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Hi. I have a 120cm by 40cm by 50cm tank.

I want to have a pair of buffalo heads and a pair of Thomasi.

Someone mentioned starting with 6 of each to get a pair. Do cichlids pair up when they are still quite small?

Also, with a new tank freshly cycled and not very mature, would you do one group to get a pair at a time.

I've also thought of a small group of ditherer fish in the form of harlequin rasbora and a few checker barbs. Would these go into the tank first, being perhaps tougher and more hardy? Better able to flourish in a less mature tank?

Any advice you have would be very welcome.

Thanks,
Dom :D
 

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I would not put any cichlids in until the cycle is done,how are you cycling it?cichlids are hardy fish but cant take any ammonia or nitrates.
 

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The real problem is that those two species aren't very compatible. Buffalo Heads are a riverine fish that need a current in their tank, while Dwarf Jewels are from shallow, quiet waters. Buying 6 young and letting them pair off on their own is a time-tested technique for getting the most compatible pair without a great deal of cost. They will pair up when they are sexually mature, or soon after, but not as juveniles. Also, IME the Steatocranus will not pair up the first time without a significant current running in the tank. At the very least, it makes them more anxious to breed. Oddly, once they had spawned the first time, the current could be greatly reduced and they still continued spawning.

The riverine fish tend to be more sensitive to pollutants, while the other is fairly tolerant of significant nitrate levels. Is the tank planted? The Buffalo Heads like to excavate, and will uproot plants. The thomasi like a planted tank, dig smaller pits that don't disturb the plants.

I would be very hesitant to try that combination of species.
 

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Mr Chromedome said:
The real problem is that those two species aren't very compatible. Buffalo Heads are a riverine fish that need a current in their tank, while Dwarf Jewels are from shallow, quiet waters. Buying 6 young and letting them pair off on their own is a time-tested technique for getting the most compatible pair without a great deal of cost. They will pair up when they are sexually mature, or soon after, but not as juveniles. Also, IME the Steatocranus will not pair up the first time without a significant current running in the tank. At the very least, it makes them more anxious to breed. Oddly, once they had spawned the first time, the current could be greatly reduced and they still continued spawning.

The riverine fish tend to be more sensitive to pollutants, while the other is fairly tolerant of significant nitrate levels. Is the tank planted? The Buffalo Heads like to excavate, and will uproot plants. The thomasi like a planted tank, dig smaller pits that don't disturb the plants.

I would be very hesitant to try that combination of species.
In my opinion, the fish will be fine together. The difference in behavior may make them more suitable to be tankmates - both may leave each other alone because they are not competing for the same space, as would, say, two species of riverine fish.

In a write-up about Steatocranus tinanti, Mary Bailey explains how her riverine fish spent most of the time in the calm waters. Maybe this is opposite what you experience. It is not surprising to find that cichlids like these are built to withstand the fast current, but don't actually spend their time taking the current directly to the face :) I imagine the part about needing cleaner water is true, but that should be the standard for most aquarium fish anyways.
 
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