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hi
Hi all, (it might be a bit long, please bear with me :)

It's been 3 years since I started my first malawi cichlid tank where 20 yellow lab fries and 6 star sapphire fries happily lived together for almost 2 years. They all grew really well (not even 1 death in 2 years!!!) and got me so fascinated by the behavior and coloration of these amazing creatures. Then I upgraded to this 180G and started collecting of all kind of non-predator haps/peacocks. Certainly there were lessons learned and price to pay on the journey, but I think I did pretty well, most fish are healthy over this 1.5 years period and some of them displayed really stunning colors.

But I can totally see myself getting bored after a few years. I've managed to mitigate the aggression at least for the most part and treated several sick fish and successfully bred some too. It doesn't feel challenging anymore to keep them happy. But besides watching the fish begging for food, sifting the sand, chasing each other, building nest, I want something even more natural and interesting.

I can't stop wondering if it's possible to create an environment so natural that some of the most interesting natural behavior could be observed in a tank, not a gigantic fish pond. Some of the behaviors I'm thinking of from my learnings are:
  • peacocks staying still over the substrate and eat the invertebrates hidden in the sand
  • predator fish hunting smaller fish from their hide (N. linni, mbj thick lips sucking the mbuna fries from their hides)
  • borleyi mating above a rock instead of in a sand pit
  • livingstoni play dead and ambushing small fish (this probably is just impossible)
  • moori, star sapphire following big sand sifter for food
The most natural behavior I've seen in my tank is my WC Hemitilapia oxyrhynchus sucking the leaves of my plastic plant in an upside down position.

I might be thinking too much, why not just enjoy the color and stay put right? I hope some of you already pioneered this route and was sharing the same concern before. Any suggestions, recommendations which could making keeping African Cichlid more fun are very much appreciated!!!

thank you in advance! and pictures of my fish for attention. View attachment 143035
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!馃槂
You have some beautiful babies there! Wow!馃槂 you can actually see the healthiness off them, I'm definitely impressed and I love the idea of you wanting to be "natural" for this is what we strive for as well!馃槂
I know of a dealer that deals in different cichlids and I order from him allll the time. 1 time we purchased our harem of Blue Mooris. They are healthy and have been growing out sooo beautifully!馃槂 but I tried turning some other fish buddy onto him and they blocked me. If you could tell me a way to get ahold of you, I'd be happy to share this info with you.
Message me 馃槂
 

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Thanks for the info! I will definitely look into them. I also have a couple breeder that I always go to. But for now I guess I will stop adding new fish but focus on moving them around in all my tanks and hopefully achieve something unique in the main tank.
Hi!馃槂
Okay, I hope I wasn't bothering you!馃榾 I just found that what you wanted to do very interesting, that's all. I just love this hobby; you know?馃槂
How many tanks do you own? We have 8 at this moment but will soon be adding another 2 here soon though! Our babies are "growing out" of their habitats, actually.
 

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Not at all! that's a lot of tanks! I currently have 4 and probably will get rid of one in near future. I've spent too much money and time on fish keeping, wife started to complain. :(
Hi!馃槂
I understand for my husband is the same way, unfortunately.. But, he's patient with me and loves me a lot... I sigh...we're almost there where I want us to get too. My babies are multiplying and we need 2 more aquariums that are larger then we'll be set. I don't want anymore babies because the ones that we have are producing sooo... I shrug... Yes, I understand the cost though... The companies know what they're doing that's why I do my homework before I purchase anything and this appeases my hubby. For example, I wanted rocks; right? They are sooo expensive soooo I found an area that was doing some area work with putting in city water soooo we gathered our buckets and hauled rocks as many as I wanted for free!馃槂 Buzz doesn't complain my time spent on them though... I'm sorry...women become jealous, unfortunately...
 

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Haha that鈥檚 so true! I was always saying that this will be the last time I redo the setup, but at the end I wanted to try something new very soon. I guess that鈥檚 because the beauty of the infinite variety of the nature. Just so many species to explore.
Hi!馃槂
I'm The exact way!馃槀馃槀馃槀 the hubby remarks, "leave those babies alone", alll the time but I'm trying to be better by them and doing better. He just shakes his head.
With our latest brood, he tells me ' to leave them alone if you want them to survive'...馃槀馃槀馃槀
 
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