tigerbloke

Are African Cichilds right for my tank???

31 posts in this topic

Hi all i am in the process of restarting my tank.

My tank is a cube 60cmx60cmx60cm.

I am trying to go for a colourfull fish tank with activity at the top middle and bottom.

From what i can gather most african cichlids will be bottom to mid dwellers.

Are there any that will help fill out the tank .

Or any other species that will survive in my tank.

Cheers

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I've got the exact same size tank and for various reasons I've struggled a bit with African cichlids but I've persisted because I think it can work.  Not all species are going to work, a 2 foot cube is just too small for some species.  Selecting the right species, not doing stupid stuff (my problem) and tank décor will are the keys to success.

I first tried a tank full of electric yellows, which ended in a total wipeout which I don't think can be blamed on the tank size.

Next I tried a pair of Neolamprologus splendens in the expectation that they would step breed like rabbits and fill the tank with generations of fry.  All was going well until the male decided he was going to kill off all the fry.

Since then I've gone with smaller groups of rusties (Iodotropheus sprengerae) and electric yellows.  The rusties tend to spend more time at the top and mid layers of the tank and give the yellows more confidence to get out and use more of the tank.  High rock piles and some tall anubias also seem to help them use more of the top.

 

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I would use coral sand, no rocks or ornaments AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND pack the tank with a good mix of assorted male peacocks :D

 

You want a boiling tank of fruit salad, thats about the best way to do it.

Hit them with some lights with lots of red/blue and feed an astax rich food.

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Thanks for the replies how many rusties are we talking about?

The peackocks are also tempting but i am not sure about a full male tank. Though the colours should he great. Do you think 10 males with no females would transform the tank into a prison yard fight to be top dog (fish)

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1 hour ago, tigerbloke said:

Thanks for the replies how many rusties are we talking about?

I've got 6 rusties and 6 yellows - they're still juveniles so the tank looks a bit empty but they've still got plenty of growing to do.

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Personally, I don’t think your tank configuration is terribly well suited to mbuna or peacock.  OK the volume might be alright for the smaller species, but being a cube it means that any sub-dominant fish has no-where to run.  Your tank has a similar volume to a “standard” four foot tank, but with the four-footer you have more ability to scape the tank to help combat aggression.  It much easier to provide barriers to break the line-of-sight and better define individual territories.  As well as being more difficult to scape, in the cube a harassed fish can never get more than two foot away from an aggressor. 

 

Amongst the rift valley cichlids, some of the smaller Tanganyikans would do well in that configuration of tank, but they aren’t as likely to meet your desire for “colourful” fish, and getting species which will occupy all levels in a tank of that size is problematic.

 

What about looking at some of the South American and West African dwarf cichlids?  Perhaps start with a pair of something that takes your fancy, and then look at other compatible community-type fish with similar requirements and which will mix well with them.   Combined with plants, and perhaps some wood, you could build a pretty amazing set up!

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Personally, I don’t think your tank configuration is terribly well suited to mbuna or peacock.  OK the volume might be alright for the smaller species, but being a cube it means that any sub-dominant fish has no-where to run.  Your tank has a similar volume to a “standard” four foot tank, but with the four-footer you have more ability to scape the tank to help combat aggression.  It much easier to provide barriers to break the line-of-sight and better define individual territories.  As well as being more difficult to scape, in the cube a harassed fish can never get more than two foot away from an aggressor. 

 

Amongst the rift valley cichlids, some of the smaller Tanganyikans would do well in that configuration of tank, but they aren’t as likely to meet your desire for “colourful” fish, and getting species which will occupy all levels in a tank of that size is problematic.

 

What about looking at some of the South American and West African dwarf cichlids?  Perhaps start with a pair of something that takes your fancy, and then look at other compatible community-type fish with similar requirements and which will mix well with them.   Combined with plants, and perhaps some wood, you could build a pretty amazing set up!

Thanks humbug my initial plan was to get a south American for their personality, but i thought that the tank was to small for them.

I will look into the west african dwarfs as well.

One dwarf that i like is the Pseudotropheus Demasoni, and combine with the electric yellow.

Do you think that might work.

I am still cycling my tank so i have plenty of time to choose.

Cheers

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A couple of LFS I know of, run by highly respected long-time cichlid guys, don't like to sell demasoni to anyone with a tank smaller than a 6 footer.  Yes they are small, but they are one of the more aggressive cichlid species in the hobby. 

If you want to go with mbuna, then probably best to stick with the more placid guys.  The yellows and rusties skippy suggests are good options.  Aceii may be another one to consider.  They tend to use more of the top part of the tank and in my experience are pretty laid back.

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There are others in the Labidochromis genus that would also be worth considering; joanjohnsonae, freibergi, nkali etc.  They are generally smaller fish with a more placid nature.  Just be aware that if you are mixing similar species in a community type tank there is a risk that offspring from the tank may be hybrids. 

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There are others in the Labidochromis genus that would also be worth considering; joanjohnsonae, freibergi, nkali etc.  They are generally smaller fish with a more placid nature.  Just be aware that if you are mixing similar species in a community type tank there is a risk that offspring from the tank may be hybrids. 

Thanks humbug

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Adding no females, and no ornaments + over stocking = a pretty chilled peacock display.

 

The drawback being weekly water changes and a diet regime that includes at least some portion of astax rich food to keep ALL fish in alpha colours.

Fruit salad peacock displays are not for everyone, but when the design requirements are

"I am trying to go for a colourfull fish tank with activity at the top middle and bottom."

Its hard to top them.

Bigger is always better, but it is 200+ Litres

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Go Dwarfs, the only draw back would be the height of the tank and having fish that will fill the entire tank.
 

