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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 75 gallon aquarium that I would like to stock with Central American Cichlids. This is a permanent tank, meaning that I cannot upgrade to a larger tank when the fish mature to full size. With that being said, does anyone have advice on what to stock a 75 G tank with? Honestly, I have read so many contradicting things about stocking tanks with different species and/or what fish can be kept together, so I don't even know where to start.
 

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Well, alrighty then....
First things first, I suppose. And, in order to provide any meaningful recommendations to you beyond what would work for me if I was stocking that tank? I would like to know a little about your own priorities...
- TANK: This one is it, I guess? By that, I mean that you have already purchased/own this aquarium. And, the 75G is IT, right?
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- CICHLIDS: Great! You did say Cichlids, so I guess that means you want to stock with more than one Cichild fish in this tank? (There are many Cichlid species that could realistically,only be stocked as an individual fish in your 75G tank). However, is spawning behavior important to you - do you want paired fish in there? Or, are you looking to keep compatible (somewhat) individuals of different Cichlid species together in your aquarium?
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- COMMUNITY: Or not? By that, I mean do you want to stock the tank out with anything else besides your Cichlids?
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- THEMATIC: Or, not exactly? Central American Cichlid species are kept all the time with South American Cichlids. And fortunately, a lot of the time it works out great for everyone! So, is a more dedicated Central American-themed tank important to you? Or, are you just looking to stock with interesting fish?
Looking forward to setting this one up with you - just need a little more info! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Auballagh said:
Well, alrighty then....
First things first, I suppose. And, in order to provide any meaningful recommendations to you beyond what would work for me if I was stocking that tank? I would like to know a little about your own priorities...
- TANK: This one is it, I guess? By that, I mean that you have already purchased/own this aquarium. And, the 75G is IT, right?
-
- CICHLIDS: Great! You did say Cichlids, so I guess that means you want to stock with more than one Cichild fish in this tank? (There are many Cichlid species that could realistically,only be stocked as an individual fish in your 75G tank). However, is spawning behavior important to you - do you want paired fish in there? Or, are you looking to keep compatible (somewhat) individuals of different Cichlid species together in your aquarium?
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- COMMUNITY: Or not? By that, I mean do you want to stock the tank out with anything else besides your Cichlids?
-
- THEMATIC: Or, not exactly? Central American Cichlid species are kept all the time with South American Cichlids. And fortunately, a lot of the time it works out great for everyone! So, is a more dedicated Central American-themed tank important to you? Or, are you just looking to stock with interesting fish?
Looking forward to setting this one up with you - just need a little more info! :)
I already have the 75 gallon tank and would like to stock it with cichlids. Due to the tanks smaller size I understand the limitations as some cichlids require a tank larger than what I can provide. I do not want to fish to spawn in the tank so I am not concerned with paired fish. I would like to have a community so, more than one fish in the tank. If I could get at least 2 compatible cichlid species and maybe some dither fish that would be ideal.
 

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Right!
Okay then, this thread may be a bit informative,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 0&t=453191

That non-Cichlid paired, no spawning 75G, will ultmately be an active, compatible and nice-looking community tank. But, the stocking scheme has fish obtained from at least three continents! Which, because of the different - but somewhat complimentary - needs, for all of the fish, is still compatible and will be an interesting community aquarium to look at. And, this tank is sourced with fish species which will be more readily available at the local fish store (LFS).
So, is that more in line for what you are looking for? If so, tanks like that are pretty easy to plan out and stock successfully.
- OR -
Are you looking for a more dedicated, locality-themed aquarium? In this case, one stocked almost exclusively with CA or, at least mostly New World fish species?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Auballagh said:
Right!
Okay then, this thread may be a bit informative,

