Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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molliefan09 11-15-2009 11:37 AM

going to be african
Ok, so i have been following a thread on here with some debating on whether to go SA or african. This member has the same pH as me (7.6) and has decided to go african....since getting into fish keeping i have seen several cichlid tanks and i have fallen in love. Sometime after the holidays i am planning on getting a new tank so i can start an African Cichlid tank.

so my pH is 7.6 and i have a kh of 10-11d and a gH of 21d.....i was looking at cichlids from lakes malawi and victoria...i would also like to have a fairly heavy planted tank if possible, a lot of the cichlid tanks i see in the LFS have a couple plants and TONS of rock...i know the rock is needed to help with sight/aggression issues and hiding places....

i would love to keep some electric yellows and would like to add some others with equally vibrant colors. I know the electric yellows are fairly peaceful as far as cichlids are concerned....

so my questions are as follows:
1. rec. tank size (i would like to have 12-15 fish total)
2. problems with keeping all males as i am not interested in breeding or the aggression issues that arise from spawning
3.rec. for cichlids that will fair well with my water (also temp is usually 78-82f)

Fishin Pole 11-15-2009 12:25 PM

Well a few things worth mentioning........plants in an african tank usually doesnt work well.........African cichlids are very active with moving your substrate around and usually will dig up plants.........for the tank size for africans, height has no importance......The foootprint, or tank dimensions are the key..........the largest tank you can buy is gonna be the best for the fish.......You are correct in thinking Yellow Labs are the more peacful african cichlids, but they are far from being a docile fish.......They will scrap and fight with other fish........Having an all male tank is a possiblity, but alot of the species (not all) are hard to sex at a young age.........Try to pick fish for your tank that DO NOT look similar to each other..............Alot of people get into africans and have success till their fish reach maturity and then problems arise.........a good rule of thumb is 3 caves or dens per fish that your gonna have.........another thing worth saying is try to feed them a moslty veggie diet and shy away from foods high in protein........

I'm sure alot of people are going to rebutt my statements here, but keeping africans for 20 years, i have seen alot of bad info about these fish and its always the fish that suffer.......experience, to me always outrules broad statements ......Good Luck with your tank!

molliefan09 11-15-2009 12:27 PM i have been looking into the mbuna species, specifically yellow labs, kenyi, johannis, and red/cherry zebras. I would like the tank to be 50 gal.....but from what i have found on these guys is that they rec. OVER stocking the tank?!? i used the aquadvisor and it rec. 5 of each species and over stocking to 130%?? that would put me at 20 fish with a stock of this info correct?? i know filtration would need to be beyond superior and weekly water changes of a large volume which i am very willing to do....i just want to hear from you all about your rec...

Fishin Pole 11-15-2009 03:19 PM

IMO, i think 20 mbuna in a 50 gallon is WAY to many..............I have read about the overstocking these fish in the tank, but i have never seen it work out longterm............around 12 fish would be a better number.........keep in mind, alot of hiding spots for all these fish.......

molliefan09 11-15-2009 04:14 PM

10-12 fish is what i would like to get. but when i saw 20 i was like :shock:!! But as said, 10-12 who be ideal

mollies 11-15-2009 08:51 PM

ok 10-12 is way over stocking when it comes to Yellows or red zebras. i wouldnt do more then 8. Most africans get up to 6 inchs....... You would much rather do females insted of males. And the rest of fishin pole i agree with...... I have 4 red zebras in a 55 gallon and they do a number to fighting all the time. They have alot of hiding spots it just that they are tempermental.

molliefan09 11-15-2009 09:26 PM

ok, i would IDEALLY like (first hand exp. opinions pls!!) to have the ones i mentioned previously....i would also prefer to have the less aggressive of the cichlids. i know ALL cichlids are aggressive how ever i know some are more so then others......what would be your opinion on stocking?? 2 of each or could i have one of each?

mollies 11-15-2009 10:00 PM

yes i would say 2 of each or difrent ones
i have all diffrent kind but my fav are the yellow, red zebra, demisonis, auratus, they seem pretty mellow in the same tank. bummble bees are fairly agres. johannis are to. The fish from the victorian lakes i dont know much bout. If i were you i would add the labs, and kenyis first then the reds, and johannis last. like a month later.

molliefan09 11-15-2009 10:06 PM

awesome!! thank you for the advice. this is still a work inprogress as i still need to set up the tank and such.

now....i have never done a fishless cycle....would this be my best bet being that i will be keeping cichlids?

also...the above mentioned cichlids are malawi right??

Fishin Pole 11-15-2009 10:14 PM

While some online sources claim some mbunas CAN reach 6 inches its very rare for that to happen, possibly soccolofi's...........please do not mix the different lake species, stick with the fish from one of the lakes (more than like Malawi)......mixing the fish from different lakes usually doesnt end well........the stocking number will depend on filtration and number of caves you have for these fish to retreat to............Mollies how long have you had your african tank?...............Keep an eye on your auratus, they become very nasty as they mature......

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