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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my African Cichlid tank there are 2 yellow labs that have not seemed to grow since I got them about a year ago. They are and have been about 2/2.5 inches long.

At around the same time that I bought them, I also got 3 Red Zebras and 2 Kenyis. While their growth has varried from fish to fish, these Kenyis and Red Zebras have at least doubled in size, while the Labs remained stagnant.

I noticed one of the labs holding several times over this period of time as well. Also, they seem to get along fine with the other fish. They have been picked on a little bit, but no more then I am used to with Africans.

Is this something I should worry about? And Is there anything I can do to promote growth?

Let me know if additional information is needed and Thanks again as always.
 

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What are the dimensions of the tank? I would not keep 2 of any species (5 or more) and I would not keep these three together.

Once we know the dimensions we can suggest next steps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is a 75 gallon tank. I don't have anywhere else to put one of the 2 right now, and am afraid that adding 3+ more fish could make the tank too crowded.

I was told by my local store that new additions to the tank could be picked on and killed by the current fish almost right away. And this is because the current fish are now established and territorial and would reject anything new, being that they would be the first additions to the tank in over 6 months.

Obviously I know that the store could be completely wrong. It has happened before.

Are my only 3 options: 1.) adding 3 or more labs?, 2.) removing one of the 2, 3.) or removing both labs?
 

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This is not just a lab issue. In a 48x18 75G you want about 20 mbuna to manage aggression. Think in terms of 4 species with 1m:5f of each.

The three species in your tank are not compatible for these reasons:
1-kenyi and red zebra are both Metriaclima...crossbreeding and fighting.
2-red zebra and yellow lab crossbreed
3-males look alike in yellow lab and kenyi

Since the labs are not doing well, if you want to try to make the other 2 species work, I would do 1m:7f of each to spread aggression...kenyi are very aggressive and do better with more females.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I see what you are saying. However, I see almost no signs of over aggression. The crossbreading is something that I assume is happening, but the fry have not been able to survive past a month or so. Most fry do look like baby labs, but I cannot be sure.

But, like I said before, besides this size issue I never said they were not doing well. They seem to be doing great. Which is honesty surprising because they have become the smallest fish in the tank.

Are you saying that, even though they look to be doing well, that the size issue is enough of a problem to assume that they are not doing well? That even if they look fine to the naked eye, they really are not?

Sorry for all the questions, this tank was put together in a haphazardly backwards way, which was a direct result of me being lied to and sold fish that were not compatible. For example: when the tank was first started, the proprietor let me add Firemouths in with the Africans. One was dead in less then a week and the other was moved into another tank that I had to hastily buy just to save that other Firemouth and several others when I really didn't have the money for another tank.
 

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I have a tank that is a little more than 6 months and have a yellow lab who is lagging a little in growth as well. Otherwise, the fish seems happy enough. I also have a couple Kenyi and orange/red mbuna that were from the "mixed" tank at the store and the Kenyi don't bother anyone. If it all seems happy in your tank, then there really isn't much to do. I think mbuna will grow for a few years so who knows, maybe it will go through a spurt in some time.

As far as the mixed breeding, with enough fish and some Synodontis, you probably wouldn't have to worry about any unwanted fry.
 

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A fish that is not growing is not doing well. It may just be they are out-competed for food, but this will eventually shorten life span and over the course of their 8-year lifespan, they may be more susceptible to disease.

The LFS person may not be giving you bad advice intentionally...they may just not know better. I find the employees tend to be lacking experience and the owners tend to be experts on one type of fish in the store and just do their best when advising on other types.

If you want to try adding fish I would add to all three species...maybe try to end up with 10 kenyi, 5 labs and 5 zebras.

Then as they mature and some turn out to be male...if anyone is not growing, then trade in extra males and keep trying for mainly females.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In response to MorrisMorris, I hope this is the case. I admittedly do not know what rte these fish grow at, I was only comparing them to the other African Cichlids in the tank. And they do seem fine, so fingers crossed.

To DJRansome, I would love to try this out, but I do not have the room. The complete roster of the tank is as follows:
1.) Red Zebra Cichlid
2.) Red Zebra Cichlid\
3.) Red Zebra Cichlid
4.) Maingano Cichlid
5.) Maingano Cichlid
6.) Yellow Lab Cichlid
7.) Yellow Lab Cichlid
8.) Kenyi Cichlid
9.) Kenyi Cichlid
10.) Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid
11.) Jewel Cichlid
12.) Jewel Cichlid
13.) Yellow Tail Acie
14.) Labeotropheus Fulleborni,
15.) Venustus Cichlid
16.) Fossorochromis Rostratus,
17.) Malawi Eye Biter
18.) Taiwan Reef Cichlid
19.) Taiwan Reef Cichlid
20.) Eureka Red Peacock Cichlid
21.) Sulfur Head Peacock Cichlid
22.) Electra Hap Cichlid,
23.) Benga Sunshine Peacock Cichlid,
24.) Sulfer Head Peacock Cichlid (maybe a hybrid)
25.) Common Pleco,
26.) Brichardi Synodontis Catfish
 

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Wowzer!

