Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sho0 01-16-2007 12:40 PM

Cichlids Fighting
I got two African Cichlids from my boyfriend, who didn't take good care of them... (he rarely fed them and their bones were all sticking through).

At the time I didn't have enough room or another tank to set up so I put them with three large angelfish in a 55 gallon (I thought it would be a bad idea, but actually they never bothered the Angelfish cichlids.). The African Cichlids were fine with eachother for the longest time... until one day I came home and the smaller one was beat to hell. His fins were nearly gone and he was swimming in place in a corner... his normally purple vibrant coloring was all drained to a dull grey and he looked awful. So I divided the tank and separated them.
Occasionally they'd spot eachother and try to lip lock through the divider and a couple times one would get into the other side somehow.

I'd like to actually do something to my 55 gallon and I figured maybe the African cichlids would be okay with eachother in another tank if I put a ton of decorations in it... No.. I was wrong.
I put them both in a 15 gallon Tall and it's the same thing all over again.
I feel so bad, the same cichlid is hovering in a corner and the other one never leaves his side, constantly nipping at him.

I always wanted African Cichlids, and now I wish I never got them... the fish stores have so many, I'd hate to throw any more onto them. They ate all the plants in my 55 gallon...which was beautiful. I moved all the decorations (A LOT, LOL!!!) into this little 15G TALL aquarium... and it doesn't even help. They both swim in one corner at the top of the tank beating eachother up (well actually only one fights...).

What the heck is wrong with them?
Should I get another Cichlid to try and balance the fighting?
I would rather not get a bigger tank than the 15 Gallon... I'm pressed for space and they acted the same in the 55 gallon anyway.

Their size difference is not much at all. The mean one is just FAT because he takes all the food.... and I know I feed them plenty. 2x a day, and quite a variety.
Bloodworms, Tubifex, Flakes... MY PLANTS.... I'd say I overfeed them.

Oh... I think an African cichlid killed my Pleco, also... is that normal? If so, what am I supposed to do for algae?

Lupin 01-16-2007 04:32 PM

Hi and welcome aboard.:wave:

I would assume those cichlids are Lake Malawian natives.:) They are very aggressive. It's natural for them to fight. A 15 gallons will only allow them to fight to death unfortunately. The angels will easily succumb as Africans are far too strong for them. Angels are also cichlids so expect them to engage battles with the Africans but they will never win the Africans.
Malawians are also quite voracious plant eaters so plants will always be consumed unless those plants are Javan ferns and Anubias species.

sho0 01-16-2007 05:33 PM

Thanks for the quick reply!

They never bothered my angelfish, just each other. I guess they might've gotten around to the angels eventually though, Lol. I don't want to put them back in the 55 gallon anyway.

I have no idea where they originate from... I tried looking it up but I'm lost.
Here's some pictures... (hopefully I did this right...)

The grey one is usually purple... and is the one getting beat up :(

I just separated them so it'd be easier to take a pic, he can jump out of it... and actually.... yeah... he's not in there anymore. LOL.

Lupin 01-16-2007 09:47 PM

Both are from Lake Malawi. Both also love to relish on plants so there's no chance for your plants to last very long unless they are Javan ferns and Anubias species. I'd return the two to your lfs rather than risking them in a 55 or in a 15 gallons(with one of them) which will require you daily water changes and strong filtration. 15 gallons is not advisable anyway.

bettababy 01-17-2007 12:12 AM

I will only echo Blue's advice here... these guys need at least 75 gallons if you're going to attempt to keep them together. 15 and 55 are simply not enough territory for them. Your fish are going to average 7 - 9 inches when full grown, and if you continue to keep them in such small environments together, the outcome is only going to be death to at least one of them. Also, with the angels... it's simply a matter of time.

Something to remember about these guys and the angels... yes they are both cichlids, but they come from two entirely different environments, so their needs will be entirely different. There are many species of cichlids who can't be mixed with other types of cichlids simply because of water param needs, temp and overall environment needs, plus aggression levels and territorial habits.

