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Old 07-22-2012, 10:02 PM   #1
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Malawi cichlid tank suggestions????

I'm Stocking a Malawi cichlid tank it's 55 gallons I bought 6 little "assorted Malawi cichlids" and 2 little "African Malawi cichlids" this is how they were labeled at the local fish store not sure of their breed. This is my first time doing a cichlid of this types tank any and all suggestions or general wisdom please send to this thread Im not opposed to rehoming anything to optimize the general well being of these guys so please be free with what types u think would be best for the set up I have thanks.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:21 AM   #2
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All of your little guys are mbuna (it means rock dweller) cichlids. Like their name suggests they dwell in rocks. They like to have a lot of places to hide. Texas holey rock is good for them. There was also an article on here for a DIY faux rock wall (i'm making one next weekend). If there aren't enough places to hide they will become even more aggressive then they already are.

You want to stick with malawi mbuna to avoid any issues. If you want a pleco to keep the glass clean or a bottom feeder to pick up missed food now is the time to get it. Also don't waste money on a pretty pleco. I did that one was eaten and the othersh not so pretty anymore (he only has one eye and his fins were pretty beat up for awhile).

As for other mbuna to add here are some all of the genus that i know of (spelling should be correct or close enough for google to know what youre talking about)
abactochromis
cynotilopia
gephyrochormis
idiotropheus
labeotropheus
melanochromis
metraclima
petrotilopia
pseudotropheus
tropheps

