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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi There,

I recently moved so it's a great time to setup a new Aquarium. The aquarium is approximately 400+ liters + a sump of 100+ liters so a total volume of around 550 liters (145 gal). I've got some experience with the common fish in the hobby but this is the first time I want to set up an African Cichlid aquarium. I'm interested in the Mbuna's and did some research in their behaviour and living environments. But research kan only bring you so far. I've already stacked some rock (200kg) in the aquarium with lots of caves and hiding area for the fish.

I already picked some fish I would like to keep and from what I've learned they should be compatible with each other (I know it depends from fish to fish so observation will tell eventually), am I right?
- Cynotilapia Afra Jalo or Cynotilapia Afra Gallireya Reef (Preferred but more expensive)
- Pseudotropheus Flavus
- Melanochromis sp Maingano Cyaneorhabdos
- Labidochromis Chisumulae
- Synodontis Multipunctatu - Birth control

I would like to know what the best ratio (m/f) is for these fish, I've read mixed comments about this varying from 1m/2f to 1m/4f. Also I would like to know if it's possible to keep multiple males of each species. I can order the fish directly from the supplier and I'm not sure in what quantities I should buy them. I could ask for the right male to female ratio if they can be sexed but I'm not sure at what size they can? At first I was thinking to just buy 10 of each to be sure I ended up with te correct ratio ( after DOA's etc).

I was told that the Synodontis Multipunctatu would help with birth control but how far will this go? Will this eliminate all possible breeding activity or will this just prevent the majority and let some fish breed? How often do Mbuna breed actually?

And how will they prevent breeding? From what I read they will eat the eggs of the Mbuna and lay their own in the same spot. The female Mbuna will breed them in their mouth like/with their own. The eggs of the Synodontis Multipunctatu will come out a couple of days/weeks earlier and eat the remaining Mbuna eggs/new borns. Will the Synodontis Multipunctatu do this every time a female Mbuna spawns their eggs? And if they do won't there be an overstock in Synodontis Multipunctatu as there isn't a "natural predator"?

This post is way longer then I was hoping for but I would rater be over informed than a recipe to disaster.
Thanks in advanced,
- Stefan
 

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How long is the tank? Length is more important than gallons.

Don't forget all the adults will eat the fry when they are spit, so survivors are rare.

The synodontis mostly control fry by eating them when they are spit. Although Synodontis are able to multiply in the tank, this is fairly rare and if you are lucky enough to get too many, they sell well.

I would choose one blue barred fish. So either the chisumulae or cynotilapia but not both. Note that females are drab in the species you have chosen except for maingano. Maingano would be 1m:7f and 1m:4f for the rest. With multiple males you may have a range of experences from tolerance but only one coloring up to aggression and illness. This happens after 6-12 months.

You should not have any DOA's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The tank is +- 100 cm (39") long.

So the Synodontis is nice to have but won't be necessary because the Mbuna will eat (mostly) all fry them selfs?

Do you have some suggestions for fish where the female is more colourful? I would like to have mostly blue coloured fish but I'm open to suggestions. I also would like to know how many fish I could keep in my aquarium.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by:
With multiple males you may have a range of experences from tolerance but only one coloring up to aggression and illness. This happens after 6-12 months.
Thanks!
 

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I can attest to fry not making it past either the mbuna or Synodontis. I haven't seen which is doing most of the eating when a female spits the fry but none have been lucky enough to make it in my tank, so far, and I have a good deal of rockwork and hiding spots for them.

If you were thinking of getting Synodontis, regardless of who does most of the fry maintenance, I would still get them. They are fun to watch. I only have two right now and hear they are more fun to watch in groups of 4 to 5.
 

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The tank is 145 gallons but only 39" long? Is it a corner or bowfront tank?

At 145 gallons I assumed your tank was at least 72" long.

With 39" you are limited on species. 48" is the minimum for lots of mbuna options.

If 39" is true I would do one species with 1m:4f of each. Skip the maingano and chisumulae and Synodontis multipunctatus.

