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VividDawn 02-06-2010 12:31 PM

3 species compatibility and possibility?
I've read the last few pages of posts, and couldn't find anything that has to do with my situation. Sorry if this seems long, but I want to give as much detail as possible so that there's enough information to base advice on.

I have decided I want to "re do" my tank. As I have relatively hard water (haven't tested it for specific numbers, but faucets get quite caked with mineral deposits if not cleaned all the time), I figured Cichlids would be good. I did used to have a couple Electric Yellows, but gave them to somebody who liked them too. Now I want to have them again, but I've also found others I like.
Tank: 60 gallons (currently has 1 gold gourami, 1 zebra danio, 1 glofish, 1 Boesemani Rainbow and 1 little orange pleco that has stayed little....everything died off (old age? never had any diseases), so that's why I want to start with something new)
Filtration: 75gph Marineland bio wheel (and has carbon 'sponge' type inserts too)
Maintenance: 25% water change once a week - vacuum half of gravel once a week, alternating sides (so each side gets done 2wice a month)
Decor: Big castle. There are no individual "caves", but it's more just one huge space of a tunnel with windows cut out in the outter part of the castle (see picture below)
Decor plans: I want to add some 'houses'. I was thinking I could use PVC pipe (black) and stack them perpendicular...kinda like a log cabin, but with spaces in-between each pipe to make a 3D grid. This way, they have places to go IN the pipe, and also AROUND the pipes. Keeping the castle, I was going to get 2 or 3 small grids to put around it, so everybody has their own territory. I guess I could get real rocks, but I think it might get too heavy for the glass to support.
Fish wanted: Cichlids. 9 pseudotropheus demasoni, 4 Electric Yellow, 3 Acei

Now, the main problem I have, is with the fish themselves. I've been doing research, and there's so many contradictions!

Pseudotropheus demasoni/(common name?) - All information I can find is to keep them in a group of a dozen or more. With my tank size, and wanting other fish, I'm hoping that if I only get 9 or 10, that would be okay.

Labidochromis caeruleus/Electric Yellow - Some sites say you should have at least half a dozen, other sites say kept in pairs. So I was thinking 4 would be okay

Pseudotropheus sp./Acei - groups of 3 to 10 and since I'll already have quite a few between the other two, I figured I would be okay with just 3

Besides simply the numbers, the other problem I have is with male/female ratio. Everything I've read says that all three species should have 2-3 females per 1 male (except damas, 1 male per group of dozen fish)...but THEN they say it's hard to tell the genders apart - so how am I supposed to know if I have the right ratio?

Also, with the decor/territory issue... I've read that you should have plenty of stuff for each fish to claim their own little space, but then I've read some things that decor should be sparse so that fish can't fight over territory. So should I just keep the castle, or get the pipe-grids too?

Fortunately, I have plenty of time to figure all this out...I can't afford this project until at least the end of the year (16 fish at $15 each is $240, plus the PVC pipe = $300 budget)
Also, I'm hoping my filtration and water changes will be able to support 16 6" fish, because I certainly can't afford a bigger tank (at least not for a couple more years)

So, in summary

#1 - can I keep 16 fish in a 60 gallon tank (considering my filtration/maintenance)?

#2 - are the numbers of fish going to be okay? 9 damas, 4 electric yellow, 3 acei

#3 - sparse hiding places, or many? (don't wanna spend $200+ on fish, only to have them kill each other off within a couple months)

I have no interest in breeding. If they do, that's okay...but my main goal is to just have a show tank and colorful fishies to entertain me! ;)

mollies 02-06-2010 12:59 PM

Your numbers are corect on the stoking list. I wouldnt do the acei as they are probly a little to agresive for the yellow labs. I would go with 3 bumblebees or maybe 3 Red zebras. Also if you can order online I would use as they are cheaper on fish. and then if you order enough it will make all your fish cost be 6 to 8 bucks a peic. with shipping included. Now with you decor should be just fine with the castle. As long as you get the fish young. and they get use to the tank end there enviroment.

cbirk 02-06-2010 01:05 PM

Heya, I love cichlids, and envy your 75gal tank! I will comment on the Electric Yellow/Lemon Yellow/Lemmon Drop/Lemon Lab haha as that is what I personally know about. This fish, more then any other I have personally owned has the most contridiction on the web, and I think what it comes down to is that these particular fish are very individual. The only general rule I have been able to find that seems to hold true overall, is that the males are very territorial of hiding space AND females. I would not put any more then 1 Male per 30 Gal. As far as Cichlids go, the females seem to be pretty easy going in my experiance, so if you got all females then I wouldn't think you would have a problem. They are pretty easy to sex, the Males have a black stripe on their anal and tail fins, while the females do not.