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 0&t=453191

That non-Cichlid paired, no spawning 75G, will ultmately be an active, compatible and nice-looking community tank. But, the stocking scheme has fish obtained from at least three continents! Which, because of the different - but somewhat complimentary - needs, for all of the fish, is still compatible and will be an interesting community aquarium to look at. And, this tank is sourced with fish species which will be more readily available at the local fish store (LFS).
So, is that more in line for what you are looking for? If so, tanks like that are pretty easy to plan out and stock successfully.
- OR -
Are you looking for a more dedicated, locality-themed aquarium? In this case, one stocked almost exclusively with CA or, at least mostly New World fish species?
The set up looks good with 1 blue acara (Andinoacara pulcher), 6 boesman's rainbows and 4 spotted pictus catfish. Is there any other options in which there can be 2 cichlids (not necessarily paired, but 2 compatible cichlid species)? If not, I think this is a great set up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I also love jack dempseys too, but don't know if this is even an option. Or what I could put in the tank with them.
 

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Oh yeah... now we're cooking! :D
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I'm a big fan of Jack Dempsey's as well. Unfortunately, when they get some adult size to 'em, the more well, PREDATORY aspects of this Cichlid species nature will begin to emerge. And that, (as they say), could just be that for your Rainbow dither fish. But, what the heck. How 'bout a somewhat 'riskier' stocking scheme for your community tank, plus a nicer (less pugnacious) option I can recommend to you as well?
And here we go,
- OPTION 1: 'Tough Guy' tank. Stock with a,
* 4-6 member group of Yasuhikotakia modesta, (Blue Botia). Or instead, a 4-5 member group of Synodontis multipunctata, (Cuckoo Catfish)
* 1 Rocio octofasciata, (Jack Dempsey)
* 1 Nandopsis salvini, (Salvin's Cichlid, 'Mini-Guapote)
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- OPTION 2: A more peaceful Cichlid community tank. Stock with a,
* 4 - 5-member group of Pictus Catfishj
- 6 - 8-member group of Boesmani Rainbowfish
- 1 Thorichthys meeki, (Firemouth Cichlid)
- 1 Cryptoheros Cutteri, (Cutter's Cichlid). Or instead, 1 Amatitlania sajica, (T-Bar Cichlid). NOTE: I would stock with a single Convict Cichlid ONLY if either the Cutter or T-Bar Cichlid is just not available.
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So, there you go. Definitely stock with everyone at once. Or, if that is not possible.... then add the Cichlids for either stocking scheme TOGETHER, after your dither fish have been established. The first stocking option is definitely more controversial, but I personally think it will work. Supposedly, the Blue Botia's will grow to almost a foot in length. And the Synodontis multipunctatus have been reported up to 10 inches. But, after years of keeping them, I've never seen either species grow past 6 - 7 inches in length. And trust me, I wouldn't stock with either of those species in your more peaceful setup! These tougher ('dither fish'?) species should be able to handle themselves just fine in that more pugnacious tank. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Auballagh said:
Oh yeah... now we're cooking! :D
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I'm a big fan of Jack Dempsey's as well. Unfortunately, when they get some adult size to 'em, the more well, PREDATORY aspects of this Cichlid species nature will begin to emerge. And that, (as they say), could just be that for your Rainbow dither fish. But, what the heck. How 'bout a somewhat 'riskier' stocking scheme for your community tank, plus a nicer (less pugnacious) option I can recommend to you as well?
And here we go,
- OPTION 1: 'Tough Guy' tank. Stock with a,
* 4-6 member group of Yasuhikotakia modesta, (Blue Botia). Or instead, a 4-5 member group of Synodontis multipunctata, (Cuckoo Catfish)
* 1 Rocio octofasciata, (Jack Dempsey)
* 1 Nandopsis salvini, (Salvin's Cichlid, 'Mini-Guapote)
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- OPTION 2: A more peaceful Cichlid community tank. Stock with a,
* 4 - 5-member group of Pictus Catfishj
- 6 - 8-member group of Boesmani Rainbowfish
- 1 Thorichthys meeki, (Firemouth Cichlid)
- 1 Cryptoheros Cutteri, (Cutter's Cichlid). Or instead, 1 Amatitlania sajica, (T-Bar Cichlid). NOTE: I would stock with a single Convict Cichlid ONLY if either the Cutter or T-Bar Cichlid is just not available.
-
So, there you go. Definitely stock with everyone at once. Or, if that is not possible.... then add the Cichlids for either stocking scheme TOGETHER, after your dither fish have been established. The first stocking option is definitely more controversial, but I personally think it will work. Supposedly, the Blue Botia's will grow to almost a foot in length. And the Synodontis multipunctatus have been reported up to 10 inches. But, after years of keeping them, I've never seen either species grow past 6 - 7 inches in length. And trust me, I wouldn't stock with either of those species in your more peaceful setup! These tougher ('dither fish'?) species should be able to handle themselves just fine in that more pugnacious tank. 8)
Thank you for the help. I would like to do a community tank, but I haven't quite decided if I want to do the blue acara or the firemouth and t-bar yet. I would like to have at least 2 cichlids so I will probably go with the firemouth and t-bar combination.

