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Trying again:

The usual recommendation is a minimum length of 48" for the vast majority of Malawi. Since you have 48" on the diagonal you should have a pretty good selection to choose from, provided you stick with reasonably small species.

It sounds like you want mbuna. Since there are so many possibilities it would help if you narrow the field. Check the species profiles (Malawi mbuna) here, watch some YouTube videos, and come up with some species that appeal to you. Once you have a shortlist it will be easier for members here to give recommendations on possible stocking options, in the appropriate section. Tank setup will depend somewhat on what you wish to stock.
 

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DJRansome said:
Using the diagonal will not work unless you find the diagonal of a 48x12 and use that as your guideline.

It is a 36" tank...stock accordingly. Demasoni or Saulosi.
Looking at the diagonals, the 48 x 12 is only 1.1" longer than the 42 x 24, which is why I thought the Red Sea Max could probably be stocked similarly to a standard 55 gallon tank.

That being said, Demasoni/Saulosi have fabulous colour and may well be at the top of your list in any case :D .
 
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