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Which do you prefer to keep?


Which do you prefer to keep and why  

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Hey guys, just curious to what everyone prefers and why.

Im thinking of getting some American cichlids and havent really researched alot about them, I have been overwhelmed with Africans especially of Lake Malawi.. thumb.gif

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Why? because I am a fickle creature and I am currently keeping amercian cichlids. Grass is always greener - or in this case the Fish are always brighter.

To be honest - I would happily keep both. But with room for only one tank - I am leaning towards trying to repopulate with smaller Malawi Cichlids in greater numbers - chances are slight - because my tigar oscar (who is a superb pet - and not easy to give up) will not mix well fish from that locality.

And there is debate over what type of fish my (what I thought where) Aequidens Rivulatus really are - see Fish ID this forum. I wanted to pair a couple off and breed them - get rid of the other two. But when it comes to offering sexually mature mongrel domestic pet fish 'free to good home' I am not expecting any takers - so I may have to keep them. (I have a moral issue with condemning a pet to death for no real reason). But I obviously don't want to breed hybrids - it kind of takes the fun out of it for me.

oh well ....


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I prefer Americans, mostly for their personality, though I also feel this is a bit of a false feeling, let me explain.

My first experience with cichlids (other than Oscars/Angels) was a small breeding pair of convicts. Seeing these 3" fish beating down 6" fish in defence of their fry really won me over. The larger americans are basically the same thing on the larger scale, they all have big individual personalities. The biggest problem with most of the neotropicals (and to some the bigest drawcard) is their size. Most adults get at least 12" long, so ideally they deserve a minimum of a 4x18x18 each so they can turn around. Even if you start with multiple, you usually end up with one anyway due to lack of teritory.

Africans on the other hand are usually kept in extreme, yet "controlled" overcrowding environments. The vast majority of poplarly kept africans max out at 5-10", meaning the humble std 4' tank can suffice. The upside for africans is you can keep a hell of a lot more fish in the tank, but in doing so hide their individual personalities to a degree becuase there is so much movement/colour the fish never get to set a territory up and behave naturally.

Can you "controlled overcrowd" americans? if you had a spare 6x2x2+ I guess you could try, but even then you'd probably only have a maximum of 6 adult fish so they could move without getting stuck but in doing so they'd have room to destroy each other also.

So, what to you want...

q. Lots of colour/heaps of smaller fish?

a. Africans

q. one big pet in a large tank by itself?

a. americans

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At the moment I keep Tropheus and they are awesome fish to keep. I love watching their colony antics.

In the past I have kept several types of American cichlids. They were like keeping a dog in a tank. They just love you.

Good luck with whatever you choose,


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Americans! thumb.gif

Although many people seem to prefer keeping 1 or 2 large Americans in one tank, there is such a variety of them that this isnt neseccary. For instance Cryptoheros sajica, septemfasciatum and spilurum can be kept easily with the likes of Copora nicaraguensis, rivulatus, severums, chocolate cichlids ect.

And then come the earth eaters, all of which are brightly coloured and only semi aggresive. They can be mixed quite easily.



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Many people, when "American Cichlids" are mentioned, seem to think there's only the big piscivorous killers !

But there are many americans that can be mixed together, or some that can go with community fish.

It's not all about colour, ya know. (Do i hear shocked gasps ?)

I feel that a fish's personality is more important than it's looks.

Besides that, there are some truly spectacular coloured species of americans, too wink.gif

for those who doubt me....

N. festae user posted image


Female 1

Female 2

Female 3

And males are just as nice, in their own way.

Male 1

Trimacs, whilst decidedly Evil, and a bit on the ugly side, are still beautiful in their way.

Big Mac

Parrot Cichlids, Copora nigaraguense, are surely colourful ?

Parrot Cichlids

The gorgeous Earth-Eaters ?

18cm Male Geophagus brasiliensis "Fargus"

Gymnogeophagus balzanii

Red Humps (Steindachneri)


Or the truly awesome Cichla?

Lungy's Cichla monoculus

What about the spectacular South American Dwarf Cichlids ?

(Don't know any good links to SA dwarves sad.gif .....)

Friendlier ones.......

Archocentrus sajica

Of course, who can forget Oscars and Convicts ?

I'm sure i've missed out on many people's favourite Americans, so by all means, comment here !

But then, if you're after a tank full of baubles that constantly spew fry out, then Africans are the way to go for you. wink.gif

I personally voted for both Americans and Africans, as i find many of the Africans just as intriguing as Americans, but unfortunately i don't have much room for more tanks, and i can't part with any of my Americans, as they all have their own personality, and are now part of the family.

Interestingly, in Aviculture, Finches are the African equivalent (can mix em, colourful, easy to breed), and parrots the American equivalent (Only mix in huge aviaries, need individual flights(tanks) and far more troublesome to breed), and yet parrots are far more popular than Finches....... blink.gif

Wonder why ?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that they're generally worth more ?



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I did have a display african tank (malawi fishes), and i can honestly say i used to get lost in it for hours just sitting there watching the little fish go about their day to day business. It was so relaxing and mesmerising all the colour and activity. But, they didnt care that i was there or not, and personally, i like animals to acknowledge my presence when im at the cage/tank so for me, americans it is. Well, ive only got a small pair of convicts (with some cool pure white fry im growing atm) and a large female red devil that lives with a large albino pleco (thats for sale, pm for details wink.gif )

The Red devil is just a big sook, but she has her moments when she is happy, sad, ANGRY and any other emotion you can think of. They make great pets, and if in a nice setup make great display fish too.

Cheers, Alan.

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BOTH woot.gif

I have too say if you only have one tank I'd go with africans.... I have numerous tanks and recently i moved my large tiger oscar out of my six foot due to his only companion dying (another tiger oscar) so now he lives in my room. Americans have got the personality but the africans are just that much more practical and good looking.


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