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Old 01-13-2004, 06:27 PM   #1
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Cichlids and a 20gal. good idea?

I have a 20gal tank and all the equipment needed to run it. I was thinking I would be cool to keep some cichlids.The info I have seen so far is they need pretty big tanks, since they are so territorial. I was wondering though if it would be possible to keep 2 or 3 of them safely and healthily in this tank. Also if this is do-able does this tank need to be planted? I was thinking of having just a small rock wall. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:47 PM   #2
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JamesMJ2....

Depends on the cichlids. If you're talking about the moderate- to large-sized Central and South American cichlids then the answer is an unqualified NO....not in a 20 gallon....at least not for very long. The same applies to the majority of the African Rift Lake cichlids....not because they get to big (though most of them do) but because they're VERY territorial and a 20 gal just doesn't have enough room.

On the other hand...there are PLENTY of dwarf cichlids that will do very well in a 20 gallon tank. I don't have time to list them all but Microgeophagus, Nannacara, and Apistrogramma species from Central and South America and Pelvicachromis and Nannochromis from the rivers of Central Africa are examples. There are also the 'shellies'....shell-spawning cichlids from the coastlines of the Rift Valley lakes that will do well in a 20 gallon tank as long as you can provide the hard, alkaline water they require.
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Old 01-13-2004, 06:52 PM   #3
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With 100's of species of cichlids available for aquariums, that is a hard question to answer. There are quite a few 'dwarf' cichlids (under 2-3 inches) that would work in a 20, if they are the only species. All cichlids are territorial to some degree so mixing species in a 20 would be tricky at best.

There are a few threads active right now about Rams (ramirez) which are very pretty and not too aggressive. There are also shell dwelling cichlids that are small in size but big in attitude like Gold ocellatus.

My highly biased recommendation is the Gold ocellatus, Lamprologus ocellatus They are pretty fish, little in size and huge in attitude. Super fun to watch as they dig around and arrange their shells just how they want them. My next tank is going to be some of those guys.
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:01 PM   #4
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I have very very little knowledge of cichlids. I was aware that they were territorial and they required hard water. There were two that caught my eye, Blue peacock cichlid and the Elec. Yellow lab cich. SOrry for the generality of my question, just know so little about these particular fish. I would like to avoid keeping plants in the 20gal tank seeing as the big tank is enough work with the plants and community fish. Any links on the cichlid family you guys have would be great. Better to educate myself then having to keep asking innane questions.
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Old 01-13-2004, 07:37 PM   #5
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JamesMJ2...

There's no such thing as a stupid question unless it remains unasked. You're smart to do your research BEFORE you go out and plunk down your cash for fish that you end up regretting.

The Blue Peacock, Aulonocara nyassae, and the Electric Yellow Lab, Labidochromis caeruleus, are both African Rift Valley cichlids. Both come from Lake Malawi and require very hard, alkaline water. A. nyassae gets to about 6 inches and L. caeruleus to about 4 inches. African Rift Valley cichlids are very aggressive and territorial and could not be safely kept in a 20gal aquarium.

One of the best places for information about cichlids is the American Cichlid Association. Their web page is at http://www.cichlid.org/ . You can also try a google search and type in cichlid as your search topic. You'll be overwhelmed at the number of web pages and the variety of information that is available to you.
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Old 01-13-2004, 11:14 PM   #6
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Thanks Folks for the info. I will go look into those Dwarve Cichlids Enki, and I greatly appreciate the link Fruitbat. The more info the better.
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Old 01-13-2004, 11:26 PM   #7
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You can also go to www.cichlid-forum.com. There's an article on their site about "cookie-cutter" tank set-ups for 20 gallons. You'll see some of the above recommendations. I found this site very useful when I was researching cichlids. If you look for the article, type "cookie cutter" in the search box.
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