in a separate genus of their own. Whether these different groups are genetically close enough to hybridize is not yet known as so far nobody has shown that such a cross is possible. The difference being that the example linked to ( G. parnibae X G. sp. 'orangehead') are in fact very closely related species.
The fact we only have one known case documented on the internet of Geophagus hybridizing demonstrates that it is in fact rare. Sometimes possible, but not nearly as likely as with most cichlids. It's reflected by JK47 from MFK saying in my second link that "There are no known cases of Geophagus hybridizing. Your good." That was said in 2012 and my link to a thread in 2014 shows that at least one case is now known.
It's just a bad idea to mix different species of Harem Keeping Geophagines in an aquarium with each other. Esp. when there are multiple females and more than one male of a different species in that tank.
That the Steindachneri types (G. steindachneri, G. pellegrini and G. crassilibris) could hybridize if kept in the same tank with each other is more then plausible. They are so closely related that with out knowing original collection point, are more then difficult to distinguish. Essentially regional variants of the same type of fish.They all have the exact same breeding methods and behavior. So no doubt, might be a bad idea to mix them in case they hybridize.
And it might not be a good idea to house a red head with other closely related larvaephile and delayed egg mouthbroders. The example of a G. parnibae X G. sp.'orange head' demonstrates that a similar cross is at least possible (though not frequently encountered like some other cichlid crosses).
But that one should fear a Steindachneri type crossing with a delayed mouthbrooder (such as a red head) is really unfounded. No such cross has ever been demonstrated. As many aquarists have noted in the threads I have linked to, there is significant breeding behavior differences, that make it rather unlikely. And if somehow they are actually inclined to see each other as potential mates and somehow actually manage to do the deed we don't even know if they are genetically similar enough to succeed. In general, instances of Geophagus hybridizing in the hobby are fairly rare as reflected by the fact we only have one instance documented!
 
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