Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
https://picasaweb.google.com/100690154183622019532/2011020690CompleteTank#5570683406674410370

This tank is in my man cave and aside from a couple blue LED lights and approx 10 more cichlids, I think the tank is complete. So I'm gonna say 90%. My girlfriend thinks it needs more "color", so I'm thinking about throwing a couple bright colored accent rocks in at the bottom. It's been up & running since early December & completed it's first cycle in mid January. I recently added 9 more fish and after this mini-cycle I'll add a few more . I know the dimensions are not ideal for cichlids, but due to my lack of floor space & the sale price of the tank, a 56g column will suffice. I'm working around the lack of a footprint by using a lot of texas holey stone stacked up so there are plenty of hiding spaces and the little guys feel at home. So anyway, tell me what you think.
Sorry about the link, we couldn't figure out how to post a pic dirctly
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,129 Posts
The rockwork looks awesome :thumb:

Did you buy the fish as 'Mixed African Cichlids', or do you know what species they are? If you know what they are, you might want to post a list of what's in that tank, and people here could give you a rough estimate of what has a chance to survive in that tank until adulthood.

You would be surprised how many young mbuna you can keep in a 10G tank, but once they reach adulthood their behavior will change drastically. They will establish a hacking order, stake out territories, and attempt to breed. If at this stage you cannot provide them with enough space, they will kill each other very quickly.

How aggressive they will become depends a great deal on the species. There are some mbuna that can work in a 56G (eg P. saulosi, M. lanistacola, I. sprengerae), but most are unsuitable for such a small tank once they reach breeding size.

Best of luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
-Newforestrob, Thanks for posting that pic for me.
-fmueller, Thanks on the compliment for my rocks, I'm very proud of it. I bought a few of these guys out of the "mixed" tank. The rest I bought from aquascapes.com store front near my job. Here is a list ...
2 yellow labs
2 Aceii
2 Leleupi Cichlids
1 common pleco
1 Convict
2 O.B. Peacocks
3 Strawberry Peacocks
3 experertaus
2 M. auratus

I figure with all the rocks they would have lots of spaces to run and hide from each other. In the pic that's up a lot of the fish are being shy and hiding.
any other tips on making the tank awesome would be appreciated.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,129 Posts
Well, there is no easy way of saying this, but your stocking list would require a 6' 125G tank at a very minimum to house all those fish as adults, and even then they don't fit well together.

You seem to rely on two things to deal with aggression: lots of hiding spaces and overcrowding. Your fish are by no means fully grown, and most of the caves they have right now will be too small for them to fit in in just a few months. Overcrowding to deal with aggression works with some fish, for example mbuna. Those fish tend to be harem breeders and establish a hacking order in a large colony. As long as all the fish are equally matched, nobody gets unduly picked on, but they need to be of the same species or of species that are similar in temperament for that to work.

Overcrowding does not work for pair forming cichlids like leleupi and convicts. Luckily you have only one convict, but if the leleupi happen to form a pair, they will choose a breeding site and defend that against all intruders at the cost of their lifes. The territory a pair of leleupi typically defends around their spawning site is much larger than your tank, meaning the leleupi will give their utmost to kill all other fish in the tank.

Haplochromis experatus is an old trade name for Melanochromis joanjohnsonae. I am assuming by "3 experertaus" you mean three Melanochromis joanjohnsonae. These are very closely related to Melanochromis auratus, meaning they will readily interbreed. With five melanochromis in the tank, you have a very high chance of having both genders present. Once that mixed group of melanochromis starts producing hybrids, they will also try to kill everything else in the tank. Especially M. auratus are known to be amongst the most aggressive mbuna in the hobby. They need very large tanks, and large groups of conspecifics with a high ratio of females to males to be kept successfully.

I know little about peacocks, and won't go into that issue in any detail (this article does), but I understand that they need much larger tanks than yours. Peacocks are much more docile than mbuna, which is why they don't make good tank mates for them, especially not aggressive ones like M. auratus. I don't think the peacocks would make it for very long with the M. auratus in the same tank.

