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Old 09-20-2011, 03:37 AM   #1
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Fish Ideas for 55g African Tank?

I'm in the process of cycling my 55g, preparing it to become a Lake Malawi tank. Sand substrate and nice rockwork, and am going to be planting it with hearty "cichlid friendly" plants. My list of ideas on types of fish I'm going for is below, and I'd love to hear any comments on if they are a good mix, and would love to hear suggestions on other nice looking fish.

I'm aiming for between 12-15 fish in the tank.
3 of each:
Moorii Kaiser II - Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Moorii (Kaiser II) Cichlid
B.B. Ornatus - B.B. Ornatus Cichlid | African Lake Malawi | PetSolutions
Ruby Red Peacock - 3 AFRICAN CICHLIDS 1.5" SUPER RUBY RED PEACOCK A+++ | eBay
Blue Peacock - Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Blue Peacock Cichlid

I'd also like to have 1 of each of these
Buffalo Head - Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: Buffalo Head Cichlid
Makonde Blue Lips - Pseudotropheus williamsi north Makonde "blue lips"

Would that be too many? They will be added slowly and carefully, one family at a time, throughout many months. My other question is, are groups of 3 generally ok? and would putting the trophy fish in solo by himself be a smart idea or do they prefer more?

Also searching for one more "trophy" if anyone got any ideas!!
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
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You have a mix of Malawi Mbuna, Malawi Peacocks and lake Tanganyika fish on there, which won't work out due to differences in diet and agression.
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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Tropheus need at least a 75 gallon species tank.
Crabro are mbuna, will likely eat any live plants in the tank.
Peacocks are best kept in groups of 1m/3f, 2 groups in a 55 would be pushing it. Also eat more protein than mbuna, as well as being less aggressive in general, don't mix well with them.
Buffalo heads are river fish, not rift lake like the others.
Williamsi are mbuna, and grow too big for a 55. I have one adult remaining in a 75 now, and it could really use a larger tank.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:29 PM   #4
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Hmmmm very interesting, i thank you both very much. this is my first venture into the "cichlid business". Such beautiful fish but there are so many. I guess that list was more of a "wishlist" than anything but oh well, i just got bored and started searching.
What would be a very colorful selection for a 55 gallon tank? I'm looking to get a nice community going and am very interested in taking on this new setup and learning a lot along the way. I like fish with an active personality and love the community cichlid tanks i have seen so far.
I have seen success with planted tanks, but also read many of the cichlids will try eating the plants. I have a friend that has had cichlids for probably two years in a planted tank, and he said with the proper selection of plants its not very difficult.

Any suggestions and tips would be awesome, like i said I'm new in town and willing to learn!
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevesPrettyCool
Hmmmm very interesting, i thank you both very much. this is my first venture into the "cichlid business". Such beautiful fish but there are so many. I guess that list was more of a "wishlist" than anything but oh well, i just got bored and started searching.
What would be a very colorful selection for a 55 gallon tank? I'm looking to get a nice community going and am very interested in taking on this new setup and learning a lot along the way. I like fish with an active personality and love the community cichlid tanks i have seen so far.
I have seen success with planted tanks, but also read many of the cichlids will try eating the plants. I have a friend that has had cichlids for probably two years in a planted tank, and he said with the proper selection of plants its not very difficult.

Any suggestions and tips would be awesome, like i said I'm new in town and willing to learn!
There are a handful of plants they will not eat. Described as tasking bitter but mbuna will dig also.
Yellow labs and rustys would be a good start imo. Also synodontis catfish do well with mbuna.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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The yellow labs are very nice, a definite possibility. I'm trying to stay away from rustys because my buddy got a few of them and I see them all the time.

