Just wondering if anyone has any tank mate ideas. We have a ten gallon aquarium that we put three fry in caught out of a lake (spontaneity and beer is a fun combination lol). We had assumed they were some sort of feeder fish. Turns out, they're either Jack Dempsey or Rio Grande Chiclids, or something else similiar to those that we have not yet discovered. That was after being scared into thinking they were Bass or Tilapia lol Of course as fry they were tiny and cute but now they are growing into terrors.
First off, we are fully aware that we need a bigger tank. I am actually considering a backyard pond for these guys, eventually, but not entirely sure yet. Right now the largest is only 1.5 - 2 inches but they eat like crazy. They actually get excited when I get near the tank and dart to the top, quivering almost with excitement to be fed - again.
We had put in three tank mates, 2 Bamboo Shrimp and 1 Pleco. One shrimp died for no apparent cause (we think he was stressed from a water change) and they didn't touch him (no parts missing lol). In fact, the cichlids totally ignored the presence of other species in their tanks. All was well. Then one day the pleco disappeared. Then the shrimp was beheaded. So, we decided, no more defenseless tank mates (which herald a third tank - slowly turning into the fish equivalent of the crazy cat person).
Of course, we are somewhat attached to these fish after having them for some months now. But, we would like to find some other tank mates because they are not exactly the most colorful fish.
So we put in a Jag Cichlid. He's the size of the biggest Dempsey and we had observed him in the tank at the pet store to verify he was comparably aggressive. At first they did their "getting to know you" rubbing and what not and then left each other alone. The next day, the Jag has pieces of his fin missing. He seems to be fighting back, he seems to be figuring out how to eat around the gluttons (lol), so is there a chance that they will eventually leave him alone or only nip occasionally like they do to each other, once they have established pecking order? And, are there any other cichlid suggestions that might be able to step up to these guys for when we get a bigger tank? I'd like some color! Though these guys make up for their relatively drab appearance with tons of personality. What about puffers? I fell in love with puffers when I was looking at the pet store, so can they live grumpily-ever-after with the cichlids? Or does this mean a fourth tank...lol
Also, am I crazy or do the lake cichlids (presumably Dempsey's) click at each other when they're eating? This is a relatively new development, happening around the time they became aggressive. Assuming it might be an aspect of their maturity. It's not the equipment - same filters, etc and no location change and it only happens when they are eating.
We don't warm their tank - our home never gets very cold, we live in a desert and when it is cold out, the house heater is on. They came out of a lake so we figure they don't need a highly specialized climate and they seem to be doing well. We feed them Cichlid Flakes 2-5 times a day, averaging 3. They have an undergravel filter and 20 gallon back filter. Is there anything we should be doing for them, maybe freeze dried food?
I have actually read up online alot about some of this, but I'd like to hear personal experience because theoretically and actually tend to be very differnet things. Any ideas appreciated!