So with an all-male tank (one of each, no look alikes and no females) you want about 12 fish in a 75G. Keeping any Malawi in pairs is not likely to work.

And the mixed gender tank is 4 species with 1m:4 of each for a total of 20. Nothing that will mature > six inches. Some of those fish are too big for a 75G.

I'm not sure what you want to do next?
 

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JoeLasDome said:
Is this something I should worry about? And Is there anything I can do to promote growth?
I have 4 yellow labs in my tank and two of them are as you described yours. I deduced that they are female, since they are what I would call petite compared to the other 2, not necessarily smaller than them. They definitely have different color patterns than the "males" though.

I initially had concerns that they might not be eating, but it appears that they just do not have the voracious appetite of their tank mates and as far as I can tell, it is not a result of being picked on or bullied, as they are otherwise, healthy, vibrant and come and go as they please.

While they will eat flakes and pellets that contain krill and other sea life, they love algae wafers and especially love my live plants! It's cool though, they are finicky. I've come to accept it and from my observations they are okay (I do not have the experience or expertise of the others on this forum, so take that for what it is worth).
 

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It is possible to have an individual that will not reach the growth potential of the species, even alone in a tank with all he/she can eat. But females are often just as big as males. Be concerned with a mbuna that is a finicky eater. Harassment is very often not observable.
 

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Sweet baby Jesus that's quite a stock list! Are you open to rehoming any of your current inhabitants, because you're in for a big mess in the near future. If you're willing to take a little constructive criticism then we can help you get this sorted out.
 

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JoeLasDome said:
In response to MorrisMorris, I hope this is the case. I admittedly do not know what rte these fish grow at, I was only comparing them to the other African Cichlids in the tank. And they do seem fine, so fingers crossed.

To DJRansome, I would love to try this out, but I do not have the room. The complete roster of the tank is as follows:
1.) Red Zebra Cichlid
2.) Red Zebra Cichlid\
3.) Red Zebra Cichlid
4.) Maingano Cichlid
5.) Maingano Cichlid
6.) Yellow Lab Cichlid
7.) Yellow Lab Cichlid
8.) Kenyi Cichlid
9.) Kenyi Cichlid
10.) Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid
11.) Jewel Cichlid
12.) Jewel Cichlid
13.) Yellow Tail Acie
14.) Labeotropheus Fulleborni,
15.) Venustus Cichlid
16.) Fossorochromis Rostratus,
17.) Malawi Eye Biter
18.) Taiwan Reef Cichlid
19.) Taiwan Reef Cichlid
20.) Eureka Red Peacock Cichlid
21.) Sulfur Head Peacock Cichlid
22.) Electra Hap Cichlid,
23.) Benga Sunshine Peacock Cichlid,
24.) Sulfer Head Peacock Cichlid (maybe a hybrid)
25.) Common Pleco,
26.) Brichardi Synodontis Catfish
You have had the tank for a year like this?
 

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The fish in my first tank did well for the first 8 months, but then they were more mature and I learned all about bloat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To respond to morrismorris, yes I have had this tank like this for about a year. Well it was started a year ago. I had a red albino peacock that died, and my first Malawi eye biter died as well.

What i meant by being forced into this situation, was that this is the first African Cichlid tank for me and a local proprietor saw that I was starting a few tanks and spending a lot of money. As a result he took advantage of me and let me overstock my tank (which I guess is even more ridiculous now being that you are telling me I have too many in this tank also) and let me mix Africans with Central Americans on top of that.

He told me that blood red parrots, Firemouths, and a Salvini would go with the Africans. 1 of the 2 Firemouths, and 1 of the 4 parrots were dead within a few days and the Salvini was on his way out. So I had to quickly buy a new tank (I could have given them back, but he wouldn't refund me and only would take them back for free). Since I had planned on getting another tank when I saved the money, I got one right then instead. I had wanted to get said tank in a year when I had the extra money to spend without going into my savings.

After removing the Parrots, Firemouth and Salvini, i had the Red Zebras, Labs, Mainganos, Kenyis, Cobalt, Acie and 2 Jewels (in retrospect I now know I should have taken the jewels out too, but they are doing fine). The rest were added over the next 2 months or so and I was told they were fine. And they have been doing fine. The red Eureka and 2nd Jewel seem to get picked on, but not so much as I am worried about them.
 
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