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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As much as I like my yellow labs, I'm seriously considering swapping them out for two reasons:
1. I have M. estherae as well (notorius hybrid risk).
2. My labs are marginal quality specimens as compared to my other fish.

Current setup & stock:

120g 4x2x2 with wet/dry
M. estherae orange - 2m/2f
P. acei - 2m/2f
Labs - 2m/2f
N. Venustus - single female (I think)
Hap. sp. 44 - single male
BN Pleco - single female
(15 fish total)

The groups were all unsexed when I bought them. The fact that they all came out 2m/2f is total coincidence. I have acei and estherae juvies growing out, so in a few months I plan to adjust those groups in the 120 to 1m/4-5f. Ultimately I figure I'll have 3 groups of 6, plus the 3 singles for a total of 21. If there's room to add another compatible single or two and/or a 2nd pleco, then I will.

So if I take out the labs, what's an ideal replacement. Here are my considerations:
1. Yellow or other light coloration that will be a nice contrast with the acei blue and the estherae orange.
2. Temperment that will make for a harmonious community with the others listed.
3. Minimal hybrid risk. I know any mouth brooding Malawis can cross, but I want to eliminate the high liklihood mixes (ie. estherae/lab).
4. Reasonably easy to find. I'm not in a great cichlid area and am not likely to find any overly exotic species close to me.

I considered M. msobo, but being the same genus and similar appearance to the estherae, I imagine they're just as likely to cross breed as the labs and estherae. I also considered P. saulosi, but since the yellow in the females leans toward the orangy side, I thought they may be too similar looking to my estherae to create the visual diversity I was going for. So now I'm wondering about L. textilis. The yellow/white pattern is attractive and different from anything else in the tank, and the temperment seems right. What about hybridizing? Would they be likely (assuming I had one male with a harem) to mix with any of the others?

If you've had textilis and estherae together, please share your experience. Also, if you have any other candidates you think I should consider based on the criteria above, please let me know. Thanks in advance for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
dielikemoviestars said:
Get at least 4 more female red zebras OR 1-2 more and remove 1 male. Get 4 more acei (at least) so they feel safe and can school.
Thanks for the input. As noted above, I plan to add females and cut back to one male in the groups. There's really no serious drama in the tank now, so I figure I have time to grow out my acei and estherae fry and reintroduce some of them to rebalance my mix.
 
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