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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings Fish Folk!

I recently purchased a 20 Gal tank and 5 cichlids and a pleco. I am having a great time with them and find myself langishing in front of the tank often. I have a few questions.

First. I know that two of my fish are convicts. Males if the IFS are to be believed (I've done some reading, Blue:). I would like to know what the other fish are. I think one is a zebra. It is blue with black vertical bars. one fellow is yellow with a small amount of black on the dorsal fin and the final fellow is kind of spotted with a yellowish belly and what I would call the ventral fins-- although I'm sure that is not correct. The spotted fish is so funny! He "plays" in the bubbles from the bubble wand I have in there.

Second. I am a simple country girl with hard water. All reading suggests that the fish I have like hard water. Is this true? Do I need to have a different water conditioner than you city folk?

Third. My tank have been up about a week. I am terribley compulisive and most likely did everything wrong. The boys, as I call them, seem fine and thriving. I want to keep them that way. I did let the tank run for 48 hours before adding fish. I bought a kit that had everything in it for set up (so they say). Blue and fellow Fish Folk, did I miss anything? Please dumb it down for the country girl. Remember I'm a newby. Thank you for your time. Gotta go, the fish are calling....Dee
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
More info...

I forgot to tell you that my fish are all African except for the Convicts. Pushy little buggers those two! Dee
 

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Hi and welcome, Dee.

Hope you enjoy the forum.

Convicts are Central American cichlids. They are pretty adaptable to all ranges of water conditions so there's no need to worry about your fish.:)
Your other fish sound like they came from Lake Malawi. Your water chemistry seems perfectly suitable for them. Make sure the water pH won't drop below 7 as Malawi cichlids don't tolerate soft water.
Pls do not mix cichlids from different origins as they may eventually struggle to fight for territories.
Deefish said:
Second. I am a simple country girl with hard water. All reading suggests that the fish I have like hard water. Is this true? Do I need to have a different water conditioner than you city folk?
Water in the city often contains chlorine and chloramine. You'll need the water conditioner just to be safe in case your water may contain heavy metals and such.

P.S. It would be better if you ask more questions in the appropriate sections.:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Blue

Thank you Blue. Is there a good source to ID the fish specifically? Dee
 

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Hi Dee nice to meet someone else who likes cichlids. Like Blue mentionned you might have a problem keeping American and African cichlids in the same tank. You might like to keep an eye on your water stats, was your tank cycled?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello all. I am such a flake! I was thinking that this site was communityfish.com and I could not find you again:(. Whew! I was really bumbed because I was learning a lot.

My cichlids are doing well. One of the convicts is very aggressive. Definately the worst of the bunch. Everyone seems to be holding their own as they are all the same size but do you think I should consider trading the convicts for Africans? I don't think that anyone is in danger at this point but will he get worse? The convicts are both males and one is definately dominate. It is amazing to watch them because one is definately brighter black and just more spectacular looking. The less dominate convict is very shy and most likely not too happy.

Oceane asked if my tank was cycled and I have to admit, no. I have checked the PH as suggested by Blue and did my first 50% water change. All seems to be going well. Thank you for your input. I have to admit I would miss Convict I, as I call him, but I want the best for all of the fish. D
 

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Hi Dee,
You have to remove the convicts, of course. They are the worst I used to have. Nothing more than breeding too much and ending up with bullies and bulldozers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sad to see them go but I know you are right. I think my fish will be happier. Do you know if some stores will buy/trade? Too bad I'm not ready to put up another tank. I won't make this mistake again. I'll stick with Africans. Thanks Blue. Dee
 

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Sounds to me like youve got the following in your tank. In order of your description: Pseudotropheus lombardoi - Kenyi, Labidochromis caeruleus - Electric Yellow Lab, and Nimbochromis venestus - Giraffe Hap.

Try researching the three named above to see if thats what you have. Here are a few pics for reference.

Kenyi (this is a hybrid and looks slightly different from a true kenyi)


Yellow Lab


Giraffe Hap


And yes, these fish prefer harder warter with PH around 7.6 - 8.6 (ideal is about 8.2)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes!

