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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

Just want to thank you ahead of time for the feedback and your time! I'm new to the fish keeping hobby and I have a 95-gallon Mbuna tank with a sump. Currently stocked with two electric labs, two red top trewavasae, one chipokae, and one socolifi. I don't have a quarantine tank but I have my tank set up with a UV Sterilizer. I notice this evening that both of my red top's have some battle scars on their bodies and have some scales that are coming off and white marks from rubbing up on the texas holy rocks. What do I need to do to help the fish? I'm going to be changing up the rock work and maybe adding some artificial plants to help out. I went ahead and added some stress guard to the tank to promote healing but what else do you guys suggest. I'm thinking about adding another yellow lab, red top and three ochre trewavassae, and three red top hongi to my tank. Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions. After reading more about the Chipokae and Socolifi I have understood that wasn't the best choice but I was miss led by a fish store in the Dallas area.
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum! What are your test results (use reagents and test tubes) or pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? What is the shape and dimensions of your tank?

I would not add another species, but assuming your tank is a 48x18 rectangle, I would add females of the existing species to get 4 females of the labs and socolofi and 7 females of the labeotropheus and the chipokae.

Or rehome the chipokae and add 1m:7f of the hongi. The chipokae is the most aggressive fish in your tank and may be the most aggressive mbuna.
 

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Hey buddy, ill try and answer some questions but we need more information from you to help you out:

How long has the tank been running and is it cycled?

Did you do a fishless cycle or was it cycled with the fish that are in the tank now?

Whats the footprint of your tank? Length, width and height

How often do you do water changes and how much at a time?

What are your water parameters? Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH, carbonate hardness or KH and general hardness or GH

Post pics if you can of the battle scars. Scratching against the rocks can be a number of things or if it is just once in a long while, it could be nothing at all. Do you notice it more after water changes or is it happening daily and frequently? Could be parasitic or could also have something to do with your water parameters.

I believe you are currently very understocked and that can lead to more aggression on specific fish. More fish in the tank spreads out the aggression. I dont think you made a poor choice with the Socolofi; they are probably considered less or equally aggressive to the Red Tops. Adding more of each species is definitely the right way to go. 5 to 8 of total of each kind would be good. But first let's make sure your water is good and you're not dealing with a parasite. Also, I would seriously think about trading in the Chipokae. They are definitely at the higher end of the aggression spectrum and one lone male could be a big problem. Also, the more rocks you have the better and try to stack them as high in the tank as you can. If you can post a pic of your tank for us to see, that would be great. Lastly, it is probably worth your while to setup a quarantine/ hospital tank. Buy a used 55 or 40 long- doesn't have to be anything fancy. Believe me, it is so much easier to treat a sick fish in a smaller, separate tank than have to treat your main one. And because of the nature of these fish there will undoubtedly be times where you have to remove a fish that is getting beat up or a fish that is a total tyrant. Hope this helps get you started on answering some of your questions.

DJ beat me to the punch haha.
 

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But same advice, so all good. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Hello Everyone,

Thanks again for the information. Here are the answers.

Tank size: 4 feet long, 14 inches from front to back glass and 32 inches tall.

Tank Cycle: I cycled the tank for about 1 month. I added food and liquid biological bacteria to get the tank ready for fish.

Water Change: I didn't do a water change for about a month after adding the fishes the company the setup my tank said it isn't needed and i need to get the tank a little dirty before doing a water change. But I current are doing water changed about every week and a half. I change about 30% of the water in the tank.

Water Parameters:

High PH: 8.2
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm

Oddly my Chipokae has been pretty chill for the most part. I believe he is the tank boss and set the order of the tank but, I definitely understand what you guys are saying. Things may change once he starts getting older. The Socolofi has been the punk in the tank going after the red tops and electric labs. All my fish are males and range from about 2.75 inches to 3.5 inches. I would like to keep a all males tank so I don't have to deal with breeding. I definitely agree I'm under-stocked with fish. I would love to add more fish that have red and orange colors or colors that don't blend in to my black back ground. What fish do you guys recommend for my tank? Also, I do have more Texas Holy rock I can add to the tank to create more caves and hiding places.
 

