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Is all male + groups of labs/acei possible

2868 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Fish_Dude
Hi group,

I am trying to decide what stock I want for my new cichlid tank. I bought a 75G used and it came with fish. I brought all fish home to learn about them and see who I liked before making any changes. From what I have learned you usually keep a cichlid tank one of two ways. First you can keep a few different species and stock one male to several females. Second is you can stock all males of different species. My problem is that I kind of want a little of both.

So I was wondering if I could do a male tank with 1 group of labs and 1 group of acei and that maybe they will breed and indulge the part of me that occasionally wants to see babies while still getting to see the beautiful males. This option would allow me to keep most of the fish I have if having adults would be okay to add stock to. Or would doing this and having ANY females in the tank cause hybrids and WWIII?

These are the fish I have now:

2- Metriaclima greshakei- 2 males

1- Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei"

1- Pseudotropheus elongatus- male

2- Labidochromis caeruleus

1- Metriaclima estherae (Red zebra)- female

1- pearl fish I asked for ID on, maybe Metriaclima estherae (o)?

1- female red zebra's oldest fry

2- female red zebra's youngest fry

The elongatus is king of the tank followed by the dominant greshakei. The pearl fish hides ALL the time as when he comes out he gets violently chased by the elongatus. Would this change if there was no female red zebra?

So I was thinking I could remove the sub dominant greshakei, the female red zebra, probably her three kids then add to the acei, maybe 4 total, and labs, maybe 6 total, and then various other male species.

Would this work at all?

Would my existing fish tolerate new juvie males being added?

Could I have any peacocks or haps in this male mix?
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Unfortunately since even a single female of any species in a prediominantly male tank will cause great havoc, you kind of have to go one way or the other. All Malawi fish can interbreed. The mbuna seem to be very good at that. Even if you plan on never saving any fry from such a tank, the social dynamics will be a disaster. The most domiant males (reguardless of species) will spawn with whatever females are available and ready. With labs and acei being some of the least dominant fish in your mix, the females will be trowing hybrid fry left and right. Not to mention the male labs and acei being being regularly escorted to the back of the line by the more aggressive greshakei and zebra males.
I have a male peacock/hap tank with three labs and one p. acei, all of unknown gender. I've had no babies, and have no aggression. Perhaps I got lucky and all the mbuna are also male?
Keeping a group of L. caeruleus or Ps. sp. "acei", including females, in an all male Hap/Peacock tank, usually produces no hybrid fry and causes little to no stress to the females from the Haps/Peacocks. Other male mbuna however, such as Metriaclima species will likely try spawning with the females of any other mbuna present. It usually doesn't work out very well.
Okay, well, hmmm, I guess I will just have to think this over a bit more. I just need to decide what I want. . .but am so unsure.
Uh-oh. You are begining to show symptoms of MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome). Being unable to decide is why so many of us have way too many tanks. :D
If the groups of labs and acei were all male would that be okay?
natalie559 said:
If the groups of labs and acei were all male would that be okay?
all-male tanks usually do better with one male of each species.........
With labs and acei not seeming to care as much about the number of males and females in a group, It might work. Might not Plus it being so hard to tell visually what the gender is, that a female or two are bound to end up in the group and social dynamics are screwed again.
I think the wondering on the multiple males of labs and acei was because they are usually pretty docile fish. Usually in mixed sex tanks, the ratio of males and females of these species doesn't matter. You could have 3 male acei to 1 female, and not have problems. I would assume because of this, you could have multiple males of these relatively peaceful mbuna in an all male tank. I've never done it myself, but I could see it working.
I suppose it's possible if you lucked out and got unusually docile males. But I have 3 males and 2 female labs in my 125G now, and the one sub-dom and both females are feeling very harassed!

I don't think I'd do it for my first tank.
I'm in this same situation.
I have in my tank the following fish:

2 D. compressiceps (unsexed, to keep a single male)
1 Othopharynx lithobates (male)
1 Protomelas taeniolatus (male)
1 Aulonocara baenschi (male)
1 Cyrtocara moorii (unsexed)
3 Copadichromis borleyi Kandangos (I guess 1M/2F)
6 Labidochromis caeruleus "Nhkata Bay" (I guess 3M/3F)

Would be ok to keep the 6 labs and the 3 Kandangos in this tank?
If the Cyrtocara moorii happens to be a female, will it hybridise with any of the other fish?
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I think alexandrend's situation is different than natalie559's.

natalie559 wants single mbuna and breeding group mbuna. I think the females of the breeding group will be harassed. Even more so because the breeding group females are peaceful labs.

alexandrend has labs and haps. I think the labs will work better in this situation. Not sure about the one hap breeding group however.
I had 3 male labs, 3 male red zebras, & 3 male auratus in my 55g. with no females for them. There were females of other species though. Once they matured I had to remove a male of each of those 3 species. For some reason 3 couldn't get along but now that there are only 2 of each, they are ok(for the time being anyway & it's been a few months). I've since got some juvies of each hoping for some females and looking for a bigger tank :wink: .

I understand where the OP(Natalie) is coming from. I started out trying for an all male tank because I wanted so many varieties. I was buying fish in trios of each species thinking surely there would be a male in the 3. Turned out in 3 of the species I choose, all 3 ended up being male :roll: . As soon as I had my first fish hold, I knew an all male tank wasn't for me lol.

Natalie, You got a good size tank to start out with and it's great that you're learning about the fish that you have and trying to make a good judgment on what you want to keep :thumb: Be proud. Not everyone has the good sence to do that.

You're probably not going to like hearing this but I'd get rid of the red zebra babies because of them being hybrid. Or get a another tank to keep them in seperatly.

It's fine to add juvies or younger fish to older full grown ones as long as they are big enough not to fit in the larger fish's mouth. I too think you might end up with another tank so you can have one all male tank. Especially if the fish stores around you have a good variety. That's another reason I gave up on the idea of an all male tank. There's not much to choose from around me. Good luck and let us know what you decide and how it's going. :fish:
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Hey there- I just noticed that my thread was brought back up after all this time. . .

I took the advice of other posters and decided that I preferred groups of fish rather than an all male setup.

I kept the labs and acei that came with the setup, culled the thought to be hybrid, and returned the remaining fish to the LFS. Then I purchased more labs and acei, a group of OB Fuellborni and a group of white tops.

In my opinion the tank is stunning and everyone gets along great! I am very pleased with my choices and the advice I received here which was so instrumental to me in my african beginnings.

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Hard as heck to sex Acei and Yellow Labs... but it's not necissarily true that one female will cause havoc.. sure. toss in one female in a tank of males and things will go crazy! But I've had a female VC-10.. as well as a female rostratus that grew up in my big hap tank and it never caused any issues. Its adding that new female that's just crazy.
And I didn't have a male of the female species in the tank. If I did, the males would get really territorial.
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