I am hoping that you will reply that the 39" is a mistake. :?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@morrismorris, thanks for your reply. I'll do some more research to Synodontis but it must be a lovely fish!

I am hoping that you will reply that the 39" is a mistake.
You're right the measurements weren't correct, hereby the correct measurements:
Width: 120cm (47.24")
Height: 70cm (27.56")
Depth: 50cm (19.69")
420.0 liters, 110.8 U.S.
 

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OK stock it like a 75G since it has the same footprint.

Four species and the ones you have are OK but I would choose one blue barred fish.

The Cynotilapia sp. hara has attractive females as do the Maingano.

I would stick with 1 male per species. Aggression is minimized and color is maximized. But since you will likely buy unsexed juveniles, you can see how it goes. With multiple males, extras will be rejected (they will lurk under the surface or behind heaters or filter intakes). That is when you remove the extras before they get sick. Or the 2nd in command will not color up. Or none of them will color up well. That is the second scenario when removing an extra male will allow the dominant male to color up.

Fishkeepers think this is not happening to them because the fish seem happy for months. IME this starts happening after 8 months when the fish start spawning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, I really appreciate your help.

Do you mean 4 Mbuna + Synodontis or including?

If so, Could I replace the white one of these?
Labidochromis Perlmutt - Possible to similar to the Pseudotropheus Flavus?
Labeotropheus Trewavasae chilumba - Possible issue with aggression?

Do you have some other recommendations that fit this list?

I'm not sure at what size Mbuna can be sexed but I can buy them at around 1 inch. So I'm pretty sure you can't at this size, right? What is the best quantity to buy to end up with the right ratio? I was thinking 10 of each
 

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Replace the chisumulae with one of those? They could work. 1m:7f on the Labeotropheus.

Four species plus the Synodontis can work.

Since females are 50/50 maybe 14 of the ones where you need 7 females.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, sorry forgot to add the name :D

So the stocking would be:
- Cynotilapia Afra Jalo or Cynotilapia Afra Gallireya Reef 1m/4f (buy 10)
- Pseudotropheus Flavus 1m/4f (buy 10)
- Melanochromis sp Maingano Cyaneorhabdos 1m/7f (buy 14)
- Labidochromis Perlmutt 1m/4f (buy 10)
- Synodontis Multipunctatu 5 - 6? or would 3 be enough? does male to female ratio also apply to them?
 

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m:f on Synodontis is not usually important. You want at least 5 of them. Lower numbers tend to hide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@DJRansome: I would like to thank you again for helping me out!

I picked up my fish last Saturday and they do great. Unfortunately one flavus died after a couple of hours, not sure why but I guess because of stress. The rest is doing fine. The Gallireya Reef weren't available yet and will be delivered Friday next week. Can this be a problem as the rest already has been established en picked their territory?

Some Perlmutt Higga are already coloring up nicely but they are a bit bigger than the rest. One of them was a little bully and caching some (I guess) female but after a big waterchange yesterday he no longer is the dominate male. So far I can tell there are 3 male Perlmutt Higga's and possibly one or 2 more (those 2 are a little smaller). The other fish are not colored up yet so it's hard to tell.

It's funny to watch that they actually have a sleep pattern, When the lights are on they are active as **** swimming all over the place but at night they crawl back in there caves and go to "sleep". Sometimes at night I try to take a peek at them but they are well hidden and the tank looks quite empty. They are aggressive eaters and eat quite a bit in matter of minutes. I feed them Repashy Soilent Green and they seem to love it, all fish are able to take their share.

I'm only able to feed them twice a day (morning and evening) is this enough? Repashy is gel based and stays in one piece for 48 hours so possible I can add a bit more so they can eat all day but from what I read the "can't stop eating" and will over feed themselves. Is this true or can I, if needed, add more food for them?
 

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I only feed fry more than 1X daily...I would not leave food in the tank. Fry are less than one inch including tail.
 
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