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Ami 04-14-2012 12:49 PM

Need advice on stocking a 55 gallon tank
 
Hi folks,
Now I've got the bug to set up a 55 gallon african cichlid tank. I've been reading up and also asking around at different LFS. I get different advice. So I thought I'd post what I was told and get some feedback

Option 1 (small locally owned store):
The guy told me that I need to keep around 20 cichlids to spread aggression
Yellow labs
Pseudotropheus acei
Pesudotropheus socolofi
He said I could throw in peacocks if I wanted to. (He only has these cichlids...the demasonis, bumblebee etc. he has are out of question)

From what I read the first three are mbuna and peacocks are not. Would they get along? Peacocks need a protein intensive diet, but mbunas need algae-intensive diet...will the mbunas eat up the food for the peacocks and then fall sick? Or will they stick to their own food? Or is it best to stick to a staple of NLS pellets and feed zuchhini slices, frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms etc on a weekly basis for both?

Option 2 (Petco):
Yellow labs
Peacocks
Kenyi

throw in 6 or at a time. Increase to 20 or so, but be sure to rearrange the furniture everytime

Option 3 (from cichlid forum)
Cookie Cutter - 55-gallons
I'd like to try their smaller less agressive mbuna option.
I find yellow labs everywhere and one store in this area has P. acei at the moment (option 1)
If I can get my hands on Cynotilapia afra, then I would go for yellow labs, P. acei and C. afra

The question I have is that this site suggests maximum 12 instead of 20 that the LFS is suggesting...what's better?

Option 4
I can't find the youtube video now, but they guy was suggestiong putting in some 18-20 into a 55G but just 1 of each kind. He had kenyis, peacocks, 2 yellow labs etc.

Thanks for reading this !
~Ami

Ami 04-14-2012 02:50 PM

Hi folks,
I finally found the what I mentioned as option 4 on Youtube. It tells how to set up a Malawi Cichlid / Peacock tank using a 55G set up. Please tell me if you think this is a viable option in the long run:


Thanks,
Ami

Tazman 04-14-2012 07:29 PM

First of all DO NOT mix mbuna with peacocks. Mbuna are too active for the more mild mannered peacocks and can cause too much stress on the peacocks.

Second, 12-15 fish spread over 3 species in a 55g tank, 1 male to 3-4 female max. Any more males and it can lead to aggression issues.

Third, ROCKS, ROCKS, sand and MORE ROCKS is a typical Lake Malawi setup. Provide caves, structures which break up lines of sight across the tank.

yellow labs, P. acei and C. Afra are the perfect mix for a 55g tank. Afra can sometimes be aggressive and like to dig so provide sand and not many plants (either live or fake), they tend to dig them up after a while anyway.

Ami 04-15-2012 02:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tazman (Post 1047149)
First of all DO NOT mix mbuna with peacocks. Mbuna are too active for the more mild mannered peacocks and can cause too much stress on the peacocks.

Second, 12-15 fish spread over 3 species in a 55g tank, 1 male to 3-4 female max. Any more males and it can lead to aggression issues.

Third, ROCKS, ROCKS, sand and MORE ROCKS is a typical Lake Malawi setup. Provide caves, structures which break up lines of sight across the tank.

yellow labs, P. acei and C. Afra are the perfect mix for a 55g tank. Afra can sometimes be aggressive and like to dig so provide sand and not many plants (either live or fake), they tend to dig them up after a while anyway.

Thanks Tazman !
I think I'll special order the C. afra if I have to.

A few more questions:
1. What order should I add the cichlids...e.g. add 5 labs then 5 P. acei then 5 C. afra ?
2. Is the amount of rockscaping shown in the youtube video link enough...or do I need more?
3. Can I use plexiglass at the bottom of my tank to protect the tank from the rocks? Are there alternatives that I can get at hardware stores? Or is this unnecessary?

4. I know this is against what is stated in the cookie cutter 55G, but is it possible to have a peacock only 55G with more that one male? If so, how many?

