Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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jack26707 01-18-2013 08:19 PM

Lake Malawi Setup
Hi guys, I have been put in charge of setting up a 120 gallon lake malawi cichlid setup and I want to ask you what you think of my idea. Electric Yellow Cichlids, Peacock Cichlids, an African Featherfin Catfish, Ocellifer Catfish, or lace catfish, and an Ornate Bichir. Any other suggestions or tweeks would be appreciated. Thanks.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 05:57 PM

Hello you will have fun stocking with Lake Malawi fish. I think you are on the right track, can't go wrong with Yellow Lab Mbuna's and Peacocks. I would stay away from Haps, they get very big. I would recommend a pair of Synodontis multipunctatus (Cuckoo Catfish) if you can find them. They are from Lake Tanganyika and do not get as big as Ocellifer Catfish and Featherfins. If you cannot find Cuckoo's I'd go with one African Featherfin. You will also need a couple of bristlenose pleco's, try to get males with bristles or a male/female pair if you want babies. If you are planning to let your fish breed, I'd go with the Featherfin because Cuckoo's reply on mouthbrooding cichlids to reproduce. The Cuckoo's will get in the middle of the fish at spawning time, the cuckoo's will drop their eggs, the female cichlid picks them up, the Cuckoo's eggs hatch before the cichlid eggs do and they eat the undeveloped cichlid eggs. So, when the female cichlid spits, she spits out Cuckoo catfish fry. If you have any other questions as far as tank set up, ph, etc. just let me know.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 06:00 PM

Oh... I would not go with the Bichir. Try to stay with all African's if you can. The only other Mbuna I would recommend is the Acei, they usually get along well. We have about 700 tanks of Lake Malawi Haps, Peacocks and Lake Tanganyika fish going, love them! You will too!

Tazman 01-21-2013 06:06 PM

I certainly would not mix mbuna and peacocks together, it is asking for trouble.

Mbuna are more active than sedate peacocks and this can lead to stress in the peacocks.

Birchir is a no no for african cichlids, it will kill them and needs different water parameters.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 06:19 PM

Tazman, I disagree with you. Like I said in my post, there are only 2 Mbuna's I recommend with Peacocks, Yellow Labs and Acei. And, I am not just saying that because they have been working well in our tanks. It is a fact. It is correct that Mbuna's are not good choices with any other fish (with the exception of the 2 fish I mentioned). Mbuna's are not even good with other Mbuna's most of the time. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify my posting.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 06:21 PM

And, Peacocks are not sedate. They are very aggressive and can be extremely aggressive to their own kind. Luckily we have 700 gallons of tanks running with all African Cichlids in them, I have had to move many fish around to different tanks before I found a combination that would work to lessen aggression.

jack26707 01-21-2013 06:45 PM

Sorry I meant a 180 gallon btw.

Tazman 01-21-2013 06:50 PM

Agree that it depends on the nature of the fish. For some it will work, others it will not.

The fish that have been mentioned will all work although care must be taken that the fish can removed to another tank or back to the store if too much aggression is present.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 06:51 PM

That's a nice size tank to work with. We have a 220 with large predatory Haps, all wild caught, some 12-15". Since you are starting out fresh... think about this. Do you want smaller beautifully colored fish up to about 6" max (Peacocks)... or do you want big manly looking fish that grow to around 18" (Haps) You will definitely need good filtration and water aeration (i.e. large canister filter like a Fluval FX5 and possibly a second filter like an Eheim 2217) And power head fans to create as much water surface agitation as you can.

lakemalawifish 01-21-2013 06:56 PM

Thanks Tazman for clarifying the posting. You are right, keeping any fish can be a challenge at times and the most important aspect of being a fish keeper is having happy healthy fish. Anything less than that is unacceptable and cruel to a small or large creature that depends solely upon it's keeper to maintain it's safety and well being.

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