Unfortunately I do not have any idea how they react with other fish, as I have always kept them by themselves minus a pleco. I did have problems with one pecking at the fins of the pleco, but that was only one, so it may be a fluke.

mollies 02-06-2010 01:16 PM

oh and hiding places more the maryer. You will want to have as many as you can with the demasoni. They dont get but 3 to4 inchs so you wouldnt need to put a lot of big holes smaller would be best.

mollies 02-06-2010 01:22 PM

yellow labs. electric yellows. The females will also get the black on all fins as well as the males. If you want a true fel of the african cichlids i would do 1 male to 3 female. The fry wont surive unles striped or you pull them as soon as you see them. I wouldnt worry bout them unless you get in to breeding them.

VividDawn 02-06-2010 01:41 PM


Originally Posted by mollies (Post 320391)
I wouldnt do the acei as they are probly a little to agresive for the yellow labs.

Darn... I chose those, because I like their shape and colors. I want my tank to be in blues and yellows (just like the rest of my house! LOL)


Originally Posted by mollies (Post 320391)
Also if you can order online I would use as they are cheaper on fish. and then if you order enough it will make all your fish cost be 6 to 8 bucks a peic.

Yeah, I planned on going there, at least to look. LiveFishDirect is only 45 miles away from me, and their site says they can give walk-in deals too. I know a local pet store has what I want, but at $15 a piece.

mollies 02-06-2010 01:57 PM

Maybe the drive would be worth it. If I were you i would go to there store and look at all of the fish then a see them in person. Then you could get the feel of what you like and dont like. 15 is still cheaper then around here at 20. but livefish is where i order all of my cichlids.

cbirk 02-06-2010 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by mollies (Post 320405)
yellow labs. electric yellows. The females will also get the black on all fins as well as the males.

For Positive? Thats interesting. I have never seen a female with black on both the tail and anal fins. It is also the only way I have ever hear/seen as a way of sexing them. Is there another way to sex them besides waiting for actual breeding?

eileen 02-06-2010 03:10 PM

I have hard water where I live also. I was able to get all my fish used to it. 2 angelfish, 2 boesmani rainbows, 6 harlequen rasboras, 6 dwarf rasboras, 3 bubblebee platies, 2 bushy nosed plecos all in a 55 gal tank.

I would rehome all your existing fish except the pleco as you wanted to start over. Criagslist is a good place in your area. Most of your fish you curently have should be with more of it's kind. In my area I see adds all the time for free Cichlids as they breed all the time and peoples tank are over loaded with babies. It would be a good place to get free fish. If you use pvc to make tunnels I would cover them with java moss and the bath scrunchy taken apart and put over the moss onto the pipe and a fastened with a tie wrap.

I belong to the San Diego tropical fish society. They have mini auctions before each meeting and the fish at the auctions are really cheap.Maybe in your area they might have a Tropical fish society you can join . It's just a thought as it's cheap to join and they have really good deals and only meet once a months.

VividDawn 02-06-2010 03:19 PM

While I would like to stick to the colors of blue and yellow, I am considering the compatibility of attitude/temperament issue. This is why I'm askin' all this stuff! ;-)

I am going to give my current fishies new homes, as I know the cichlids would just get a snack out of 'em (in fact, I'm surprised my gourami hasn't already). I started out with 10 danios, 6 glofish and 5 rainbows...but that was 2 years ago, and just about everybody konked out.

But as I said, I still got time. I'm livin' off SSI checks, so gotta save up first! (my 70 year old godmother said I should just buy a couple each month, and I told her that with demasoni, they'd kill each other off! I might get away with buying the Electric Yellows first, in pairs at a time...)

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