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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have any of you kept dwarf cichlids in a large aquarium? I've got an all male Malawi Hap / Peacock tank that is really starting to get dull. The fish are beautiful, and they are territorial, but after a while a male only tank starts losing its appeal. The behavior isn't all that natural without females, and the aggression is tiring.

In my office 29 gallon, I have a pair of P. Taeniatus Moliwe that has started breeding. The interaction between the pair is fascinating, and watching them care for the fry is really entertaining. (Especially when one of my blue rams in the tank gets close to the mama guarding the fry and the male Moliwe comes in to defend them.)

I'm tempted to turn my all male 6ft 125 gallon into a planted dwarf cichlid tank. I'd throw in a handful of these Moliwe (I've captured a handful of their fry and I'm raising them as a start...). I'd also like to have some blue rams, and possibly a third species. (anyone have any recommendations?)

I could fill the top water column with some tetras and danios and then throw in a few low aggression bottom feeders. I think that would be an impressive tank. What do you all think?
 

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I love the idea of having small cichlids in a big tank. It gives them a chance to explore a mini 'environment' instead of a glass cage and, depending on the owner, could be much more enjoyable to watch. In a planted tank with decently peaceful cichlids you could try otos for your bottom feeder, and I always love a school of cardinal tetras to fill in extra space. I would add a few keyhole cichlids as the third cichlid species, although I'm not sure what the temperment of your P. Taeniatus Moliwe is. I imagine if rams can live with them keyholes will be fine.
 

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Small fish in a big tank is AWESOME!!

the pair of Sajicas in my 125gal are constantly drawing my attention from the larger, prettier fish with the more interesting behavior. They squabble over which territory to try claiming, then argue about which territory to spawn in. Moving the fry all over the tank, granted they DO get picked off by the other fish but by then its back to square one and they wanna spawn again anyway.

Also, 125gal Planted? Freakin' awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just acquired a free 72 gallon bowfront this past weekend, so I think that is going to be my new "big pond". It was previously set up for salt water, so it came with a sump built into a 29 gallon tank, and it has some really nice high output lighting.

I'd love to turn this into a planted tank with dwarf cichlids as the main attraction. I was thinking of getting a pair (or two) of apistogramma panduro (...or nijsseni depending on what my LFS can get). I'd also like to have 6 or so blue / gold rams in there.

I'm also toying with the idea of moving my Pelv. Taeniatus Moliwe kribs over to this tank, and I've seen some great pictures of Nannacara Anomala and Laetacara Curviceps.

I was thinking of having 2 (possibly 3 if it will work) species of dwarf cichlids in the tank, and then I'd add a handful of danios or tetras for the top water. My wife really likes Angel fish though, so that is also a possibility.

I thought I'd ask for the advice from all of the fantastic experts here. What do you guys think?

1. What dwarf cichlids would you recommend? What different species would play nicely together?

2. Would it be a bad idea to add Angel fish to the mix? (Standard marble angels most likely)

3. What would you use as a clean up crew? I'm currently thinking a few larger shrimp and some siamese algae eaters. I may add a few snails to the mix as well. I typically use BN plecos everywhere, but I'd like to give fry a fighting chance in the tank.

Let me know what you think. Thanks guys!
 

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My thoughts to your questions:

1. I would avoid the kribs. Generally, they tend to be more aggressive than most SA dwarfs and don't mix well. The problem with german blue/gold rams is their demands aren't compatable with many other species. Tank raised species are a little more forgiving, but I think in order for them to thrive, one should meet their demands. Bolivian rams, laetacara, apistogramma sp. and don't forget the dwarf pikes, would all work well.
I don't think it would be wise to mix too many species. Some people will pick one or two species, add a ton of cover, and allow colonys to form.

2. Angel fish, IMO, go hand-in-hand with SA Dwarfs. They are more peaceful and generally share the same water parameters. Also, the swim mid-water, filling the space unoccupied by the dwarfs.

#. Larger Shrimp or SAE's should work fine. I think you would have problems with the sae's eating eggs, plus I think their size and activity would distract from your dwarfs. I would add a shoal of smaller corydoras like, http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/sp ... ies_id=283 or http://www.planetcatfish.com/catelog/sp ... ies_id=324, then add a 10-20 of otocinclus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice Adam. Which demands of the blue rams are you referring to that aren't compatible with many others? Aren't they like most of the SA dwarfs in needing soft acidic water?

I've never seen any dwarf pikes, so that's a nice idea. Any particular species you'd recommend?

I was a little worried about the SAEs, so thanks for the thoughts. I thought about doing the Otos, but I don't think they're quite the algae eaters as BN plecos or SAEs. I guess I could also add some snails if the algae gets out of control. I've heard of cory cats eating eggs / fry as well, but I would think that the cichlids should be able to find them off. How many would you recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
adam79 said:
If the goal is "Small Fish in a Big Pond". Look for the smallest species you can find, but then you would have to eliminate the Angels.
Yeah, it does seem like I'm simply asking for advice on stocking a 72 bow front now doesn't it? :)

I do love the idea of having the tank be over-sized for the species, so I definitely want to stick with dwarf cichlids being the focus on the tank. I'm really looking at everything else as being clean-up, dither, or some activity for the mid / upper areas.
 

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Imagine this... 6 male apistogramma borelli, 12 to 20 females... a pair of adult angelfish all swimming happily and contently through the lush sword plants in a 72g bowfront tank. a Cardinal tetra creates color and movement at all levels, with hatchetfish skimming the actual surface of the tank.

:eek:

8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Number6 said:
Imagine this... 6 male apistogramma borelli, 12 to 20 females... a pair of adult angelfish all swimming happily and contently through the lush sword plants in a 72g bowfront tank. a Cardinal tetra creates color and movement at all levels, with hatchetfish skimming the actual surface of the tank.

