Blotched Zebra Cichlids?
So I ran across a local CL ad for 2 blotched zebra cichlids in a 20 gallon tank. I know nothing about these cichlids so I am not sure if that tank is too small or not (I assume it is).
Anyone have these fish? What is their minimum tank size?
Thanks in advance. :)
Minimum would be a 40g Breeder unless they are very small. They get to about 5" when adult, have a relatively aggressive temperament but are very aggressive to their own kind. Males and females are different color, males tend to have more blue but orange males are not unheard of in the trade. Females tend to be more orange with light blue or black blotches.
Are the Orange or Blue blotched?
The pictures of them are really blurry but at least one is orange. The tank is in horrible condition and infested with snails. She says the fish are about an inch that she raised from fry.
Orange will likely be a female but cannot be 100% sure.
40g Breeder is the minimum though I would keep them in as they do get to about 5" and have a bit of an aggression issue though mild for most cichlids.
What if I just kept one, would it be fine in the 20g?
Three (1 male, 2 female) absolutely alone in a 20g is bare minimum with NOTHING else except maybe a BN pleco as a bottom feeder. Any more than this and you need the 40g or bigger tank.
The reason they are better suited to a larger tank is they are messy fish and as such, the water parameters can go downhill very quickly, to the point of it being toxic to the fish.
They are also active swimmers and like to occasionally dart around, well mine did anyway. The 20g tank is not really suited for this given it's length. By the time you add a rock structure, driftwood (for the pleco) you dont have a lot of open swimming area.
Having a larger tank as well, also allows the fish to escape attention when required. Say a male in breeding mode, going after females who are not ready. A male will start chasing females to try and get them to spawn at a young age once he becomes sexually mature. With a 20g tank again, you do not have this room to allow sufficient areas potentially for the fish to escape. You could keep a single fish in a 20g tank but overtime it can become stressed as it has no company and these fish live naturally in small groups or harems anyway.
Naturally Lake Malawi is a rocky sandy bottom lake and as such, you should mimic this in the home aquarium. The fish does grow quite quick as well when fed the correct diet (good quality cichlid flakes, supplemented with a once a week treat of either soft boiled carrots, peas (de-shelled), zucchini and lettuce or a small amount of each).
40g Breeder tanks are not very expensive but would allow you to keep a group of 5 plus a pleco if you have fairly strong filtration of 10-15 times the tank volume. If you went the 40g route, you would get 1 male to 4 female. Anything different than this has potential problems, I had all males for a while and frequently until I got my now long sold 125g tank, separate the males when they were ready to breed as they get very aggressive to other males, same with the females, if one female matures faster than the others, she will chase the other females. The chasing will not stop until either the male/female actually gets interest from the opposite sex, this can lead to stressed, sick or injured fish or in the case 90% of the time with cichlids - dead fish unfortunately.
Ah I see. I was just wondering because I really like my cichild I have now, plus I wanted to help these little guys out.
Here is the ad:
20 g fish tank w/ two african cichlids $10
BAD idea putting them anywhere near the convict, it will kill them without hesitating and be quite happy of the quick snack.
The convict is also South American whereas the OB's are African, different water parameter requirements.
Looking at the size of the fish in the picture (that tank is very poorly maintained and likely to be stressing the fish), you have some time, at a rough guess around 6-8 months before they would need a larger tank. Again though with a larger tank, they still cannot be kept with the convict, they would need their own tank.
Honest opinion for the cost, I would say go for it, at best you are rescuing the fish from that horrible tank...if you do buy it though, it will need a Bleach clean for a few days to get rid of all the snails unless you dont mind keeping them?
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