Also, I know that this forum is meant to central american fish, but what about setup for the tank. I know there needs to be driftwood or rocks to break line of site in the tank because they can sometimes be territorial. Fake plants are probably better because some cichlids are known to tear up live plants. I was also looking at pool filter sand for substrate, unless you recommend anything else. Also, I was considering the Eheim 2217 Canister Filter and the Eheim Jager 300 W Heater. If you have any other suggestions for this tank please let me know. And again, thank you. You have been very helpful.
 

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Auballagh said:
Oh yeah... now we're cooking! :D
-
I'm a big fan of Jack Dempsey's as well. Unfortunately, when they get some adult size to 'em, the more well, PREDATORY aspects of this Cichlid species nature will begin to emerge. And that, (as they say), could just be that for your Rainbow dither fish. But, what the heck. How 'bout a somewhat 'riskier' stocking scheme for your community tank, plus a nicer (less pugnacious) option I can recommend to you as well?
And here we go,
- OPTION 1: 'Tough Guy' tank. Stock with a,
* 4-6 member group of Yasuhikotakia modesta, (Blue Botia). Or instead, a 4-5 member group of Synodontis multipunctata, (Cuckoo Catfish)
* 1 Rocio octofasciata, (Jack Dempsey)
* 1 Nandopsis salvini, (Salvin's Cichlid, 'Mini-Guapote)
-
- OPTION 2: A more peaceful Cichlid community tank. Stock with a,
* 4 - 5-member group of Pictus Catfishj
- 6 - 8-member group of Boesmani Rainbowfish
- 1 Thorichthys meeki, (Firemouth Cichlid)
- 1 Cryptoheros Cutteri, (Cutter's Cichlid). Or instead, 1 Amatitlania sajica, (T-Bar Cichlid). NOTE: I would stock with a single Convict Cichlid ONLY if either the Cutter or T-Bar Cichlid is just not available.
-
So, there you go. Definitely stock with everyone at once. Or, if that is not possible.... then add the Cichlids for either stocking scheme TOGETHER, after your dither fish have been established. The first stocking option is definitely more controversial, but I personally think it will work. Supposedly, the Blue Botia's will grow to almost a foot in length. And the Synodontis multipunctatus have been reported up to 10 inches. But, after years of keeping them, I've never seen either species grow past 6 - 7 inches in length. And trust me, I wouldn't stock with either of those species in your more peaceful setup! These tougher ('dither fish'?) species should be able to handle themselves just fine in that more pugnacious tank. 8)
Just curious, Auballagh, if you have actually stocked a 75 gal. like these proposed options and how many years was it set up?
Personally, I have very little faith in just 2 cichlids working out well even as young fish, let alone as large adults. The more aggressive the cichlid, IMO, the less chance such low numbers work out well. And I would definitely call salvini (Trichromis salvini) an aggressive cichlid.
 

