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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there!

So I'm new here and to a Cichlid setup, was going to setup a Saltwater aquarium and decided to back out and revert to freshwater (so I have Aragonite substrate with dry rock in the tank). I have a few questions as I'm trying to plan out the best possible setup before executing! :)

Setup:
-55G Aquarium
-70G HOB Filter
-30G HOB Filter
-200W Heater
-42lbs Aragonite
-30lbs White Dry Rock
-8lbs Purple Life Rock (Can I use this or no since it's apparently painted with marine bacteria?)
Glass canopy

1. Aragonite + Dry Rock is fine right? I had no fish but will be emptying out the saltwater. How can I ensure there's as little salt left as possible while also killing off any saltwater bacteria? Just filling up my tank part way a few times with fresh water and emptying it (easier than taking out all the substrate and rock)? Hot water best or not necessarily?

2. I was leaning towards Mbunas just because they seem to stay smaller than other species and I'm not crazy about most Peacocks (some look cool) and Haps I hadn't looked into as much. I'm open to suggestions! I'd like a mix of colours to had a vibrancy to the tank if possible.

3. I would have liked to add some other fish but I know Cichlids aren't great with most. I was hearing either Rainbow Sharks, or Red Tail Sharks, or some sort of Synodontis Catfish might be good choices? If so, which is best?

4. Was debating on cycling with a few Giant Danios but I heard it's a 50/50 if the Cichlids later on when added will eat the Giant Danios or not, is that true?

5. I was looking for a good plant that the Cichlids are less likely to chomp on to help keep Nitrates down and add some green colour, is Anubias a good choice (why or why not) and/or is there any other plants I could try with or instead of?

6. As I said, open to suggestions if Haps are better or something else, but so far I was looking at Yellow Labs for Mbunas as they're a beautiful bright yellow, I was looking to add a blue fish and a red fish if possible (unless there's better colours?). For Blue I heard Yellow Tail Acei are good choices and they're nice, but are there nicer deeper/richer blue Cichlids I could do instead? I was looking at the "METRIACLIMA SP. BLUE DOLPHIN "MANDA"" that I heard are tame and stumbled across here: METRIACLIMA SP. BLUE DOLPHIN Thoughts? Red Zebras I considered but heard they can be pretty aggressive and may be a bad choice? Someone at a fish store suggested Dragon Blood Peacock to throw in there but then another fish store said bad idea. Again open to thoughts and suggestions!

7. For cycling, what would be the best method? I have Prime + Stability on hand.

8. How many Cichlids max for 55G and especially if I am able to have either Synodontis catfish and possibly Giant Danios?

9. Will having a mix of Males + Females be a problem if they end up pairing?

Worth Mentioning (My List/Notes of Cichlids I stumbled across so far that I heard are tame):
Maingano Cichlid (Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos) Electric Blue Colour
-Pseudotropheus sp. Acei or Yellow Tail Acei Blue in colour but less aggressive than other blue one
-Chindongo Saulosi Males Blue with Black Stripes & Females All Yellow that are apparently tamer
-Dolphin Manda Deep Blue and Black that are one of the most peaceful!
-Yellow Lab Cichlid (Labidochromis Caeruleus) Bright Yellow Colour
-Red Zebra Cichlid Deep Bright Orange With Hints of Red Colour (might fight with yellow labs)
-Rusty cichlid Orange and Blue with hints of Yellow Colour
-labidochromis perlmutt "Pearly" - Pearly White with yellow fin and black stripes colour*

I think that's it for now, sorry for the lengthy post! Hope I came to the right place haha
Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

55G is small but doable for some Malawi. Shoot for GPH of 8X to 10X hourly filtration. 42 pounds sounds like too much substrate, I like a one inch layer and much of the bottom will be covered with rocks.

1-I will leave it to others to advise on removing salt/marine organisms. I don't think in-tank rinsing will be sufficient.
2-Mixed gender mbuna can work.
3-A trio of Synodontis lucipinnis can work.
4-Cycle with ammonia...no fish. Danios will not work with mbuna in a 55G.
5-Mbuna are herbivores so consider no plants or plastic plants. Anubias are too slow growing to help with nitrates and accumulate algae, which eventually kills them.
6-Labs are a good choice. Acei are too big for a 55G. Metriaclima dolphin is probably too big as well and they have a rep for being skittish. Metriaclima estherae (red zebra) crossbreed with labs and are not red---they are orange. There is no true red mbuna. Dragon blood is a peacock, skip them with mbuna.
7-cycle with ammonia.
8-I like 3 species with 1m:4f of each in a 55G.
9-you are better off with males and females, but you want one male and many females for each species. They will spawn...just let the females spit the fry in the tank and the adults plus the Synodontis will prevent overpopulation naturally.

