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tfoster

New to Cichlids - What should I get?

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I'm just starting out and have obtained a 3ft tank. I want to start off simple, but do not know which group of cichlids offer the beginner a chance to learn the ropes and not have too many fatalities.

Also any recommendations on books for cichlids.

Cheers

Tim.

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I'd start with Malawi's, its what got me into cichlids in the first place. Soo many fish, never enough tanks.

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I'm fairly new to cichlids/fishkeeping. Kept community fish for about 1.5 years and kept cichlids for a little over 1 yr. I've had good sucess with mbuna. They are tough little fish, easy to care for and breed like rabbits. You could keep a colony of around 1m and up to 7f in a 3ft tank of mild mbuna with regular spawns.

Also they are very active fish and always doing something unlike other (more boring) fish heheheh.

All you need is a flat rock. thumb.gif and a second fry tank.

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there are some great books for afrian cichlids, cichlids in their natural environment for both malawi and tanganyika by Ad Konings are both excellent. not as up to date on books for americans though.

as for what you want, a tank of 3ft means you would be limited for americans. you could probably keep one pair of the smaller species, like firemouths, sajicas, rainbows, convicts or the like without a problem. you could also get dwarf species as well.

for africans, tang substrate spawners would do very well, as would shellies. for malawis, you could do up to about 20 fish with no real issues, less if you want to actually breed stuff. I would recommend a whole lot of mbuna males as they look fantastic and 3ft is more than enough for them. plus they will give a whole lot of colour..

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You can't go wrong with good quality electric yellows.

You will always sell fry, and they are a nice hardy fish (and attractive too).

user posted image

Alternatively, Pseudotropheus saulosi are pretty to look at and sell well (and are more active than yellows generally). Males are blue and females are orange (but all start off orange).

user posted image

user posted image

As for books, Malawi cichlids in their natural habitat vol 3 is the best for malawis, but the baensch atlas is probably the best all around picture book. Email some of the sponsors of this site for the best prices.

If you want a book on setting up tanks and keeping the fish healthy, don't bother. You will get better information here on the forum from people that have done what you are about to do and have probably made some mistakes that they have learned valuable lessons from. The problem with books is that they usually only give one option or point of view. Here you will get several options and you can choose which is the best for you.

Good luck and don't be afraid to ask ANY question. There are no stupid questions when it comes to starting out in fishkeeping.

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Another vote here for Malawi/Mbuna thumb.gifthumb.gif

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Hi -

Here's my list of recommended species (in order of what I think would be best).

1. Pelvicachromis spp. (subocellatus or pulcher or taeniatus) - These fish can have IMHO the best colouration of any cichlids.... they also have the advantage that you can mix them with standard "community fish".

2. Pseudotropheus saulosi (great first rift lake fish... avoid most other malawis with the exception of electric yellows).

3. Neolamprologus multifasciatus (the least colourful - BUT most interesting (in my opinion) cichlid for beginners).

Other things that I'd recommend:

Laetacara spp. (Peaceful, hardy and quietly beautiful - what more could you want?).

Papiliochromis altispinosa

Avoid: 99% of large central or south american cichlids, avoid large aggressive haps or small aggressive mbuna eg: Ps. demasoni, Melanochromis spp. etc.

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Thanks all for you vaulable info.

I will look into getting a book asap. I have an old Baensch Aquaruim Atlas over 10 years old which I have been looking through. Has lots of cichlids, but nothing up to date.

Once again thanks.

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depends on what your interested in if you want personality go for americans if you want colour go for africans... but its totally up to you.

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All the fish mentioned so far are great. thumb.gif The only thing I would like to add is get something at first which is not too expensive or agressive. Also you might want a type that is robust and can handle a beginner. IMO take your pick of any common (in availablility) African. I know that when I started in the hobby many of my fish gave their life so that I could learn the craft of successfully keeping fish. Be prepared because things can and will occasionally go wrong. laugh.gifblink.gif

I wish I was a member of this forum when I began......

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I am with Andy! I have a colony of Saulosi and some Yellows in a 4 footer. great fish. Saulosi have the perfect personality, always happy to see people and free swimming always.