SKAustin (Steve?) Thank you so much! You got two of them for sure. The Lab and the Giraffe Hap. Not sure about the Kenyi but I will research it more. The other two pics are right on. I can't believe how attached I have gotten to these fish! The Giraffe is a trip. I have a gelding (horse) that he reminds me of. Very silly and likes to play. The lab is pretty easy going and really pretty fat (I hope there are no more eggs in my future). I can't say thank you enough. Can the Kenyi be very dark blue with the black bars? I will do my research and if I can find a pic I will attempt to post it.

By the way... My PH was 7.8 today. Should I take steps to increase it? Dee
 

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Glad I could be of help, Yes a regular kenyi looks a bit different, darker blue with more uniform width black bars that extend right to the belly. Male kenyi will turn yellow as the reach maturity. Labs are great fishes and if you have a pair, they will breed at 6 months. They are mouth brooders and it really is quite amazing to watch. The Venestus will grow considerably faster and will consume any fish small enough to eat. I currently have two adult male and 1 adult female Labs plus 5 of their first brood. The female is currently holding her second brood. I also have in with them a Sunshine Peacock and a venestus. The venestus is for population control allowing only the strongest lab fry to survive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I really am enjoying these fish. Thanks for the info SK. The Venestus will get a lot bigger than I had thought from researching last night. Currently everyone is the same size. I reseached pleco L 46 for my tank and WOW :shock: I had no idea a little fish could cost that much ($250-I can get a whole outfit for that :wink: ! Common pleco is looking better... Maybe even the candy stiped pleco I could justify. Do you think that my tank is too small for all these fish, honestly. I would like a bigger tank but I would want to do it right and really invest in something nice. Would it be reasonable to wait a year or so? I was thinking 5 gallons for each inch of mature fish and I thought that my fish would mature to about 5 inches or so (maybe bigger for the Venestus)? What do you think and thanks for your time. Dee
 

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Sorry this is a little late :oops: but welcome to fishforum lol....oh and those fish are beautiful!
 

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Yellow labs reach about 3-4 inches, Kenyi 4-6, venestus I have seen up pin the area of 8 inches. Ideally, these fish should be slightly overstocked, but should also be kept in a tank large enough so that the fish donot outgrow the tank. 55 Gallon is minimum for most Malawi Cichlids, though a 20 gallon will house a fair number of fish for about a 9 months to a year before they will need to be rehomed. If i might make a suggestion, i would consider a species tank of yellow labs in the 20 gallon, with plenty of baseball sized and smaller rocks, and a few artificial plants. 3 females and 1 male. With labs, it's a bit of a craps shoot as far as selecting sexes, but a good guideline is, males are generally brighter yellow with sharper contrasting blacks. Males generally have a diagonal black line across their eyes, females have been known to have less,if any, black on their anal and pectoral fins. As with most mbuna cichlids, the number of egg spots are reported to be an additional identifier, but i have found this method to be highly unreliable. Anyways, with this setup, you would begin to see the females holding (appearance of swollen jowels and gills) as the females reach about 6-9 months of age. they will stop eating and within a few days, you will see eyes peeking out from the mothers mouths. the labs will hold the fry for 2-4 weeks before letting them venture from the safety of her mouth. anyways, it truly is amazing to watch these fish going through this process, and watching the little fish grow up. and once grown, they can be sold to a LFS.
Deefish said:
I really am enjoying these fish. Thanks for the info SK. The Venestus will get a lot bigger than I had thought from researching last night. Currently everyone is the same size. I reseached pleco L 46 for my tank and WOW :shock: I had no idea a little fish could cost that much ($250-I can get a whole outfit for that :wink: ! Common pleco is looking better... Maybe even the candy stiped pleco I could justify. Do you think that my tank is too small for all these fish, honestly. I would like a bigger tank but I would want to do it right and really invest in something nice. Would it be reasonable to wait a year or so? I was thinking 5 gallons for each inch of mature fish and I thought that my fish would mature to about 5 inches or so (maybe bigger for the Venestus)? What do you think and thanks for your time. Dee
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you Flattrack! Looking forward to being an active member! I'm learning a lot. Dee
 
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