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Old 05-13-2014, 05:11 PM   #1
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African Cichlid Newbie Need Help

I've been messing about with community since I started and I've decided to get into African Cichlids.

I've just gone and picked up a 240l (63USG) and it's getting set up in the near future.

So, I don't have much of a clue about Cichlids.

Literally act as if you're talking to a 6 year old, tell me everything..

What decor?
What substrate?
What food?
What fish?
What everything?

Every bit of help I get is absolutely critical so thanks in advance..
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:44 PM   #2
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Decor- Rocks and caves. Lots and lots of caves. Make sure not to use rocks that are too rigid because african cichlids like to scratch their itches on them. Avoid live plants because they LOVE to uproot them. They won't survive well with these fish. You could use plastic, but if you are like most people, you'll get fed up with re-planting them.
Substrate- Sand is the ultimate substrate for these fish. They love to scoop up sand and spit it out elsewhere to make dips and hills in the substrate. You could use gravel, but some fish might choke on it if they try to move it. You can use pool filter sand, play sand, or expensive sand from the LFS.
Food- It depends on whether or not you get african cichlids that are herbivorous, carnivorous, or omnivorous. Regardless of which, you want to be sure to get food that sinks. Flakes aren't idea because of the shape of the cichlids' mouths. They tend to take in too much air when going for the flakes. I feed mine shrimp pellets and algae wafers, as well as sliced zucchini.
Fish- It depends on your taste, really. Just make sure to get more females than males, or stick with an all male tank. They are aggressive enough without worrying about when it comes to baby-making time. If I were you, I'd sit down and research the different kinds. I personally like mbuna (Cobalt Blue zebra cichlids to be precise).
Other- It is actually better to overstock an African cichlid tank than to understock it. I know- normally it's a huge no-no to overstock, but for your sanity and the safety of the fish, overstocking is better. I have a 55 gallon and I can have up to 15 fish in there (assuming each fish gets to about 5" long). If you want diversity, go with 5 different breeds with 3 (one male to two females. For an all male tank, just get all males). You could divvy it up however you want really. I personally have a species only tank, which some people might think is boring because there are a variety of colors you can have in one tank, but I love the breed I have and I don't want to mess with it. Hope this is helpful! I might have forgotten something.. But I'm sure there will be others to chime in!
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:08 PM   #3
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First question you need to ask yourself is what kind of cichlids you want to keep. There are South American and african. If you go with South American then you need to choose new world or old world. If you go with african then you need to decide what lake you like better. There's mbuna, Malawi, Victorian. Which all need different water conditions. Once you choose what you like better then let us know and we can give you all the info that you may need .
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:02 PM   #4
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African Cichlid Newbie Need Help

Green lily hit it all very well

To aid in Cecil's advise.

For a 63g I think you would find African (like you stated) more rewarding and better suited for a 63.

There are many different types of fish to look at.

Tanganyikans, really cool fish, unique, not many all Tang tanks out there.
An all Tropheus tank would be sweet.
There are also some really cool Tang shell dwellers, they are generally smaller, so you could have a massive stock. You can also mix tons of varieties of Tangs, the difficulty in this comes primarily from dietary needs which can vary greatly. Most would not mix a Tropheus breed with a Calvus breed for example.

Malawi tank, (my suggestion) includes larger Haplochrimis/Protomelus species. Usually larger fish (5/9") unique and very colorful. Aulonocara, (peacocks) are very beautiful, and have amazing colors and patterns. They tend to be the less aggressive species in Malawi, an all male peacock tank is amazing. (There's tons of other species that fit in with these two. (Nimbochromis, Otopharanx, lethrinops, many others)
Another is Mbuna (Rock dwellers) these are known as the aggressive African fish, (though not all) they include many genus, most commonly Psuedotropheus, cynotilapia, labidochromis, and many others.
You can also do mixes of Haps, Mbuna, and peacocks, but this takes some special planning to get species that will co habitats together, to keep it simpler I would just focus on one type.

Victorians, these fish are brightly colored, and very stunning Pundamilia Nyererie is one of my favorites, there is also a large group of Haplochromis Victorians

Common odd balls for a Cichlid tank are cuckoo cats (group of 3 or so) and threadfin cats.

There are SO MANY Africans it can be hard to choose from.

My advice is to plan, plan, plan. Check what is available to you, either in your area, classifieds, or online. And research the fish your interested in thoroughly before buying. You can do an all male tank (females Africans typically do not show any color) or male and female (you'll want 2-3 females per male) this can be bad mixing too much because of cross breeding. Another idea is the species tank. A large group of one fish, and maybe a few odds and others as well. A Psuedotropheus demasoni tank is a common species tank. Not all species will get along with it's same kind though so research this.
Demasoni for example don't do well in groups less than 8.

Personally, A Red Cap Lethrinops (lethrinops Itungi) would make an AWESOME species tank.

What might be a good place to start is just look at hundreds of African fish, pick your favorite, and plan your tank mates around that fish.

Posting a possible stock list on here for approval is always a good idea as well.

Hope this helps, with a 63 gallon, the possibilities are quite limitless. The potential for an awesome African tank... I envy you.

This is my 55 gallon all male tank. I have mostly Peacocks, a few haps, a few Mbuna, one Victorian, and one Tanganyikan Tropheus, I will most likely have some difficulties in the future with some fish that don't mix. Most are juvinille a right now.

http://youtu.be/VHTub4fcJLw
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:20 PM   #5
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African Cichlid Newbie Need Help

I need to update my video, I don't have the Bala sharks anymore.

If you want to know about any of my fish just comment the time they are in view.

My tank is 100% African products. The sand is the expensive Sahara cichlid sand at the LFS the Greenlilly mentioned the rock caves are "Cichlid stones" comes in a pack of 10 for $40/$60 USD, I have 20 they are ceramic little caves. Not actual stones.
There are tons of other rock options, flat gardening bricks that are easily stackable are popular, as well as Texas Holey Rock.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:26 PM   #6
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African Cichlid Newbie Need Help

This is one of my favorite African tanks, although I like the species I have more, it is a larger tank, so keep that in mind. It's also an all male tankhttp://youtu.be/XPybKZkH1CQ
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:15 PM   #7
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I agree with squirrliah I am currently am working on an all male peacock and hap tank. I find it fun and rewarding but not easy.
One thing I would say is definitely look into what is available locally. I find one of the hardest things is locating good fish in the local stores. It has taken me a while but my tank is coming along. One of the things I like about the peacocks is watching the juviniles (males) transform and start showing their colors. It takes time and patience but is rewarding. You can buy only males but it is expensive to buy them already colored up (and for me at least hard to find locally). But if your patient and don't mind waiting for your fish to grow they definitely get some awesome colors.
Also one last not if you do go peacock and Haps be prepared to swap fish in and out because it's not always easy to find the right mix sometimes one fish might just be a jerk and need to go.
Hope this helps this is a pick of my all male tank I have been working on for about the last 8 months.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:22 PM   #8
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Sorry app won't let me post pic
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:02 PM   #9
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Right.. Well this is what I've ended up with.

Click image for larger version

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It's all just Ocean Rock and play sand, looks very minimalist and I love it 👍
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:03 PM   #10
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African Cichlid Newbie Need Help

Oh and I've decided on Mbunas if that wasn't clear enough!!

As it turns out we have a great aquatic shop just about 15 mins away from here, Maidenhead Aquatics if anyone's interested..
They just so happen to specialise in Cichlids 🙏
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