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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning to all!
I have been reading this forum for a few months now and finally feel like it is about time to make my presence known. I started by reading about a monster tank being built by a certain fishguy (who by the way is my hero) and have since learned that there are numerous ppl out there who share the same love, passion, and knowledge in dealing the all the wonderful and not so aspects of cichlid keeping.

First off let me apologize for this being a lengthy thread but I work 12am to 8am right now and have nothing but time to read this site, which I do and I love but I'm pretty sure my superiors may not love so much.
I, unfortunately like so many others, started with thinking "Hey there are fish, how hard can they be to keep?" Oh how ignorant I was. My fiance and I on Valentines Day of this year bought a tank for the living room of my apartment, a small 29 that is still in use(will post pics and specs of things later). I researched as I went along and tried to do the best I could. I think we managed to do fairly well, no incidents of my causing to date.* We did have a heater malfunction (thermo stuck while I was at work) killing off 4 fish or so, unfortunately it was her favorites that died. The ones that remained have never quite been the same, they eventually became energetic again eating and active but the dominant male lost interest in being dominant. Anywho...

We went to our local lfs and the guy said hey get these venustus they make great starter cichlids.... Well they are both males and one being the dominant male, an OB peacock, electric blue, common pleco, ruby red peacock, and what I believed to be a peacock hybrid of some type. He basically said add 12-15 fish to over crowd becauses these are mean fish and they need to be able to "get lost". So what do we do... following his lead we get more fish, a blood red parrot, red jewel cichlid, and 1 oscar fry (maybe a little older, wasn't quite an inch). I noticed the oscar being picked on immediately so I put him in a 10g I got from my brother til he got older. Well this is when the heater broke leaving only the venustus pair of males, the jewel and the parrot. Long story short we have the 2 venustus, 2 livingstonii (who I believe to also be males), the jewel, the parrot, 1 buffalo head (had two, one just died 2 days ago), the pleco, and two yellow labs (guess what... also believed to be male).

I believe they are just now started to hit 'puberty" , probably the cause of death on the buffalo head and now the doom of the parrot... our jewel does not like the fact there is another pink fish with her. Needless to say it's way past time to get them out of there. I just bought a 90g and a 55g from a guy and plan on setting one of them up at her place and one at my parents. Unfortunately I am getting deployed and need some fish sitters. I spend copious amounts of time ensuring the parameters are right, the tanks are clean, everyone has hiding spots, etc...
But I know they're arrangement is not good for them. I really don't want this to turn into a debate of the mixing of cichlids but know that my eventual goal before I leave are tanks specifically designed to the requirements of the fish.

I also now know about aggression, how to keep them in groups, proper filtration, and so forth.
I love my oscar the most, apptly named... you guessed it folks "O" for oscar :p
I will put him in the 55 with the pleco (probably about 5 inches now) and try to sort through the rest to get a suitable group for the 90. (Again dimensions will come later)

I've tried to cover alot on this first one. But I know I have left out a lot so ask away or give me input of any type... I have thick skin, but I know we messed up bad starting out.
I believe whole heartedly in being a DYI'er and one last word of advice... "never ever trust a fish salesman... trust a fish enthusiast"

Back to work....
Rick
 

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I think you know the answer. Sort out your priorities and keep fish from a less eclectic mix. While fish from very different places will do well together while young they do not mix well long term. Unless you very much know what you are mixing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I just wish I would of found this site before our inclination to go buy the tank and fish. I think I was lucky in the fact that we bought them all as juvi's. But they are either getting put in the 90 and matched to a lake specific tank or traded in to my new LFS for store credit, with a guy who honestly helps us. He has got us started in fixing this mess, along with you guys of course. :D
 

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So you have these and want advice on how to divide between the 29G and the 90G? Because the 55G is occupied by the oscar?

2 venustus
2 livingstonii
jewel
parrot
1 buffalo head
2 yellow labs

I think the venustus and livingstonii, being 10" fish would do better in a 72" tank so I'd trade them in for something else.

For the 29G I'd think about the jewel or the parrot of the buffalo head, but only one of them. Once you made a decision on which fish, you may be able to add more (don't know as much about these), but I don't think they would be happy together.

That leaves you with yellow labs for the 90G. From there you can build a mbuna tank or go with all-male haps and peacocks if you choose species that mature at 7" or less.

A mbuna tank with mixed gender groups might be a little easier if you will not always be there to coddle it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
DJRansome, yeah thats basically what I'm looking for. Although this is kind of off topic but do you think the oscar would be better suited for the 90 and 55 for the africans??

I'm glad you brought that up about not being there to coddle it. This is also off topic but like I said I'll be gone for around a year and a half leaving the fiance in charge. I know she wont have the time (shes in school) or she may forget some regular maintenance. I know africans are hardy fish by nature but ones that would be most able to put up with less than ideal water conditions for a few extra days or a week max. (I do a 50% in the 29g every week now)
Also I'm thinking of purchasing us a wet/dry with the hob but don't know if that would be easiest for her as oppose to running 3 hob's or 2 and a canister.

Also thought about ditching the pleco, he is a poop machine.
 

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The species article does say 48x18 is better for an oscar and the 55G would be fine for a couple of species of mbuna.

I like two canisters on all my bigger tanks.
 

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Yep Oscar in the 90 which you could still add a few smaller fish but not too small to be eaten. Cat fish, convict, etc. DJ summed it up pretty well, you can have a very nice mbuna tank with a 55. Venestus are one of my favourite fish but will be too big for a 55. Trade them in when you can for mbuna of your choice. If it's the military with whom your being deployed, your Oscar will be massive when you get back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep military it is. And I'm gonna hate missing all of that growth. He has already more than tripled in size in a few months. I have thought about O in the 90 with a pair of convicts (and pleco) but I'm afraid if they do breed it will overwhelm my fiance.

I'm still learning species so I will have to research some of the mbuna variety.

I really like my jewel, which I'm still trying to determine exact species (H. lilfalili I believe and no idea if male or female). I may try and get a pair for the 29g and leave with my brother.

But I do believe my two venustus are pairing up which will be a shame to let them go.
I'm getting rid of the n. venustus, n livingstonii, blood parrot, and the less dominant l. caeruleus

Still deciding on the l. caeruleus and the buffalo head.

Unfortunatly I may also not have a 55g and only keep the 90 and 29 going, since it would be less demanding on the people who don't quite share my fascination with them.

Also will be checking on a wet/dry this week for the 90
 
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