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I want a good tank but theres vary few species...

3287 Views 29 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  superfrog
HI, im a fourteen year old first year cichlid owner with a 50 gallon acrylic tank. *** done my research and my fish should be compatable... i have 1 red zebra, 1 yellow lab, 1 red peacock, 1 bumblebee [ I had 2 but my yellow lab got offended and killed the male as he was getting his adult colers], 1 male kenyi and 2 female kenyi, plus theres 3 jack dempsy's wich were survivers from an ick infestation that killed my brothers tank. all fish are about two inches with the red zebra and yellow lab being the largest and most domanent of the tank.
my problem is that one of my dempsy's and bolth of my recently perchesed fish [ the red peacock and male kenyi ] are being bullied by the other fish in the tank to the point ware they choose to stay hidden behind my plants wich are located in the corners of the tank or they stay floating up on at the surface near the wall. i have the tempature down and the tank is covered with a sheet to prevent any bullying but i dont know how to help my poor fish... any help you can give would be much loved by me and my beautifull fish... Oh and i have my tank overfiltered and theres plenty of caves and cracks for them to hide in but so far i havent seen them make an attempt to use the caves...
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if you can maybe give a little more information about your setup (size, water conditions, decorations and rocks, and filteration) then perhaps we can give you a little more help.

yellow labs generally aren't too aggressive but zebras are known to be a bit nasty on occasion.
Also, the Jack Dempseys are central american species of cichlid and usually don't do well in a malawi type setup due to differing needs in terms of water conditions and feeding. I actually have a south american Green Terror in with a bunch of malawis and he has been doing fine for 4 months now... but the general rule of thumb is try not to mix cichlids from different regions.

As far as aggression goes, all cichlids are aggressive by nature to various extents depending on the species. In my experience, I have found the best way to 'control' the aggression is to provide ample hiding places by using lots of rocks and caves. This also emulates their natural 'wild' habitat more closely and makes them feel more at ease and generally calmer.

Another trick used by many cichlid keepers is overstocking. Adding a larger population of malawis (provided your tank is big enough) can help limit the amount of serious dammage inflicted on fish from fights as their too many 'victims' for the aggressor to choose from. BUT remember, more fish = more waste and heavier bio-load. So your filteration needs needs to be adequate to support the larger population.

I've also found that keeping an optimum steady temperature, good water (routine maintenance) and good feeding habits tend to keep the tank calmer and less aggressive. A lack of food can also lead to raised aggression in cichlids as they begin to compete for the scarce nutrients. This said, remember that you should not overfeed either. Rather feed smaller amounts more regularly. Your cichlids should not be starving but should always appear HUNGRY. ;)

The last factor to consider would be stocking. If the trouble with aggression persists, you may need to consider removing the naughty fish or fishes from your tank altogether and perhaps checking out the male/female ratios. Male cichlids are territorial and also tend to compete for mates. It's generally advised (if you want to keep males and females together) that you try to keep at least 2-3 females per male of a species.

In summary: :roll:
- Good water conditions and routine maintenance
- Regular and sufficient feeding
- Consider your stocking and types of cichlids kept as well as male/female ratios.
- Try to keep to cichlids from the same region
- Ensure plenty of hiding places and a tank decor that is similar to their natural environment
- Overstocking might help, but requires better filtration
- Keep a suitable and STEADY temperature (too high and they get overactive and generally more aggressive. Too low and they may not be too happy.

Not sure if there is anything that I left out, but try to give more info about your setup and we can be more specific...

Good luck! :thumb:
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I'd remove the bumblebee (crabro), the dempsey and the kenyi as not compatible for a malawi tank under 75G.

superfrog has given good information, the next step is for you to provide more stats on your tank and setup.

You're going to LOVE this hobby!
thanks guys and gals... my filter is 330gph i have plenty of surface aggitation and rocks, plants, etc. i have a ph of about 8.4-8.5 right now [is that high?], and i dont know the exact ammonia but its always low to nun as i have algea everyware! i have noticed that the red zebra is the main attacker and the red peacock is the one that looks the worst cause he just chooses not to run. [stubbern fish] and i know i shouldent have dempsys in there but i couldent stop it cause it was either i let my brother flush them or i take them in [ im looking for a home for them] they seem in good condition and happy for salts i have all the required lvls... the bumblee bee's i had were good little fish intel the male was killed and ever since then the female [ i think] has been vary docile and stays at the top of the tank by the wall ware most fish leave her alone. and i have these fish together cause i thought they'd be compatable and the LFS is vary limited to species ,red zebras.yellow peacocks,kenyi,bumblebee's,jewel cichlids [ i tried them but they had a disease so i took em back],ahli [ i think thats there name] and a coulple more wich ill try to remember and post later...anyway i think the reason there being attacked is cause the others have been in a tank together for a while and there intruding.. before adding the new cichlids i rearanged the tank totally new and acklimated them ..when introduced i watched for about an hour [ lots of vibrating and flashing] then covered the tank wit a cloth to stop them fighting. all help is much appreshiated :thumb:
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I have a 50 gallon with 1 red zebra,1 electric yellow, 3 kenyi [1 male and 2 female] , 1 bumblebee, 3 jack dempsys [wich im trying to get rid of] and 1 red peacock... my problem is that while on the forums i have been told these fish arent compatable and my species list at the LFS is VARY limited the other fish i could get are jewel cichlids , full grown ahli cichlids [ my fish are just under 3 inches] and golden mbuna... my question is wich species should i get and wich species should i lose to get my tank bright,entertaining and fun to watch... any help would be great.
you will have alot of trouble trying to keep peacocks with most mbuna. peacocks for the most part are wimps, they can work with some mbuna, but most of the time the just get beat up. when i first started i had a kenyi in my peacock tank, all he did was cause trouble.
What's the footprint of this tank? Is it 3' or 4' long?

