Sudden Ambition (plz post)
I was at the local pet store today and it suddenly came to me that I want to make an African cichlid tank!
I only have a 20 gallon so a few compatible species will go well I think. Plz post. I've drawn up a few designs and everything
I fear 20 gallons is too small for Africans many of which grow between four to six inches and there simply isn't enough space for territories.
55 gallons would be minimum in my book unless shell dwelling cichlids are chosen.
As mentioned you can house pretty much any shell dweller in that sized tank maybe even several pairs. However if you were intent on keeping mbuna/recocks/haps which is what most people refer to when they say "african cichlid" then the tank is entirely too small.
I agree with 1077 and rrcoolj, your tank is very smal and shell dwellers are an exellent suggestion, however I can think of two more fish you might consider.
1) neolamprologus leleupi (lemon cichlid), you could easily keep a pair, or maybe a trio of 1 male and 2 females, in 20 gallons. But NOTHING else, they can be agressive....and they will spawn, these guys breed like rabbits. Have plenty of rocks and a cave for each female.
2) neolamprologus brichardi (lyretail cichlid), more peaceful than the lemon cichlid. But you'll still be limited to the one species and a pair or a trio. Again plenty of rocks and caves are ideal, but not so imporatant.
N.B. In my experience when the male leleupis get agro it's largely show and he will let-up before killing the females, they just get tattered and it can look bad.
Shell dwellers are nice option too.
Shell dwellers are the only option for that tank NOTHING else.
I must respectfully disagree.
You made me stop and think, so I've viewd a few other sites and all agree with my two suggestions. I will come up with some more for you if you like!
My recomendations require that you STRICTLY keep a pair or trio....it will work....I've done it!!
I have kept brichardi in 20 gal tall tanks, but ultimately their propensity for producing fry,, result's in more metabolites in the tank than I care for given relatively small volume of water not to mention,,finding outlet for fry.
Should go without saying that Fry produced by nearly all cichlid's are fiercely protected,so the fewer tankmates,,the fewer issues with damaged,dead ,tankmates even in larger tanks.
I still think shell dweller's would be best option.
neolamprologus leleupi and brichardi would work as well....I meant to add that to my post but pressed post too quick.
Coffee has not activated yet :-)
Lemon cichlids are more prolific breeders than brichardi and I agree there will be issues with what to do with the fry. But lemon cichlids ar so attractive (marine quality) they would be worth it, but a trio is best to spread the male's agression.
You know the main thing you had me checking was what 20 gallons is (we're metric here/Australia). It's 3.8 litres to a US gallon and 4.5 to a British one...I think?!?!
You know guys there is a tiny (non shell dweller) fish from lake Malawi that would suit too, I just can't recall its name, I can see it in my mind...there are a few small cichlids.
Still shell dwellers would allow for dmuddle to have a nice colony/community, but I can't get past the marine quality of the lemon cichlid....it comes with freshwater maintenance!!!!
I happen to have an empty 20 gal at the moment and may try these fish.
Do the fry grow as slowly as brichardi?(might indeed be easier to sell/trade fry )
Now If I can source these fish ...
Badis ,Badis might be another option for 20 gal although a bit more difficult to feed sometimes.
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