Is a 40 gallon tank big enough tank for Cichlids - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Is a 40 gallon tank big enough tank for Cichlids

I am planning on getting a 40 gallon tank and I am wanting to put some cichlids in it. I was wondering if that is a big enough tank for up to 5 fish one being a Jack Dempsey. What does everyone think. i also want some live plants. Is it better to have freshwater sand or rock any thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-19-2011, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ynnad777 View Post
I am planning on getting a 40 gallon tank and I am wanting to put some cichlids in it. I was wondering if that is a big enough tank for up to 5 fish one being a Jack Dempsey. What does everyone think. i also want some live plants. Is it better to have freshwater sand or rock any thoughts?
For 40 gallon tank, African cichlids would maybe work. Tank would house a juvenile Jack dempsey for approx four months with heavy filtration and weekly 50 percent water change. After that a larger tank would be needed.Other fishes suitable for tank holding Jack dempsey would need to be rather large and 40 gal would be too small.
Plant's and cichlids aren't normally compatible. Larger cichlids will uproot the plant's and other's will eat them or shred them just cause they can.
Would advise against sand in a cichlid tank, many species like to dig up substrate and sand could very easily find it's way into your filter causing damage to same.
With large amount of rock formations, and gravel substrate,hard alkaline water, you could keep a few smaller African cichlids. Research Africans from the three lakes there, and pay close attention to adult size the fish reach and water parameter's needed (pH,gh,kh) along with proper diet.
I'm not very familiar with the African's so can't offer much more.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 12:20 AM
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Which size 40 gallon is it? I believe the standard 40 gallon is 36" length and a 40 long is 48" length. With cichlids, it's all about territory so the longer the tank the better.

You could probably do some of the smaller American cichlids such as Firemouths, Convicts, Blue Acara, Sajica, Rainbow cichlid. Of course, not all at once. I'm just naming some that stay around the 5-6" mark in size.

I do have some plants in with my american cichlids but they are mainly anubias and java ferns attached to wood. Some of them do occasionally take a bite at the plants but for the most part leave them alone.

I'm not an African cichlid person either so make sure to research them carefully for compatibility, adult size, etc.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
135 Gallon - Angelfish Community
75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
20 Gallon Long - QT
10 Gallon - Empty
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 02:12 AM
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Dwarf mbuna species can be done in a 40. You could do
yellow labs, pseudotropheus acei, pseudotropheus saulosi or even a peacock tank. These are the more peaceful Africans.

They require hard water and lots of rocks forming caves. I would read as much as possible about them first - they are totally different to Americans in every way!
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so much for your help I will continue to research
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 10:26 PM
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You can use a 40 for cichlids but there is just some you can't put in. and if you have HOB filters sand will wreck them. Cichlids to stay away from in a 40G are Jack Dempeys, Oscars, Green Terrors, Blood Parrots, Jewel Cichlids, Pike Cichlids, Texas Cichlids, Chocolates, Severums. Those are the most popular at pet stores. You could do OB peacocks, Yellow tail Aceis, species 44 and others similar, they normally stay around 5 inches and you can get the odd male that might hit 6-7''

You can overstock cichlid tanks and I actually recommend it, it gives the fish over the shoulder syndrome (patent pending haha). When the tank is packed I find my cichlids don't pick on each other as much, they are constantly doing 180's to see if another fish is behind them.

When cichlids get aggressive and chase another less dominate fish through the tank, having a crowd of fish and good decor will help. The fish being chased gets lost in the crowd/decor and goes on its way.

It all sounds good but there are downfalls. Extra filtration, excess water changes, lots of rock and hiding places.

I hope this helps, cichlids are awesome fish and hardly ever dull in the tank.

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post #7 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 10:53 PM
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 11:01 PM
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Kribensis, Shell dwellers & Apistos would be great for a 40 gallon.Apistogramma
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-20-2011, 11:08 PM
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dwarf african cichlids from Lake tanganyika, just a thought. I keep live plants(java ferns and rotala) with a pair of julidochromis trans. bemba in a 29 gallon.(producing fry), i also have a sand substrate. I think 40 gallon is too small for a J.D, but there are lots of species of dwarfs that may work. Good Luck, would love to see pictures when you get it all going.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 04:25 PM
how many fire mouths could I keep in a standard 38... like the 40 dimensions but maybe a couple inches off the width and the height.

38 gallon :
Pelvicachromis Taeniatus Nigerian Red not yet breeding pair
4 Pangio Kuhli
12 Hemmigrammus Bleheri
2 Botia Lohachata
1 Botia Straita
1 Ancistrus Sp.
6 Poecilia Reticulata

The Wet Spot Portland Oregon!!!!!!

ADA: Do!aqua Iwagumi 10 gallon size!
7 Clown Killies
7 Ghost shrimp
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