Malawi cichilds. - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 03:11 PM
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when you set up a new tank,hide an extra
sponge or two behind some decor,that way you have
something seeded for you next filter.
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 03:24 PM
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I agree with mollies on the size issue. But I also have a comment or two on an important aspect of your original question involving compatibility.

Fish come from different habitats, and many things make these places different. Water parameters is a significant part of this; your African rift lake cichlids are endemic to the rift lakes in Eastern Africa and are unique to that environment. The water in these lakes is very alkaline and hard, by comparison to many if not most other freshwater fish habitats. Nature has evolved these fish accordingly, and to keep them in a home aquarium in good/best health, the water should be as close as possible to what they are designed for.

Fish such as discus and angelfish, mentioned previously in this thread, come from completely different water; it could not be further apart. These fish live in streams that are very soft (less than one degree hardness compared to around 30 dGH for the rift lakes) and acidic (pH around 5-6 compared to 8+ in Lake Tanganyika). Their biological metabolism is simply not built for this. Plus, placed in an environment of rock and white sand with no plants would stress out discus and angelfish to the point of bringing on health problems and disease.

When considering fish for an aquarium, "compatibility" has three aspects:

1. Water parameters. Temperature, pH, hardness, salinity (brackish opposed to fresh). Fish are built to live within fairly specific confines. It is true that some fish can adapt quite a bit to differing water parameters, but I am not personally convinced that long-term this does not cause problems internally and lead to increased risk of disease, shorter life, etc. There can be no question though that providing the same, or reasonably same, conditions as in nature will be positive with respect to the fish's long-term health.

2. Environmental objects. Plants, wood, rocks, strong current or no current. Fish that are programmed by nature to live among tree branches and plants will, if placed in a relatively bare aquarium, feel constantly threatened; the fish does not "know" it is safe, it only knows that it has no hiding places and its natural instinct says it is vulnerable. The continual stress will weaken its immune system and bring on any number of problems and disease, and probably premature death.

3. Behaviour. Fish that are being harassed by bullies will be under stress, and bad health follows.

A successful "community" aquarium, by which we mean one containing more than one species of fish, must have fish that are relatively the same in water parameter requirements and environment, and then have behaviours which will not cause stress to the other fish.

I hope this helps to clarify things.


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]
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post #13 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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thanks byron. loads of help what colourful malawis would you recomend?
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 04:55 PM
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(]Kennyi's are pretty. Elongatus Likoma). There are all shorts of them you will have to read and research the web. We will answer any questions you have. will give you some info on the fish there.
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post #15 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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ive just been reading up on the Tilapia Buttikoferi ... it says it can grow to sizes of up to 25 cm and it is compatible with my africans cichilds. not sure i would wanna put it with mine.

looks nice tho.
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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if i was to buy an Oscar that was a little bit smaller than my malawi would all be ok? or is that a big nono
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-02-2010, 07:41 PM
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I wouldnt considering they are south american. And need a diffrent water type. You should Look At mbuna. which are african cichlids. I wouldnt go with any thing other then that.
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-03-2010, 08:29 AM
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if its color your looking for look at red zebras, yellow labs acei's electric blue johannis (johanni are extremely aggressive) maybe even a red top cobalt i would start there and i have all of the fish mentioned in my 55 with no problems just stock the acei more than anything else in the tank or they get bullied by the johanni and cobalt.
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-03-2010, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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yeah well ive got acei, red zebs and yellow labs. ive also got a maingano i think, it might be a johanni, they look the same
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