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Old 01-20-2014, 08:52 PM   #1
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New to cichlids… Few questions.

Hello everybody. I have a 55 gallon tank that I was going to do a planted community with but my lfs had some awesome african cichlids and I'm starting to have second thoughts. So, questions.

Would a sponge filter rated for 80 gallons be sufficient for a heavily stocked malawi tank?
If I have a high pH and keep a buffer would it be necessary to get crushed coral?
What number of dwarf malawis could I keep?
I've heard that they do best in 1m : 3f/4f groups. Is that true?

I think that's all the questions I have for now. Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:08 PM   #2
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If doing dwarf I'd say 3 groups of 5. Ideally 1m 4 f of each of 3 different types. Unless you want to do one species then like 2m and 10f. Problem is MOST stores do not have the types of african mbuna You'd want. Online stores do and if yiu order all at once shipping isn't bad and when u do math the price is comparable to buying fish locally. If your ph is ok now no need to buffer or add any buffering items. Use a sand substrate like pool filter sand to keep d
Cost down or u can use aragonite if you wanna spend more. Species recommendations would be pseudotropheus flavus (dinghani), pseudotropheus saulosi, labidochromis chisumulae, and pseudotropheus Polit, and there are many others too. Great fish. I Have all the ones I listed along with labidochromis hongi ( not sure they're dwarf status).

I'd do 3 groups of 5 of whatever you like. Maybe get 6 each to start an if you get extra male trade them in. I like getting mine small where its hard to sex them so they grow together and its more enjoyable gettin babies IMO.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:09 PM   #3
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Oh and you'll need a canister filter. Like a filstar xp-l or a cascade 1200 or 1500. There's also aquAtop which are on amazon and really good rep too
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:59 AM   #4
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Okay. I may not be doing cichlids; I don't have a big enough cash pool.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:05 AM   #5
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You cod do some Bolivian rams or blue rams ( pair of either) along with sine schools if tetras and a group of Cory cats and the filtration should work fine.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:07 AM   #6
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I don't really like rams but thanks. What would we be looking at for gph if I did malawis?
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:09 AM   #7
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And rams like planted aquariums. Africans do not
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:11 AM   #8
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You ideally want like 7-10 times turnover so like 400 gph for starters. Penguin bio wheel 400 is cheap and a good starter of not ready to invest in a canister...
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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You will be ok if you get them as small as possible to start. I know you're. Young and money is an issue so if u do mbuna assuming you will get small cheap ones. Best to try and add all in one group. And I getting from a chain store try and avoid auratus, kenyi, and bumblebees. Tough cuz they're attractive but you'll be better off. They're very aggressive
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:51 AM   #10
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I'm thinking about getting two penguin 400s (they're on sale ~ $35 ea on amazon). I have 5mm gravel, is that okay or should I just try and trade for some crushed coral/pool filter sand?
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:54 AM   #11
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They'd prefer sand. Pool filter is like $8 a bag and one 50lb may be enough.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:55 AM   #12
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Okay, thanks.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:12 AM   #13
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New to cichlids… Few questions.

I just tested my tap and it's pH is about 7.6. Should I get some sort of buffer to raise the pH a bit before WCs? Oh, and I plan on having a good sized piece of driftwood, which I heard can lower pH.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:48 PM   #14
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How does this stocking sound?

1m/3f Yellow Labs
1m/4f Kenyis
1m/4f Yellow-tail Acei (not sure if these are real common)

Any room for others? Maybe a striped raphael cat or a synodontis?
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:58 PM   #15
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Bump. Any suggestions on my stock?
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:43 PM   #16
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Kenyi due to aggression aren't ideal for a 55 and neither are acei as they like more swimming room and are slightly bigger.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmoseley View Post
Kenyi due to aggression aren't ideal for a 55 and neither are acei as they like more swimming room and are slightly bigger.
Gah. Well, recommend some nice blue and/or striped cichlids?
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:13 PM   #18
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It depends. Will you be looking to get them from your local chain store or online? If chain store you will have very limited stock. Cobalt zebras and demasoni are usually available. Demasoni are small but tough. Labs may not go w them well at all. And demasoni like a large group of 8+ of them. I'd do a group of labs and a group of maingano. These are also usually sold as electric blue Johanni they and labs are bit more passive and would do well together. Also pseudotropheus socolofi are nice blue and the albino ones are cool too.
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:13 PM   #19
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Now if ordering online your options are 20 times better!
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:26 PM   #20
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I have a 55g Malawi tank, I'm just running a standard 50 gallon filter. African cichlids, despite what you may hear are actually quite low maintenance don't be too concerned with chemical balance. I would recommend a pleco (they're the only algae eater armored enough to stay alive) to keep your tank clean. Cichlids like to dig so fine sand might be a good idea. As for types/numbers I would recommend over crowding to prevent targeted bullying (African cichlids won't refrain from breeding or stop growing do to over crowding). Female Kenyis, yellow labs, cobalt blue zebras, red zebras, auratus(male or female) and Acei are some good types. Make sure to get at most one male per 3 females. To keep cichlids healthy and active create as many rock coves and caves as you can. Don't be too particular on the decorative arrangement because the fish will dig and move things around.
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