Many of the fish on your list at the end are too large or too aggressive for a 55G or they don't work with the yellow labs. Recommendation:
1m:4f Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow lab)
1m:4f Iodotropheus sprengerae (rusties)
1m:4f Cynotilapia zebroides Cobue (males have the intense blue bars you seek)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to Cichlid-forum!
Thanks!


55G is small but doable for some Malawi. Shoot for GPH of 8X to 10X hourly filtration. 42 pounds sounds like too much substrate, I like a one inch layer and much of the bottom will be covered with rocks.
I had heard 55G would be a comfortable minimum for Malawi Cichlids, is that not right then?


3-A trio of Synodontis lucipinnis can work.
If I did a trio of Synos, would your recommendation of 15 total Cichlids still apply?


4-Cycle with ammonia...no fish. Danios will not work with mbuna in a 55G.
I have Dr Tim's Ammonia, but will that sort of cycle take a very long time?


5-Mbuna are herbivores so consider no plants or plastic plants. Anubias are too slow growing to help with nitrates and accumulate algae, which eventually kills them.
Really? They're that useless? I had heard them recommended a lot, but I guess not?


6-Labs are a good choice. Acei are too big for a 55G. Metriaclima dolphin is probably too big as well and they have a rep for being skittish. Metriaclima estherae (red zebra) crossbreed with labs and are not red---they are orange. There is no true red mbuna. Dragon blood is a peacock, skip them with mbuna.
Don't most Cichlids of these species (Peacocks, Mbunas etc.) get around 6 inches? Why would that be too big?


8-I like 3 species with 1m:4f of each in a 55G.
Is 1:3 ratio a bad idea? And how would I even ensure the male to female ratio if they're harder to sex when younger?


Many of the fish on your list at the end are too large or too aggressive for a 55G or they don't work with the yellow labs. Recommendation:
1m:4f Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow lab)
1m:4f Iodotropheus sprengerae (rusties)
1m:4f Cynotilapia zebroides Cobue (males have the intense blue bars you seek)
I like the Yellow Labs a lot, the Rusties I'm not a fan of honestly haha, the Cynos seem interesting (not my fave but not bad either haha). Would any Peacocks be good with the Yellow Labs maybe?

Thanks Again! :)
 

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I had heard 55G would be a comfortable minimum for Malawi Cichlids, is that not right then? Comfortable minimum for certain species, yes.

If I did a trio of Synos, would your recommendation of 15 total Cichlids still apply?Yes

I have Dr Tim's Ammonia, but will that sort of cycle take a very long time?Allow six weeks. It would take just as long with fish, but then the fish would be harmed.

Really? They're that useless? I had heard them recommended a lot, but I guess not?For nitrate reduction you need a fast growing plant like vallisneria, not slow growing plants like anubias. I've had luck with them when using CO2 for algae control, but otherwise they seldom thrive in a mbuna tank.

Don't most Cichlids of these species (Peacocks, Mbunas etc.) get around 6 inches? Why would that be too big?Some peacocks, including hybrids can get larger, and acei can get larger. It is not just size, it is also aggression. The more aggressive species need more room to manage aggression.

Is 1:3 ratio a bad idea? And how would I even ensure the male to female ratio if they're harder to sex when younger?I have never had luck with quads...I would go 4 or more females for each male within a species. We generally buy 8 unsexed juveniles if we want to end up with 4 females and then rehome extra males.

I like the Yellow Labs a lot, the Rusties I'm not a fan of honestly haha, the Cynos seem interesting (not my fave but not bad either haha). Would any Peacocks be good with the Yellow Labs maybe?Peacocks have drab females and you can only have one species/tank because they crossbreed. If you don't mind the drab females you could do 1m:4f each of yellow labs, Aulonocara stuartgranti rubescens (reddish) and Placidochromis electra (light blue with black bars).
 
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