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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning,
I recently set up (my first) Tropical Tank and currently have a few fish in there; Gourami, Neons, Betta, Angels (my only two Cichlids). I have recently started thinking of changing to Cichlids, as i beleive there is more variety and colour with these type of fish (is this a correct assumption?).

I realise I will have to get rid of most of my current fish, so the first thing i would like to know is, what are the different types of Cichlids people keep? I beleive there are different "types" of Cichlids, like African, South American, Central American, Asian, etc. and each requires a different tank setup.

I am deciding whether i should go the African Cichlid or South American Cichlid route, and will need to set the tank up accordingly. I believe African Cichlids require more rockery and less plants, while the South American Cichlids require more plants/driftwood than rockery, is this a correct assumption?

Also, as i know a very small handful of Cichlid species, could someone please outline the different species that are often kept together. I know Electric Yellows and Electric Blues are often kept together, are these African Cichlids?

Any info. is appreciated.
 

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Most of your assumptions are correct.

Africans come from 3 distinct lakes and then the western parts of the country. Each lake is similar and different in their own way. Electric yellows are most likely Yellow Labs which are Mbuna. But electric blues are assigned to usually 3 different fish, all African. There's the mbuna blue like socofoli and cobalt. The electric blue peacock. And the Electra hap.

If you want lots of color, consider an all male hap/peacock tank or breeding groups of mbuna. what size tank do you have?
 

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Your assumptions are somewhat correct but also somewhat a general feeling among hobby sorts. Talking South American does not mean that one is required to have plants and wood, nor does an African tank "require" only rocks. What some people like to do is try to follow the general thinking of what the different fish might have in their natural environment. That does not mean the fish require those things, only that the hobby has a general idea of what should be there. Sometimes it is correct, other times not. It is often said that fish from one area require a certain set of water qualities. As you go along, you may find that the fish are far more adaptable than the rules would indicate. Fish from South America can be kept quite well with fish from Africa and each can grow and prosper. There are purists who insist on following a set pattern and there are others who just do it the way they like. Cichlids are such a broad group that there are fish to fit almost any person thinking. Do lots of reading and you will most likely come across a fish that thrills you for what you want to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies, both helpful. My tank is approx. 126cm x 60cm x 60cm (or, for you, 49.6 x 23.6 x 23.6 inches). I'm not quite sure what type of Cichlids i would like to get, as i only know a handful of species. My main hesitation is that I will get one species and find out that nothing else is compatible with it.

I often see photos of "Yellow Labs" with another blue type of Cichlid, im not sure what its called, it must be fairly common. I beleive it is an African Cichlid.

Peacocks and Haps....are these two specific species, or do they contain a range of different species?

Thanks.
 

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A 4' tank is more than fine for most any cichlids, save the larger ones.

A solid blue fish with electric yellow- Pseudotropheus socofoli or cobalt zebra. But a far more common grouping with yellow labs are with Pseudotropheus demasoni. They are black and blue. I keep yellow labs with Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos which are the same basic color and I enjoy that combination.

Compatibility takes many factors but to over simplify it, it is keeping similar sized fish who do not look anything like it's tankmates. If you have a yellow fish, you can add more of the same, but no more yellow species. Same with any color. This can be bent with success, but of you want to play it safe don't get too similar.

Peacocks are one genus with several natural species and hybrids. Haps have several genus and many species. Take a look in our species profiles. Select "Lake Malawi" then go through each of the three subcategories. Of course, there are many other types, but it is a place to start and there is lots of color to be seen in Malawian waters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, i'll be sure to have a look through. Another follow up question, if one were to set up a Mbuna Tank, what type of substrate/sand should be used? Is it fine to use un-contaminated sand? Or is there a more appropriate mateial? With rocks placed arund the whole tank?

Thanks.
 

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For an example, here is my 75 gallon Mbuna tank:

There is 100lb of pool filter sand (PFS) and 100lb of live rock.

The usual recommendation for mbuna is sand with rock work stacked at least 1/3-1/2 of the way up the tank.

