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Old 04-17-2014, 01:14 PM   #1
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Should I jump into Cichlids?

Hello all.

I've had a 20 Gallon aquarium for about 4 months now and I've been really enjoying the hobby! I've always liked fish but now I'm sort of obsessed.

I want to get a bigger tank and do larger fish then my livebearer aquarium. I'm fascinated by the idea of having a Malawi Cichlid tank but am a little nervous. You hear so many horror stories online about how you invest all this money and buy beautiful fish only to have them die from aggressor fish.

I guess I just wanted to get some people's take on starting a Cichlid tank. Do ever regret doing it? Have you had a lot of territorial issues?

Also, I wanted to know how to add first batch of Cichlids. After the cycling period, do you add a bunch of different kinds at one time? Is it better to start with juveniles?

Any information will help. Thanks!

Joel
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:36 PM   #2
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I jumped on the cichlid bandwagon about a month ago and i love it! Like you I also have livebearers and they get old. While my tank was cycling I did a lot of research on the types of cichlids and a lot of people here helped me through it. Don't just throw a bunch of them in a tank and hope for the best. Research the ones you want. Here's an example: if you want haps and peacocks then look into them. I would personally do an all male tank (that's what I did) and its just a beautiful display of colors! You can get one of any Malawi peacock or hap and some you can have more than one, but play it safe for now and you can do one of each. You won't regret it, I don't at least. Starting with juveniles is much cheaper and better in the long run. You won't have super vibrant colors right away but you get to watch those colors grow with them and its fascinating. In any cichlid tank you will have territorial issues but they get over it. As long as you have no females for them to fight over, but there will always be a boss in the tank that chases everyone and pushes them around. Just make sure you have PLENTY of hiding spaces for the underdogs to retreat to and hide.

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Old 04-17-2014, 01:38 PM   #3
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best to add them all at once so no one can establish territory in the tank. Also, i've read that overstocking the tank helps with aggression. just make sure you have awesome filtration to handle the bioload.

I actually just bought an aquarium from craigslist (75 gallon) with african cichlids in it. The fish are awesome. Very colorful and active. I've seen some fighting as they re-establish dominance in the tank but otherwise no adverse events. I think i'm really going to like my cichlid tank.

Edit: forgot to say that add them all at once if they're juveniles. Throwing a bunch of adults in a tank together might not go over well.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:06 PM   #4
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Thank you for your replies!

I'm definitely going to be doing an all male tank as I don't really want to deal with the whole breeding aspect. Ideally, I would like to get a 75 gallon tank with mostly Habs and peacocks but would like to get 2 or so docile Mbuna.

In a 75 gallon tank, I would think I could have about 20+ medium to small type Cichlids. Would that be enough? Should I buy like 5 at a time?
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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I think 5 or less would be fine at a time. As far as docile mbuna good luck I would do Acei or Yellow Lab...do not buy a demasoni, just don't do it, trust me, it will terrorize your tank.

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Old 04-17-2014, 02:15 PM   #6
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ciclids

Hi , I should mention , that you shouldn't mix african and American ciclids in the same tank..someone will confirm that
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:21 PM   #7
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Dixiegirl - Was definitely thinking of an Acei or Lab. Do you have any? I've heard that as long as you get the Mbuna that is smaller than the Habs/peacocks it can work.
How many did you Cichlids did you start your tank with?

Parker - I was planning on having an all Malawi tank.

My fear is getting only a few Cichlids in the beginning and having WWIII breakout.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:37 PM   #8
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I have 7 at the moment all peacocks and haps. Im actually planning on getting a yellow lab and an Acei in a few weeks. I had at one point a red top hongi and demasoni and they were pretty aggressive. The hongi was pretty small too but he was boss. WW3 will not break out don't worry peacocks and haps are pretty peaceful. I had 4 peacocks and haps for about 3 weeks in a 60 gal all to themselves and they were just fine.

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Old 04-17-2014, 04:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joels3400 View Post
Hello all.

I've had a 20 Gallon aquarium for about 4 months now and I've been really enjoying the hobby! I've always liked fish but now I'm sort of obsessed.

I want to get a bigger tank and do larger fish then my livebearer aquarium. I'm fascinated by the idea of having a Malawi Cichlid tank but am a little nervous. You hear so many horror stories online about how you invest all this money and buy beautiful fish only to have them die from aggressor fish.

I guess I just wanted to get some people's take on starting a Cichlid tank. Do ever regret doing it? Have you had a lot of territorial issues?

Also, I wanted to know how to add first batch of Cichlids. After the cycling period, do you add a bunch of different kinds at one time? Is it better to start with juveniles?

Any information will help. Thanks!

Joel
I never regret getting hooked on my Cichlid tank (African Cichlids- Mbuna)! I love them because they are always busy doing something or another. I currently have 4 cobalt blue zebras (I believe that's what they are) and the only time I have noticed any territorial aggression was when I put them in a 5 gal. bucket so that I could do rockwork in the tank. I have two that are on the overly dominant side and I'm not sure who killed who, but anyway, someone killed two of the less/non aggressive ones. I will recommend that you never put them together in such a small area for any given time. I did, and I do regret that!
Starting off with all juveniles is probably the best and least expensive, from my experience. While they're juvies, they are a lot less aggressive and can adapt to their surroundings (i.e: juvies can learn to leave plants alone- sometimes). Usually aggression starts when the fish becomes sexually mature and then that's when you're most likely to have real issues.
As mentioned before, overstocking is better to reduce aggression. I know it might not make sense, but the reasoning behind it is that there is less room and time to become territorial. Depending on the size of tank you get will determine about how many fish you can get and of course the size of the fish. The smallest tank you can get away with african cichlids is 55 gallons. I have a 55 gallon and plan on eventually having 12-15 fish total. It's recommended that you get 3 groups of 5 or have a species or male only tank and also it's best if you don't mix them with other cichlids. African cichlids are too aggressive and would probably pick on the funny looking one, and those guys are tough when they want to be!
The only downfall about getting all juvies is that it can be difficult to sex them (making an all male tank harder to obtain). Unless you have an awesome LFS, you will have try to determine the genders then or take them home and grow them out and get rid of females that way. I have thought of doing that, but I get too attached, so I personally opted for a species only tank (I don't really want any hybrid breeding going on). That way, I don't have to get rid of anyone, and hopefully the ratio of males to females is close to right.
I could go on forever about why you should get hooked, but I won't..
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:40 PM   #10
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Its pretty easy to sex peacocks/haps imo, but mbuna you're going to have the most problems sexing. I think he already stated he wanted peacocks and haps though.

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