06-07-2007, 10:34 PM
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I have been keeping African cichlids for over 25 years and have experimented with about every stocking scheme known to mankind when it comes to these little piscivores. I have even had the great treat of giving some impromptu orations on the subject of stocking varied cichlid aquariums at many fish keeping conventions, at local, regional and national levels. I have found that large communities tend to show less mortality due to aggression than those tanks with a less dense stocking scheme. My reasoning, though not scientifically proven, simply is this, the aggressor loses the agressee in the "crowd". Maybe this method also does not allow the fish to establish a true territory as they would in the wild. However, I must also say that spawnings are a regular part of the "packed" cichlid aquarium, and one must watch out for hybridation. This is the crossing of different species of fish and can, will, and does happen. The offspring of such interludes should be destroyed (or used as feeders) in my opinion.
The filtering of such a tank should be herculean, to say the least. I have a 125g tank that has (4) Marineland 660 reverse flow powerheads w/ ugf, (2) Marineland Magnum 350 canisters, (2) Fluval 4+ internal power filters, and (2) Emperor 400 power filters. The total filtration is somewhere around 2750 gph which translates into "turning" the water in the tank over 22 times per hour. I use no carbon, filter over coral (to help maintain a high pH).
I, too, use lace rock, no plastic plants, and wood. The wood seems to attract some algea growt for the mbuna.
As far as scavengers I prefer to keep my African tanks African. I may be a little anal retentive when it comes to that. I use Synodontis', and dwarf African giraffe cats.