Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Daga Taga 01-30-2009 12:32 PM

New to Cichlids.
HI I'm new to the forums and have some questions. I am knocking the dust off my 55 gallon tank after 8 yrs of no use. I have kept freshwater fish in it before that and had no problems. However I was thinking of trying Cichlids, but I don't have a clue about them except that they are aggressive. So I was looking for any info and input anyone could give me. Also looking for suggestions on what to start out with, what they eat, any info is great thanks!

aunt kymmie 01-30-2009 12:46 PM

Welcome to the forum and cheers for knocking off the dust!

If I was going to do a cichlid tank I'd start by doing a little research. Select a region (Central America, Africa, etc) and look at the fish from those areas. If you find you like the Africans select a lake (Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawai) to chose from. I know some people mix the different species from different locations but I personally wouldn't do it.
Doing your research is key to long term success!

Glad you joined us :-)

syrinx 01-30-2009 11:20 PM

Consider your tapwater. If it is very hard, africans will be easier to keep happy. If your water is soft you have more options, it is easier to make soft water hard than to make hard water soft. Most south american cichlids prefer softer water, but the majority will do just fine in moderately hard water.

Be aware that many of the larger cichlids will outgrow that 55 pretty quickly. But there are many smaller species available, just do your research before buying. There are even a few species docile enough to keep in a community tank.

What got me hooked on cichlids is the readiness to spawn of most species and interesting spawning behaviors, like mouthbrooding. To see cichlids spawning, all you really need is a male convict, a female convict, and some water. And I'm not sure the water is actually required.

There is loads of information on the various species available on the net, just do some reseach and have fun!

Jewels 01-31-2009 12:11 AM

Discus fish
Hi there,
If you decide to keep Discus Fish, you must feed them live or special frozen discus fish food, as well as blanched spinach. They are fussy about additives in the water, I only use the 'chlorine neutral' in mine. Also regular water changes are necessary, as they require pristine water conditions. I find that the optimal temperature is 30 degrees Celcius. Good luck with setup, and remember to introduce fish slowly over weeks, rather than all at once. Some species are very aggressive, but I keep Angelfish with my Discus with nil problems.
Cheers Jewels

aunt kymmie 01-31-2009 12:26 AM

Jewels: What's your ph? Are they captive bred? I have an interest in them...

aspects 02-01-2009 07:24 AM

i personally do not like africans, so i will not suggest or discuss them.

now. with that said. in a 55, you have a few options for CA/SA.

jack dempseys
green terrors
... the list goes on

also, you have the option of doing a dwarf cichlid tank.
german bluie rams
bolivian rams

best of luck to you

ThalesthePearsei 02-01-2009 10:55 PM

I love cichlids, their behavior is interesting to me. One thing you have to remember is, they are aggressive and they will kill one another from time to time. So be ready for a dead beat up fish every once in a while, and chances are it will be your favorite fish that gets killed.
Introducing new cichlids to the tank can be very difficult. My fish will usually give the new guy and "initiation beating" for the first day or two and then leave him alone if he hasent succumbed already. If it seems to be getting to rough, the fish getting the beating should be removed to a hospital to recover from the stress and injuries, and then attempt to reintroduce later.
My Flag Top recently just killed my Hongi. I didn't see it coming either. I had just been watching the fish and they were peaceful towards each other, and then an hour later and the Hongi was dead, and the Flag Top was colored up and dominating the tank. Then, the same thing happened among my Yellow Labs, and my favorite lab was beat up in a conflict, it was frustrating.
I think one you have an established group of fish, your good and shouldnt have too many aggression issues, unless a cichlid at the bottom of the pecking order is trying to make his way up...then you got problems :roll:

ThalesthePearsei 02-01-2009 10:57 PM

btw, if your going with SA's, I would recommend a Severum. They have a lot of personality!

jokerman43 02-08-2009 10:40 AM

I have had my African Cichlid for a year now, you just can't let your tank get away from you

Daga Taga 02-08-2009 10:58 AM

I want to thank all of you for your help. I think I will stick with some of the friendly fish for now. I have a 2 year old and Im not sure I want her to see fish fighting to the death. I think I'll wait untill she is a little older. I really appreciate all of your help though. THANK YOU ALL!

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