:eek:

8)
I have to agree that the above would be a great picture. How easy is it to get an angel fish pair? Should I just start with 5 or 6 and eliminate the "third wheel" fish?

I was getting excited about the Panduros, but now you have me looking at pictures of the Borellii again. Those are pretty nice. So you think single species on the dwarves? Would mixing in another dwarf cichlid be problematic you think?
 

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Mixing dwarf cichlids can work, but IME, I've always enjoyed those tanks less than when I have larger groups of the same dwarf species. You get to see all sorts of interactions that you miss with the "standard" stocking plans. Mate stealing, fry stealing, sneaker males, etc. make for a very interesting tank.

buying 6 Angelfish and eliminating the 4 "third wheels" is pretty standard practice. Makes for healthier fry as well in my experience.
 

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xWingman48 said:
Thanks for the advice Adam. Which demands of the blue rams are you referring to that aren't compatible with many others? Aren't they like most of the SA dwarfs in needing soft acidic water?

I've never seen any dwarf pikes, so that's a nice idea. Any particular species you'd recommend?

I was a little worried about the SAEs, so thanks for the thoughts. I thought about doing the Otos, but I don't think they're quite the algae eaters as BN plecos or SAEs. I guess I could also add some snails if the algae gets out of control. I've heard of cory cats eating eggs / fry as well, but I would think that the cichlids should be able to find them off. How many would you recommend?
GBR's are even more demanding of the soft acidic water and do best in temps in the mid-80's. You can do it, but it just isn't ideal. Plus, they are shorter lived than most dwarfs.

As for pikes, I like C. Regani, but they would likely eat smaller tetras and maybe the dwarf cories. C. notophthalmus, could work.

The dwarf cories are the least likely to eat any eggs. I would do 15-20 of them. Oto's don't find as many varieties of algae palatable, but do a good job. Because they are so small, you can add 15-20 of them as well.
 

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I think the biggest problem with the GBR's is that their water requirements for chemistry and temperature make it difficult to grow plants, they like the water temp a little cooler and need the minerals to prosper.

I agree with Number6, a group of a single dwarf (Apisto, Laetacara, crenicichla, etc.) with a nice mid water cichlid and a LARGE school of Tetras is an ideal planted tank. . . I am currently working with some wild Borellii from northern Uruguay, they are fantastic!
 

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I have two pairs of Apistos in my 75g along with wild peruvian scalare Angels, Keyholes, Sevrum and an Australoheros Oblongum. Also Tetras and cories.

They all get along but the Apistos are always hiding. Mine are wild caught so not sure if that is why, or maybe they are just not comfortable with the larger tankmates. The one Apisto is almost 4" and he is a little bolder and will feed with the rest.

Video

....Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
MonteSS said:
Video

....Bill
Wow, I love the tank Bill. Very clean look with the sand / rocks / plants. That's a lot like what I'm looking for. I didn't see the apistos in the video though. What kind are they?

I wonder if the bigger fish like the severum are keeping them in hiding.
 

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Thanks. I did the monthly total tank strip down today and changed the look. No rocks, cedar wood and different plants. I dont like it at all so will switch it back in a month.

The Apistos are a wild Kelleri pair (male is big at about 4") and a wild Baenche Inka 50 pair (male about 2.25"). Neither pair has shown ANY interest in spawning in the community and 7.2 PH water.

Sev is still only about 4.5" but growing very fast and getting pushy with the Angels and Keyholes. I am pretty sure its a girl.

5.5" male Oblongum still rules the tank. He only keeps the Sev in line and ignores the others. He is full grown so we will see as the Sev passes him in size.



....Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
After fighting with some issues painting the tank back, I'm about ready to get this thing set up.

Note: If you're painting the back of a tank with latex paint, do NOT try to touch up a spot that you've just painted. The wet paint on top will soften the previous coats, and running a brush over it will cause bubbles even under coats that have already "dried"

After a couple more touch ups, the tank back will be painted. I have a couple large driftwood pieces, and I gathered a few hundred pounds of rock from my in-laws' property last weekend. I have some extra play sand from Lowes that I might use for my substrate, and I've got the sump and overflow box plumbed and working.

The tank is just about ready, so I'm starting to get more serious about the stock list. I'm still torn on whether I want to go single species on the dwarf cichlids or not. It's hard to limit yourself to a single species when there are so many great ones out there. (...and when you don't have the time or money for dozens of tanks) Right now, I'm slightly leaning towards two species: 8-10 Apistos (either Agassizii, Borellii, or Panduro, depending on what my LFS gets in and how they look), and 8-10 blue rams. I'm on the fence though, so I may end up going single species if the Apistos are nice enough.

I'm also trying to figure out the clean up crew. I'd like to have fry from the tank, so I'm leaning away from anything that's too carnivorous. I'm thinking of getting some siamese algae eaters (or otos if I can't find them) and a few nerite snails. I'd love to have some shrimp too, but I'm worried about them becoming expensive fish food. I've heard conflicting advice on this one. Most people say they'll be snack food, but I've heard of a few cases where the shrimp have done ok with enough cover. Do you think larger Amano shrimp could make it if I added them first?

Let me know what you all think. Also, let me know if you have any plant suggestions. I really don't know much at all about plants, so any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Just a note on the shrimp. My Bolivian rams hunted them down and decimated them with in a few hours of their arrival. And my tank was planted...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mrs.som said:
Just a note on the shrimp. My Bolivian rams hunted them down and decimated them with in a few hours of their arrival. And my tank was planted...
What kind of shrimp? If they were cherry shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, or something else tiny, that might be the reason. ...and bolivian rams are bigger than blue rams right?
 

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True, they were ghost shrimp, not too small though. And yes, bolivians are bigger.
 
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