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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone, I am brand new but have been looking around the site for a while, setting up my cichlid tank... this will be my first..

I have a 55gallon standard tank, and I am just about through my cycle....

I do not have a LFS, closest one is over an hour away... I do have a Petsmart and Petco in town.... I know these are not the best, but all I have to work with...

So, the following is a list of what they have available. Please give me suggestions, options, etc. Include numbers of each, etc. I will take all and any suggestions and would prefer choices if possible... thanks in advance for the help..

Keep in mind some of these might not be the best names, some were listed in store, some I had to look up....here ya go:

Green Terror
Yellow Lab
Bumble Bee
Kenyi African
Fire Mouth
Acei Blue
Jewel Cichlid
Turquoise Jewel
Pink Convict
Black Convict
Surinamensis
Ahli males????
Red Zebra
Electric Blue JD
Other JDs
and Angelfish
 

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Sounds like typical chain store selections.

Have you considered mail order fish? I know shipping tends to put people off but if you are buying a large selection of fish to stock a new 55 you might consider it. For me personally the cost of fish worked out to be $10 per fish including shipping. I got the fish I wanted and didn't have to drive like crazy (this after searching every LFS and chain store in my area anyway).

You can find several online vendors in the reviews section
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/reviews/re ... ?CatID=002

I have ordered 45 fish this way and couldn't be more happy. I actually bought some hodge podge fish from the chains and started over after figuring out I could buy them online and get great fish.

Other than that, I think you first need to figure out what type of fish you want to keep. Do you like South/Central American cichlids or Africans? What are your water parameters out of the tap? If it is hard water with a high pH you may lean towards Africans.

I know the choices are overwhelming so hopefully this discussion will help :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the suggestion, I am not sure about internet ordering... I will consider and look into it..

however I would rather hear suggestions from what I have locally, just to see if I like any...

I do not have a preference, I like active interesting colorful fish, and all cichlids that I listed looked interesting and colorful to me.... even the ones without color, had an interesting look...

my water tends to be hard with high PH... I have well water and usually register 8-8.5 water...
 

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If you want activity and color, I would look into the african cichlids. I believe they need the harder water anyways (someone will correct me if I'm wrong), and your tap water appears to be about perfect for them.
So I would say like the kenyi, bumblebee, yellow labs, acei blues, and others. Once again I don't know on the mixing of them, because I am biased towards new world cichlids. But I believe those are a good mix.
 

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I know you said you wanted to stay local, but why not drive the hour to a fish store? You will find a bigger selection of better quality fish(in most cases) I plan little road trips to check out fish stores all the time. Maybe it's just me, but I would never be satisfied with a list of 10 or 15 fish to choose from.
 

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Stay away from the Kenyi's, they are very aggressive. The problem with petsmart is the tend to have alot of hybrids or crossbred fish labeled as "Mixed African Cichlids". This tends to cloud the true blood lines of these fish. People buy them, they end up breding and they are given away or resold. There are many reasons why this is bad so I'll spare the long story. Like someone else said, the best way from you would be online. If buying one fish, the shipping is very expensive, but if buying a lot to stock a new tank, it is pretty reasonable. If you do go the petsmart route be careful of crossbreding and fish in "Mixed" tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
another good idea... that I will consider... I would still like to hear some suggestions from what is available... that way I can see if I like any of them and then go from there...

this is my first cichlid tank, so it will not take much to satisfy me (for now).... I honestly liked a lot of the ones available, just need suggestions on what to mix and what not to....

any suggestions??
 

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Of the fish listed above I would choose:
Yellow lab (Labidochromis caeruleus)
Red Zebra (Metriaclima estherae)
Acei blue (Pseudotropheus sp. "acei")
for a 55 gallon tank.

If they are juveniles I would buy about 8 of each with the hope of keeping 5-6 of each species once troublemakers or victims are rehomed - but first I would get a guarantee that your big box store will take back fish for cash, credit or even free.

All three of these species are MBUNA from Lake Malawi - beautiful and rewarding fish but more aggressive than most community fish - they wil beat up on each other, which is why I don't suggest some of the other mbuna, like the bumble bee (Pseudotropheus crabro) and Kenyi (Metriaclima lombardoi) they are simply too aggressive for a 55 gallon tank.

