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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When searching I encounter various kinds of melanochromis, unfortunately and despite their colorful bodies the accepted idea is that except for mainganos they are too aggressive for the tipical mbuna tank.
Maybe in near future I will set up a species tank for one of this fammily, so my question is that in your opinion which of them is the most aggressive one? Auratus? Chipokae? johanii? or my favorite melanochromis parallelus? The most aggressive will be my choice.
 

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I have heard more horror stories where the Auratus is the culprit than any other melanochromis. I know there have been a couple of threads looking for success stories with these guys but very few could provide examples of established successful tanks.
 

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Possibly more auratus stories due to their popularity and the number of places carrying them.

I kept both auratus and chipokae in my time and pound for pound, the chipoke was the single meanest fish I've ever kept
 

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They are all quite aggressive and there are always individual differences. But based on forum comments and stories for the more commonly-stocked melanochromis, I'd put them like this:

(Least) Cyaneorhabdos < Johanni < Auratus = Chipokae (Most)

I don't know about parallelus - that species is on the rare side in the states.
You should keep whichever species is most interesting/appealing to you. Good luck!
 

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I have 2 parrellus as an experiment. My lfs had them in a few times. I have them one of my 55g's and they havent been trouble at all yet. Had them prob 6 months. One has changed over to mostly male coloring, and they are around 3-3.5 inches.... Hated Mainganos, were way to aggressive in my 2 cases... oh, I got them in the first place cause I liked the female coloring. The white and black were appealing to me
 

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I've kept auratus and joanjohnsonae... Neither were particularly aggressive. That said, the auratus was a juvie (1.5-2") and I only had him for about 3 months. The joanjohnsonae wasn't ever aggressive.

From anecdotal evidence, I'd vote chipokae.
 

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I have 6 (Melano.Cyaneorhabdos) maingano in my 125 with a lot of other mbuna - they're fine.
(again, anecdotal)

I would have said Auratus, but that's just from reading.
 

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johanni are just nasty by nature. Nothing wrong with keeping them, I have them, as time goes by you will be replacing stock due to stress ... then bloat induced from stress. Rinse and Repeat.
 

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Melanochromis parallelus is aggressive IMO, these little guys are ruthless.
 

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The only fish that I've seen that can go with an auratus or a chipokae are maybe tetracanthus and a few other Neo's. When I was young and watched cichlids fight for territory.... By far this group "melanochromis" was the toughest fish I ever kept. I kept almost all of them. It depends on each individual fish. I would say the auratus though. The first african cichlid I ever bought was an auratus. I had a tank with 2 jack dempsies and 2 texas cichlids in caves. This little striped rascle dodged back and forth in front of each cave one by one. Once he found an opening and got in, all I saw come out of the cave was dirt...poop and then the other fish swimming for his life.... in that order.....lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Myrock wrote
The only fish that I've seen that can go with an auratus or a chipokae are maybe tetracanthus and a few other Neo's.
I thought keeping malawian and tanganikan was unwise. One of the main reasons that every bodty repeat is that mbunas are too aggressive and will intimidate the tangs. If it is not so I think tropheus will be a better choice because they are vegitarian and mouth brooder
.
 

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It's VERY unwise. That was 30 something years ago. I was a kid. Didn't know any better. Me and my friends love to watch fish defend a fortress. We would buy fish who had the toughest name. Jack Dempsy, Convicts, Oscer (the grouch), Big Tex, You get the picture. It wasnt untill later that I realized the real beauty in these fish. There was very little known at that time about these fish. At least know one I knew. All we had were these pamplets you got from the store. I didn't even know that a male Auratus and female were the same fish. Then one day I came home and saw them mating. WOW. Changed everything. I got my first cichlid book. Separated the female. I walked in the room one day and saw the fry run back in her mouth. Thats when I really became a cichlid owner. But till this day. I still say the auratus is the toughest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Myrock wrote
It's VERY unwise. That was 30 something years ago. I was a kid. Didn't know any better. Me and my friends love to watch fish defend a fortress. We would buy fish who had the toughest name
When I began fish keeping I began by buying piranas to watch their supposed aggressiveness, after 5 months 1 of them died and honestly I cried.
I want to stock some melanochromis in a separate tank to watch their natural behaviour (at least their natural aquarium behaviour) and judge for myself the meaning of their fearful reputation.
 

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I have been keeping chipokae for over 25 years. Biggest personality of all mbunas. Hands down the meanest. Chipokae has ALWAYS been the boss in all my tanks.You could have a way larger central american with a well earned bad reputation in there with him (black nasty, jaguar,red devil etc.)And believe me in due time he will have them all begging for mercy. If you dont believe me, give it a try. I recently threw a 5 and a half inch kenyi male in my 125 long, didnt last 6 hours. Pound for pound the meanest toughest cichlid I have ever kept.
 

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i just saw some chipokae for the first time the other day and yeah, they are just bigger, meaner auratus. basically. they are just more uncommon than the auratus. All those big box stores carry auratus and they get sold to unsuspecting people all the time. Chipokae, you'd have to do some hunting to even find some chipokae, most of the time anyway.

I do find the meaner they are the more personality they have, lol. I'm just keeping maingano now as my "blue auratus" even though they are not even considered melanochromis anymore. we'll see if they turn out mean like some people's have. so far my rusties seem to be fighting the most. i do wonder if it's because i have fewer of those in terms of ratio, only 6 of them (lost half in the shipment sadly)
 

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Had a chipokae back when I first got into fish keeping. He was close to 8". I couldn't keep anything in there with him. He was a relentless fighter, very quick and dangerous, pretty much killed everything in the tank. I would have put him in with a larger aggressive South Americans and I bet he would have killed them too.
 

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We have yet to get an auratus by our parallelus, been trying for 2 years. Our big male chipokae finally fell victum to our willamsi north.
 

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That chipokae must have been on his last legs. I am confident that if I throw anything in my tank which he deems a threat to his throne, it will be killed swiftly and without mercy. I made the mistake of throwing a single big bull keny i male 6" or so (bigger than my chipokae) and it was torn to shreds in less than 6 hours. I am sure he will do the same to anything I throw in there. Big boy central americans and all. I have too much experience with this fish. It has always been in all my tanks since I was a young kid. Incredibly he is in there with a red top male tropheops wich doesnt dare mess with him, a big traewasse and full grown afra cobue male which he tolerates. They live in total peace. My chipokae has bred with various zebra females and the fry are growing. They look super wierd. imagine a zebra with a chipokae head and body. Some are pink, some are orange, some black. pretty crazy. Im not a fan of hybrids either.
 

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juliogonzalez said:
That chipokae must have been on his last legs. I am confident that if I throw anything in my tank which he deems a threat to his throne, it will be killed swiftly and without mercy. I made the mistake of throwing a single big bull keny i male 6" or so (bigger than my chipokae) and it was torn to shreds in less than 6 hours. I am sure he will do the same to anything I throw in there. Big boy central americans and all. I have too much experience with this fish. It has always been in all my tanks since I was a young kid. Incredibly he is in there with a red top male tropheops wich doesnt dare mess with him, a big traewasse and full grown afra cobue male which he tolerates. They live in total peace. My chipokae has bred with various zebra females and the fry are growing. They look super wierd. imagine a zebra with a chipokae head and body. Some are pink, some are orange, some black. pretty crazy. Im not a fan of hybrids either.
No last leg problem, just could not handle the pressure.
We have learned you get good and crazies in all of them.
 
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