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Yes, I have kept Nandopsis salvini. Just a single female in this case, but you're right - it was never kept in a 75G. But then again, I never had problems with this supposedly 'irascible' species kept in three different tanks during her 'career' with me,
- Started out in a 29G, as an individually kept fish (wet pet?).
- Moved her into a 33G long with a single male WC HRP, and about 8 Black Widow Tetras, for a little longer than two years. Big change, and I'd never seen that sulky girl move around and be as active.... I was like "Wow! This fish just doesn't want to spend it's entire life hiding in a cave!" Got along fine with those dither fish. And with plenty of structure, both adult Cichlids seemed to work things out okay in there. (Believe me, I WAS definitely ready to separate those two knuckleheads if actual war broke out in the 33g long).
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- Then that girl graduated to a 180G. That was a true CA community tank, in which she spent the rest of her days and literally died of old age.
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So, on to more tank set up recommendations!
- PLANTS: Yes, you could use plastic plants. But, you don't have to! And most importantly, you should have no problems with the Cichlid species I recommended in keeping non-substrate type plants. (The Jack Dempsey? Ummm... maybe not). You can use polyester thread, rubber bands or (my personal favorite) skinny black plastic zip-ties to fasten down Java Moss, Java Ferns or any of various types of Anubias. Driftwood pieces work great to fasten plants down onto, but you can also tie onto lava rocks. You can use substrate-growing plants in the tank by potting them up. My favorites pots to use for this are those smaller sized, curved glass goldfish or Betta bowls. Just fill with high-grade potting soil, then top off the final 3 or so inches with small diameter gravel. Pot up the plants out of the tank, and then gently submerge them. You may want to use lead plant weights until the plant is established in the pot. Sword plants especially look great, and are fast enough growing that they can actually help to control Nitrate buildup in the water. Be sure to use high-quality plant grow lights, for the best results.
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- STRUCTURE: Stack, build or place objects in the aquarium that go all the way to surface. Purchase/find large pieces of driftwood or rock to use - it will look more natural. Make plenty of caves that your cichlids will appreciate for lurking/hiding spots.
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SAND: Totally agree with using Pool Filtration Sand (PFS). Hands down, my favorite substrate! And, if you REALLY want the bottom to look like a river or stream in Honduras or Nicaragua? Mix in a good bit of natural colored, very small diameter gravel to the PFS. It looks great!
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FILTER/HEATER: Looks good to me. That combo should work out just fine for this tank. I would place the heater near the discharge bar for the canister - it will work much more effectively that way to heat your tank.
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Looks like you've got something to set up and build that's gonna be real nice to look at. I think the stocking combination will work out fine for you, long term. Be sure and follow the 'recipe' on the site for fishless cycling - BEFORE - you stock with any of your fish! The Pictus catfish in particular are sensitive to poor water quality and will get stressed pretty badly if placed in a cycling tank. Good luck, and post up some pics when you've got it going! :popcorn:
 