The yellow labs and red zebras may cross breed, so you wouldn't want to sell or give away fry from either fish. The acei will be a little cramped when they mature but they are a peaceful fish.

But I too would look into online purchasing - chances are they stock in your big box store is pretty weak.

kevin
 

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It would help us if you told us what kind of tank you want.

If you want an active tank with as many fishes as possible with lots of color and movement, then africans are the way to go.

If you want to see a large pair of breeding fish, then JDs or the the EBJD and even the green terror.
 

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GOSKN5 said:
another good idea... that I will consider... I would still like to hear some suggestions from what is available... that way I can see if I like any of them and then go from there...

this is my first cichlid tank, so it will not take much to satisfy me (for now).... I honestly liked a lot of the ones available, just need suggestions on what to mix and what not to....

any suggestions??
The problem is, there is not much available. Not to mention chain fish suck. Sorry to be brutally honest, but you asked for what you should do, and IMO you should drive the hour or order online. I have one of the best cichlid stores in the country here in town, but it's still a 35 mile drive. I don't make it that often, but I do occasionally. Having said that, I still don't have a big enough selection even given the stores I have available to me. There is MUCH more out there you can get and I truly believe you will be more satisfied if you just make the drive.
 

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+1 to RRasco.

RRasco lives within driving distance of the guy I ordered from and there still isn't enough selection :eek:

That just goes to show you there are a ton of fish choices and you will be better served in the long run doing a lot of research on the fish you like and then ordering online.

I really regret all the time I spent driving all over town looking at the same 10 species of fish.
 

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dotbomb said:
I really regret all the time I spent driving all over town looking at the same 10 species of fish.
+1 To driving all over town for next to nothing!
I also agree that you are going to get better quality and ALOT LARGER selection with online retailers! Goodluck
 

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The nearest store to me is an hour away, We as a family will travel a couple of hours and make a day out of it and get the fish just before we start for home, That is if we like any if not we'll get on the road again looking for somwhere else!! The pleasure of living in a welsh rural town :roll: ( the nearest supermarket is an hour away )
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
point taken... i will see if the wife wants to go shopping one day soon :lol:

will the fish be ok in bags for that long??... its actually closer to 1.5 hours away...

another problem I have is that I cannot make the trip, then do research... so I will have to go on what the fish store tells me as far as what can go together...
 

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GOSKN5 said:
point taken... i will see if the wife wants to go shopping one day soon :lol:

will the fish be ok in bags for that long??... its actually closer to 1.5 hours away...

another problem I have is that I cannot make the trip, then do research... so I will have to go on what the fish store tells me as far as what can go together...
Yeah the fish will be fine in the bags for a couple hours. 1 thing you can do about researching them is call the store ahead of time and get a decent idea as to what they have in stock so you can research them before you go and have a better idea of exactly what you want when you get there.
 

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they are fine for that long in a bag, maybe bring a cooler or pick up a foam one, that'll help keep the temp right for them.

if you make a list of all the ones you think are kind of cool or nice looking and bring it with you the lfs should have a few that match. another good way to find fish you like is searching a breed and it's compatibility list. there are bound to be a few more that you like that match your first choice.....

or just call them and see what they have
:thumb:

Becca
 

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any good store is more than likely to have an online stock list as well. i normally dont do much browsing unless the store is close. i have one or two decent lfs that have random stuff in, but the best stores always have stock lists. if not, as suggested, give them a buzz and ask. they should be more than willing to let you know what they have in stock; if they want your business they will
 

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I agree with what has been echoed by the previous posters. Do not settle for what is available at the chains stores. I have made that mistake. I bought a couple of Acei from petsmart, and recently made the 3+ hour (each way) trip to Atlantis where I bought an Acei (amoungst others) and the difference between the quality of fish is incredible.

Like others stated, make a road trip out of it or order online, this site has a great reviews section for vendors. In order for folks to help you however, try to decide what kind of tank you are looking for. Lots of fish with lots of color, a couple of larger fish, a single fish, breeding or not are all questions that will help narrow down what YOU are looking for in YOUR tank.

-Luey
 
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