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New to keeping cichlids, advice on what to keep

2958 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  DJRansome
Hi everyone,
i have kept a communal tropical fish tank for 7 years and fancied a change, i now have an empty tank, with a custom 3D background being made with hidy-holes and caves in it.

My tank is 126 litres (28 UK Gallons) or (33.3 U.S Gallons)

Size dimensions:

80cm wide X 45cm Tall X 35cm deep

Or ( 31.5 inches wide X 17.7 inches Tall X 13.8 inches deep )


Fluval 3 Plus

Can anyone give me a few sujestions on what i can keep?? Colours of fish preferably Yellow fish and Blue fish Mixed

So all combinations with quantities for my tank and setup welcome

Thanks Ryan
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Maybe looking towards keeping Mbuna
I think the most common stocking for that size take is Pseudotropheus demasoni and Labidochromis caeruleus.

I would put at least 12, but not more than 15 demasoni
And 6 of the yellow Labido’s

It makes for a nice yellow and blue contrast… Below are some links… ... php?id=849 ... php?id=713

Good Luck…
It's a little on the small side for 15 demasoni, but you might pull off 10 of them (no less) if you get really lucky with your male/female ratio.

I would go with a trio of yellow labs rather than 6...

Or, you could go with 5 Yellow labs and 1 demasoni!

Or, 3 Yellow labs and one nice blue male peacock, such as the BiColour 500.

Thanks for both replys, very helpful, keep them coming :D

What out of these can be mixed and how many as they are readily availavble for me:
(Ones with the :D next to them i really like so advice on these)

Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrtocara moorii)
Labidochromis Hongi
Cyphotilapia Frontosa
Pseudotropheus Demasoni :D
Melanochromis Maingano
Aulonocara Ngara
Aulonocara Baenghae
Labidochromis Caeruleus :D
Pseudotropheus sp. Crabro
Pseudotropheus sp. msobo :D
Pseudotropheus Kingsizei
Pseudotropheus Flavus
Melanochromis Paralellus
Melanochromis Johanni :D
Haplochromis Venustus
Haplochromis Linni
Melanochromis Auratus
Lamprologus Leleupi
Lamprologus Ocellatus :D
Tropheus Duboisi
Cyrtocara Elektra

Thanks everyone for helping
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Another possibility is a P. saulosi species tank with

1 male and 3 to 4 females

Whatever you decide, if you go with Mbuna, you’re going to need lots of hiding spots.
Thanks got plenty of hiding spots but a few more wont hurt :D
You are very limited as to what species you can keep in that size tank. These fish are highly aggressive and very territorial, and the options we've listed so far are about the only ones you have as far as cichlids from Lake Malawi go...

The only reason we recommend as many demasoni as we do is because they are dwarf mbuna, and must be kept in larger groups to control and disperse aggression. This doesn't mean that you can substitute 10 other species for the demasoni in a tank!

You'd need a minimum 4 ft tank for most of the species listed, and would have to be very careful choosing stock from that list for even that tank size.

:eek: oooo dear

see this is why i asked the question as i havn't got a clue on the speicies side of things

so possiblities are:

10 Pseudotropheus demasoni with 3 yellow labs????


Pseudotropheus saulosi ( 1 male with 3 to 4 females)
^^^^^^^can these be mixed with Pseudotropheus sp. msobo as thats what is pictured together in the speices photo????


"You are very limited as to what species you can keep in that size tank. These fish are highly aggressive and very territorial, and the options we've listed so far are about the only ones you have as far as cichlids from Lake Malawi go..."

So what could be my options from the other lakes/places??

Thanks for helping :thumb:
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If you did Lamprologus ocellatus, you could put some leleupi in probably as well, providing you made 2 separate territories. I'd post about this in the Tanganyika forum(as that's the lake those fish come from) and they'll be able to tell you how much of what you can put in. A tank that small would really be much better off with a smaller Tanganyika setup IMO. Check out my 29 gallon cube tank in my "tanks" link. :)
If you go with saulosi, those are the only fish you would need in that tank size. Ps. Msobo females are wicked aggressive, and wouldn't work at all in a tank that size, even if kept as single species.

There are several species from Lake Tanganyika that would be suitable, you won't get the colour you are looking for (blue and yellow), though. They are very interesting fish - beautiful - but not as colourful. Take a look in the profile listing at N. brichardi and some of the shell dwellers.

I would make it a species tank.

Pseudotropheus Saulosi is nice, the females are yellow and the males turn blue with black stripes.

I like the Msobo Deep "Magunga" better, though. The females are a brighter yellow/orange, and the males are black/blue hue and really cool looking.

Either one would work as a species tank.
gaqua said:
Either one would work as a species tank.
Not in a 33g tank...
gaqua said:
Either one would work as a species tank.
Not in a 33g tank...
That is correct. I would hate to see what my Msobos would do to each other if I confined them to anything less than a 55G tank.

A species only tank Ps. Saulosi will be perfect.

One of the nicest tanks i have ever seen is johnlabbe's species only tank.

I had to have a species only tank myself. :thumb:

Here is a pic for ya, look on the left side for Saulosi social colony. ... ner&u=8112

It's not mine it's John's, ill post pics another time of my own :)
:popcorn: oooo very nice tank

isn't a bit over crouded tho?

found a new stockist ... p?store=54

but still unsure on what to keep :-?

Any more ideas that are available on this stockist please tell me with quantities

Thanks everyone
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personally i think mbuna such as demasoni and salousi can be done in a tank that size but its not really givving them a good replica of their natural habitat...

:fish: Lamprologus Ocellatus (or other shelldwellers)in my opinion would be a great choice as your tank size is plenty to observe their fascinating behavior etc.
+ you could add a pair of rockdwellers like julies or comps/calvus...
Although it has been done, I would not do any mbuna in a 30" tank. I had mine in a 36" tank and felt it was too small. I agree with aaxxeell, I would do Tanganyikan shellies and a pair of black calvus.
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