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Old 06-21-2006, 04:07 PM   #1
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Should I avoid cichlids in my setup?

I have to admit, I started my 29G tank without a good plan for stocking it, and started stocking it without much research, so now I'm in a situation of having to deal with some restrictions on what I can do from here on (assuming everything lives through the cycle).

At first, I thought that cichlids were out of the question, knowing nothing about them except "they are aggressive". Now I'm interested in possibly putting a pair/trio of one of the milder species in (GBR, maybe). But here's what I've got now:

29G lightly planted aquarium - I am planning on more plantings, and know that cichlids can be an issue.
4 Tiger barbs
4 Neons (had some die off the day after I got them home)
1 Cory cat

My big concern is obviously the barbs. They seem to be doing OK with the neons now, but I do have concerns. They are very active and nippy, but mainly with each other now.

Should I just plan on staying with more mainstream community fish, or can I put some cichlids in there? I do plan on adding 3-4 more neons once the cycle is complete, just so they have a good school. I also need another cory or 2, and maybe an algae eater. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:40 PM   #2
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You probably can put a couple cichlids in there, but most people have recomended a 50+ gal tank with like 8+ cichlids in the tank so that there's not just one fish to take out their aggresion on.

I actually have a 15 gal. tank with 2 African Cichlids in it. They seem to be doing fine together. They come out of the caves more as well when there's more than just one fish.

Cichlids are aggressive because they are territorial fish. If you introduce another Cichlid to the tank, it is reccomended that you re-arange the ornaments in the tank.

Most pet stores have told me that you pretty much can only keep cichlids with cichlids.
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Old 06-21-2006, 07:07 PM   #3
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GBR's are probably the most peaceful of all cichlids. They tend to do their own thing not paying any attention at all to their tankmates. They will display some territorial behavior if they decide to try their hand at spawning but even then it's simply a little nudge.

I have GBR's and Bolivian Rams in my tank, which also includes Angels, serpae and lampeye tetras, corydoras, a mess of bristlenose pleco and an 8" Sailfin Pleco. The tank is heavily planted as well.
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Old 06-21-2006, 09:58 PM   #4
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I am planning on more plantings, I know that cichlids can be an issue
It's the larger cichlids that have a bad rep for redecorating the tank. The smaller the mouth, the less they can move (BIG exception--shellies!).
Definitely add as many cories to the herd as possible. The more the merrier! Aside from rams, apistos are lovely and kribs, if you want a slightly more aggressive cichlid. My kribs live in harmony with cories, loaches, plecos and white clouds.
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:22 PM   #5
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So you think the Tiger barbs won't be a problem? That would be good news indeed. I thought I had screwed myself by adding them.
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Old 06-24-2006, 12:51 AM   #6
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I've had 3 tiger barbs in my 55Gal with a bunch of cichlids with no problems at all. 1 big bumble bee, 2 blue kenyi, 2 small blue kenyi juvies, 5 small kenyi fry, 2 yellow labs, a pleco. They are all well and active. Lots of rock work in the tank for them to hide in.
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Old 06-24-2006, 06:04 PM   #7
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I would get a few more barbs, just so they will focus more on their group. The more you have, the less they seem to bother other fish. GBRs are very peaceful and the barbs may harass them. I'd be cautious and add to the barb group, if it was me.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JustOneMore20
I would get a few more barbs, just so they will focus more on their group. The more you have, the less they seem to bother other fish. GBRs are very peaceful and the barbs may harass them. I'd be cautious and add to the barb group, if it was me.
Thanks for the advice. My girlfriend wants more barbs, and I know I need to bring the tetra herd up to 7-8. That would mean about 6 barbs, 8 neons and 3 cory's (I need to add 2 more). Sounds to me like the tank would be fully stocked, or close to it, at that point. Unless I lose either the barbs or the tetras, we may be stuck with what we have for now.

On the plus side, I'm picking up a 125 tomorrow. I've told her that once it cycles, we can move the fish around to make sure she has what she likes in "her" 29. I'm going to let her take over management of the little tank - I'll have my hands full getting the big one up to speed.
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:09 AM   #9
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My suggestion would be to be patient (I know it's hard!) and turn that 125 into the cichlid tank because you'll have plenty of room to work with. The neons and barbs would be good to begin the cycle, then (if you can catch em) transfer em back to the 29g before adding the africans. I don't like adding plecos to tanks unless they're at least 3 months old, though many factors influence the decision, including lighting. What fish are you planning to put in the larger tank?
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Old 06-28-2006, 09:31 AM   #10
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Yeah, I've decided to back off of adding any to the 29. I still don't want a "cichlid tank", just a couple of them in the community.

I've got some ceramic discs "cooking" in the 29's HOB, and will be putting some of the gravel into a bag to transfer in order to help speed up the cycle. I doubt the fish will be moved, unless she decides that she doesn't like them.
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