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paulprivitera 12-09-2012 02:42 AM

My new 35 gallons Cichlid Tank

I am new in this web site and also new in fish keeping hobbie. I used to have aquariums when I was young but it is quit a long time since then.

I decided to buy an aquarium for my son and ended up buying a 35 gallon tank which has been running for the past 6 months. After a long conversation with an aquarium fish shop owner who happens to be my friend, I decided to have a comunity of African Cichlids. Now I need to confirm some things, if anyone can help I would really apriciate.
Sorry if the names are not correct.

I have: 2 x OB Peachock
3 x Demasoni (Dwarf Mbuma)
1 x Striped Rafael Catfish which I see every 5 or 6 days :-)
2 x yellow Lab
& 2 x Cyphotilopia sp north (Burundi)

I know, some say it is already crowded but was thinking to add another 2 (don't know yet what) as even though the aquarium can seem small, all of the fish have there own hiding space and look relaxed. what do you think?

One of my problems is infect that the fish look relaxed swimming around peacfully with steddy fins and everything and when I ever watch Youtube clips, african cichlids look very exited.

Well I think I said enough.

Any feedback about my thinking? Thanks

I will try to post some pics when I figure out how to do it :-)

RedRaider15 12-09-2012 11:42 AM

This aquarium is kinda on the small side. I would recommend getting a 55 or larger as all of your fish will grow. As they become larger, there will not be enough space for each fish. This will cause territory issues and your fish would kill each other. I am getting a larger aquarium for my Cichlids soon. Hope this helps.

paulprivitera 12-09-2012 03:26 PM

First of all thanks for your feedback. I really apriciate. I know you are right and I'm not trying to contradict you but I was asking to myself, how come in a 55 gal tank one could fit 35 cichlids similar to mine and 12 are too much in 35 gal tank? I know that the fish will grow but they will also grow in a 55 gal Tank.
I'm saying this because I was thinking of replacing mine but most probable will end up with the same problem.

Thanks again


lakemalawifish 12-09-2012 05:11 PM

Nice to meet another African fan, we have 800 gals stocked with these beautiful baby's and love them!

It is true that African fish keepers recommend overstocking, this is to lessen aggression. If your fish are juvies (1-1/2 to 2") you are ok for right now but will definitely need a larger tank pretty soon. Here are some things for you to think about...

You have:

2 - OB's they are great, we have several. They are classified as Peacocks, but they are hybrids of a Peacock and Mbuna and from our experience they are very aggressive (probably from the Mbuna genes side of the family) And it is very difficult to determine sex, until they are old enough to vent and by then you may have fry so be prepared. We have 30 something fry growing out right now, and we thought we had 2 male OB's. They are Omnivores (eat anything) so that is not an issue.

3 - Demasoni - Oh boy, here we go, you may not like me after this. I love love love these little guys and have had several. They were ok in our tank for a very short time period, then I started seeing the aggression and they were nipping every fin in the tank. They are also Mbuna, highly aggressive and are Herbivores (eats plants) and fish fins in our experience and everyone else's experience we talked with

1 - Striped Raphael Catfish - This guy is a South American cat and will grow big 8" if he is not too afraid of the fish to come out and eat. Hardy choices for cats with Africans are Synodontis Petricola and Synodontis multipunctatus. It is up to you, but if you are willing and have an opportunity to take back and swap, you might want to consider that.

2 - Yellow Labs - You can't go wrong with these, they are awesome and we have a bunch of them (30+ fry growing out right now) They are sweet Mbuna's, only time ours have gotten rowdy is when they were breeding. And again, they are difficult to sex. We thought we had 2 males in one tank and ended up with babies. The female/mommy fish looks like a male all day long with tons of black in top fin and pelvic fin, black slanted eyes and egg spots. They are also Omnivores.

2 - Cyphotilapia sp. "North" (Burundi) Frontosa - We have a 125 gal all Lake Tanganyika tank with 4 Cyphotilapia sp. "North" (Kavala). These guys alone max out at 15" I hope this is not making you sick... seriously you have picked out some awesome fish, some of my favorites. Just trying to help you so you can decide which way you want to go next. Frontosa are Carnivores and like all Lake Tanganyika fish, have different needs, because they are from a different lake with a different chemistry. They need a higher ph and cooler water temps (ph around 8.6 which is very difficult to achieve, with all the research and hard work we have put into our Tang tank it's struggling to reach 8.1, and the temp lower 75-77 our tank is set at 77)

I am going to have to post this real quick because I am getting lost here and I want to make this as short as possible to not bog you down... BRB

lakemalawifish 12-09-2012 05:36 PM

Ok, there is no way for me to sugar coat this. This is how I see it shaking down...

You have aggressive fish - OB's and Demasoni's

and not so aggressive fish - Labs and Frontosa

If you are thinking about keeping all of these fish and you know you want to add more, and you know you need a larger tank... here goes...

