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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First.... Where we are at the moment:

120 gal. 4x2x2 with a wet/dry.
P. acei (yellow tail) - 2m/2f/4 usexed juvies
M. estherae (O) - 2m/2f/4 unsexed juvies
L. caeruleus - 2m/2f
N. venustus - 1m
OB Peacock - 1m
Hap. sp. 44 - 1m
BN Pleco - 1f (plan to add a 2nd)

My concern is the labs. I didn't learn until after I had done my initial stocking that estherea and labs were notorius cross breeders. It hasn't happened to me yet, but if finding the labs new homes and replacing them with another species will reduce that risk, I'm all for it. So what would be a likely replacement group?

Priorities would be:
1. Compatability with the other fish listed above
2. Low cross breeding risk with the fish listed above
3. A visual contrast (I already have plenty of blue and orange. Yellow or white would be nice)
4. Unusual? (Not really necessary, but it might be fun to have something a little out of the ordinary)

Possibilities that have crossed my mind are L. pearlmutt, L. textilis, P. saulosi, and P. msobo. Any input from experienced Malawi cichlid people will be greatly appreciated. What do you recommend? One of the species I listed? Something else I haven't thought of? Just add more labs and forget about it? Thanks in advance.

And while you're at it. Feel free to suggest another species or two that could be added singly to round out the variety. I'd love to have something with blue vertical bars (covered if I go with saulosi), or possibly another male Victorian. Please suggest away.
 

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L. textilis don't exist in captivity. You're likely seeing M. joanjohnsonae.

The estherae will likely cross with just about anything they can, including anything yellow (saulosi females).

Are you planning on distributing the fry? Since you have multiple types of mbuna, you're likely to have hybrids no matter what the combinations are, so it would be wise to keep them/get a group of Synos to clean them up.
 

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dielikemoviestars said:
L. textilis don't exist in captivity.
Sure they do... they're just far less common.

dielikemoviestars said:
Since you have multiple types of mbuna, you're likely to have hybrids no matter what the combinations are
This is terribly overgeneralized. Hybridization is always a risk with any Malawi cichlids, but careful consideration of species, appearance and the ratio of the groups will help lessen the risk. With the right combinations, the chances of hybrid fry can be close to zero.

bma57, have you considered a large group of Pseudotropheus demasoni?
 

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I would have kept the labs instead of the red zebras, but thats only for my breeding interest. If your not interested in breeding at all, no worries. You could actually breed the reds in that set up, stress free if desired.
OB's can become aggresive but with a Venustus in the tank it doesn't really stand a chance.
I would try to stretch the male/female ration out to 1/4 if you can to help eliminate the violence.
A big group of Demasoni would suit up really good
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Joea said:
With the right combinations, the chances of hybrid fry can be close to zero.
That summarizes my goal nicely. Zeroing in on those "right combinations" is the precise point of this post.

Joea said:
bma57, have you considered a large group of Pseudotropheus demasoni?
Demasoni added to the acei may make the tank a little "blue heavy". I realize overempahsizing color is probably making some of the more experienced cichlid folks do this... :roll:, but the beautiful intense colors are one of the appeals of Malawis for me. I like the idea of having a diverse visual mix. The other question (and Joea would certainly know betther than I) is, do I have room for a group of demasoni? I have 24 fish in there now. If I take out the 4 labs and add 16 to 20 demasoni, I'll have 36 to 40. I know heavy stocking suits Malawis, but that sounds pretty dense for a 4', 120 gal.
 

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I like the idea of L.pearlmutt. I've never seen them in real life though, only pictures. I dunno but you might have the same trouble with the M.estherae trying to mate with them. I'm not familiar with the O variety of estherae though.

Another fish that I like, and do have, that would give you some white would be albino socolofi. I really like the way the stark whiteness of them stands out in a tank.
 

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bma57 said:
I'd love to have something with blue vertical bars...

Demasoni added to the acei may make the tank a little "blue heavy".
You're confusing me now bma57... :lol:

Don't get so hung up on the number of fish in a tank. Ps. demasoni are a very small mbuna and a large group doesn't require a lot of territory and as far as waste production goes, could be comparable to a standard sized group of large mbuna. If you provide a lot of rock work, piled high in the tank, I think you'll have room for these fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Joea said:
bma57 said:
I'd love to have something with blue vertical bars...

Demasoni added to the acei may make the tank a little "blue heavy".
You're confusing me now bma57... :lol:

Don't get so hung up on the number of fish in a tank. Ps. demasoni are a very small mbuna and a large group doesn't require a lot of territory and as far as waste production goes, could be comparable to a standard sized group of large mbuna. If you provide a lot of rock work, piled high in the tank, I think you'll have room for these fish.
Thanks. And I see how I confused you. I apologize. I was talking about a possible blue barred species to add as another SINGLE in the mix. As far as replacing the labs with another GROUP goes, I was thinking along the lines of yellow or white or some other contrast with the acei blue and estherae orange I already have.

As always, I appreciate the quality input.
 

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I love the idea of L. perlmutt or Ps. saulosi. With saulosi you'd get the one blue barred male and the orange/yellow females. With perlmutt, you'll get the white bodied male with the bright yellow fins and the females with the white body, silver/grey barring, and the yellow fins.

I like my msobo, but they don't compare to the other two IMO.

You could do a Ps. sp. Dolphin Manda for the blue barred and a trio or quad of perlmutts. The dolphin gets pretty large and is mild mannered. I think that combo would look better than a group of saulosi or msobo.
 
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