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Auballagh said:
Yes, I have kept Nandopsis salvini.
Never asked you whether you had kept salvini or not but rather if you had stocked tanks like your suggestions and for how long. (And by the way, the genus Nandopsis was restricted to the cichlids from the Caribbean islands around 15 years back so there are only 3 members of the genus: Nandopsis haitensis, N. ramsdeni, N. tetracanthus).
Although different then your proposed stocking options, I suppose this is at least an example where only 2 cichlids in a tank worked out ok:
Auballagh said:
- Moved her into a 33G long with a single male WC HRP, and about 8 Black Widow Tetras, for a little longer than two years. Big change, and I'd never seen that sulky girl move around and be as active.... I was like "Wow! This fish just doesn't want to spend it's entire life hiding in a cave!" Got along fine with those dither fish. And with plenty of structure, both adult Cichlids seemed to work things out okay in there. (Believe me, I WAS definitely ready to separate those two knuckleheads if actual war broke out in the 33g long).
I'm not claiming there are never any examples of where only 2 cichlids will get along, But i still believe it more often then not, has slim chance. IMO and IME generally one cichlid will seek to eliminate the other and claim the whole tank if there is only one cichlid competitor. Of coarse there are many variables in any situation and can never predict future behavior with any certainty. IME, male sals are considerably more aggressive then females. Since I bred sals many times (well over 100 times), generally to keep for myself, I've had quite a few over a span of almost 19 years. I've had over 10 large males and probably over 20 adult females over this period of time. IME, some females are mellow but I have yet to have a male I could say the same thing about. HRP is known to be mellow for a CA though I have never personally kept them. Probably even more surprising about your example is that your female sal didn't swallow the black widow tetras. My female sals cleaned up on my full grown 4" giant danios. Not a hard swallow for them at all. 15 years back, I use to buy feeder goldfish on rare occasion (like maybe once a year). Little 3" male salvini would kill good size feeder goldfish by nailing them in the belly and they would mange to suck it down after they had killed it, despite their prey being close to the same girth! IME, salvini is at least as capable and inclined to swallow smaller fish as a JD.
Any ways, since most of your recommendations are for only 2 cichlids in the tank, we definitely don't see eye to eye on how one goes about stocking a cichlid tank. From my perspective it's one or many, and recommending only 2 is setting some some one up with very good chance to fail. Unfortunately, most of the people who take stocking advice on this forum are not heard from again after their initial purchases. I'm not saying it can't work, but I would hope if the OP does stock with only 2 cichlids that they give up dates over the years. We need some documented examples that we can point to, both successful or not.
 

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Good points all to you 'BC in SK'. And, I'll definitely defer to you on the TRICHROMIS salvini experience. The site will have to be updated as well, as the species profiles has that species showing still as Nandopsis salvini.
And yes, I agree with you on the piscivorous aspect to the Salvini. My own girl was lucky when she got gnosh on some occasional, excess Mbuna fry. I mean if anything in the tank was small enough to be swallowed whole - gone! But, I never saw her go in and just tear up a larger fish into pieces like you describe. A WC P. motaguense I kept for awhile however? Whew.... that one never saw a fish smaller than it that didn't look like it's next meal, and never backed down from just about anything. :oops:
And yes, I agree that putting in two different species, medium sized, adult New World cichlids together in a four foot long, 75G - is gonna be a dicey proposition. And yes, it is certainly a possibility (a definite certainty in some species) that some fish just will NOT co-exist long-term, in a four foot long tank with another cichlid.
But, when initially stocked together as individual, baby-sized fish, with cichlid species not known to be completely irascible in nature - that can, and has - worked out long term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
BC in SK said:
Auballagh said:
Yes, I have kept Nandopsis salvini.
Never asked you whether you had kept salvini or not but rather if you had stocked tanks like your suggestions and for how long. (And by the way, the genus Nandopsis was restricted to the cichlids from the Caribbean islands around 15 years back so there are only 3 members of the genus: Nandopsis haitensis, N. ramsdeni, N. tetracanthus).
Although different then your proposed stocking options, I suppose this is at least an example where only 2 cichlids in a tank worked out ok:
Auballagh said:
- Moved her into a 33G long with a single male WC HRP, and about 8 Black Widow Tetras, for a little longer than two years. Big change, and I'd never seen that sulky girl move around and be as active.... I was like "Wow! This fish just doesn't want to spend it's entire life hiding in a cave!" Got along fine with those dither fish. And with plenty of structure, both adult Cichlids seemed to work things out okay in there. (Believe me, I WAS definitely ready to separate those two knuckleheads if actual war broke out in the 33g long).
I'm not claiming there are never any examples of where only 2 cichlids will get along, But i still believe it more often then not, has slim chance. IMO and IME generally one cichlid will seek to eliminate the other and claim the whole tank if there is only one cichlid competitor. Of coarse there are many variables in any situation and can never predict future behavior with any certainty. IME, male sals are considerably more aggressive then females. Since I bred sals many times (well over 100 times), generally to keep for myself, I've had quite a few over a span of almost 19 years. I've had over 10 large males and probably over 20 adult females over this period of time. IME, some females are mellow but I have yet to have a male I could say the same thing about. HRP is known to be mellow for a CA though I have never personally kept them. Probably even more surprising about your example is that your female sal didn't swallow the black widow tetras. My female sals cleaned up on my full grown 4" giant danios. Not a hard swallow for them at all. 15 years back, I use to buy feeder goldfish on rare occasion (like maybe once a year). Little 3" male salvini would kill good size feeder goldfish by nailing them in the belly and they would mange to suck it down after they had killed it, despite their prey being close to the same girth! IME, salvini is at least as capable and inclined to swallow smaller fish as a JD.
Any ways, since most of your recommendations are for only 2 cichlids in the tank, we definitely don't see eye to eye on how one goes about stocking a cichlid tank. From my perspective it's one or many, and recommending only 2 is setting some some one up with very good chance to fail. Unfortunately, most of the people who take stocking advice on this forum are not heard from again after their initial purchases. I'm not saying it can't work, but I would hope if the OP does stock with only 2 cichlids that they give up dates over the years. We need some documented examples that we can point to, both successful or not.
Hey thanks for giving your input. Honestly, I may end up doing the tank with just the blue acara (plus the boesemani rainbows and pictus catfish) solely because of accessibility anyway. Not a lot of LFS in NJ. I'd rather not risk any aggression as it is my first cichlid tank. Maybe in the future with more experience however. And I will definitely be sure to post about the tank in the future...still waiting on a stand and canopy which may take a while. This whole project has been delayed because of the pandemic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Auballagh said:
Looks like you've got something to set up and build that's gonna be real nice to look at. I think the stocking combination will work out fine for you, long term. Be sure and follow the 'recipe' on the site for fishless cycling - BEFORE - you stock with any of your fish! The Pictus catfish in particular are sensitive to poor water quality and will get stressed pretty badly if placed in a cycling tank. Good luck, and post up some pics when you've got it going! :popcorn:
I've been doing some more research and was wondering if there would be any other cichlid compatible with a normal blue acara. I did use AqAdvisor to see if I could add more than just 1 blue acara, 6 boesemani rainbows and 4 pictus catfish. With the filtration system I intend to use it is doable. Is there any other cichlids that could work with that setup?
 