You can keep the OB's and Demasoni together in the 35 g and add up to 4-5 more Mbuna's to that tank and still be within the 1" per gal (considering full grown size) but the problem with a 35 is even though the ratio is ok they just don't have enough room to spread out. Try to get fish that do not look alike, that will cut down on aggression but be prepared these little guys are known for totally re-arranging the tank and messing with each other.

If you want a larger tank, and keep the fish you have, go for at least a 55 for the Fronts and Labs. Then you need to decide if you want to do a Tang tank or not. Fronts are so beautiful and angelic, they do grow slow, but will live a very long time if properly cared for. If you want to do a Tang tank, I can help you with some ideas for preparing it for high ph and stock ideas. You can keep the Labs with the Fronts and just add some Peacocks. Peacocks do not get as large as Haps and are not very aggressive. Or you can add the Labs in with the Mbuna's. Either way you have a choice to make and a larger tank needs to come into that equation. For now, until you decide what to do, you will start seeing some aggression from the Mbuna's (probably not the Labs) and Frontosa are slow movers, slow eaters and even though they may kick up their heels every now and then and surprise you with a little chase with each other, are generally very mild mannered and may not eat very well with aggression in the tank. I had to hand feed ours until we got them moved into an all Tang tank and now they are growing like crazy!

As far as feeding, that is another thing to consider when having a mixed tank. Some Mbuna are Omnivores (eat plant and animal) some are Herbivores (eat plant) and with Frontosa they are Carnivores (eat animal). Having them all together in one tank makes that challenging. I am going to stop here, I do have some suggestions food wise that can help if you want the info. I could talk about African's all day long, can't you tell :)

RedRaider15 12-09-2012 08:31 PM

I'm getting a much larger aquarium soon as my African Cichlids have had tons of fry. I don't know how to determine their gender as I thought I had all males now I have 10 fry of different species and are different ages! I'm a very happy fish Kepler!(:

lakemalawifish 12-09-2012 11:12 PM

Yes Africans will breed like rabbits, but be careful because hybrids are generally not well accepted in the hobby. There are several reasons why, one is it dilutes the characteristics of a particular fish and there can also be some deformities and health issues because of hybridization. I am guessing you have Mbuna's because they are the most difficult of all Africans to determine sex, until like you are experiencing, you find them holding fry. Another reason, and this is far fetched from what you are dealing with but, let's say a person has a tank full of fish, and some hybrids. They decide to get out of fish keeping and take all of their fish to a pet store or give some away to friends. Most people want to know what they are getting, and in any case with hybrids, there is no way you can tell them what it is. You may know and be able to keep up with who the mommy fish is, but most people are not satisfied with "well the mommy fish was a _____ not sure who the daddy is" Hope you don't think I am picking on you, we have had a couple of fish breed that we thought were males too. We saw the first spawn, it was our OB and Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi Eureka. We bought the OB as a male, it is a female but covered with egg spots. Even though both of these fish are Peacocks and very closely related, their fry are hybrids. They are beautifully colored juvies, I just didn't have the heart to cull them. But... now we are not sure what to do with them. We can give the males away to someone who has an all male tank. But will probably have to cull the females. Then our Aulonocara jacobfreibergi caroline "Swallowtail" that we were almost 100% sure was a male, bred with another of our peacocks but we did not see the spawn and only think it was the Aulonocara jacobfreibergi Otter Point because of the way he was acting "king of the tank" but we can't prove anything so these beautiful fry do not have a name. In this particular case, the Swallowtail females are absolutely the most colorful female peacock I have ever seen and may be the only female peacocks with color like this in existence. But still, we cannot say for sure what they are, they are just very pretty fish. There are a few accepted hybrids, not sure about on the Mbuna side because I am not familiar with them, but only a very few hybrids that are recognized and not frowned upon such as the OB, and some fish that are line bred to produce more color.

paulprivitera 12-10-2012 12:26 AM

Thank you all for your feedback. I will for sure consider your suggestions. I should have bought a 55 gal from the first place but now I will try to figure out how to deal with this one and move forward as I gain more experience.

So far so good but as you all said most probable I'm going to end up with a revolution because my son does not want me to take back any of the fish evevn though the fish shop will exept as he got hooked to all of them.

I will keep you posted as I go along. Thanks again.

By the way, as for the PH I'm lucky as it is a bit higher then 8 which is good for the Burundi.

Cheers mates

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lakemalawifish 12-10-2012 07:37 AM

Your son has great choice in his fish selection and so do you! It is habit forming and looks like your son is "hooked" pardon the pun on words. You are such a great daddy to do this for your boy, it is a great learning experience for kids and gives them lessons in responsibility. That is very good that your ph is high, your African's will love that water! Keep us posted and pics would be great!

paulprivitera 12-10-2012 02:43 PM

Thanks again for your comments and feedback. I will keep you posted and when I figure out how to post pics, I will post some

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