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Discussion Starter #1
I've been planning a SA Cichlid tank, very planted and natural looking. I went to a reputable LFS and they had the most amazing looking African cichlid tank i've ever seen! Their fish were beautiful and vibrant. I have always had an interest in Planted aquariums but I'm just not sure if I can take care of it properly, I'm new to the hobby besides my 10g guppy aquarium when i was 11 yrs old.. I now have a 50g tank and stand sitting in my spare room empty, waiting to be filled with beautiful fish, and a nice aquaria. I had planned on having a SA Biotope including 2 M. Altispinosus, 13 Neon Tets, 7 Black Neon Tets, A handful of corys and some other sa fish. Yesterday changed my mind and I'm now on a see saw between the sa and african cichlids.. I've weighed out the pros and cons from my pov.

SA Cichlid/Tetra Setup

Pros
Having a more natural look
Tranquility of the Aquaria
More active fish


Cons
Expensive Lighting
Cost of plants and maintaining them.
Sourcing some fish can become quite difficult


African Cichlid Setup

Pros
Cheaper Lighting?
Fish are easier to aquire
More compatible with my tap water (pH 7.6)
Brighter, more vibrant colors

Cons
I don't know that much about them, as I've been planning the SA Tank
Aggression


I have a Emperor 400 filter, but I've seen that alot of people use that in partnership with a canister filter? I don't know ANYTHING about African cichlids, I only know that the require a higher pH level from something like 7.6 to 8.6?? My tap water is pH 7.6, Ammonia is 0, Nitrate and Nitrite are also 0

I need advice.. I called the LFS that had the Cichlid tank and asked to compare sa and african tanks, they said the maintenance would be about the same, the lighting would be more expensive for the sa tank since plants need higher intensity lighting. I like both so now its just a hard decision...
 

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You should go with the africans. They are easy to tend to. If you have any Questions on africans just ask and i will tell you what i know. I personaly dont know bout the south american's. So im no help there. But i do raise africans all diffrent kinds. Best wishes>>>>>>>>>
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I like both, but I seem to think africans would be much easier upkeep as far as the whole aquarium, no plants to keep healthy, no expensive lighting.. if i do an african setup, are there any smaller fish i can keep with them
 

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It realy depends what kind of smaller fish you would want. I have only africans in my tanks besides plecos and a lepurinous. But i would think you could keep something else in with them. The color of the fish is why i started with them. Yes your cost would be down with them. I have a few fake plants, lots of lace rock, and driftwood, in my tanks with them.
 

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If you were to go with africans what ones would you get? if you were to get SA what ones would you get?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I already had a stocking list for my SA setup
2 Mikrogeophagus Altispinosus
13-15 Neon Tetras
7-8 Black Neon Tetras
3 Corydoras Sterbai
4 Bronze Cory
6 Black Phantom Tetras
5-6 Silver Hatchetfish

African cichlid i just know of a few of them i'd like to have, not sure how many i could get away with in a 50g tank..
Metriaclima greshakei
Haplochromis Ahli
Labidochromis Caeruleus Yellow
Labidochromis Caeruleus White

Where would i get the correct rocks to make hiding spots and such for them?? how about substrate, what would you suggest
 

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south americans!!!! you could add more to that stock in the sa tank, that would be like 80% full, i would add more cories, like 5-6 of each. GO WITH AMERICAN! they are a bit more expensive but its a lot more pretty and natural in my opinion and plants arent that hard to take care of. on a normal schedual i change water once a week and trim twice a month and put fertalizer in once a month. not hard at all.
 

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You could use play ground sand. For substrate. And for rocks you can go to a land scape supply store. You can get many differnt kinds of rocks. Just let us know what kind of rocks then we could tell you if it will work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, So at alot of LFS I see the African Cichlids marked as medium sized and small sized. Will the small ones grow to be 6" also? I think it would be neat to have them as small fish and to see them grow over time. It sucks cause I had planned on doing a planted aquarium and my fiance had just bought me a new 50g tank, I sold my old 50g tank and stand and I included the brand new all-glass 24" hoods that came with my new tank... Since i was going to buy a 48" T5 HO Fixture, But now i realize i could've just used the regular 2 24" hoods!! I'm kicking myself in the butt right now. How many Cichlids could I get away with in my 50g setup if I have adequite rock works to break the line of site between aggression, and a emperor 400 as my filtration. During christmas i'll be getting a Rena xp2 to help out the 400. I like the African Cichlids because of their BRIGHT VIBRANT colors, such as bright yellows, electric blues, whites... the sa cichlids are beautiful in their own right, and i'd love to have a big school of neon tets and other various tets shoaling around with my 2 bolivians... I'm just not sure what to do.. I do have a 29g tank i could use as my planted tank later, and have my 50g setup in my room, and the 29 planted in my computer room.. Not sure!! UGH The Confusion is killing me!!
 