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Typically, well... no.
That is, if you actually want the Blue Acara cichlid to truly be the dominant, centerpiece fish for this community tank. For possibly more fish with that stocking scheme, I would look to add possibly another species of Rainbow Fish or maybe even a couple more Pictus catfish instead of stocking with another cichlid. Heck man, maybe even stock with 4 Buenos Aires Tetras or something, to go with the Rainbows in there. Plus, remember the Pictus catfish is a species that is sensitive to poor quality water. You are going to want to keep the Nitrate levels down below 5 PPM in there, to keep them un-stressed and happy. That's gonna mean - more Water Changes to keep those Nitrates diluted out of your water. Not fun, and fighting Nitrate buildup in tank water can definitely kill a lot of the joy out of aquarium ownership. And more fish? Equals more fish waste - more Nitrate buildup!
So, for a less-maintenance intensive aquarium, you will want to consider stocking with less fish. And, trust me on this one, for an assured, peaceful tank with plenty of action and interesting fish in it? The only cichlid you want for this tank will be your Blue Acara. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Auballagh said:
Typically, well... no.
That is, if you actually want the Blue Acara cichlid to truly be the dominant, centerpiece fish for this community tank. For possibly more fish with that stocking scheme, I would look to add possibly another species of Rainbow Fish or maybe even a couple more Pictus catfish instead of stocking with another cichlid. Heck man, maybe even stock with 4 Buenos Aires Tetras or something, to go with the Rainbows in there. Plus, remember the Pictus catfish is a species that is sensitive to poor quality water. You are going to want to keep the Nitrate levels down below 5 PPM in there, to keep them un-stressed and happy. That's gonna mean - more Water Changes to keep those Nitrates diluted out of your water. Not fun, and fighting Nitrate buildup in tank water can definitely kill a lot of the joy out of aquarium ownership. And more fish? Equals more fish waste - more Nitrate buildup!
So, for a less-maintenance intensive aquarium, you will want to consider stocking with less fish. And, trust me on this one, for an assured, peaceful tank with plenty of action and interesting fish in it? The only cichlid you want for this tank will be your Blue Acara. :)
Ok thank you. Are there any other species of rainbowfish that you would recommend besides the boesemani rainbows? Eg. Goyder River Tropical Rainbowfish, Millennium Tropical Rainbowfish, etc.
 

