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Help for a cichlid newbie


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Hello all, I've been keeping tropical planted tanks for a few years now and want to switch things up a bit by trying out african cichlids. The tank I have is quite small for this purpose, but I wanted to see if you guys (and gals) think this set-up might work:

Tank specs: 30 x 14 x 18" (LxWxH) = 32G

: 72 x 35 x 45cm = 121L

Lighting: 2x24W HO T5 - would switch to 1 actinic 24W tube

Filtration: Fluval 205 (rated for 200L tank)

I'm thinking a black aragonite sand base, with two white limestone rock formations (texas holey rock if I can get my hands on some) with:

A pair of alto compressiceps and 4 yellow labs


3 alto compressiceps (male and two females)

I know its a small tank, but is it possible to keep alto compressiceps or calvus given its only 2-3?

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My peronal opinion,and i'm sure a lot of other fellow cichlid enthusiasts here would agree,mixing comps or calvus with Lake Malawi cichlids may be the wrong choice,as Altos would probably starve. Malawi cichlids seem to eat everything before it even hits the bottom.May pay to do a little research on eating habits,behaviour,agressiveness,compatibility,etc before deciding which fish to keep.Hope this gives you an idea.And please do not intend keeping frontosa with cyprichromis species just because they come from the same lake!

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In a tank that size I would be considering shell dwellers. They may be little but they have good personalities, very interesting little critters. Do some research on shellies, IMO they are your best option. Or get a bigger tank :thumb

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For a man who has been keeping "planted" tanks, I think you will find it a big step down to cichlids. They are much easier to keep and less fiddling around.

However, with a small tank, unlike with keeping plants, with cichlids, you need a knowledge base regarding what to mix etc - all made harder with the smaller the tank.

I agree with albie regarding not mixing the lakes. It can be done, but personally I hate seeing the two lakes in a tank together for aesthetic reasons, and there can be functional reasons as well, as albie indicates. Calvus can compete surprisingly well, for ambush predators, but putting any mbuna with them can make their getting a fair share of food difficult. In your situation with the tank size, give calvus/yellows mix a miss.

For a tank that size, KISS it and just maintain the one species. My personal choice would be fish from Lake Tanganyika, and there are plenty of great fish, brichardi, shell dwellers (multis come to mind), Julidochromis species even the calvus you mention. Bear in mind the fish selected to go in need to be young to enable them to pair up (moving on the excess) or a bonded pair to start with (with the exception of the multies).


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