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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking at getting 4 or 5 Frontosas in my 125 G tank and need some advice on some tank mates. Out of this list what would you say works and what does not work? Thanks

Victoria:
Obliquiden Zebra

Haps:
Venustus

Malawi:
Fire Fish
Lemon Jake
Lawanda

Mbuna: If any
Acei
Bumble Bee
Electric Yellow
Red Zebra
Red Top Cobalt
 

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125G is of course a big tank. However, for frontosa it is the minimum recommended size. A group of 4-5 adult fronts will make full use of a tank that size, and you'll have an excellent chance to observe them breeding. Personally I would not spoil that by adding any tank mates. Whatever you do, do not combine fronts and mbuna. Their temperaments are just too different, and the hyperactive mbuna will drive the slow frontosa crazy.

punman recently posted this photo of just three fronts in his 135G. You can see what I mean by them filling the tank :D

 

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I think a lot depends on the size of the fronts you're starting off with. If your fronts are small to begin with, there are some tang fish you could add until they get larger. Altolamprologus calvus or comps work well. Once your fronts hit 3-4" you could add some julidochromis or leleupi, with plenty of hiding places (these might be too boisterous for smaller fronts). Yes, eventually your fronts will get huge and need all that space, but that could take several years.
 

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I personally really like calvus and comps in front tanks. I recently just set my 125 up with 10 2 1/2 inch Blue Mpimbwe, 3 Black Zambian Calvus, 3 Red Lufubu Comps, and 5 Synodontis Multis. There are no problems in that tank right now, I couldn't be happier with it. Like said above thou it all depends on how big your fronts are. I've seen people have success if they start the Altos and fronts together at a young age, let them grow up together and have hiding places a couple of my buddies never had any Altos get eaten. Another buddy has success with a group of Speckled back cyps in his. They cyps stay to the top of the tank and his 6inch fronts don't bother them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great thanks for the advice. What about 2 Fronts, 3 Venustus and 3 Obliquiden Zebra and some Red Zebras and Electric Yellow which are very calm mbuna? Any thoughts there? Thanks.
 

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Red Zebras (Metriaclima esterae) are mid level aggression by mbuna standards, and by no means 'calm'. I can only urge you not to keep them with frontosa. Electric Yellows (Labidochromis caeruleus) are milder in temperament. Personally I would keep no mbuna with Frontosa, but I'd give them a higher chance of working out than any other species. Electric Yellows should not be kept with Red Zebras, since cross breeding can occur.

I am pretty clueless when it comes to Victorians like Zebra Obliquidens (Astatotilapia latifasciata), and I have never kept Nimbochromis venustus, but frontosa should not be kept in pairs. Your initial idea of 4-5 in a 125G was much better. As others have pointed out, if you get them as juveniles, they can get used to tolerating other Tangs in the same tank. Altolamprologus are probably the most popular choice, but many lamprologine can work. Yet, having tank mates will influence the fronts breeding behavior, and maybe stop them from breeding completely. You should also be prepared to pull out any tank mates at short notice, and you should have other tanks available in case that becomes necessary. I have a hard time imagining adult fronts not eating cyps and other smaller fish in a 6' tank - even though they probably get on fine while the fronts are smaller.

I am keeping 7 fronts (1m,6f) in a 8' 240G tank with many other Tanganyikans. It's a great tank to watch, but I am always keeping my eyes on it in case one day the fronts get hungry. Also, I've got only 3 fry in 5 years. Without tank mates there would be hundreds, but the other fish eat the eggs before the frontosa females can get them in their mouths.

By the end of the day it's your choice how much of a risk you want to take. That can also depend on what plan B you have in mind in case something goes wrong; ie is this your only tank, or do you have other setups that you could use to evacuate tank mates to in case they no longer work out with the fronts. Another choice you have to make is tank mates or optimal breeding conditions for the fronts. You can't have both.
 
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