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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about a month ago I decided to get back into aquariums. I had a 20 gallon freshwater community tank years ago, but honestly, wasn't into it that much, didn't keep up with the work, and didn't really have much interest in it. After all the fish died I took everything apart and gave up on the hobby.

Now years later, I decided to get back into it. My father recommended I get African Cichlids, as he had kept them years ago and thought they were great. I started doing some research and was attracted to Mbuna Cichlids from Lake Malwai. Well anyway here's some pics of me setting up the tank:

The first few pics are some poor quality cell phone pics.

First I bought a tank off Craigslist. $75 for a 55 gallon tank, with hood and lights, 2 HOB filters (which didn't work), and an undergravel filter (which I'm not using). Brought the tank home and set it up. Here's a pic of the empty tank on my floor with some eggcrate inside:



Went down to the local landscaping/bedrock place and bought 150 pounds of Delaware river rock and cocoa beach cove rock for around $30 bucks. I know they're not the scientific names, but that's what they were called. Here's my rocks outside:



and a 50 pound bag of pool filter sand I bought for $8 bucks at a local pool supply store:



I found a good tank stand online and bought it for around $120. Finally brought the tank inside and set it up on the stand with the rock layout I wanted. Here's what I started with. This is the tank with a little sand, eggcrate, and rocks (no water yet):







So... I filled up the tank with water. And within minutes... noticed I had a leak. I freaked out, drained the tank completely, took all the rocks and sand out, brought the tank outside, and wondered what I should do.

The guy I bought the tank from said if there were any problems to bring it back and get my money back. But if I brought it back I'd have to give the hood and light back too, and I priced that in the pet store and it was around $80 - $90 bucks for just the hood and light by itself. I decided to sell the tank to a friend who wanted to use it for a turtle, and buy a new tank.

So finally got the new tank inside and set up. I bought an AC110 filter, Stealth 200W heater, Whisper air pump, tubing, air stones, check valves, thermometer, and a whole bunch of other stuff I needed. I decided I wasn't really happy with the layout and I was going to redo it (using a large lava rock that my dad had given me.) I've had everything running for over a week with six Red-Eyed Tetras cycling the tank. Here's some pics of the new tank layout:







Well now I'm waiting for my Ammonia and Nitrite levels to drop before getting some fish. I was wondering if anyone had some stocking advice based on my rock layout and set up. I'm not opposed to getting another filter down the road (even a canister filter) if I decide to maybe have the tank a little overstocked. But as of right now, what should I do?

I like Yellow Labs, as most people do, and they're cheap and readily available. I also like Demansonis but most people say you need to get a lot of them at once to disperse aggression. Are there other fish that have similar colorations but aren't as aggressive? I'll take any advice on how to stock the tank, the pictures should provide information on how much rock cover I have.

Thanks.
 

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:drooling: That looks great! So much better than before.
Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos (maingano) like the one in my avitar is a little less aggressive fish than demasoni with similar colors. I dunno how easy they are to find where you are. I see them all the time in mixed african tanks in places that sell fish near me but I've heard of people having trouble finding them.

Another fish that's pretty easy to find is albino socolofi. I think they would look great in your tank with yellow labs and maingano but the stocking is up to you. Have fun and congrats on a great looking tank :thumb: . Post pics after you get the fish. Can't wait to see it.
 

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I see you've met Dewdrop, our cyanheorhabdos spokeswoman! :thumb:

Actually, that's what I was going to recommend with the Yellow labs for this tank size, too.

The only thing I might add is that they are often marketed as "electric blue johanni"...Not to be confused with real johanni!

Or, another really nice blue (with Yellow labs) would be some quality Metriaclima callainos (Cobalt zebra) like the one in my avatar.

Or...Cynotilapia White Top Galireya...

Sub adult male:


Young male with other juveniles:


Female:


Adult (wild) male:


HTH

Kim
 

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I have seen a 55g tank (I think on this website) with yellow labs, and M. callainos… It was really a sharp looking combination…

Or

You may be interested in these guys…
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... hp?id=2605

Very similar to demasoni in color, but they get larger. And they are much more peaceful…

.
 

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Basinpup ! That was a nice tank. Love to see more pictures when u get some fish in it.

Darn cichlidaholic, that was a really nice fish that Cynotilapia.
If i ever find one i really would like to have some.
Can u tell if they go nicely with other fishes. Are they agressive??
 

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They are aggressive, especially the males, but not really any worse than any of the zebra variants we all have kept at one time or another. This past weekend, my dominant male bred with 3 females. That's great, but the subdominant male was feeling really left out, and beat two of the females (holding) almost to death. He couldn't take on his father, but he didn't hesitate to take on the girls.

I have mine in with a group of Ps. Msobo in a 4 foot tank. There are probably about 10-12 White Tops and 5 Msobos. It looks like I'm going to have to move the Msobos out in order to get them to breed...The White tops are ruling the tank, and causing alot of chaos. My female Msobos are more aggressive than the male, and the male is just too busy trying to stay out of the White tops way to get anything else done.

I have about 100 in various stages of grow out right now, with 3 holding females that average anywhere from 20-40 a clutch... :eek:

Kim
 

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Thanks for info. I really felt for that malawi. Real nice.
And they get a lot of fry i se.. :lol:
Almost like mye P. Acei Ngara. Last female left me with 96 fry. I almost fell off my chair..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the praise everyone. I'll definitely put some more pictures up when I get some fish in there.

Anyway today I took a visit to my LFS where I'm buying my Cichlids. The guy there was really helpful and took the time to show me a lot of different species and told me what fish would be compatible and so on. He recommended getting about 6 - 8 fish to start off with, adding about the same amount every 2 weeks or so up to about 25 - 30 fish total. He said overstocking was a good idea to disperse aggression. He really had some beautiful fish in there, and the owner really has a passion for keeping Cichlids. Luckily the prices aren't too bad, most Mbuna's are around $7 - $10 each. So this weekend I'm gonna take a trip back and get my first bunch of fish.

I'm thinking of getting about 6 - 7 different species, and 4 fish from each species (1 Male and 3 Females.) So right now I'll probably get 4 yellow labs and 4 of another fish (not sure yet, I'll decide this weekend.) This guy also does a lot of special orders so he says he can order pretty much any fish that he doesn't have in stock, which is nice.
 

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A 55 gallon tank should probably have no more than 20ish fish unless they are all very small.

You also should probably only have groups of 3, maybe 4 different species to have the highest likelihood for success.
 

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Laurel said:
A 55 gallon tank should probably have no more than 20ish fish unless they are all very small.

You also should probably only have groups of 3, maybe 4 different species to have the highest likelihood for success.
I agree.

Kim
 

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Start with the Yellow labs and then go for the more aggressive fish after like red zebras or blue cobalts or socolofi or fuelleborni , then demasoni and melanachromis species. Add just a few fish at a time so your ammonia levels don't spike from adding fish. You may have to change the tank setup to accommodate new arrivals as the fish towards the end of the list are NASTY!
 
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