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All male mbuna in a 48x14 tank is very challenging. With all male you usually don't want any look-alike fish so you want to get rid of the extra's of each species.

Shoot for 10 mbuna that are peaceful and mature < six inches and look nothing alike.
 

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I think you need to decide if this is really the type of tank you want. Use the search engine on here and type in all male mbuna and see what the results are. I don't know if you'll find many that have had long term success. Like DJ said, it is very challenging and not that easy to find 10 different males that look nothing alike and are on the less aggressive side. You already have the Chipokae which is one of the most aggressive and have trewavasae which get up to 7 inches. This type of setup is one that requires constant attention and careful monitoring of the aggression. It will never be a peaceful tank and I think the best you can hope for is for the fish to coexist and not tear each other apart. You will definitely need a spare tank to move hurt, sick or hyper aggressive fish. Personally, this would stress me out and make it less enjoyable. I'm not saying you shouldn't try it if this is what you want but you should know it could take some work on your part. If having a colorful and active tank with much less aggression interest you there are countless other ways to go. But if you have your heart set on keeping mbuna this way go for it. You need to fill that tank with rocks to give the weaker ones multiple places to hide. And you didn't answer the question about the scratching, which is referred to as flashing. Is it happening frequently or only at certain times, like water changes for example? Looking at the pics i see what you're talking about with the marks on the side of the red top. That looks like he was flashing against something and not from fighting so I would keep an eye on that. Another question I have is have you tested your tap water parameters? Is the pH the same as your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are the parameters for my tap water.

7.6 pH
1.0 ppm Ammonia
0 ppm Nitrite
0.2-0.3 ppm Nitrate

I am not set on keeping Mbuna's but my heart is set on African Cichlids. If I need to start over again and move towards Peacocks. I am more than willing to make that move. The reason I started the tank was for my 2 year old son and I do love having an aquarium in my home. I was always told from the local fish stores and what watching on YouTube and online that Mbuna's are the best fish for beginners. I don't know if that is just due to cost of the fish and that they are more hardy when it comes to water parameters.
If I do make that change to Peacocks do you guys have any suggestions for my tank size. I am currently looking for a secondary quarantine tank. The company that set up my aquarium told me that is was not necessary for a 2nd tank and its best to get a UV Sterilizer.
 

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You don't have to hassle with fry if you don't want to...just let the females spit in the tank and stock 5 Synodontis Lucipinnis. Maybe do yellow labs and socolofi with 1m:7f of each.

I would call your water authority if you really have 1ppm ammonia in your tap water...that should be zero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The tank is 4 feet long. This tank was left behind on one of the properties I purchased for a fix and flip. I completely overhauled the tank and set it up with a sump. It was setup with a gravel system.
For my size tank are having smaller peacocks my best outcome?

Tank size: 4 feet long, 14 inches from front to back glass and 32 inches tall.
 

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I find mbuna to be easier than peacocks. A mixed gender tank is always easier, but peacock females are drab. Mbuna females are colorful, so every fish can be colorful.

If you don't mind the silver females, peacocks can work.
 

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I think you would be better off with 2-3 different types of mbuna as well. All male mbuna is the problem. Add more yellow labs and maybe add a Cynotilapia species and Rusties- Iodotropheus spengerae and you should be good. See if the place you got your other fish can get them and take your others back in trade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I definitely agree with you guys. After reading more in regards to African Cichlids. Even though my tank is 95 gallons I don't have the depth to have peacocks with 14 inches. I will be re-home my other Mbuna's and add ones that will work together better for my setup.
Should I try to get all the new fish around the same size as the ones I'm keeping and making sure they don't look alike?
 

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Since we are recommending that you do mixed gender instead of all-male...you want 2 species that look different, but the yellow labs will all look alike...and the socolofi will all look alike.

No need to get all the fish the same size, and it is ideal but not essential to get them all at once. If you don't get them all at once you will need a quarantine tank to hold new additions for 3 weeks to avoid introducing illness into your tank, and add 5 fish at once so there is not one newbie for everyone else to pick on.
 
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