Each genus listed above has several species under it so if you search them on google images different fish will come up. most pet stores carry what is popular which gets boring.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:39 AM   #3
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I just noticed you live in NJ. Depending on where you live in NJ you might be interested in a pet store in Lancaster PA. It's called that fish place that pet place. They have a website. It's the biggest pet store in the world. Their fish livestock room is bigger then most pet stores. Their selecton is amazing and it always changes. They are also really cheap and one weekend a month they have 30% livestock for people with membership card. They are also used to people coming long distance so they are really good at packing fish for long car rides.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:25 AM   #4
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Okay awesome thank you so much this is exactly what I needed how many cichlids could I stock in my 55 gallon I have a penguin 350 it's rated for up to 70 gallons it pushes 350 gallons per hour through it. Should I introduce them quickly or is it okay if I wait a while and then do it or will they become to territorial honestly none of them show any aggression yet I'm guessing cause they're still baby's.
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jesselav1233
Okay awesome thank you so much this is exactly what I needed how many cichlids could I stock in my 55 gallon I have a penguin 350 it's rated for up to 70 gallons it pushes 350 gallons per hour through it. Should I introduce them quickly or is it okay if I wait a while and then do it or will they become to territorial honestly none of them show any aggression yet I'm guessing cause they're still baby's.
You fish are still very young and will show little if any aggression right now, when they start to reach sexual maturity is when the real aggression starts. Doesn't matter really if you fully stock now or slowly. For the benefit of your BB would recommend slowly. As you add new fish try to add ones that are comparably the same size as what is living in your tank at the time. You don't want to add a 1 -1 1/2 inch fish in with say a 3 inch because the small fish will become a meal.
You should have lots of hiding places. The mbuna prefer lots and lots of caves. Be careful if you use big real rocks these fish like to dig and can cause rocks to roll out fall on the glass. Look up mbuna set ups it will give lots of ways to make a secure home for them.
Also if I were you I would add another filter the size of the one you already have or possibly look into canister filters. Mbuna are very messy and need lots of filtration. I have a 60 gallon tank that is currently being filtered for 140 gal. Can't remember the GPH at the moment. I am running two 70 gallon filters. And weekly water changes is a must at minimum I do two 30% changes every week.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:32 PM   #6
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Okay sounds good looks like my next project is going to be getting all the rocks for this tank after that I'll get more fish from the same family hopefully I can find lots of different colors thanks for your help
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Go to a stream or river and get rocks. I refuse to pay the amounts lfs ask for when they were just picked out of a stream somewhere and power washed.
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Old 07-23-2012, 01:49 PM   #8
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Go to a stream or river and get rocks. I refuse to pay the amounts lfs ask for when they were just picked out of a stream somewhere and power washed.
I agree, mine came from the woods behind my house and a creek bed not far from home. Just soak them in hot water in the bath tub use a scrub brush to clean them up. DO NOT BOIL THEM! Boiling rocks can make them explode.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:12 PM   #9
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I've boiled every single rock I've ever used. Just sayin
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:38 PM   #10
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I've boiled every single rock I've ever used. Just sayin
I have had them explode and throw boiling water all over my kitchen.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:02 AM   #11
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Maybe I'll boil one on my grill just to see it explode now lol
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:06 AM   #12
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But you guys are right I was looking at rocks they aren't cheap but I like the look of the Texas holy rock so I've got to decide if I want to cough up the cash or go adventuring around for rocks.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Malawi Freak View Post
I've boiled every single rock I've ever used. Just sayin
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I have had them explode and throw boiling water all over my kitchen.
Totally dependent on the geological structure of the rock. Igneous or volcanic rock will trap water inside the rock structure which as it expands can cause the rock to explode. Such rock should never be heated. Sedimentary or metamorphic rock typically will not. So generally speaking, if the rock is porous or has lots of little holes, don't boil it. If in doubt, don't boil it. Generally, the rounded river rock which is found in many streams in the U.S. is sedimentary and will not cause an issue.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:14 AM   #14
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There are instructions on here for a really nifty DIY project explaining how to make the 3-D backgrounds caves and arches. It looks pretty easy.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:00 AM   #15
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I also have a sugestion. I forget the brand but there are these ceramic rocks called 'cichlid stones'. Although they dont look very appealing to the eye (IMO) these types of fish seem to love them. Basically a hollow ceramic 'stone'. And i have the same sand substrate as you, exellent choice just know when they get bigger they are going to dig holes like crazy. So be careful stacking your rocks, Aquatic rock slides are not pretty
And many say overstocking your tank is a good way to prevent agresstion, or at least dull agression. If your good with weekly water changes and can keep it maintained properly then that might be a good way to go. But if your new to these fish taking it slow might not be a bad idea.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:18 AM   #16
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I also have a sugestion. I forget the brand but there are these ceramic rocks called 'cichlid stones'. Although they dont look very appealing to the eye (IMO) these types of fish seem to love them. Basically a hollow ceramic 'stone'. And i have the same sand substrate as you, exellent choice just know when they get bigger they are going to dig holes like crazy. So be careful stacking your rocks, Aquatic rock slides are not pretty
And many say overstocking your tank is a good way to prevent agresstion, or at least dull agression. If your good with weekly water changes and can keep it maintained properly then that might be a good way to go. But if your new to these fish taking it slow might not be a bad idea.
I take care of discus in the same size tank and I do 50% water changes 2x a week so I'll do the same for these guys and I constantly test my water parameters I think I can handle it I always say the bigger the challenge the bigger the reward you guys fill me with knowledge I'll do the work it takes to keep them happy thanks for all the great advice
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Malawi Freak
I've boiled every single rock I've ever used. Just sayin
I've shattered rainbow rock while preparing it for a beardie I had. Luckily I wasn't in the kitchen!
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:50 AM   #18
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I also have a sugestion. I forget the brand but there are these ceramic rocks called 'cichlid stones'. Although they dont look very appealing to the eye (IMO) these types of fish seem to love them. Basically a hollow ceramic 'stone'. And i have the same sand substrate as you, exellent choice just know when they get bigger they are going to dig holes like crazy. So be careful stacking your rocks, Aquatic rock slides are not pretty
And many say overstocking your tank is a good way to prevent agresstion, or at least dull agression. If your good with weekly water changes and can keep it maintained properly then that might be a good way to go. But if your new to these fish taking it slow might not be a bad idea.
You are talking about underwater gallery's cichlid stones
That Pet Place Pet Supplies Search | ThatPetPlace.com
They are kind of expensive, but they are awesome. This place has the bulk boxes the cheapest and you can sign up for their email coupons. The cichlid stone are light weight so rock slides aren't as bad. Plus I dropped one into the bottom of a nearly empty tank (it's cleaning a large fish tank when you are barely 5ft tall). I was afraid to look thinking that I must have cracked it, but it was fine.

As for overstocking that is something you should wait to do until your tank has been set up for awhile. You also need to have really good filtration.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:21 AM   #19
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What's does over filtration do for the overstocking of the fish I mean it's not going to make it so the nitrates stay any lower right? I mean good filtration is a plus and my filter pushes 350gph so that seems like more then enough already (it's rated for up to 70 gallons). But wouldn't an overstocked tank benefit from more frequent and larger water changes more then it would from over filtration? I mean I guess if enough ammonia was being produced by the fish that the bacteria couldn't keep up with converting it into nitrite then nitrate I could see a scientific explanation there but I think people forget you can filter the water all you want it's not going to make the nitrate build up any slower am I correct in this line of thinking? Correct me if I'm off point but does this make any sense to anyone else? I have a c220 marine land canister filter just sitting around but to be honest I don't like the canister filters I prefer the hanging over the back ones prob just because I have more experience with them.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:23 AM   #20
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No disrespect intended by the post above just honestly wondering? Thanks again everyone for all your input you guys (and gals) are the best.
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