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Sunsetsonata 09-04-2012 07:42 PM

Compatability - Something's got to give
Hi all, I'm new to cichlids but not to fish. I have an established 20 gallon long where my community fish are doing quite well. I have 1 pearl gourami, 1 albino ancistrus, 3 glofish, 5 cardinal tetras, and my pride and joy, 6 kuhli loaches. I'd love to get a bigger tank for cichlids, but instead I am adding a 6 gallon tank into which I will transfer my kuhli loaches - yeah, it'll be fun catching them - not! I will also transfer either my glofish or my lovely cardinals, and due to space I think I will be forced to turn in whichever I don't transfer.

That leaves my 20 gallon tank, which has hard water and a pH of 7.6. It does have lots of hidey places.

I would like to keep gourami and the ancistrus. Would my large, bold male gourami be able to fend for himself if the cichlids are small at purchase? And would my ancistrus be able to withstand cichlids? It's a smaller variety but still has that armoured plate.

I would also LOVE to add a pictus cat. I had one in the past that thrived by itself in a 10 gallon tank with other species. They're fast, but not armoured. Are they compatable with cichlids?

As to the cichlids themselves. I would love to have single males from several species of cichlids. I'd love a jewel, and at least one bright blue species, if not two. Sounds like African species tend to be smaller and what would work better. Varieties that are appealing to me are the acei, severum, electric yellow, johanni, convict, purple lupingo... tell you the truth I am getting overwhelmed with the variety and research. I know all kinds of community fish including plenty I've never even owned, but cichlids are new territory! Any other ideas of what might work in my tank? Would I have to trade in the gourami? Cichlids really do appeal to me due to both color and behavior.

Thanks for your input!

Blackfeet 09-05-2012 04:11 PM

Welcome to the forum and thank you for asking because all the Cichlids you mentioned are aggressive unsuitable tank mates for any of your current fish. Look into dwarf cichlids for a tank that size and to live with the others. I encourage you to look into the fish profiles near the top of the page second tab from the left. At most you would be able to get 2. The only Cichlid I know offhand that lives in water of our parameters is the kribiscus (don't quote me on spelling).

jaysee 09-05-2012 07:11 PM

The 6 gallon tank is not suitable for the loaches, or tetras or any other fish you have.

You do not have a rank suitable for Pictus cats, or any of the cichlids you mentioned. A couple of dwarf cichlids is all you could do, like was said.

Since you are new to cichlids, I think you should just add a dwarf cichlid to your 20, with the fish you already have.

Sunsetsonata 09-05-2012 09:23 PM

The 6 gallon isn't suitable? Hmm. My understanding is that the kuhli loach's bioload is extremely low and the 1 inch per gallon rule doesn't apply to them. I honestly would have thought that 3 glofish plus the kuhlies would have been fine.

I do have a 10 gallon tank not doing anything - I just don't have a good place for them (the 6 gallon is cylindrical, perfect for desktop) but I suppose I could find somewhere to set it up and divy up the fish I have into 2 groups. And keep the 20 gallon strictly for cichlids and forget the pictus.

I've seen quite a few African tanks on Youtube that are only 20 gallon, with way more fish than I would put in. Only 2 small cichlids, really? I couldn't put 4 or 5 Malawi fish in there? :(

This is exactly why I've posted. I want too much and have limited space. I will not be getting a 55 or larger tank for some time. I just have to figure out what I'm willing to sacrifice, for sure.

jaysee 09-05-2012 10:13 PM

Kuhli loaches grow to 3-4 inches and like to zoom around the tank. Such a tiny tank is not suitable for any bottom dwelling fish. The 10 gallon is not suitable either. The tank they are currently in is the tank they should stay in. To be honest, I'm surprised you would want to provide your pride and joy with such a crappy home. Why wouldn't they count for the inch per gallon rule? Not that the rule is even applicable in this situation.

Fish need room to swim.

I have seen all kinds of videos too, most of which I would never suggest anyone try. The problem with such videos is that they are only a snapshot. What you don't see is that 3 months later they all killed each other.

I don't think you appreciate how small your tanks are.

Sunsetsonata 09-06-2012 07:34 AM

Compare a 3-4 inch kuhli loach with a 3-4 inch tetra or just about any other fish. They don't have anywhere near the mass to feed as other fish of their length, and therefore don't excrete the same amount of waste. You'd have to combine the mass of several to equal the mass of a single other fish the same length.

Kuhlis like to ride the bubbles, therefore they tend to swim UP. The cylindrical would provide for this. Otherwise, they tend to hide, or crawl on the floor. I honestly never see them swimming freely side to side. I'd like to see them out and about more.

Agreed, I'd like some serious tank space, but I just don't have it, unless I take down the 20 gallon.

Good point about the Youtube videos showing overcrowding only being a snapshot of "before" and not the carnage of "after."

jaysee 09-06-2012 08:11 AM

Kuhlis are one of the species in my collection.

It seems like you are only concerned about the bioload aspect, which is not very important - one can always take the necessary steps to handle bioload. However, no amount of filtration, plants or water changes can make up for a lack of space.

Byron 09-06-2012 01:04 PM

I agree with what jaysee has said through this thread. If you (Sunsetsonata) read our profile for kuhli loach [click the shaded name] as someone suggested previously, it mentions a 24-inch tank being minimum for a group of these fish.

They do most of their swimming during darkness, so you wouldn't see it; they are nocturnal. The profile also mentions aquascaping needs they have to be at their best.

And I also agree there is no room for any cichlids or pictus cats.


Blackfeet 09-07-2012 12:56 PM

The only fish I would put in the 6 gallon are your glofish or a betta as small cylinder tanks aren't designed well for heaters. Neither of the fish I mentioned require heaters if they are kept in a room where the temp doesn't go under 65F or over 75F for the danios or 80F for the betta. Maybe get a female gourami or two or more cardinals to fill out any extra space.
Your loaches need caves, but this does not mean in such a way that you can't see them. Try looking for acrylic or glass large vases and cut them or pipe joints coat them with aquarium silicone and then while sticky coat with sand rock or gravel to match your substrate if you put them against the glass you can see inside

Sunsetsonata 09-10-2012 06:40 PM

As I keep hearing about a 20 long being too small for what I wanted, I was sooooo hoping I'd clear out the 20 for just one electric yellow, one johanni, and one acei. Alas it appears that even a total of 2 cichlids won't work. Hard water here so not interested in the dwarf varieties, not to mention they're just not the same. I read somewhere else you can crowd the johannis moreso than the others, so I got excited hearing that - but that was wrong. :frustrated:

I might just add another pearl gourami to bring out my male's color as well and possibly a dwarf gourami. None of the other community fish really interest me. And thus concludes my attempt to indulge in cichlids.

Eventually, I may end up caving and getting a 40-55 gallon tank; who knows where I would put my 20. Then my options would open up a bit. In fact I may end up with peacocks if that's the case - maybe. At any rate, that's some time from now.

Thanks for breaking my heart! :wink:

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