01-06-2013, 05:48 PM
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Most cichlids are active swimmers, requiring room to swim and also room to setup a territory. A 37 gallon being 30" inch long is not sufficient to allow this. By the time you add the substrate, rocks and decorations there is not 37 gallons of swimming space, nearer 30 or less depending on how many decorations you have.
Most of the popular species such as yellow labs, acei, rutsy, red zebra which are all compatible and good beginner fish, attain 5-6 inches in length when adult, which occurs in less than a year.
Variety simply will not work in the tank, this is coming from 18 years experience with African cichlids. Whichever fish becomes the dominant fish in the tank will make it very hard on the other species. They have no room to escape.
Mbuna - all of the above fish are, are aggressive to each other, there are ways to calm it down and some of the more aggressive ones such as auratus, demansoni and crabo, require a lot of real estate and overstocking to make them work. A single dominant male auratus can wipe an adult tank of fish out in about 30 mins if it decides it wants to.
Yellow labs, acei would be about all you could safely get in the tank without having issues. Red zebra will crossbreed with the yellow labs. If there is any aggression you will need to act quick in a smaller tank, the results can be a dead tank with one fish happily swimming around otherwise.
Stay away from any of the above aggressive fish I have mentioned, they are simply not suitable and will lead to dead fish, they are a handful even for experienced cichlid keepers.
I am not saying this to put you down but to give you a sense that these fish are not easy to keep and need work.
They are also messy fish, producing a lot of waste, they also always appear to be hungry, resist the temptation of overfeed them, it can kill them with Malawi Bloat, which is almost 99% fatal. The tank also requires extreme filtration, 10-15 times the tank volume per hour MINIMUM, anything less and you will have water quality issues. I have a 75g with a Fluval FX5 and 2 x Rena XP4 on it.
Its not about knowing they will be fine, I can say they will not be fine because of years of experience keeping them and knowing what is correct stocking for almost all tank sizes. my biggest was 180g all male, hap and peacock tank which took 5 years to get correctly stocked and I only had 20 fish in it, way under the 30+ some people had in similar tanks. What works for some people, does not work for others. These fish are programmed with certain traits and we as keepers cannot do a single thing to change them.