Get rid of the kenyi and bumblebee while you get rid of the dempseys.
What's a golden mbuna?
its 4' long and i just got rid of the male kenyi and the red peacock...still looking for homes for dempsys and why do i get rid of my bumblebee is he to aggresive or to docile?
ok i took back the male kenyi and the red peacock to the LFS and i have a small 15 gallon [ tall] tank that i setup and can put 1 or two in for a short while... should i use the 15 gallon for one of my fish and if so wich one ?
15 gallon is too small for a mbuna unless the fish is sick and needs to be in the hospital while healing.

What are the dimensions of your 50G tank?
Bumblebees are very agressive once they mature. I finally gave up on my LFS and order my fish through the mail. It is more expensive due to the delivery charge, but I get exactly what I want and have great advise.

As for the choice of fish, I would either get rid of the red zebras or yellow labs unless you decide to set up an all male tank, because they will cross breed. If you want to set up a breeding tank, I would be tempted to do 3 species. Maybe yellow labs, a C. afra varient, and Salosi? Or, if you want to keep the red zebras, maybe add a C. Afra and a Lab. Perlmutt? These are just my preferences, but the thought is for some smaller mbuna.
ph is good. malawi setups need a higher ph like yours. The fish are naturally used to the higher ph like that found in the actual lakes.

seems u on the road to building your tank right. good luck... :thumb:
Please don't flush fish. :(

If you can't keep them, try to find another home for them or return them to the LFS, even if you have to lose money on them. Flushing is a terrible way to die...

I think you're going to have to totally reconsider your stocking choices. The JD's aren't going to do well in a tank this size once they start to mature, and really shouldn't be housed with the other fish that you have. (One JD can require a tank larger than this for just himself...)

The fish that are hovering at the top of the tank and hiding sound extremely stressed. Stress will lead to illness, and you will continue to have all kinds of problems in the tank until you get the stocking straightened out.

You need to decide whether you want one of each species or would rather have breeding groups...

If you want alot of different species in a tank this size, then you should go all male, and forget about the breeding. You would still have to pick the species carefully, as this tank isn't large enough for many species.

If you're interested in breeding and this is a 3 ft tank as I suspect, then you would need to choose two suitable species and build groups on those species. You'd still have to choose carefully due to tank size limitations.
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thanks for all you help guys and not going to flush any of my fish nor am i going to kill them but i am going to see if a less local fish store will take them... my tanks dimensions are 47 in long, 13 wide and 17in tall and i do want to eventually breed my tank but at the same time i want a colerfull and entertaining setup as well... once i do get a new home for my kenyi and jack dempsys im going to come back to you guys and gals for what to stock my with thanks for all the help so far oh and now that the peacock and male kenyi are gone all my fish seem less stressed and the aggression has lessened but the bumblebee [ who dosent have any fin damage] still chooses to hang out at the top of the tank :?
The bumblebee is stressed, your tank will not be big enough for him when he is full grown.

A workable stock list would include 3 species and depending on which you choose, 1 male and 4 females of each would be a a good place to start.

If you keep the red zebra and yellow lab (with additional females), you will not be able to save fry because those two species hybridize.

Some people keep Fryeri (Ahli) in a 48" tank but it's a big rambunctious fish and the females are not colorful.
i was wondering if mabey its a good idea to try and find homes for all my fish and start from sratch [ mabey ordering in all my fish at one time from a website] and if this is a good option for me then what website should i go with[ what 3 breeding groups should i do as well] i was looking at a soloasi [ i think thats how you spell it] and i like how they look so i want a breeding group of them but what other fish are compatable with those fish?
sorry everyone the saulosi [i still dont know how to spell it] isent the one i liked i like the c.afra wich i looked up on google images :oops:
Cynotilapia Afra come in many varieties (look at the Profiles under Lake Malawi, Mbuna), but most have drab females. Only the male is colorful and you need 1m:4f.

First look through the Malawi Mbuna profiles, and pick 5 or 6 in order of preference. Then experienced people on this forum will review your choices and try to provide guidelines for tankmates with your list.

If Cynotilapia Afra is #1 then you've got your blue barred fish. Look for other colors. The red zebras can be tankmates with most afras.
Why don't you start over and try for a colony of P. saulosi? The males are a blue w/stripes and the females are yellow? I would think 47inch tank would be large enough for them? What does everyone else think about that?
He said he doesn't like them.
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