The best thing for you to do for these fish is to give them to your LFS or find them a suitable home somewhere other than your tanks.

bolty 01-17-2007 03:58 AM

Well the one on the left looks like a Kenyi, and the one on the right looks like some sort of Afra to me.

saying 7 - 9 inches is way off!
look them up your self, more like 3inckes, but saying that some sites do say they get bigger (4inches :roll: )
Cynotilapia afra (Chewere)
Cynotilapia afra (Chinuni)
Cynotilapia afra (Chitande)
Cynotilapia afra (Chuanga)
Cynotilapia afra (Cobue) Afra Edwardi
Cynotilapia afra (Jalo Reef)
Cynotilapia afra (Likoma)
Cynotilapia afra (Lumbila)
Cynotilapia afra (Lundu) Afra White Blaze
Cynotilapia afra (Lupingu)
Cynotilapia afra (Mbenji)
Cynotilapia afra (Mbweca)
Cynotilapia afra (Metangula)
Cynotilapia afra (Minos Reef)
Cynotilapia afra (Msobo)
Cynotilapia afra (Ndumbi)
Cynotilapia afra (Njambe)
Cynotilapia afra (Nkhata Bay)
Cynotilapia afra (Nkolongwe)


not too far off saying 7inches, just a few over (5 - 5 1/2 inches)
Metriaclima lombardoi (Kenyi)

i would say the 55g was a big enough tank for the afra sp. you just need way more fish than just 2, i would do 10 fish with a lot of rock work.

?What is the footprint of your 55g?


sho0 01-17-2007 06:48 AM

I know I'm not supposed to mix them with the angelfish, It was temporary until I could get another tank. I'd rather not have them with my angelfish anyway.

the 55G is long. 15G is tall.

ha... and to think... the lfs told my boyfriend it was fine keeping four of them in a 10G. rofl. He never fed them so only two lived. XD
How come the fish stores can have a bunch of them crammed in one little space?

flatcam1 01-17-2007 06:51 AM


Originally Posted by sho0
How come the fish stores can have a bunch of them crammed in one little space?

Because the LFS's don't intend on keeping them for a long period. i mean the average time for a fish entering and leaving an aquarium is about 1 or 2 weeks. how much is a fish gonna grow in that short a period?

hope this helps! :D

Lupin 01-17-2007 08:15 AM

Aside from what Cam mentioned, aggression will be reduced although not quelled completely. The only problem with this is that most often the fish are stressed and will easily succumb to diseases which is why quarantining a new fish is always advisable to protect the current stocks of your tank.:)


mutt 01-21-2007 12:10 PM

My three Jack Dempsey's fought like crazy and nearly killed the smallest, which wasn't too much smaller than the medium sized one. But one consumed all the food and grew really fast. I divided the smaller one away for sometime, and they would try to get to each other through the screen. I kept him there for maybe 2 months. His fins healed and he grew a bit larger, still smaller than the others. I let him loose with the addition of jag, and the three schooled against the jag and nearly killed it. Added another jag and now the five school together and can only be seen occasionally chasing each other but never to the death like before. All fins, scales and colors are nice. Someone needs to write a book on fish psychology lol

I really don't think that you are overfeeding them. None of my chiclids are yet over 3 inches, if that. I feed them cichlid flakes, frozen vegetable tablets, brine shrimp, blood worms, tubifex worms. Not all at once but over the course of the day they probably get 4 of those and they will clean it all up, often before it hits the gravel. When I vaccuum the tank, there's very very little in the gravel and my filters don't get dirty very quickly. I tried feeding them flakes until they were done and it never happened - They never really seem to ever get full. lol

And yea, they ate my pleco too. I don't worry about alge because I see mine picking at the side of the glass, the plants, the gravel; they do really well at keeping their tank clean. With the back filter and the under gravel filter, I really just have to top the tank off anymore when it needs more water and change the filters once a month. I try to vac it but it's usually a waste of my time.

They also ate the bamboo shrimp. I had put silk plants in that tank and now I'm glad for doing so because they tore apart one plant so far and theyre still babies!

Anyway I'm far from an expert with Cichlids, just raising these 5 baby monsters and that's my experiences so far. They are huge eaters, very aggressive/destructive, and have a defined "pecking order" apparently, but they also have alot of personality.

They thrive well in outdoor ponds too in most situations, if that's an option for you. They clean the bugs off the top of the pond which is a bonus.

What size are they right now? I have all 5 of mine in a 10 gallon, which I know they will outgrow but for now they still have alot of swimming space and theyre relatively peaceful among each other.

Good luck


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