Stocking a 30 gallon tank
I am thinking of setting up a cichlid tank. I only have room for a 30 gallon tank. Any suggestions on what to stock it with?
At this point, I'm reading the profiles of the cichlids and understand that Sotuh-American cichlids should NOT be mixed with African ones.
Is is possible to keep 4 cichlids, e.g. convict at a 1:2 or 3 (male:female) provided there are adequate rocks to hide and filtration is rigged for 60 gallons. I have an undergravel filter available as well.
I'd say no, because African cichlids get pretty big, and a 30 gallon would be too small. I have 2 German Rams in a 30 gallon and they are so beautiful and small, so that is a good choice. They are considered more difficult to keep, and do need low ph and acidic water. But hey, I'm no expert and I've managed to keep mine alive and thriving, so it can't be that hard! :-D Mine are spawning and I use RO water with a ph of 6.3. I keep them with Cardinal Tetras. The other cichlid you can keep in a 30 gallon is a Bolivian Ram. Though I'd do some reading, because apparently keeping a male/female doesn't always work, and the female may end up dead because of the males aggression. A 30 gallon doesn't give a female much escape room.
See what others say.
Here's a picture of my male German Blue Ram and my male Bolivian Ram (not in the same tank). The Bolivian Ram is much bigger now. Picture was taken soon after I got him. He's a great fish.
You could get by with a single pair of convicts and nothing else in a 30 gallon. Possibly a pair of firemouths assuming once again nothing else in the tank. GBR need higher temperatures then most other fish. If you want a group of cichlids I've heard Apistos would work in a harem along with other small schooling fish. 1 male 3 females in my 29, so im sure your 30 wouldnt be much different. Actually depending on your dimensions you tank might be better for this. You could also keep a single jewel cichlid (no other tank mates might be able to pull off a pair in there as i have no personal experience they are also africans but prefer SA american type water), Kribs, Bolivian rams (both kribs and bolivian rams would be able to have tank mates i believe).
As for the convicts they are highly aggressive and territorial and your tank would just be to small for anything more then a pair.
I'm just getting into cichlids myself so im sure someone else could help you out a lot more.
You are very right about GBR's needing higher temps. It does limit what you can keep, but 30 gallons isn't that big for much more than a pair, and some Cardinals (who also like higher temps).
I agree with the suggestions on small South American cichlids. Species in the large genus Apistogramma, some of which are best in pairs, others in a harem (one male, 3-4 females); the "checkerboard" species in Dicrossus and Crenicara, and the two Rams mentioned. In all cases, other fish are advisable, for what we term dither fish. Dwarf cichlids tend to be very shy and retiring on their own, which can lead to issues like fright and refusing food. With other fish above them (dwarf cichlids are basically lower level fish, often feeding off the substrate) they tend to be more relaxed, colourful, and active.
Water parameters have to be matched for these fish; as a whole, they do not adjust well to differing parameters from those in which they were raised. Most thus need soft and slightly acidic water, but there are some that manage in medium hard and slightly basic water. Temperature varies depending upon species, so tankmates must be selected with this in mind if it is a warm water species like the Blue Ram. Many fish cannot last at 82F which is the minimum for this fish. By contrast, the Bolivian Ram does better around normal temps of 77-78F.
Some of these are in our profiles; the two rams, the checkerboard species most often seen, and one Apistogramma, the Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid which is the most widely-available Apisto. There are many others but they will require soft water as they will almost always be wild caught fish.
Thanks guys !
I found out a couple of options from my LFS
1. Kribensis in a community tank, as long as there are no bottom dwellers.
2. Species only tank of Brichardis.
I've read up on Kribs, and they seem to be the bet for me at the time, since none of the small stores, Petco, Petsmart have Brichardi's that are large enough to sex. Apparently having more than one pair is a good idea.
Any suggestions on Kribs / Brichardi will be welcome.
I finally set up the tank last eve...is currently cycling. I put a bubble curtain and it is really pretty. Is it OK to have one if I want Kribs / Brichardis to have fry?
Many people prefer the flow of filter to provide surface agitation for oxygen exchange.
There is no harm in having one, personal choice.
With regards to it helping to produce fry, that would be more based on the environment the fish are in, ie : as close as possible to natural. The condition of water, if kept clean and to the fishes liking will play a big part in breeding.
If you are planning on breeding then it is a good idea to have a small tank standing by with a sponge filter already cycled. This can be done in a number of ways, many people will cycle it in the main tank for 3+ weeks, and then use it in the fry tank, then once the fry are large enough to go into a larger tank or the main display tank then the filter can be kept "active" by placing it back in the main tank somewhere out of site.
Your stocking suggestion is about right for the tank. You will definitely not be able to keep lake Malawi in that size tank unless the fish are really small.
A pair of brichardi in that tank will do just fine. Brichardi are kind of unique in that later generations will also help in raising young. Soon you will have a tank swarming with Brichardi. While multiple tanks might be necessary if you are trying to mass produce or sell fry for the typical hobbyist it is not always practical. In this case brichardi are excellent parents. They will take much better care of their fry than you could infact fry often grow faster and are healthier when kept with their parents. If you chose the brichardi route I would go with one pair and then sit back and watch them populate the tank and when you find yourself with too many you can give them away to a LFS.
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