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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking into starting an African Cichlid tank for some time, and I think I'm ready to take (or start) the plunge. My tap water is super hard. I have lots of experience with fish, I have kept/have SA dwarf cichlids, oscars, and a whole giant assortment of community fish. But the amount of information out there about African cichlids is just staggering! I honestly dont' know where to start!

I bought a 55 gallon tank. It's got two over sized filters, and I'm used to cleaning up after oscars, so I'm hoping water quality won't be too much of an issue.

Does anyone have ideas for fish I could put in this tank? I know african cichlids can be very aggressive, but I'd really like more than one fish in the tank. I know it's a small tank, but could I fit 3 or 4 fish in there? Should I go with all one species, and sort out sex ratios, or mix and match? There are just so many species I don't even know where to start!

The other thing is this: I'm limited to pretty common species. Like...ones you can obtain at large chain pet stores. I actually wrote down all of the ones available at petsmart to do some research on them, and they only offer 13 species.

So if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears! Thank you in advance!
 

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I actually wrote down all of the ones available at petsmart to do some research on them, and they only offer 13 species.
I think the easiest way to help is for you to list what's available to you. Then we can sort them out and suggest possible combinations.
 

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Welcome to Africans, almost... :D

First, if were in Florida - I would need to do a little research above and beyond - into breeders. 90% of the cichlids we all get in the USA come from your area - I believe it is worth the investment of time to see if you can expand your possible species list. I would also look into fish/cichlid clubs in your area - better fish cheaper.

Second, go to the cookie cutters here.

I typically buy 8 juvies of each species I want to keep in a tank and let them sort it out and sell back/donate any over/under aggressive males.

For a 55, I'd pick 3 species (usually 8 of each) that stay 7in or less and nothing highly or extremely aggressive in the profiles section.

Please ask more questions.

Good Luck.
 

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First, if were in Florida - I would need to do a little research above and beyond - into breeders. 90% of the cichlids we all get in the USA come from your area - I believe it is worth the investment of time to see if you can expand your possible species list.
+1
Another choice is ordering online. Whether it be from someone on here in the trading post that will ship or from an online retailers.
 

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I'd definitely order online if my only local option was a chain pet store.
 

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especially if you are buying multiple fish. Buying just one or only a few can be expensive with shipping added. However when buying a few groups of fish even with shipping included the cost per fish is cheaper than the chain stores and the quality is much much better if you do your research.
 

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I definately agree with goofboy. Check out the farms and clubs. Lots of nice fish to be had in Florida.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright! Thank you for all of the advice, and I'll look into going down south to see what I can get down there, and online. How far would you drive fish, and how? I've never driven more than half an hour with fish, so I'm not sure of the logistics. Thanks again!
 

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sara1 said:
Alright! Thank you for all of the advice, and I'll look into going down south to see what I can get down there, and online. How far would you drive fish, and how? I've never driven more than half an hour with fish, so I'm not sure of the logistics. Thanks again!
I'd only drive if the overall cost of gas and my time used was less than shipping. I had 35 fish shipped from Texas to my house in So Cal over night for about $60 in shipping costs.

My cost per fish was just $10 after shipping was included. If you are starting from scratch and going to buy a bunch of juveniles to stock a new tank seriously consider buying online if there are no local alternatives for interesting fish.

All I had in my area were big chains at the time as the 2 good LFS were out of stock since they had a great Christmas season (which is very awesome for them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was just wondering because I do go down south pretty regularly to go diving.

Can you recommend me any online places to go, or those to avoid? I've never ordered fish online.
 

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sara1 said:
Alright! Thank you for all of the advice, and I'll look into going down south to see what I can get down there, and online. How far would you drive fish, and how? I've never driven more than half an hour with fish, so I'm not sure of the logistics. Thanks again!
I live in the mountains in Northern AZ - it is 1:45 to Phoenix. I had a find of some Pseudomugil furcatus last month down in Tempe, so I had to bring them home - they double bagged them in a larger bag with oxygen and I put them in a small Styrofoam cooler in the van that I brought just in case. We even stopped for lunch. They were in the bag for about 3 hours and they are just fine, in with 6 Ps Minutus fry, as I look over at the tank.

Good Luck.
 
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