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Old 11-07-2010, 11:54 PM   #1
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Malawi/Tanganyika Cichlids

Anybody wanna offer advice?

In the next few weeks (should plans go as...well, planned.) I'll be attempting an African Rift Lake biotope. Here's the tentative setup:

36 Gallon Bowfront Tank
200 Watt Heater (brand undecided-possibly Marineland or Tetra)
Marineland 350 Bio-Wheel Filter - 350 GPH, 2 Bio-Wheels and filter pads
30" (24" Bulbs) Dual T-8 Fluorescent Fixture - 20 Watts, each

Aside from that equipment, I would stock with the following:

x2 Labidochromis caereleus
x2 Pseudotropheus socolofi v. albino
x2 Malawi/Tanganyika cichlid
x1 African Ghost Knife?
x1 African Butterfly fish?
x1 Synodontis nigroventris

Decoration(s) would be lace rock structures and cichlid sand.

Any other ideas/suggestions/criticisms?

Thanks,
Kyle

P.S. The African Ghost Knife and Butterfly Fish have question-marks because those are ones I've recently been considering, but I'm not sure if they would do well.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:16 AM   #2
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I wouldn't put in the Ghost knife or butterfly.

The Synodontis grow too big for 36 Gal.

You could keep 4 red top ndumbi 1m 3f, OR 5 Ps. saulosi 1m 4f and a bristlenose pleco. That's about it for a 36 gal tank. The others you have suggested will grow too bit for your tank. There are other dwarf mbuna, but you will be really limited to 1male due to territorality.

Really a Malawi biotope requires a tank of 4ft minimum length for fish to set up their territories.

You could do a "shell dweller" biotope though.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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Agree with Mattrox, over the longer haul, you going to find that tank is probably too small, and the fish will likely begin killing each other off.

Also, I would reconsider the lace rock. The Africans will swim amongst the rocks quite frequently, darting in and out to escape other more aggressive fish, and the rough edges of lace rock can be as damaging if not worse than the aggression of the other fish.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:40 PM   #4
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Confused...?

What's a better tank idea, then? Could I just do a 55 or a 75? And as for the rock, is there another common one that I could easily find that would better suit the fish?

And if I were to do a 55 or 75, would a Synodontis be okay in there?
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:30 AM   #5
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A 55 would be much better, 75 even better still. You could do 1 synodontis in a 55, but they can grow big. If you can get q 75 then you will have no real issues. You can do a great mbuna tank in a 75 gal.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:18 AM   #6
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Okay. My only concern, though is that the 75 is a rather large tank, and I'm not sure I'd have room for it. What would I do for lighting and heat and filtration in a 75 gallon tank? Could I possibly just double the filtration and use around 400 watts of heat?
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:12 PM   #7
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You could use a canister like a fluval 405. A fluval fx5 would be better though for 75gal. A 300W heater should work. Some people would run 2x 200 W incase of heater failure.
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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what about a hot magnum by marineland? i know i can easily get a couple of those for really cheap.

i know of a family friend who got out of fish keeping and still has a bunch of stuff sitting around, so i may talk to him and see what he's got - most of his tanks were saltwater, but i know he also had a few freshwater setups. i'll look into that and see what he has and see what yall think on here.

thanks so far, though!
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Well, here's another idea that I just got:

75 gallon tank stocking:
x2 Pseudotropheus socolofi v. albino
x2 Labidochromis caereleus
x2 Pseudotropheus cabro
Some sort of Synodontis catfish

Of course, there would be ample filtration, light, heating, etc... along with plenty of rocks.
Would this work? and if so, what substrate would be appropriate to add small amounts of Microsorum pteropus and/or Vesicularia dubyana and for the fish?

Sorry, I'm just trying to plan ahead before I do anything stupid and make mistakes...that's what happened when I was at PetCo last time they had a tank sale...
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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I recommend tripling the quanity of each mbuna species so that you have six of each rather than a pair of each.

Mbuna's are polygamous or 'harem' breeders and ideally should be maintained in gender ratio's of several females per male per species.

For the l. caeruleus and p. socolofi the group of six can comprised of 2m/4f and for the p. crabro 1m/3-5f. A singler larger synodontis species or 2+ smaller synodontis species would work as well.

To forge this gender ratio when acquiring juvies of undetermined gender, you may have to initially get a larger group and then sell/trade the excess males as their genders become apparent.

Another reason to acquire more than two of each kind is that lower population density can amplify mbuna aggression. So a 75gal with 6 mbuna's would more likely experience greater aggression issues than a 75gal with 18 mbuna's (fully matured specimens, that is).

Juvie's and sub-adults do not have fully developed aggression and territorial behavior and for 'a time' can be maintained in different ratios than that recommended for matured mbunas.
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