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I have helped a few newb friends start a tank using saulosi. They all loved them thumb.gif Males and females both being well coloured and a good contrast making a sweet looking tank, which anybody can appreciate.

The problem is, being a newb with just a tank of saulosi and no particular repuation for quality can see you get stuck with alot of fry. I have a few friends who grew many fry to good sizes, from quality stock, who couldn't get a dime for them as shops wanting them generally have a constant supply from a regular source.

I ended up being flooded by fry which I then had to move on their behalf, and after the initial rush of blood they experienced in breeding beautiful fish, the enthusiasm seemed to die in most of them mad.gif due to a negative end. They all still have the fish as far as I know, but they all let them spit in tank to be eaten. I would suggest their fry will be harder to offload for you than electric yellows or kribensis, if you indeed choose to raise fry.

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i think Electric yellow and Electric blue are good for a beginers tank, they go well togther and looks GREAT, not too mention the fact that their fry are easy to sell back to the forum users or the local fishshops.

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I have found some pictures of Pelvicachromis subocellatus. They look great!

How would they go with Pseudotropheus saulosi?? I dont have any info on them so I am unsure.

Also anyone have a good source of Pelvicachromis subocellatus??

What prices would you expect to pay for these two?

Cheers

Tim.

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Hi, welcome to the forum and cichlids etc. smile.gif

My 2c worth.... Get what you want but don't try to have half display tank and half breeding tank. Go one way or the other. Don't get me wrong, you can make a breeding tank look nice too, just relax and dont do everything at once.

Enjoy your cichlids and post some pics when you get 'em.

Ed.

wink.gif

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i agree with kinerata, convicts or firemouths are great to start of with as they have plenty of personality, they are tough, prolific breeders, and are forgiving as far as water conditions go.

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Hi there Tfoster,

Welcome to the forum.

You asked if Pelvicachromis subocellatus and Pseudotropheus saulosi could be housed together in the same tank.

Pelvicachromis subocellatus (also called 'Kribs') do best (most healthy) in aquarium water that is acidic and soft, where as Pseudotropheus saulosi prefer water that is alkaline and hard.

This is because the two different species evolved in different parts of the globe, that had different environmental conditions. However having said that, Kribs are fairly hardy species, and i have seen them grow in alkaline conditions, so it might be possible to keep them all alive in the same tank.

One other thing that you need to consider is if the two species will get along. There might be a problem when the saulosi reach breeding age/size, as they can become reasonably aggressive to other fish in the tank that compete for territory. The saulosi might damage the Kribs through fighting. My suggestion would be to keep these two species seperate, ie not together. Either species would make a really good first fish if you wanted to get into cichlids. My personal choice for your 3ft tank would be for the saulosi.

Cheers

Willy Wombat

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WW -

Just a quick correction: The name kribensis normally refers to Pelvicachromis pulcher (they are west african like all Pelvicachromis, and shouldnt be housed with rift lake cichlids (saulosi included) or in hard alkaline water (though they tolerate neutral water (pH 6.5-7.5). Pelvicachromis subocellatus are sometimes mistakenly sold as kribs and I've seen them labelled as "ocellated kribensis" (which means spotted kribensis).

Like Willy, I wouldnt recommend you keep saulosi mixed with subocellatus (or any other west african).

In a 3' tank you can have a "loosely" west african biotype aquarium with a pair of kribensis (or something similar) and congo tetras or something equally nice.

Alternatively a saulosi species tank would also look nice :D!

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I have also seen them sold as "yellow" or "yellow checked" kribs Dave, but yeah that is a good point to point out the difference between Pelvicachromis pulcher and Pelvicachromis subocellatus. (I must admit im not an expert in West African cichlids huh.gif ....)

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Definately go with malawis,

my first 3ft tank housed 1 male and 4 female lombardoi, which lived and bred well in that tank contrary to popular opinion, but they where in there on their own and the tank space was probably about 60% rocks, there was never a dull moment.

If you want beauty and a fair level of peace try Aulonocara stuartgranti or peacocks as their commonly called, 2 male and 4 female would do well in a std 3ft tank and you could decorate the tank with a combination of rocks and hardy plants if you wanted to.

Bob

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