I've been told mbunas are the more active of the family, is that correct?

also, the fish stores around here seems to have a nice selection sometimes, but their tanks look unhealthy and its not uncommon to see a few floaters. I've been looking online and finding many nice types of fish, but am hesitant because the stress the fish must go through during shipping. any experience ordering online or tips if i decide to go that direction? thanks for the info so far, every bit helps when getting started!
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by StevesPrettyCool
The yellow labs are very nice, a definite possibility. I'm trying to stay away from rustys because my buddy got a few of them and I see them all the time.

I've been told mbunas are the more active of the family, is that correct?

also, the fish stores around here seems to have a nice selection sometimes, but their tanks look unhealthy and its not uncommon to see a few floaters. I've been looking online and finding many nice types of fish, but am hesitant because the stress the fish must go through during shipping. any experience ordering online or tips if i decide to go that direction? thanks for the info so far, every bit helps when getting started!
I have 7 labs, I like them alot. I suggested the rusty because they are relatively small and considered more peaceful. Afra cobue are cool and stay about 3 inches, mine are a bit more aggressive toward each other than I would like.
Mbuna are more active than the others, that's why I went with them as well.
Personally I would look for reputable people on aquabid, sometimes even find one relatively close to your location. I have ordered 3 times from as far as California (in Illinois) and a total of 33 fish and never had one die. They were also properly acclimated. I will never buy from lfs again.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:36 PM   #8
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Also I would look into 4+ synodontis petricola. They look awesome, move alot, and act as a clean up crew. Also if you have a blue spectrum light, the white highlights glow. In nature they are egg scatterers, the mbuna will spawn and the catfish will scatter. If your lucky you could get some baby cats.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:24 AM   #9
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yeah the lfs around here is kinda rough sometimes. I got my first two angel fish and a bunch of barbs there and they are all still alive and happy after 2 1/2 months, oh yeah and every thursday is buy one get one free fish, cant really beat that if their tanks looked healthier, but i have put a lot of money into this tank so far and want to do it right. bogo fish are always tempting tho
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:03 PM   #10
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ok after doing a little bit more research and deciding on going with the mbuna tank, i have come to this possible combination. i was thinking about Yellow Labs, Blue Pindanis, Red Zebra, and OB Fuelleborni. probably 3 or 4 of each. Good selection or no? they are all very good lookin fish from what i've seen. any opinions or tips would be great!

edit: somehow i missed the synodontis petricola post, eventually i would have realized i needed a few janitors so nice suggestion. they say it should be housed in a tanganyika biotype on the site i looked them up, malawi is close enough?

What would be your suggestion on a total amount of fish (including cleaning crew) i should be aimming for? i have heard people say everything from 8 to 20, so i'm just aimming in the middle of that around the 15 mark. Would you think thats too much? i cant imagine it being too little :P
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevesPrettyCool
ok after doing a little bit more research and deciding on going with the mbuna tank, i have come to this possible combination. i was thinking about Yellow Labs, Blue Pindanis, Red Zebra, and OB Fuelleborni. probably 3 or 4 of each. Good selection or no? they are all very good lookin fish from what i've seen. any opinions or tips would be great!

edit: somehow i missed the synodontis petricola post, eventually i would have realized i needed a few janitors so nice suggestion. they say it should be housed in a tanganyika biotype on the site i looked them up, malawi is close enough?

What would be your suggestion on a total amount of fish (including cleaning crew) i should be aimming for? i have heard people say everything from 8 to 20, so i'm just aimming in the middle of that around the 15 mark. Would you think thats too much? i cant imagine it being too little :P
What about labs, red zebra, and maingano? Those other fish require bigger tanks. That will be a good color mix imo. I would say probably 12 Cichlids and 4 synodontis. They will do fine in an mbuna tank. I have several in mine. The Cichlids ignore them. If the Cichlids pick on them they just swim off.
Edit: maybe a couple more Cichlids if you do more pwc's
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:58 PM   #12
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Just be aware that cichlids are an aggressive fish which leave a lot of fish getting picked on and stressed out. It's difficult to match them up with each other and takes time with allot of studying. You might not start out reading about them at first but once the poop hits the fan you'll find your self on line looking for answers. Best way to do a cichlid tank in my view is a species only tank. Starting out with one male to three females. The other route is having all males in the tank or females. Most people pic the males for the color. I would also suggest keeping to one kind of fish. Haplochromis, Pseudotropheus or Peacocks. Pick fish that are mildly to slightly aggressive at most. I chose a Hap tank that I had to remove my lemon yellow from and also my Victorian had to be removed. The tank is happy now after many years. Best of luck to you.
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Old 09-21-2011, 07:22 PM   #13
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Just be aware that cichlids are an aggressive fish which leave a lot of fish getting picked on and stressed out.
That is pretty much a given