Tazman 04-15-2012 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ami (Post 1047608)
Thanks Tazman !
I think I'll special order the C. afra if I have to.
Sounds good

A few more questions:
1. What order should I add the cichlids...e.g. add 5 labs then 5 P. acei then 5 C. afra ?
Cycle the tank using the pure ammonia method and you can add them all at once..with cichlids it doesnt really matter what order you add them
2. Is the amount of rockscaping shown in the youtube video link enough...or do I need more?
Personal choice but the natural look of Lake Malawi is rock bottom, you can see youtube videos of the actual Lake to give you an idea, more breaks up the lines of sights and gives each fish a territorial area.
3. Can I use plexiglass at the bottom of my tank to protect the tank from the rocks? Are there alternatives that I can get at hardware stores? Or is this unnecessary?
I have egg crate(light diffuser panel), under the sand on the bottom of all my tanks, It adds a safety net in case of a rock fall BUT with cichlids being diggers it can sometimes get exposed, simple cover again with the sand during cleaning time solves that.
4. I know this is against what is stated in the cookie cutter 55G, but is it possible to have a peacock only 55G with more that one male? If so, how many?
You can but an all male setup is a bit of a challenge, you would be looking again 12-15 fish and NO MALES who look similar in color, they are co-specific aggressive which means they will perceive any males who look like them as threats.
It would also be highly recommended to have a spare tank setup, cycled and ready to go in case you need to remove fish who are not working out at all.


Hope this helps, personally, if this is your first cichlid tank, I would stay away from all male until you learn a little about cichlids and their behaviour, stay away from the aggressive species as well, ie Demansoni, Auratus.
It took nearly a year and half to sort a mix out of all males in my 180g tank that works with very little to no aggression.

Ami 04-15-2012 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tazman (Post 1047720)
Hope this helps, personally, if this is your first cichlid tank, I would stay away from all male until you learn a little about cichlids and their behaviour, stay away from the aggressive species as well, ie Demansoni, Auratus.
It took nearly a year and half to sort a mix out of all males in my 180g tank that works with very little to no aggression.

The 55G tank I have has been running since June 2010 as a community tank with tetras, rasboras, platies, mollies etc. I'm going to keep them there until I am done rescaping in order to keep the bacteria alive.

The following filters have been running in the 55G since last May :
Aquaclear 200
Hydrosponge IV (for up to 80 gallons)
Is this enough filtration for a cichlid set up? I plan to add a bubble curtain and waterhead for some extra oxygen and surface current.

Also wanted to ask about egg-crate. Is this what you are talking about?
http://www.homedepot.com/buy/buildin...ck-151888.html

Tazman 04-16-2012 08:40 AM

Yes to the eggcrate, no to filtration...you need 10-15 times tank volume at least per hour.

I would be looking at Aquaclear 110's or Marineland Penguin 400's (two of each). The cichlids will not mind the flow rate, in fact they will play in it. Canister filters if your budget allows. Cichlids need a lot of filtration.
Just a rough idea, I have a FX5 and Rena XP4 on my 75g tank and fX5 and Rena XP2 AND 4 on my 180g tank.

Bubble curtain is your choice, but with enough surface agitation from the filters you dont need one.

Ami 04-18-2012 11:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tazman (Post 1048896)
Yes to the eggcrate, no to filtration...you need 10-15 times tank volume at least per hour.

I would be looking at Aquaclear 110's or Marineland Penguin 400's (two of each). The cichlids will not mind the flow rate, in fact they will play in it. Canister filters if your budget allows. Cichlids need a lot of filtration.
Just a rough idea, I have a FX5 and Rena XP4 on my 75g tank and fX5 and Rena XP2 AND 4 on my 180g tank.

Bubble curtain is your choice, but with enough surface agitation from the filters you dont need one.

Hi Tazman,
I am going to purchase a HOB filters. When I googled, Marineland Penguin 400 I am getting Marineland Emperor 400 instead. Are these the same?
Also, between AC110 and Marineland Penguin 400, which is better?

Thanks,
Ami

Tazman 04-18-2012 11:33 PM

Personal opinion really, I have used both and can recommend either of them.

Perhaps a combination to consider would be a Penguin 400 and Aquaclear 70 or 110. You do really need the filtration with cichlids...they are messy :-)

Ami 04-18-2012 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tazman (Post 1051821)
Personal opinion really, I have used both and can recommend either of them.

Perhaps a combination to consider would be a Penguin 400 and Aquaclear 70 or 110. You do really need the filtration with cichlids...they are messy :-)

Thanks !
I am looking at Amazon.com now. I am wondering which of the 2 Marineland filters are better. (It seems that theolder ones are called Emperor, and not Penguin)


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