I bred Demasoni for most of my fish keeping life. They are the nastiest little fish I have ever seen. If you want to do it in a tank that size give them heaps of places to hide and have a heap of fish in the tank. I was breeding in a 36x18x18 and had a minimum of 50 fish in the tank and a floor covered in 20mm PVC pipe.

 

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Have you noticed that demons seem to chill out a bit more when kept with electric yellows? Always found it an excellent combo.

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2 hours ago, Ageofaquariums said:

Have you noticed that demons seem to chill out a bit more when kept with electric yellows? Always found it an excellent combo.

I had my colony (many moons ago) in with yellows and it was definitely better that way.  The yellows bred a lot less than they did with other tankmates - but at the time the demasoni were worth significantly more so that didn't bother me.

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Not as colorful as a peacock tank but why not look into tangs. Cyps and some shell dwellers would look asesome in that tank

 

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Thanks all for your advice so far...

I have been continuing my research, and i love that acei would be active towards the top of the tank, but i think my tank would be too narrow for them at 2ft wide , is that correct??

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Width is fine for accei as they are a smaller mbuna species. An interesting tactic to get them higher in the water column would be to use a cool central bit of wood, like 2 bits of goldvine stuck together (branches at top and branches at bottom). I know, I know....  rift lake tanks dont use drift wood BUT pseudotropheus acei are often collected around wood in Lake Malawi, so its kinda biotype correct lol. If you are worried about wood dropping pH just have a good amount of coral rubble in filter, or chunks of texas rock or even coral sand as a substrate. The only other concern really is it making water a bit yellow from tannin, easy prevented using chemical filtration.

 

Anyway an option for you :)

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Width is fine for accei as they are a smaller mbuna species. An interesting tactic to get them higher in the water column would be to use a cool central bit of wood, .

 

Anyway an option for you

Thanks Ageofaquariums, i have adapted this idea abit and i have created something like a pyramid using texas rock in the middle of the tank.

I am going to use some anubias, java fern, amazon sword and villarius to help add some more hiding spots and line of sight distractions.

With my fish lists i have kind of narrowed it down to the following.

4 electric yellow 1 male 3 female

4 Acei 1 male and 3 female

4 afra dog tooth

I would also like to add some black coloured.

Any thoughts and how that sounds and suggestions on the black colours?

Cheers

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Which acei varient were you planning on getting?
The ngara are a nice black/purple/dark blue. And they are actually (I think) the nicest but most underrated locale.

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Which acei varient were you planning on getting?

The ngara are a nice black/purple/dark blue. And they are actually (I think) the nicest but most underrated locale.

The one i was looking at was the msuli, i didnt realise there was black one.

Thats great about the ngara, looks i can go for a another color mbana.

So i would have 4 x 4 groups of colours maybe a red or orange

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Well, I wasn't suggesting you mix the 2 acei types, but get the black one instead.  The 2 variants are pretty likely to crossbreed.
It would be way easier to find a powder blue alternative to the msuli, than another black mbuna on the less aggressive side IMO.

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Well, I wasn't suggesting you mix the 2 acei types, but get the black one instead.  The 2 variants are pretty likely to crossbreed.

It would be way easier to find a powder blue alternative to the msuli, than another black mbuna on the less aggressive side IMO.

My bad i ment to say that i would replace the msuli with the ngara.

And then look for 4 red or orange ones.

The afra would be the blues.

Cheers

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OK feel free to ignore, but a ramble for you :)

 

Afra will certainly be the dominant fish. Tricky to sex electric yellows and acei....  its a bit of a gamble.

Must admit to being a msuli fan here :) they seem to be the most friendly of the acei in my experience.

Most the black fish, especially the black and blues, tend to be rather aggro. Theres no real chilled out option although the purple/black mbamba come closest to fitting the bill. Not mpanga.....  lol mbamba!

As far as a small blue fish, I'd be tempted to go blue pindani, just because they are like a colour reversed electric yellow and less aggro than the afra.

Red and orange are trickier to get. Theres 2 options that are less obvious but well worth consideration IMHO the first is clown loaches and the second is lelupi.

 

So while your list is good......  if I was doing it I would go with,

4 electric yellows

4 mbamba

4 pindani

4 lelupi

3 clown loaches

1 bristlenose

 

Is that over stocked? hell yes :)

But nothing good aeration and weekly water changes couldnt handle.

Also theres gonna be plenty of aggro between the mbuna and who knows what sort of m/f ratio you'd end up with lol.

Would they cross? maybe. Probably best not to sell any fry from these guys BUT you'd certainly end up with a few "hills have eyes" mongrels kicking around the rock work.

 

Never forget its your tank, we just kicking around the ball!

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I luv the ramble AoA (i hope you dont mind)

And the kicking around the ideas, isnt that what pages like this are all.about.

How would the loaches go with the cichlids? Aren't they a bit shy and i would see them??

Along with the colour movement at all levels is important to me i think?

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Well loaches are one of those fish, like bristlenose that probably shouldnt work, but that I find work great. The big drawback to adding loaches is that you will then need more expensive meds in the horrible situation you have a disease. Loaches tend to be more delicate to medications.

Once adjusted to the tank though, they are quite robust and will usually be out begging at food time with the rest.

 

To get that top level movement, you need to get the rocks up high. Height being the hardest thing to achieve with texas rock.

Looking back at that fish list, I'd definitely slim it down lol, got a tad carried away there.

Theres some cool fish out there if you are not looking for just a simple colour mix....  if you can find them of course!

 

1 Pseudotropheus Barlowi male

1 mbamba male

1 albino pindani

1 Pundamilia nyererei male

1 afra cobwe male

1 Otopharynx lithobate male

1 red dragon blood peacock

3 clown loaches

1 bristlenose

 

Making up stocking lists is like the best thing in the world.

 

 

 

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