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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, everyone. Great site! :thumb:

I recently bought a 55 gallon already established fish tank with what I was told/believe to be a Hongi breeding pair, 2 of their fry of a decent size, and 2 little dinky fry I catch glimpses of... a Salvini (Central American Cichlid- I'll go over to the SA threads to ask about him though), a rather large Pleco, and a smaller 'albino' (or maybe chocolate albino?) pleco.

The sand on the bottom posed a problem for water clarity and the tank stayed cloudy for a few days. We replaced our filter though and it's cleared up to this point pictured below. I went to the fish stores and asked what I needed to maintain the water parameters these fish required, but I was told that only Amquel+ was necessary (and I think they only told me about that because they didn't think I knew to dechlorinate etc LOL) I also bought a product called Cichlid Essential which I was told I did not need because it was an established tank and we moved it with water in it (NO FUN!) Is there anything else these guys might need?

This is what the tank looks like, I know forums generally love pictures!





Regarding my Hongi though (which is why this is posted here) Daddy Hongi has been changing colors a lot and really putting the moves on Mom (I think) He wiggles on her and tries to push her into more private quarters- or so it appears. I am really curious what I'm seeing and also what I should be looking for if they are breeding. They've been successful in the past obviously, but I spend so much time staring at them I'd like to know what I'm seeing.



While I'm posting pics...





 

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Welcome to CF!

I'm a bit concerned over you moving the tank with water in it, so you want to be really, really watchfull for leaks. (They should never be moved with anything in them unless you have full support to the entire bottom of the tank while moving them...) Doing this can weaken the structure of the tank, and problems don't always arise immediately after the move.

You need to decide what you want from this tank.

The salvini needs to go, if you're interested in keeping Malawi cichlids. Mbuna (the hongi) aren't pairing fish, so you would also want to add more females, before the male kills the single female - they are harem breeders.

What do you want from the tank?

Alot of colour?

Breeding?

If you want alot of colour and you want to go with Malawi cichlids, remove the hongi female and build an all male tank.

If you're interested in breeding (again, with the Malawi cichlids) I would add more female hongi and choose 1 or two other species for the tank and build breeding groups of those.

You need to monitor the water closely if you replaced the filter media. It looks like you might have released alot of debris into the water from the sand, and with new media you could go through a small cycle with the tank. Did you use all the old water? Did you replace the entire filter, or just the media?

Let's get the current water parameters on the tank before adding anything else at all...

And you might want to get rid of the larger pleco, if it's a common pleco, they can grow very big and basically just add alot more waste to the tank than most people want. (Bristlenose plecos stay small, and are great algae control.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The filter they gave me with the tank was not the one that had been running on it. They kept that one and gave me a different one. It died a loud agonizing death this weekend and we replaced the whole thing.

The tank came with all the fish and has been running for a few years... the guy I got it from had moved it the way we did when he moved, but we won't move it like that again if we can help it... we just drained it down far enough that two men could carry it and filled buckets with water and fish. I think less than half the water was kept though. It was gross for a few days and has never been clearer than it is in these pictures with the new filter... which drives me nuts. I considered taking out the sand, but all the cichlids move the sand a lot with their mouths (even the fry lol) and seem to like making their home their own.

The local fish store would take the pleco if I needed them to, but I thought I still had some time with him since it's a 55 gallon and I do vacuum the gravel every week. My boyfriend would be bummed if I got rid of his Salvini. Why does it have to go? Could it be happy in say a 30 gallon if I set him up his own little tank? Where would I find more Hongi, and do they have to be the same size as the ones I have?

I have testing supplies and can monitor the water, but I'm not sure what levels I'm supposed to be at. Everyone seems to be doing well, and the guy at the fish store said I didn't need anything other than dechlorinator and possibly baking soda... but that's why I came here, because I can't always get a straight answer at the fish stores and I don't know enough about it yet.
 

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The salvini has different needs than the other fish you are keeping. I wouldn't put a potentially 7 inch fish in a 30G, but I suppose if that's all you have in the tank, it would be better than leaving him in with the Malawi cichlids.

You need to be monitoring ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, at the very least. Post back when you get the readings and we'll try to help you out. I'm just afraid moving it the way you did and adding new filtration might mean some problems, and you can do long term damage to the fish if you don't stay on top of it.

Post an ad in the trading post once you decide what species you want (and for more hongi). Or, check out our review section for retailers in your area.

If you want to go with breeding groups, try to stay away from any two species that look overly similar, and I wouldn't go with two species from the same genus to reduce risks of crossbreeding.

Once you focus on some species that you're interested in or can find easily, post back and everyone will help you out!

Personally, I think I'd be inclined to let the tank sit as is for awhile, just to make sure you're not going to have problems from the move (leaks or structural damage) and to let the bacteria reestablish in the new filter.
 

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Just to reinforce - I've found cichlidaholic to be one of the most knowledgeable people I've ever seen on a forum regarding mbuna.

There are times when what we want in a fishtank isn't necessarily what the fish want or will be best for them, so that can be hard. You might be able to get away with the Salvini in a 30g for a few months, but remember that the guy needs a bit of room to roam around, so once he grows up, you might want to find him a better home.

I think you will enjoy breeding groups more than all-male tanks. Generally, as long as you follow the advice of experienced cichlid-keepers, keeping breeding groups is much easier than all-male tanks, as the latter require quite a bit of trial and error, adding and removing, etc., until the balance of the tank is set.

You could definitely have a bit of color in that tank with 3 breeding groups; while Hongi's are somewhat less colorful as females, many species are equally colorful for males and females, such as Metriaclima estherae, Pseudotropheus socolofi, Pseudotropheus saulosi (the males are electric blue with black stripes, the females bright yellow), all of which will work fine with your Hongi. 1m/3-5f is usually the best ratio, and a fair bit of rock work usually helps to keep things calm.

Good luck, and it's great that you're asking for help already! That's definitely the best way to go with these guys.
 
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