New to Cichlids - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-28-2009, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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New to Cichlids


I have a freshwater aquarium(160L/40G) for 3 years now...with mostly tetras in it and a few barbs here and there.

I want to begin with Cichlids now but my problem is their size. I don't want large growing fish...maximum size would be 4".
I've searched for African cichlids but those seem to grow a bit i searched for American Cichlids but apart from being lost from the variety i can't find a website that would sort the fish by size.
Can anyone help me out?
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-28-2009, 03:39 AM
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You might try google search for info on species of dwarf cichlids and see where it leads you.
While I am not familiar with the numerous species others here are and hopefully will offer their thoughts. Your tank would house several of these little fish. While researching fish,, I first find one that interests me,, and then google information on that particular fish. Often times,, several sites offer all kinds of info on particular water requirements,foods,temp,and compatability. OH!! and even adult size.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.

Last edited by 1077; 05-28-2009 at 03:42 AM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-28-2009, 10:07 AM
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Following up on 1077's suggestion, here's a link to an informative page from the krib that links to numerous articles on dwarf cichlids. [The Krib] Apistogramma and other Dwarf Cichlids

You could, as 1077 said, have several dwarf cichlids in a 40g, and leave the tetras in for company and varied interest. Dwarf cichlids always interact better (and fare better in health) in aquaria with other fish (the term "dither fish" is often used). The presence of shoaling smaller fish seems to make the dwarf cichlids feel more secure. They also need plants, and dividing the tank into "areas" with largish pieces of bogwood or rock with plants providing a screen or divider around these will be good; it will allow them to establish their mini-territories.

The Apistogramma genus will provide a lot of variety, with more than 100 species identified to date, but there are other less common genera as you will see from the afore-mentioned site. Some are best kept in pairs, others in a small group. Generally very easy to spawn, and the parental care of eggs and fry is wonderful to observe. Many do require careful water parameters, and most are susceptible to deteriorating water conditions. Plants will help maintain a healthy environment.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 05-28-2009 at 10:11 AM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-28-2009, 10:25 PM
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Apart from the aforementioned Apistogramma are various other types of dwarf cichlid. German blue and Bolivian rams are both commonly available. I've seen nannacara for sale in several places as well. Kribensis are also readily available and, although they are African riverine cichlids, are similar in care requirements to their American cousins. Just a few alternatives, as some species of apistos are hard to come by and can have a hefty price tag.

Also note that these are territorial fish that can be aggressive, mostly towards other cichlids. Even when not in spawning mode, they will still not really take kindly to other dwarf cichlids, so multiple territories should be set up if you wish to keep more than one. If you get pairs of cichlids they are fairly easy to spawn (in other words, they are quite likely to do it on their own) and will aggressively defend their eggs and fry from any and all threats, including non-cichlid tankmates. In a 40g tank your dither fish (i.e. tetras) should have plenty of room to swim away from any angry cichlids, but keeping multiple breeding pairs of dwarf cichlids in a tank of that size would almost certainly be problematic.

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-01-2009, 02:44 AM
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try mostly pseudos or tropheus if you want smaller fish IMO other then that you could try dwarfs like rams or kribensis. but dont try americans the majority grow huge (over 2 feet) so thats just out of the question.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-01-2009, 09:26 PM
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Well, most cichlids that are referred to as "dwarf" cichlids are American in origin. Also, I don't know of too many cichlids that grow to over two feet but many grow in the 12-16" range. Regardless, anything larger than a "dwarf" cichlid would have to be considered carefully and might not be good candidates for community tanks.

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post #7 of 8 Old 06-02-2009, 06:10 AM
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One fish to consider would be the Red Jewel Cichlid........These are an african riverine fish that does not need the high Ph of the african rift lake cichlids......The Red Jewel is an awesome looking fish that usually wont get any longer than 4 inches.........A pair would make an awesome show fish for your tank with maybe a small shoal of Congo tetras to fill in the space......Please bear in mind, the Red Jewels can be rather nasty and aggressive, so do your research and choose your tankmates carefully
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-02-2009, 12:50 PM
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i have to agree with fishin pole. i have a red jewel and he is a mean son of a gun. i to am starting a dwarf cichlid tank and i think the best choice for beauty and character is the ram cichlid.

20G community tank

20G on the way

55G Reef on the way as well
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