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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a new 38 gallon tank. I was initially looking into tropical fish when I went to a store and saw the African Cichlids section. I fell in love with the vibrant colors and have decided to make my tank for them!

I have a lot of questions so hopefully I can get them answered here:

1. What would you guys suggest as far as decor? Do they need real driftwood, rocks vs sand, etc.

2. I want the highlight fish of my tank to be gold severum cichlid. That being said, will that fish be good as a loner or better in a group?

3. I need suggestions for the gold cichlid's tank mates. I already have a few zebra danios that I plan to throw in the same tank since I read they are agile enough to outrun the cichlid as well as be a distraction for the cichlid to not chase other fish (I have 5 of them, they only get about 2 in). Another fish I was looking into were yellow labs?? Are these good fish to keep with gold severum? Also what are other suggestions to go along with these (I want an algae eater, I was looking into a zebra pleco and a bristlenose, but i do not know if they can go in this tank anymore, so let me know about that too.)

Basically I am ready to dive in and created a very vibrant tank, but I want to make sure I am doing it properly. Also the guy at the store told me to "overcrowd" my tank to make them less territorial. I completely understand what he meant, my question is exactly how many fish in a 38 gal is considered "overcrowded"?

Please help me out!

Thanks
 

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Hate to be the bearer of bad news but your tank is too small for severums and labs. I would look into something like rams.
 

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I agree. What are the dimensions of your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I told the worker at the store how big of a tank I had and he said that it was a good enough size but that I would have to be ready to do the maintenance.

It is 30 in long and 15 inches wide and 30 inches tall.
 

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IveyMorris said:
I told the worker at the store how big of a tank I had and he said that it was a good enough size but that I would have to be ready to do the maintenance.

It is 30 in long and 15 inches wide and 30 inches tall.
The store person is paid to makes sales and not necessarily to give good advice.
 

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I would not put cichlids like yellow labs in the 30" tank.

I don't know the severums...so someone else will have to chime in for that but I'm skeptical.
 

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I gotta agree with James & Dj, it's just way too small of a tank for cichlids unless you go with some sort of dwarf/shellies or something like that. You "might" be able to do an angel pair or pair of Y.labs, my Nephew has had a pair of labs in his 30" tank for a few years, but honestly even that is not ideal. If you really want to do cichlids then a 4ft tank is pretty much the bare minimum for them.

And a definite no on the severum, they get 7-8" (some even bigger) and a 75g-90 is bare minimum for even 1-2 of them.
 

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Agree with above. Severums get way too huge for a 38g bowfront tank. And mixing severums and yellow labs is also a no as the severum is South American and the yellow labs are African. Not compatible fish at all. Completely different temperaments, diets, water hardness and acidity needs. If you wanted these fish you'd need to pick between them, not have both, as it'd be literally impossible to create an environment that both would thrive in. But again, I wouldn't keep either one in a tank your size. Too small for even a single severum, too small to house a big enough group of yellow labs to control their aggression. As the others suggested, your tank is really only good for small community fish, or very small species of cichlids like rams and shell dwellers. And also like the others said, don't always take the word of the salesperson at your LFS. Some are very good/honest. Others are just going to tell you what you want to hear in order to sell you as many fish as possible. If this particular person advised keeping severums and yellow labs together in a 38g bowfront tank with other dither fish, then I'd say he definitely falls into the second category.
 

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Rusties are pretty small and would do fine. A little rusty colony of 6 or under would be great in that tank. Yellow labs would be fine, too, if there are just a few.
 
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