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Well not all get to 6 inchs. But some do like Auratus, Demasoni, Johanni get to around 4 inch. the Red Zebras Yellow lab, Elongatus Mpanga's get to 6 inchs. Go to livefishdirect.com check them out there read up on the africans it will tell you how big they will get.
 

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Ok got a few min to typ this out now. Here is a list of what i have. 6 Yellow labs, 5 Auratus, 4 Red Zebras, 3 demasoni's, 2 Bumblebee's, 2 Kingsizei's. I have the 4 Red Zebras, 1 pleco, 2 bumblebee's, in a 55 gallon. with 2 fake plants and 70 lbs of lace rock. One peice of driftwood. Then i also have about 300 fry of the cichlids, of all the ones i have named. You could do one of each kind like 6 diffrent one's. or Try just one kind, and get 1 male 5 females. afr cichlids are mouth brooders. They Breed quit well in the home tank. So if you dont want fry get all males or all females. Or if it dont bother you then do the 5f to 1m.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I went to the local petsmart since the lfs was closed last night, to check out some fish that i could get locally and not have to order online, today ill be going to the lfs and petco. Found 2 species i'd like to get and apparently they both come from lake malawi so they should be good together

Labidochromis Caeruleus (Electric Yellow)
Pseudotropheus Acei
I'd like to get my hands on a few Metriaclima Greshakei and a white L. Caeruleus
I can't remember the name of the blue cichlid i saw and liked. I cant get it though unless the other stores have a small one. the yellow labs and acei were small maybe 1 1/2" fish. The blue fish i believe was sciaenochromis fryeri was about 4" so all the others would just be snacks, ill have to wait unless i can find a smaller one. how long would you suggest cycling the tank?
 

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This is a new tank. with new every thing corect? If you have another tank you could take some of the gravel and put it in pantyhoes. Then in the tank it will help speed up the cycle. I would just put the fish in if there that small with out over feeding them. and test your water every day for the first 10 days. Do a 25 percent water change every other day for 2 weeks. Then go to once a week with a gravel vac every other week. Your fry is what you will be getting if only 1.5 inchs, will be able to go throw the cycle pretty easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah I figured they were pretty young which is what I wanted. I don't want to buy a fish in which is already grown up and I know nothing about what it was fed or what condition it may be in. I'm trying to source a white Labidochromis Caeruleus fry.
 

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Me too. I have ben looking for over a year still cant find any one with any. If you go to cichlidforum they have people on there with them dont know if they would sell or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok, my local wal-mart sells fish and just out of curiosity i took a gander and they had the " assorted african cichlid" tank. They had 2 that were white with black bars. I'd like to buy em but i am interested in what they are and if theyd be good in my tank. I feel kinda bad for them, right now their in clean looking water but this wal mart in particular seems to have an on and off track record for fish care. I dont really mind buying them from there its just i dont know if they are a true full species or some sort half/half speices?? They are about 2" in length so i guess that 'd be considered Juveniles?? I am thinking the 2 of them, 3 yellow labs, and possibly 2 aceis but im skeptic about the acei because they get quite big from what i've seen and i'm worried about the labs being picked on. also i have 100 pounds of turface pro league gravel i was going to use as substrate in my planted aquarium, would it be ok to use it for the africans? its "red" in color, its more orangish rusty colored, its whats used as top soil for baseball fields.
 

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For the substrat i would use Playground sand or Fine gravel. I dont know any thing about the turface pro leg grav............ For the fish i have gotten some from walmart have had no Problems with them yet. I have heard some have a problem like you said. You have to quarintine them so that way if they do have any parasites they dont give them to your other fish. Your fish selection is good even with the (acei) I have 2 of them and they give me no troble. But remeber to add them last......... If you can get some pics of the white ones to show we could help ID them. Im going to gues that they are not white labs. As white labs look just like the yellow labs and are a cross breed of yellow and albinos or white cichlids. I cant think of the exact name right now will get back to you on that tho...... Remeber to add the least agresive fish first then the more agresive fish last. 2 fish a week or every other week.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Ok i have a picture but its from the camera on my phone which sucks btw. Not sure if its much use but here it is. I know from the pictures they might now look white, But they are white with black vertical stripes going down. fish is probably 2" maybe 2.5"





Also, This is what Turface Pro League looks like, its very very fine gravel used in the aquarium world for planted tanks, but its main use is top soil on baseball diamonds, and other athletic venues. i already have 100 lbs of the stuff from my planned planted aquarium so i would like to be able to use it for my africans, think it'd be ok?

 

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They kind of look like the (albino zebra red fin) (Metriaclima Pyrsonotos). Or like you said a mix breed. I have never seen them befor. I would get them if it were me........ Yes your choice of sand would work ok in your tank. If you get them fish you should get better pics and show us and show an tell the progress of your build. Good luck.
 
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