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Rainbows? Maybe a little help with that, but to be honest I'm not really much of a dither fish kind of a guy. If you need some in-person anecdotes concerning WC Asytyanx fasciatus 'mexicanus' tetras? Oh yeah! Black Widow Tetras? Sure! But for Rainbowfish? If they were fast - and cheap - my selection criteria was that they at least rated a shot at keeping with my spawning pairs of WC cichlids. So for this tank, I believe your primary consideration should be that the rainbows all grow out to a full, adult size that will be similar to each other. Too small? And your 'peaceful' Blue Acara may wind up quietly filching (eating) them at night - $$$ :x $$$
Too large? And one species might dominate the other rainbows stocked with them in a four foot long tank.
A balancing act. 8)
 

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mc12345 said:
Auballagh said:
Typically, well... no.
That is, if you actually want the Blue Acara cichlid to truly be the dominant, centerpiece fish for this community tank. For possibly more fish with that stocking scheme, I would look to add possibly another species of Rainbow Fish or maybe even a couple more Pictus catfish instead of stocking with another cichlid. Heck man, maybe even stock with 4 Buenos Aires Tetras or something, to go with the Rainbows in there. Plus, remember the Pictus catfish is a species that is sensitive to poor quality water. You are going to want to keep the Nitrate levels down below 5 PPM in there, to keep them un-stressed and happy. That's gonna mean - more Water Changes to keep those Nitrates diluted out of your water. Not fun, and fighting Nitrate buildup in tank water can definitely kill a lot of the joy out of aquarium ownership. And more fish? Equals more fish waste - more Nitrate buildup!
So, for a less-maintenance intensive aquarium, you will want to consider stocking with less fish. And, trust me on this one, for an assured, peaceful tank with plenty of action and interesting fish in it? The only cichlid you want for this tank will be your Blue Acara. :)
Ok thank you. Are there any other species of rainbowfish that you would recommend besides the boesemani rainbows? Eg. Goyder River Tropical Rainbowfish, Millennium Tropical Rainbowfish, etc.
Yes, you can mix most of the rainbows together as they have the same water requirements and same behavior. The only kind that are a little different would be the threadfin rainbows which are more delicate. My favorites, other than the Boesemani, are the Glossolepis pseudoincisus ( Millennium Red) and the Melanotaenia lacustris (Turquoise or Lake Kubutu Rainbow). There are many other beautiful, newer species available now as well that I haven't kept yet. All are quite pricey. These kinds all get to about 5 inches or so and are very active. You want a 1:2 ratio of male to female to keep the males looking their best. Females are still colorful just not as brilliant. There is also the Melanotaenia praecox (Dwarf Neon or Dwarf Praecox) that's stays a little smaller but no problem keeping with the other rainbows. They usually top out around 3 inches and as long as they don't fit in your blue acara's mouth i don't think there will be a problem. All these fish are very active so I wouldn't keep them in anything less than a 4 foot tank and since they do get to a decent size I really wouldn't put more than 6-8 in there. You'll have to keep an eye on nitrates as they will not show full color in less than adequate water conditions. I would also add them to the tank first or at the same time as the Blue Acara. Hope this helps, good luck!
 
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