The yellow labs are very peaceful as far as mbuna are concerned, and probably best suited for your tank. However, their survival chances with the current tankmates are minimal. I have never personally kept acei, but I hear they fall in about the same category as the yellow labs.

In short, I don't want to offend you and it's your tank and fish to do with as you see fit, but the responsible thing to do would be to return all but the yellow labs and acei, and get some more of each of those species. That would be an appropriate stocking list for a tank your size, and one that you could sustain for months and even years. Your current stocking list will be completely different in six months, because if you don't do anything about it, the fish will!

Last but not least, I'll leave you with a picture of a fully grown common pleco, which I believe speaks for itself :wink:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input. You guys all seem pretty knowledgeable, however a friend of mine has housed a very similar collection of fish for over 2 years now in a 55 gallon with little trouble. On occasion a fish gets beat up & dies but for the most part his tank is awesome. Some of his cichlids are crazy big, and they seem to dart in & out of the rocks just fine. As far as the pleco, he's a worker so when he gets too big and disgusting, I'll return him to the store for a couple smaller ones. Don't get me wrong, if I had the space for a 6' aquarium I would def have one! Haha. If/when I loose fish, I will restock accordingly, but the stores don't really make it easy, they kinda just point and say all the cichlids are on that row and they all go together. Which apparently isn't true. Thanks for your input.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,129 Posts
I am not saying that you have to get a 6' tank. I realize that not everybody has the space to house one, but I have pointed out stocking options for a tank your size where it is not normal for a fish to get beat up and die. If you keep fish, you occasionally loose some, but I try to learn from my experiences. For example I would not re-stock the same fish, but think about how I can alter my stocking list to prevent this from happening in the future. One reason for these forums to exist is that you don't have to make all the mistakes yourself, but you can learn from other people's bad experiences. Guess how I know that M. auratus are super aggressive, or that a pair of leleupi needs a lot of space :wink:

With cichlids it is not difficult to create a setup where your fish breed regularly so that you can trade fry back to the store for food. Such a setup is much more rewarding to watch than one where you continuously have to take out dead fish restock from the store.

What you say about stores definitely applies to most chain stores. They have a very limited selection, and their staff is not knowledgeable enough to give any useful advice. However, there are also some specialized cichlid stores that have excellent stock and know their fish. Maybe our review section can help you find a decent store in your area. Alternatively, you could hook up with breeders in you area for example through a local fish club.

Best of luck

Frank

PS: Regarding the pleco, next time you buy one try to find a bristle nose pleco. They are also sometimes called bushy nose plecos or BN plecos. They will never outgrow your tank, and continue to be good cleaners for their entire life. If you are lucky enough to get a pair, they could easily breed in a tank your size, and the brood care is fascinating to watch with the male guarding the eggs while the females goes off on her merry as soon as the eggs are laid. Common plecos eat algae only when very young, and then turn into huge amounts of fish poop producing tank busters. In many parts of the world they have become an environmental problem, because aquarists dump them in local waterways, where they start to multiply in great numbers. What is your local store going to do with your pleco once it reaches the size of the one in the photo?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You are definitely right, I tried to contact my lfs and trade some of the other fish and just keep mbuna, but they actually got very nasty over the phone. So now I guess I'll just hold off & see how things go. Am I able to stock all different types of mbuna, or should I just stick to 1 or 2? And how many would you recommend in my tank? Any other tips would also be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,757 Posts
Full marks for taking the above advice. It is wise and well-intentioned.

To rehome some of your more potentially troublesome fish, I would start with an AD on the trading post of this site.

Likewise, you could contact some local fish clubs to see if they can help you out.

And ask for the manager at your LFS. See if they will take them back for free. If he/she gives you the same attitude after selling you inappropriate fish, never shop there again!

kevin
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,129 Posts
sublimehead1981 said:
Am I able to stock all different types of mbuna, or should I just stick to 1 or 2?
People starting out in the fish hobby tend to try and combine as many species of fish in a tank as possible. We've all been there! The assumption is, there more species are in my tank, the more interesting it will be to watch. That isn't really true. The most interesting tanks to watch in the long term are those where the fish display most of their natural behaviors. In Lake Malawi mbuna live in large groups (numbering in the hundreds) with a firm hacking order that they constantly reaffirm. They also breed in those groups. The larger a group of one species you can house, the more of those behaviors you will see. It is like having a life video feed from Lake Malawi coming directly into you home.

