Background info: I have a 55 gal tank that has been cycled with filter media from the lfs I purchased my fish from.
I have a few questions about my cichlids because I think I may have been given some bad advice. In my 55 gallon tank I started out with 3 yellow labs (abt 1in), 3 ngara flametail (abt 1 in), 3 blue regal (abt 1.5-1.75in), and 1 common pleco. I wanted to do just 5 of each of the labs and ngara but the guy said this was better. Since then one of my labs has died with a red mark on his side. I'm almost certain he was male due to his coloring (most black on his dorsal and black stripe through his eyes). Also, when I got the blue regals they were larger and prevented the ngara from eating and they began to waste away. I have since moved the ngara to a temporary 10 gal setup until they are bigger or i get another tank (they are living peacefully with 3 white clouds lol).(money's kinda tight)
My question for you is this: As far as stocking goes, what should I do? Should I get more labs or more of the others (I hope to put the ngara back in asap)? and How far can I fill out the 55gal?
Also, when I feed algae wafers for my pleco, he gets none and the cichlids eat it. Afterward, they swell up like balloons and return to regular size by morning. Is this normal?
Thanks in advance for all your help.