Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Falina 04-29-2007 04:00 PM

What's the secret? Please, somebody tell me!
I have had bad luck with cichlids so far with regards to agression. I have only kept 2 types, but considering they are meant to be peaceful types, I thought I would post.

I kept 3 blue rams a wee while back. One died because there was itch in the tank, and the other 2 were muder! One would bully the other, and the other would bully the rest of the fish so I returned them to my lfs.

I recently (3 days ago) got a pair of kribs. I took care to ensure that it was 1 male and 1 female this time as folk suggested that my rams agression was due to hem both being male. However, the male has been bullying the female. He has nipped her fins and she hardly has any tail left. She looked very stressed so I put her in my other tank with 8 cories and 2 synodontis where she still looks very stressed but is at least getting peace.

Should I return them, or keep them both seperate like this? I'm not sure the female krib will be compatable with the 2 synos once she is in better health and wants to challenge them for custody of 'the cave'.

I'd also really like to know what everyone does with their cichlids that makes them not want to brutalise each other! I don't know what I am doing wrong. I really love cichlids but I can't seem to get them to live in any sort of crude civilisation, never mind harmony!

herefishy 04-29-2007 06:24 PM

I have a few secrets when keeping cichlids that I will let you in on. I have been keeping these fish for over 30 years and have tried about everything that has come down the road.
(1) When buying fish in an effort to setup a breeding scenario, I buy multiple females. This helps to alleviate the male from harassing a single female, perhaps killing her with his advances. Sexing many species of cichlids at young ages can be somewhat difficult. Other times, it is next to impossible. Just do your best. Buying the fish at a sexable size can be a little more expensive, but may be worth it.
(2) Provide an abundance of hiding places in which the female and and less dominant fish can hide. Those can be in the form of caves, plants, crannies in stacks of bogwood, anywhere that the victim can hide from the more aggressive fish.
(3) Increase filtration and jam the tank full of fish. This plan is the one I use for my mbuna. My large African cichlid tank breaks every rule one has heard about fishkeeping. It is decorated with rockwork and bogwood. There are many retreats for the fish, but there are also alot of fish. I would venture to guess that I keep close to 100-125 fish in that tank. It is has very heavy filtration. I do mean VERY HEAVY filtration. There are (4) powerheads(rated @ 185gph), (2) Emperor 400 power filters, (2) Fluval 4 internal power filters, and (2) Magnum 350 canister filters. When keeping a tank heavily stocked, maximum filtration is mandatory.
As far as my South American tanks, all are very heavily planted, and have much rockwork and bogwood to serve as hideouts. Any of these methods are proven to work, as I have and am practicing them myself.

Falina 04-29-2007 06:32 PM

Thanks a lot herefishy.

It's funny you should mention that because the fish all seemed to get on fine in the fish store where there must have been about 20 of them in a 15-20. I actually had recommendations to get a pair where agression would be at the minimum.

The kribs were quite easily sexable when I bought the pair.

Personally would you recommend that I buy more females? How many? It's a 35g tank and I have nothing else in it at the moment, but plan to move the 2 ancistrus in there in about a weeks time.

It is planted, though not particularly heavily and there are numerous hiding places. Filteration is certainly adequate at the moment but not heavy duty - I could easily add another filter thoguh.

Thanks for your help.

herefishy 04-29-2007 06:40 PM

When I buy a group to start a colony, I usually buy 1m and 3f, depending on the fish. Cichlids are known to be quite rough o the females when the males want to breed. Be careful when adding more bottom dwellers to a group of cichlids that are known to be baottom dwellers, kribs and rams being among those. The cichlids territorial behavior may speel heartache for any other bottom dweller you put in the tank.

Falina 04-29-2007 06:48 PM

Thanks very much.

Hopefully he wanted to breed then, rather than just wanting to kill her. I'll definitely consider getting another 3 females for the tank, and put her back in it and see how it goes.

Thanks again.

SinisterKisses 04-29-2007 07:25 PM

The thing to keep in mind is that there really isn't a truly "peaceful" cichlid. They're all aggressive to some extent. When people tell you that a certain cichlid species is peaceful, they mean peaceful as far as cichlids go. They aren't typically comparing them to fish you would typically find in a tropical community tank - tetras, bettas, gouramis, on and so forth. Plus, it very much depends on the individual situation and fish. Cichlids are quite intelligent and each has a different personality, so it can be hard to say sometimes.

Mr.Todd 04-30-2007 12:25 AM

I agree with herefishy,

I have 8 young Malawian cichlids in my 30G (114L) tank. There are hiding places but for the most part its not saturated with large rocks or anything.

I love the tank because there is a very clear hierarchy that changes from time to time and is not solely based on size (so its really fun to watch and interesting). There is some chasing (sometimes worse than others) but no fish is stressed to the point that it hides in a corner or anything and there are no physical signs of fighting (hurt tails or fins, etc...). This happy little system was not so when we had 2 or 3 fish in there...

That's my experience with African Cichlids, I don't know if it holds true for others..

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