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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of cycling a standard 55G tank with the intention of housing african cichlids. Will attach a picture in next post. I have a bunch of cichlid stone/caves, a sunken ship (must have from kids), and recently installed a couple cichlid friendly plants. Tank should be done cycling in a week or so.

This is where my head starts to spin. So many fish choices. Initially I was looking at a Peacock and Hap tank ... but then as I read about them more, wondering if I would be better off going with mbuna tank. I educated myself that Peacock/Haps dont really care for the caves/rocks (which was a selling point with kids). I dont plan on having time-out tanks and such to deal with overly aggressive fish. Want a cool mix of fish that my kids can enjoy - they want lots of colors/cool fish. The female peacocks at LFS was a let down for them. The other factor that worries me about the Peacock/Haps is their eventual size and having just 55g tank. Would smaller mbuna be better for size and be more wow-factor colorful (male and female)?

Also thinking about getting a synodontis catfish to be added to the mix.

Any advice? I have read through the cookie-cutter articles and using those to guide my search - just looking for any additional advice/recommendations.

Thanks in advance
 

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You would usually want more rocks/caves for mbuna. Maybe try some peaceful ones like 1m:6f yellow labs and 1m:6f Cynotilapia sp. hara?

I agree best to skip all male in a 55G and if you don't like the silver/brown females of haps and peacocks, then mixed gender is out for them as well.

If you get synodontis...get five. My son's favorite. A group of Synodontis lucipinnis would do well. They are also sold as dwarf petricola, even though they are not petricola.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How about the following stock? Was shooting for somewhere around 15 fish.

4x (1m/3f) - Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei"
4x (1m/3f) - Labidochromis caeruleus
4x (1m/3f) - Cynotilapia zebroides
3x Synodontis Petricola

Any other suggestions? Mix? Quantities?
 

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Skip the acei...too large for a 55G. Do 1m:4f of each group...I have never had luck with quads. You could do 1m:4f Iodotropheus sprengerae instead. Or socolofi. Or Metriaclima callainos.

You will not be able to get Petricola. If someone is selling Petricola, buyer beware. Get a close up picture of the pore on the side of their heads and post on Planet Catfish for confirmation before making the purchase. Synodontis that are social like the ones from Lake Tanganyika do better in groups of 5-7. So 5 Synodontis lucipinnis. Don't count them in the 15 cichlids for a 55G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like the other options you mentioned.

I didn't realize that you don't count the Synodontis in the count!

So just to confirm, you are saying I could have 15 mbuna (3 sets of 1m/4f) plus 5 Synodontis?
 

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Yes, for the species we have been discussing 1m:4f. Other species could have a different ideal ratio or not work in a 55G (like the acei).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Where would I go to see that the acei would be to big? It seems to show the same max size as the other mbuna in the profiles.

Also how would you suggest I go about adding all these fish? Would it be best to add one group at a time or all at once? Mbuna first or Synodontis first?
 

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IncrdblHulk7 said:
Where would I go to see that the acei would be to big?
My female Acei, 4 years after purchase:
Measured at 7 1/2"

Weighed at 142 grams

Bear in mind your typical large full grown mbuna at 5" would usually be around a 40 gram fish. So really over 3X the size of most 'large' mbuna.
Of coarse not all will get this size. Then, on the other hand, quite conceivable that some males will get larger then my female. I would generally expect acei to get at least 6" (or larger).
A 55 gal. would be pretty packed with a group of these, as generally you need at least a dozen or more mbuna all together to have a functioning community.
 

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I would cycle with ammonia and add all the fish at once.
 

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Hey, this is similar to the tank I started with about 4 years ago. Started with the 3 species 15 fish. I had 1m/4f of rusties, yellow lab, and acei. I completely agree the acei get too big for a 55. I got a 135 last year and had to move them. The male is touching 7 inches and very territorial. He ended up stressing out a lot of my fish. The yellow labs and rusties that were already mentioned are perfect for a 55 with another mbuna you end up choosing. I also got 6 synodintis lucipinnis and they ended up being one of my favorite. Definitely get at least 5. With these guys the more the merrier, they are fun to watch, very active in groups, and they also do a good job at keeping the population under control. Good luck with everything and you are definitely on the right track!
 

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Hi

I have nearly finished stocking my 55g. Mine is all rock with caves and choral sand substrate. I have 5 yellow labs and 9 soon to be 12 Demasoni. It's a wonderful colour mix as the labs are bright yellow and the demasoni are a brilliant neon blue and black stripe. Be warned though the demos are very agggresive and will fight which is why you need 10 plus fish and try to get rid of the males and leave only the Alpha in the pack. Demos get to about 4 inches and the labs are a similar size too. Here is a pic
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So been a couple of months. Tank is up and running and fish are doing well. So well, that there are lots of babies. And also lots of algae.

55G
4x Adult Yellow Lab
4x Adult Electric Blue Johanni
4x Adult Albino ... forget the name
6x Synodontis lucipinnis

2x Johanni babies
1x Yellow lab baby

SO with th current babies, that brings things to the 15 count for the cichlids that was recommended in posts above. So I guess I am ok. Anything beyond this and I will have to start giving away fish.

So been struggling keeping up with the algae that grows on glass and ornaments. I scrub everything down with the weekly water changes, but wondering if I should introduce a algae eater to help keep up with things? I see ancistrus recommended to be paired with cichlids. Would that work OR does tank have too much stuff going on already?

Thanks
 

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Better to reduce the lights and feed less to control algae. You will always have to scrape glass weekly because even with a bristlenose they leave clean bite marks and algae in between. The mbuna do just as good a job alone IME.

You probably don't want to give away fish since you are not sure what they are.
 

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Do the females of the johanni stay yellow when they are adults, or are only the juveniles yellow?

Johannii females stay yellow. Cyaneorhabdos (a.k.a. Maingano) females turn blue like the males as adults.
 
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