Quote:
Originally Posted by Water
It's difficult to match them up with each other and takes time with allot of studying. You might not start out reading about them at first but once the poop hits the fan you'll find your self on line looking for answers. Best way to do a cichlid tank in my view is a species only tank. Starting out with one male to three females. The other route is having all males in the tank or females. Most people pic the males for the color.
It can be difficult at first but if you pick fish of similar size and aggression levels this tends to help a little. Stocking ratio for Mbuna should be 1 male to 4 females and you will want to slightly overstock to help quell aggression. Having all males does not guarantee a thing, you can still end up with a hyper aggressive male that can decimate a tank .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Water
I would also suggest keeping to one kind of fish. Haplochromis, Pseudotropheus or Peacocks. Pick fish that are mildly to slightly aggressive at most.
Species tank are cool but not needed to keep aggression down, a tank full of all one type of fish can display as much towards each other as a tank with multiple type of fish. The one thing that a species tank does help is keeping hybridization to a minimum. In a 55 gallon 2-3 types of Mbuna or Peacocks can be stocked so long as the correct ratios are met.

Haplochromis have no business being kept in a 55, they need to be kept in a 125+. Most of these fish get to be 10 plus inches and quite frankly is a terrible suggestion for this tank.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:33 PM   #14
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What mogurako said...
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:16 PM   #15
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thanks guys
yeah they are aggressive, i learned that quickly while researching. that'll make things difficult for the first timer but it was also what kind of intrigued me

I've seen it mentioned on many occasions that over stocking will reduce aggression, so is 12-15 enough?

and the OB Fuelleborni's arent a good choice due to size issue huh? oh well, they looked kind of cool but if it wont work, it wont work. Are there any other type of OB that stays smaller?i liked that blotchy look they had

another question i been thinking about is age of the fish when purchased. i have always bought fish very young, that way im able to watch them go through all stages of their life-cycle. the problem i can see with this tho is sexing the fish that young. from my experience and research its very difficult to sex a fish this early, and the cichlids do best in 1 male 4 female groups. should i just buy them a little later in life so i know? should i buy young and pick out the extra males as i see them? i still got a couple weeks left in cycling so im not very worried as of yet, but i'd rather get all the information possible now rather than panic when "poop" starts hittin fans as Water put it...

I'm gonna start ordering the plants this weekend, if they fail, they fail but i gotta try because imo planted tanks are a must, i grew up around planted tanks and now i got a fake plant 10g and it just drives me crazy looking at it. honestly if the fish dont get sick eatting them i dont really mind replacing them now and then, i just need a hardy bunch of tall background plants to stay in there. i found out when i went to take pictures for the welcome forum, that my camera was broken, and im more worried about spending money on the tank than buying a camera i'll rarely use, but once the plants are in i'll take a pic with my webcam or something. i just finihshed building a very cool hood for the tank today. full length one piece with a door and i kinda got a little nutty with the lights installing one 36" actnic, one 36" 12,000k daylight, and the coup de gras, a 16 color LED strip with remote haha... looks awesome

what do you think about coquina rock? some people told me it'll help raise pH, and has some nice shape, but they flake apart fairly easy. is it smart to use them in tanks? i found some nice pieces
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