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I have a 125 gal tank, forgot the exact dimension but its pretty wide and long. I understand that haps (non-mbunas) and mbunas should not be in the same tank mainly because for different food and habitat requirements.(I don't really care about the food difference that much as i had success feeding both types a variety of food with an emphasis on their respective preferences). However, I am thinking of recreating my tank into a mini Lake Malawi with a lot of rocks on the sides for the Mbunas and a open area in the middle for the haps. Has anyone else tried this and will the Mbunas actually stay in the rocks? and the haps away, as the do in their natural environment. Or will my tank just look dumb.
P.S. I am not planning to "overstock" my tank, any fish that will go in there would be carefully selected from my other tanks. Also the Haps will be bigger than the Mbnas.
Plan on 10 Mbunas (1 -2 in each) and 5-6 med sized haps.
Thank you
 

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In principle I think your idea would work if the tank were big enough - that (most) mbuna would prefer the rocky region while (most) haps would prefer the open sands. But in practice I bet you may need 10,000 gallons or more to achieve enough separation of habitats to observe this effect.

In a 125 gallon, I think your dominant male mbunas will be most interested in claiming a territory near the rocks, but aside from that preference there will be mostly random distribution. However, this doesn't mean that a stocklist like you are proposing won't work. You'll just need to be careful to choose more easy-going mbuna and stay away from very timid haps. Is this going to be an all-male setup?
 

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I do not find my mbuna all that locked in to a region of rocks. Nor do I find my haps/peacocks stick to the open water. I still think the mbuna will be too aggressive for the peacocks/haps. I guess there is one way to find out though. :thumb:

72" is not much room. If I were really going to try it I would do only one end (25%) for rocks and the rest open.
 

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Tri_Pham
I have mixed haps and mbuna. I've had successes, and failures...

Success, mbuna with A. jacobfreigi in a 6ft tank setup as you describe.

Failures were more mellow haps ... the stress from the mbuna led to bloat.
 

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We switched one of our large tanks to a mixed hap/ mbuna enviornment. Works very well. The mbuna keep the tank lively and the haps added personality. The really assertive mbuna will need to be removed when they get out of control but after a year or so it becomes tolerable. A 125 might be just too small for it to work but you never know.

We at first tried to keep it under stocked with mebbe two dozen fish. Not for long. They breed like rabbits and with enough rockwork a few fry from every spawn survive predation.

What worked for us was a lot of open space with rock work low and to one side. The haps like to sift so some sandy areas give them grazing oportunities.
 

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I had mixed haps with mbunas on a 72 bow front tank that was the worst mistake i made in life lol . But i learned from my mistakes in would never do it again i was losing a fish every week . I was brand new to the hobby in would never do that again . Thats the reason i been out the hobby for 5 years now because my fish was fighting everyday and i was losing fish like cazy it was frustrating . Not knowing what i did wrong i gave the hobby up now im back and im going to do it right thid time around . What ever yo decide to do go luck
 
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