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So yay, I got all my fishies a couple of weeks ago and they are doing well (pic attached, if I did it right).

I have a 75 gallon. The original plan was acei, labs, maingano and jalo reef. That changed a bit.

1) ended up with cyno zeb. lundo island instead of jalo reef since the jalos were not available
2) added 6 rusties a couple of days before ordering my online fish for peace of mind that the water was safe and ready. my original intent was to re-home them shortly after, but... I haven't yet

So right now I have:

6 juvenile acei luwala
6 juvenile rusties (I only got 6 because I didn't think I would be keeping them)
8 juvenile yellow labs
10 ~2+ inch maingano (ordered more, but had some DOA)
8 ~1.5 inch cynotilapia zebroides lundo island
6 synodontis multipunctatus

This is a lot of fish. There's no aggression yet and nitrates are fine with weekly 50% so I have some time, but I know I will need to make some changes.

Right now, all the cynotilapia are pretty dull except for one flashy guy. But, the only one that ever colors up lives under a rock. He hangs out in his cave all day, comes out to eat, and goes back. I know I just got these and they are young, but if they are too intimidated then perhaps I should pick them as the species to go? Would it make more sense to just re-home them now or wait a bit and see if anything changes?

I do have a currently cycling 20 (tall) set up for time out/fish separating/fry/quarantine/etc. and I was pondering putting the zebroides in there for a while to see if they are happier. I know it's not an ideal size for a group though. But maybe as an experiment I could tell if there's a big difference in behavior or coloration when they are away from the other fish? The rusties are absolutely gorgeous, way better than I expected, so if I end up with them instead that's fine with me. I am just not totally sure when to pull the trigger and if the zebroides have a chance to improve over time or if it's a what you see is what you get sort of thing.

Last question... at what point do I start paring down on everyone else? There are definitely at least 2 identifiable male maingano and I believe they are big enough to be vented. Should I start whittling down on stock pre-emptively or do you just wait until you start to notice issues and then separate them? Everyone else is tiny so I'll give them a few months.
 

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Juvenile cynotilapia will be drab...females will stay drab and males will color when they mature. Drab color is not an indication that they are unhappy.

Don't worry about removing males until you have aggression or poor color on males...until they cause trouble. Think in terms of a year from now if everyone is tiny now.
 
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