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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my tank for a little over a year now and am starting to see my first signs of "real" aggression in my tank. This is to the point where I am not sure exactly what to do.

Here is a list of my fish:

1 - Pseudotropheus socolofi
3 - Red Zebras
3 - Yellow Labs
1 - I am not sure if it is a Male Red Zebra, or a Pseudotropheus demasoni - it definitely has Dark black vertical stripes and is very dark blue if that helps
1 - Metriaclima callainos (Cobalt Blue)
1 - Unsure of this fish - it is not exactly clear, but was more so when it was younger. It has brown specs and its top fin has little red specs.

This is a 38 Gal tank.

What is happening is the Cobal Blue is getting its butt kicked. Its tail fin is greatly destroyed and has a large mark above its eye where it looks like it has been getting attacked. I moved it into another tank which isn't setup really for cichlids and it healed up after a couple of weeks. It is now back in the main tank and same thing is occuring. Along with that one of my Red Zebras has also gotten its tail and fins pretty well eaten.

The socolofi and one red zebra seem to be some of the more aggressive fish in the tank with the Pseudotropheus demasoni(?) coming in right behind them.

I tried putting the one beaten up red zebra and the cobalt blue in the smaller "healing" tank together, but the cobalt was attacking the red zebra.

I don't know exactly what to do, or if I have too crazy of a mix. Please give me some advice! I am sure I have missed including some info. Please ask and I'll be sure to respond!
 

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is it possible to get a bigger tank? being really new to cichlids, i can't really comment on your mix, but if you need an excuse to buy a larger tank, this could be a good one!
 

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That's good advice. I had my mbuna in a 38G tank for a year too. Either way you will need to adjust your mix. In a 38G I would keep the labs and get another dwarf mbuna like Demasoni or Cynotilapia to go eith them, two species max.

If you're ready to purchase a 55G then choose 3 species (sell the others) and add females. If you are trying for an all male tank, read the article in the library and go for a 75G tank.
 

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Well, you have too many fish from several pretty aggressive species in way too small a tank. Plus he species you have chose don't mix well.

Male red zebras (Metriaclima estherae "Red") look just like female red zebras. There is a variant of M. estherae where the males are solid blue and the females are red, but in most LFS and almost all the chain stores its only the RedxRed type. Blue males may have light barring, but if the bars are dark on yours, then its not an M. estherae.

Due to being so closely relates the cobalt (Metriaclima callainos) and the red zebras will freely interbreed, especially when not kept in the proper sized harem group (1 male and 3-5 females). There is a good chance the Labs with breed with the zebras and colbat as well.

It is very important that you get an ID for the two unkowns. Malawi mbuna (all your fish are in that group) are very aggressive and highly territorial. Mixing them successfully is a very delicate process. Each species has its own quirks that must be addressed for a successful tank.

Other than your 3 Labs everybody else requires at least a 55g (4ft long) tank, with the red zebras and the socolofi probably being better off in a 75g due to their aggression levels. Its all about the floor space. A 38g tank really only has the floor space of a 30 gallon (the extra height is really wasted with these guys). Take a look in the Library section under the Cookie Cutter set up suggestion to see what will work in a tank of your size, and what size tanks the fish you currently have will need.

Unfortunately, the only way to fix the problem is to either get a bigger tank and make sure each species has the proper numbers, or get fish suited for you tank.
 

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I can tell you from my experience with them, the Socolofi and Cobalt Blue can get very aggressive with each other and what else you have. I've kept both in a 180g and they still found each other in the crowd and tore each other apart. I now only have a Cobalt Blue and he still on occassion will terrorize the tank. You definitely need to upgrade to at least a 55g, but I would recommend as big as you can afford.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So keep the yellow labs... any others?

It is sort of sad because those other guys were my first fish and I really enjoy seeing them...
 

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You have only this 10 mbunas in your tank? You have to change the layout of your aqua and minimize the locations were the mbuna can make a territory, the fights after the change dicrease dramaticlly. Try this, because I´ve a group of tanks type open space (sand in the bottom and nothing more) to minor the problems with the hard guys.
 

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So keep the yellow labs... any others?

It is sort of sad because those other guys were my first fish and I really enjoy seeing them...
This is the hardest part. I had to return my most beautiful and interesting fish to the LFS to maintain my tank balance. See if you can find some of these http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... hp?id=1371 to go with your Labs.
If it's any consolation, once you find that balance, the interesting (and peaceful) behaviours make up for the lost colour. All you can do is trim what you have and dream about getting it perfect next time.

kevin
 

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Its very difficult to mix Red Zebras with Cobalt Blues. As has been mentioned already they will cross breed, and fight. IME the red will eventually kill the blue. You should decide which one you want to keep and remove the other. That will reduce the agression to an extent.

The next thing is the socolofi. This guy is pretty agressive (not as agressive at the red though!) and you should consider if you really want to keep him.

If it were my tank I would remove the red and see how things go after that.
 
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