In my opinion for a tank your size Pseudotropheus saulosi would be perfect. They stay smaller than most mbuna, and are amongst the most peaceful species. At the same time, they are beautifully colored with bright yellow females and blue males, giving you a fantastic color contrast in one species. A group of 12-18 would be very cool to watch!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know it's been a couple minutes since this thread was last used, but I had a question in reference to the above statements about going with 1 species. I was doing a little browsing and was wondering if Demasoni (a dwarf mbuna i think) would be a suitable fish to stock. Since my tank is a 56 gallon column I was thinking a dwarf mbuna would work well. Also do you think I have too much rock work? All the other tanks I see on here have very little rock work. I thought that cichlids are rock dwelling fish? Just looking to make their habitat awesome for them, so anymore help would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,757 Posts
Demasoni are more aggressive and more difficult than saulosi but no bigger.

If you wanted to try a group of 12-15 as a single species tank I think it could work.

As for rocks, as long as your fish have room to swim and places to hide the amount comes down to personal preference.

Many parts of the lake look like this. Lots of rocks, but not really piles. Many dominant males will claim areas much larger than any tank you or I could fit in our houses:



kevin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
509 Posts
sublimehead1981 said:
You are definitely right, I tried to contact my lfs and trade some of the other fish and just keep mbuna, but they actually got very nasty over the phone. So now I guess I'll just hold off & see how things go. Am I able to stock all different types of mbuna, or should I just stick to 1 or 2? And how many would you recommend in my tank? Any other tips would also be appreciated.
Another option would be to sell the fish on craigslist. I did a similar thing as you when I was starting out. I bought an odd mix of fish that wasn't going to get along long term and I decided within a week to start over. I quickly found out no store would take back the stock they sold me. So I took video of the tank, posted it on youtube, then posted an ad on craigslist. The fish sold very quickly and I was able to start over and get the fish I wanted online.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
when stacking rocks against the glass walls on say 1 or 2 sides of the tank rather than in the middle, I notice that algae builds up on the glass which drives me nuts because I cant reach it with a scraper. is this algae deadly or harmful? and how often do most people change up the rocks in order to cut down on the dominant fishes aggression? So Demasoni would work? and what unique challenges would I be facing with them as opposed to the saulosi?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When you say "difficult", I'm wondering what you mean. I know that they are more difficult to sex, and that they females should always out number the males. I was also wondering how large they get when mature. I really dig their funky stripes and body types. Also, do you have any tips on determining the sex of these guys?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,757 Posts
sublimehead1981 said:
When you say "difficult", I'm wondering what you mean. I know that they are more difficult to sex, and that they females should always out number the males. I was also wondering how large they get when mature. I really dig their funky stripes and body types. Also, do you have any tips on determining the sex of these guys?
Demasoni are more difficult than saulosi by the simple virtue of their conspecific aggression.

Whereas saulosi will fight, demasoni seem to fight more often over greater areas with deadlier results.

You hear about a lot more people coming home to dead demasoni than dead saulosi.

Size-wise they max out about the same: 3.5" for males, a little smaller for females.

kevin
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,129 Posts
sublimehead1981 said:
when stacking rocks against the glass walls on say 1 or 2 sides of the tank rather than in the middle, I notice that algae builds up on the glass which drives me nuts because I cant reach it with a scraper. is this algae deadly or harmful? and how often do most people change up the rocks in order to cut down on the dominant fishes aggression?
In one of my tanks I have one piece of side glass that I have never cleaned in about 7 years of having the tank. I have also never cleaned or re-arranged the rocks. Algae are only a problem if you think they are a problem :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good to know fmueller, & ridley, thanks for the tips. Now my final question is in regards to determining the sex of demasoni. Any tips on that?
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top