There are all kinds of sand out there but the easiest and cheapest is PFS. It comes precleaned, is chemical free (some aren't, make sure it's free), and 50 pounds is always less than $10.

Now of course you can keep them in rainbow aquarium gravel with a scuba diver figurine around a bubbling treasure chest as long as their water is okay, I am just an ardent fan of natural environments.

Mbuna are definitely the cheapest (except for the rarer ones) African cichlids out there and you get a lot of color and personality out of them, they are fairly hearty, and are just fun to watch.
 

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I'm pretty much in line with that tank and thinking for my tanks. I just always like to point out that there are millions of ways to run tanks and you are open to do as you feel suits you. I like PFS and rocks for my Africans as it does make a brighter tank. If you are leaning toward the Africans, it would be a good start to begin the learning experience with some of the less agressive types. One can find killer types most anywhere but it makes things easier to start with calm ones before working into the ones more apt to give you trouble. Avoid the temptation to buy what is often sold a "assorted cichlids". Shops sometimes sell off the truly bad sorts at a cheap price.
Some specific things to read:
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/why_african_cichlids.php
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/compatibility.php
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/haps_vs_mbuna.php

I find the tables in the last article to be spot on as to how much aggression might be expected from fish
 

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Completely agree, PfunMo, it seems like every store carries the evil trinity. In that same vein, GABBA, you should do your best to stay away from Melanochromis auratus, Metriaclima lombardoi (Kenyi cichlid), and Pseudotropheus crabro (Bumblebee cichlid). These are all very common fish who have bad reputations for a reason. I have kept all three attempting to debunk the myths but they seem to be true, once males reach a certain size (usually sexual maturity) they just lose it.

A 4' tank is good for 3 species and I believe your tank is 120 gallons from your measurements. Three good ones to look at would be Cynotilapia afra, Iodotropheus sprengerae (Rusty cichlid), and Labidochromis caeruleus (yellow lab).
 

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wow...well looks like I found this place a little to late, and after weeks of research and conflicting stocking ideas, we have the "evil trinity" in a tank...UGH...very busy tank indeed..so much that we are searching craigslist daily for a 55 gallon or similar, or 72 gallon bowfront to move some of the "evil trinity" out of what I now call a murder tank..lol. we have one of each of those, and a yellow lab, 6 tiger barbs, and a couple other unidentified "assorted" from the LFS that my wife came home with, and then I added to.:(..well I guess we are in it now, so might as well figure out the fixes for these scenarios. we have had NO missing fish, or deaths, or tattered fins, but there is some chasing at times, and I am ready to pull the holding yellow lab female(who lately took on some vertical stripes) and put her in the 10 gallon hospital tank possibly along with another female who may be holding as well...
 

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jturkey69, count yourself lucky your lab isn't dead with a Kenyi in the mix. My Kenyi had to go the second I added labs. It was painful to watch. I didn't lose a fish but if I wasn't proactive I would have lost many.

Why get another tank? I know asking that on here is a silly question and seeing that I have 7 (only two set up now) and am on the low enough of the spectrum here :lol:, but if you're doing it to separate the bad ones why not just find an lfs to trade with and get more labs? How big is your tank
 

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tank is a 29 gallon long, and in the 10 gallon tank, we have a breeder net box with a female peacock about 1" or so long, with a single fry about[ ] big;) and in a 2 gallon cube we have a possible male acei about half an inch big...all waters are correct, all have good filters, all have been cycled, but the reason for wanting a bigger tank is due to the acei, and peacock that my wife wants in her own sa/ca tank. she has another tank as well..a 3 gallon hex, but that is all the community fish, betta, tetras, platies, and algae eaters. The tiger barbs act like the kenyi's posse, and follow him all over. and the Kenyi also loves remodeling the tank...wifes calls him bob villa ;) I need to learn this as well, so thats why I dont want to return any fish. We have a line on two 65 gallons, and also a 72 bowfront...so hopefully we can have a larger tank set up and cycled in a few weeks.

I think I will move the yellow lab today along with the other female who hides up in the corner into the 10gallon...Thoughts???

sorry OP for the thread highjack.
 
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