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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking to set up a Mbuna aquarium and have been scouring the Gumtree and eBay pages for a used aquarium. I had spotted an aquarium a week or so ago who had some tropheus in it, but the tank sale fell through, and I wasn't particularly keen on this species in any case.

I have now found an aquarium (300 litres) and agreed a price which also is "stocked" with some Mbuna. The set up requires a complete overhaul which I had budgeted for in any case but randomly the tank currently houses the following I believe:-

1no. Red Peacock
1no. Cobalt Zebra
1no. Blue Acara
1no. Red Zebra
1no. Golden Mbuna
1no. Yellow Lab

Very few rocks or caves, coarse gravel substrate etc. Apparently the Red Zebra is aggresive to other tank mates but aside from that they appear to be ok and all have been grown on since juveniles. The fish are coming free with the tank, no idea if male or female, LFS has said they will take them in and give me store credit. This could give me breathing space to source rocks etc and create a better environment in the tank rather than rushing to get them transported and back in. I'm not sure though whether to just add more hardscape and add fish or whether that may be a bad idea with established fish. I cant see that there are many predefined "territories" though due to the lack of any real rock or cave features.

I'm completely new to cichlids so welcome thoughts.
 

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I think I would re-home the fish and start from scratch, if it was me. Especially the blue acara. I think that's a homicide just waiting to happen.

If you start from scratch, it would be easier to build up some proper rockwork and get the tank situated how you want it. Sand is a better substrate for Africans. Africans like to dig and sift, constantly. Gravel does not lend well to that.
If this is your first foray into cichlids/mbuna, it might be best to go with a known "package". Usually, starting mbuna recommendations are 6 yellow labs and 6 demonsoni. Their colors compliment each other well and they are a bit more peaceful than some of the other mbuna. Having groups of each species allows them to spread out their aggression amongst themselves. You will also get a more natural behavior from them if you keep them in groups. Another species you could look into are saulosi.

My experience is with peacocks and haps though. A mbuna keeper could probably give you more definitive advice on the stocking.
 

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I would agree with rehoming the fish unless you have reason to think the existing fish are pure and if you want to keep the yellow lab and the cobalt zebra.

What are the dimensions of the tank? If it were 48" by 18" that would give you a large number of options.

For 48x18 one option would be something like this:
1m:4f yellow labs a.k.a. Labidochromis caeruleus
1m:4f cobalt zebra a.k.a. Metriaclima callainos
1m:4f Cynotilapia zebroides Cobue
1m:4f Iodotropheus Sprengerae

I would not buy a package chosen by the vendor. I would not stock the tank with demasoni (and never six) as they can be a difficult fish to keep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dimensions are 48 x 21 x 21 I think.

If I give the fish to the shop, I would likely use the credit for my tropical tank or equipment as their choice of cichlids is quite poor to be honest. When restocking would look elsewhere and get them couriered.

I will explore the varities highlighted - thanks both for posting
 

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BigBeardDaHuzi said:
Thou shalt count to five, but six? Six is right out.
I'm sorry. I have to call out this kind of heresy as it's just silly.

The sacred instructions tell us tell us that "three shall be the number of thy counting, and countest thou not to four, neither shalt thou countest to two, save that thou also followest by three"

That being said, six is actually about my favorite, as one is almost guaranteed to get at least one male and one female in a group of 6 - but I'm really quite sure that wasn't your point at all.

To OP - I would rehome the fish even if I didn't get anything out of it. I mean - you want this to be YOUR tank, yeah? That is just me though, and I'm probably known around here as an unorthodox weirdo.
 

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SenorStrum said:
BigBeardDaHuzi said:
Thou shalt count to five, but six? Six is right out.
I'm sorry. I have to call out this kind of heresy as it's just silly.

The sacred instructions tell us tell us that "three shall be the number of thy counting, and countest thou not to four, neither shalt thou countest to two, save that thou also followest by three"
I just love the Monty Python reference and got quite a giggle out of your post. Thanks for the memory trip!
 

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+1 to DJ Ransome - Demasoni really are some known heart breakers in this hobby.
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And my sincere condolences to Deeda... the list is growing! And, it seems *sigh* that you too have now been 'SenorStrum'd'. :popcorn:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm picking up some buckets from the LFS today so will speak more to them about likely store credit. I guess even if it gives me some sand and rock jts a start.

With the EBA all the reviews I have read say they can get large but are largely non aggressive? Is that somewhat misleading
 

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BigBeardDaHuzi said:
I think I would re-home the fish and start from scratch, if it was me. Especially the blue acara. I think that's a homicide just waiting to happen.
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To inform, the Electric Blue Acara (EBA) is a hybridized version of Andinoacara pulcher. I suspect the 'homicide' he is referring to above, would potentially be the grisly end of a rather peaceful, New World ciclhid kept with that group of African cichlid thugs.
So yes, for it's own safety, the EBA should be pulled out of this aquarium and rehomed somewhere else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK so I got the tank this weekend, managed to bring half the tank water with me in 25l buckets.

One fish died in transit, the red zebra - I don't think my original list was accurate as no yellow lab either.

I took the opportunity of replacing the gravel with pool filter sand, and have added a Fluval FX6, running alongside the existing Betta external filter. That wasn't without drama as the o-rings on the brand new FX6 were missing on the inflow - I hadn't noticed and when it started up it started leaking quite badly and in my haste and panic didn't think to just turn off the valves and cope with a smaller body of water!

I have added quite a few rocks and slate after monitoring the pH of them overnight in buckets etc. My tank PH seems to be around 7.5 at the moment (pretty much the same as the tap water), but the KH is only between 3 and 4. I have done quite a bit of reading on here and bicarbonate of soda I guess will increase the KH but am wondering whether to leave it for a few days to allow them to settle in the tank? I guess the PH could do with being a bit higher but if a teaspoon per 5 gallons is recommended not sure if to do it incrementally as also have read its a 'quarter of a teaspoon' per 5g.

All the fish seem to be feeding apart from the EBA. I don't think he will be a permanent resident but don't want to see him fall ill before I can find a new home for him.

I have created a few caves but it is all at bottom level of the tank, I see some of the hardscapes that go almost up to full height of tank but get nervous about stacking them in such a way. I want to try and upload some photos of the fish so they can be positively identified and hopefully sexed. Does the "add file" work best or should I use a hosting website to keep size down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So here goes....not put a pic of EBA on as can identify him.

Obviously want to stock it more heavily and been given some good ideas on another post but worried juvenile fish may just get attacked even if moving rocks around

Is it a golden mbuna (male?) cobalt zebra (but not sure why no stripes) and not sure what the peach one is now looking at it,.
 

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The stripes are there on the Cobalt, they're just very faint, that's a Red Zebra Female if I thought it anything, Melanochromis Auratus Male, and yes, rehome the EBA, he's not very compatible with Mbunas. I wouldn't keep any Peacocks in that tank if there's a Melanochromis Auratus Male, this statement referring to your original list. What's the volume of the tank in Gallons? I know a good amount of the Mbunas, and have some experience. I would be interested in helping out here, but I don't have time to read the posts above, so what is your current stocking list, and the volume of the tank in U.S. gallons (try using a tape measure), and do you plan on rehoming all of the fish in there? They will be aggressive if you add more fish. I know that from experience, but it will probably last only about 3 days. Fin damage will be evident on all of the fish, but it grows back in normal color I think. I hardly know anything about the tank, but please PM me if you want a faster response...
 
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