Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mutt 12-30-2006 02:43 PM

Evil Cichlids lol

Just wondering if anyone has any tank mate ideas. We have a ten gallon aquarium that we put three fry in caught out of a lake (spontaneity and beer is a fun combination lol). We had assumed they were some sort of feeder fish. Turns out, they're either Jack Dempsey or Rio Grande Chiclids, or something else similiar to those that we have not yet discovered. That was after being scared into thinking they were Bass or Tilapia lol Of course as fry they were tiny and cute but now they are growing into terrors.

First off, we are fully aware that we need a bigger tank. I am actually considering a backyard pond for these guys, eventually, but not entirely sure yet. Right now the largest is only 1.5 - 2 inches but they eat like crazy. They actually get excited when I get near the tank and dart to the top, quivering almost with excitement to be fed - again.

We had put in three tank mates, 2 Bamboo Shrimp and 1 Pleco. One shrimp died for no apparent cause (we think he was stressed from a water change) and they didn't touch him (no parts missing lol). In fact, the cichlids totally ignored the presence of other species in their tanks. All was well. Then one day the pleco disappeared. Then the shrimp was beheaded. So, we decided, no more defenseless tank mates (which herald a third tank - slowly turning into the fish equivalent of the crazy cat person).

Of course, we are somewhat attached to these fish after having them for some months now. But, we would like to find some other tank mates because they are not exactly the most colorful fish.

So we put in a Jag Cichlid. He's the size of the biggest Dempsey and we had observed him in the tank at the pet store to verify he was comparably aggressive. At first they did their "getting to know you" rubbing and what not and then left each other alone. The next day, the Jag has pieces of his fin missing. He seems to be fighting back, he seems to be figuring out how to eat around the gluttons (lol), so is there a chance that they will eventually leave him alone or only nip occasionally like they do to each other, once they have established pecking order? And, are there any other cichlid suggestions that might be able to step up to these guys for when we get a bigger tank? I'd like some color! Though these guys make up for their relatively drab appearance with tons of personality. What about puffers? I fell in love with puffers when I was looking at the pet store, so can they live grumpily-ever-after with the cichlids? Or does this mean a fourth

Also, am I crazy or do the lake cichlids (presumably Dempsey's) click at each other when they're eating? This is a relatively new development, happening around the time they became aggressive. Assuming it might be an aspect of their maturity. It's not the equipment - same filters, etc and no location change and it only happens when they are eating.

We don't warm their tank - our home never gets very cold, we live in a desert and when it is cold out, the house heater is on. They came out of a lake so we figure they don't need a highly specialized climate and they seem to be doing well. We feed them Cichlid Flakes 2-5 times a day, averaging 3. They have an undergravel filter and 20 gallon back filter. Is there anything we should be doing for them, maybe freeze dried food?

I have actually read up online alot about some of this, but I'd like to hear personal experience because theoretically and actually tend to be very differnet things. Any ideas appreciated!


St6_Devgru 12-30-2006 02:51 PM

mmmm maybe get like a 20 gal for chichlids? wo maybe feed them 2 medium meals a day.

mutt 12-30-2006 02:59 PM

Since they still have plenty of swimming room, not going to bother with slow upgrades, just get a large tank for them and be done with it. Right now they are still pretty small. One is maybe an inch head to fin.

SKAustin 12-30-2006 03:46 PM

I'd be interested in seeing Photos of these fish.

mutt 12-30-2006 03:58 PM

Will have to do that. Digital camera kinda...doesn't work anymore. So when I stop being lazy and get a new one, I'll post lol

They are silvery-white in color with dark grey stripes. As they get older, their scales are turning more silvery. They have two distinct black spots, one right in the middle on each side and one at the base of their back fin.

While looking just now at google images to find a body shape to compare them to, I found an image that is exactly what we have. I uploaded here
The caption said Texas Cichlid. Anyone have experience with these?

Lupin 12-30-2006 09:00 PM


Originally Posted by St6_Devgru
mmmm maybe get like a 20 gal for chichlids?

That's not enough.:shake: 75 gallons is the bare minimum for those fish. But even the 75 won't work as those cichlids can be aggressive.

mutt 12-31-2006 12:23 PM

I will either be putting them in a 100+ gallon or an outside pond. Probably the former and just do a Koi pond instead.

As a point to ponder, they were really tearing into the new Jag so as a last resort we bought a second Jag. Suddenly the 2 Jags were chasing the original cichlids around and then this morning everyone is peaceful, even schooling together at the top waiting for food. None of the original cichlids are missing part of their fins, the new jag is untouched, and it seems that the original jag has no new damage. Balance at last. lol

I fed them tubifex worms and none of them really cared about it. They bit at it a few times and the rest just eventually fell into the gravel.

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