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Old 09-29-2014, 03:08 AM   #1
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So, came home to a tank of mystery fish today....

So a few weeks ago I decided to set up a 55 gallon cichlid tank. I've always just had tetras, rainbowfish, platys, that sort of thing before, but I live in Tucson where our water's hard and the PH is about 8, so some Mawawi cichlids seemed like they'd be a good idea.

I've had the tank set up and cycling (fishless, using ammonia drops) for about a week and a half, I was just entering stage 2 where Ammonia was disappearing overnight but Nitrites were staying high at about 5 ppm (based off the API drop test) (this was accomplished with 3 bottles of tetra safe start, a 250ml bottle of Seachem Stability, AND 3/4 of a 250ml bottle of Stress-zyme. I figured at Amazon prices, why not, see what it does) and was gone for the day when I came home too... a tank. Full of fish.

Seems my fiancÚs parents came over while I'm out, declared the tank "cycled enough" for a dozen or so juveniles, drained it (I used the Wal-Mart brand Ammonia that includes surfaces but per the Internet after a 90% water change appears leaves things fine), refilled it with a bunch of Prime thrown in, and took a trip to Petsmart.

Don't be too mad at her, we'd planned on going to Petsmart. Our LFS that sells Cichlids is run by a REALLY rude, unpleasant guy, and the shipping fees/risk of dead fish (here in Tucson, where it's still 95+ out during the day) waiting on our doorstep combined to make us decide we were just going to try our luck with some of their fish. Yes, they'll likely be all hybrids and a few will probably just die instantly from general Petsmart-ness, but we figured it's worth a chance. Our discussion re: what KIND of fish to get didn't progress past "haps and peacocks maybe".

So her parents and her bought the fish, followed Petsmart's advice of "they're all African cichlids, they're all juveniles growing up together, they're all small enough to live in a 55 gallon tank, they'll be fine" and put them in. No idea what kind they are, I could go off the receipt but with Petsmart who knows, 4 are listed as "random cichlids" and my fiancÚ said the partition between tanks had a big gap the fish were all going back and forth with anyways.

So I wanted to post the pictures I took of them here with my guess at IDs and make sure I've got the right idea about what species they are, then see what to do. These things are all anywhere from 3/4" to 1 1/2" long so they're all TINY, I understand IDs might not be possible. Sorry for the poor quality.

Red Zebras? This is one listed as a red Zebra, the other one looks a tiny bit different but was in the same tank

Red Zebra 2?

Red Zebra Baby? No idea on this one really, he's by far the smallest. I doubt he's going to make it. He's not a fry, we definitely bought him.

Yellow Lab? Got three of these guys.

Albino something or other With it being albino is it even possible to tell what it might be?

This guy sure looks like a Maingano cichlid to me.

No clue what this one is. It looks like a slightly bigger stripe-less Demosani, but it does have some BARELY visible stripes sometimes.

Then I have two similar looking ones, one that looks like this and one that looks like this. Is one a Demosani and one a Kenyi?

And finally I think this is a male Kenyi? Or maybe a Bumblebee?

Anyways, that's it. Well, and two cuckoo catfish. So, here's the deal.

A: - Tank's not cycled yet, obviously. I'm not really worried about this, between water changes, Amquel, Prime, and the fact that the tank is filtered like/big enough for 10 times the bioload, I think I can keep it in check while the BB colony matures. There's clearly SOMETHING in there, even though it'd only been a week and a half, Ammonia was already disappearing from 5PPM to 0 in like 12 hours, Nitrite eating bacteria were just waiting to do their thing. They grow slowly I know, but again, I think I'm in decent shape with the colony even partially established, instead of just following the Safestart directions and just dumping fish in on Day 1. And most people don't even bother with the Safe Start.

B: - My hap/peacock tank obviously has turned into what I believe is considered to be your garden variety Petsmart nightmare Mbuna tank. I could of course, bag all of the little suckers up and bring them home, but honestly they're already in there, all fish are different (for every "you cannot put X and Y fish together ever, ever ever" thread I see online I see another "You can totally put X and Y fish together, they've been in my tank for two years and they get along great with my fancy goldfish/whatever") and they're all starting from square one together. I'm certainly not interested in breeding them (I'm assuming the fry issue (if it even arises) will sort of self-resolve if not interfered with by me, especially with the cuckoo catfish in there.

I'm clueless about a few of the breeds but unless someone says one of the ones I can't ID (or I wildly mis-IDed one of them) is likely going to cause a tank Holocaust (for example, if that last yellow one is a Bumblebee) then my inclination is to just ride it out and see what they do living together. I'm curious if anyone feels like that is just a 100% dead-wrong, bound to fail move.

The tank is decently filtered (Sunsun 403B canister filter and a Aquatech 5-15 (think Penguin 100 without the bio wheel) HOB with the canister filter stuffed full of Purigen and Matrix, along with carbon, floss, and filter pads of course. I'm too cheap to go out and buy acceptable rocks (and finding them here in the Desert seems impossible) so I have a decently elaborate cave system set up made of tera cotta pots with a big 6-7 inch holes knocked in the side of them.

So far everyone seems relaxed and happy, but I know right now it's like Cichlid Babies in there, there's no competition over food or females yet. I'm more wondering if there's at least a 50/50 chance I could still have most of my fish in a year or two, or if this tank makeup is more or less guaranteed to be so aggressive as to destroy itself.

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Old 09-29-2014, 06:41 AM   #2
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5th one looks like a johannie


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Old 09-29-2014, 06:42 AM   #3
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6th one I ment and the last is another yellow lab


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Old 09-29-2014, 06:43 AM   #4
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And the 7th one is a socolifi, the rest I'm pretty sure you had correct


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Old 09-29-2014, 11:22 AM   #5
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Cool, thanks. I knew Johannis looked similar to the other type, although I guess that's not ideal because Johanni's are a far more aggressive type.

So I'm glad to hear I've the IDs more or less correct, and the Socololifi shouldn't be an aggression issue other than he might be TOO wimpy for the tank, but does anyone have any input on the cycling or overall ability to co-habitate question?
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Old 09-29-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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I would say to go with it, cichlids can be random. sometimes the cichlid that is rated as one of the most agressive can be the most placid. sometimes they will decide to kill eachother for no reason, sometimes they will decide to live with each other for no reason, its all a matter of chance really.
Ive kept an adult jaguar cichlid with mollies and platies before, it was the weirdest thing that he never touched them, but the second i put a goldfish in his tank, he tore it to bits.
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Yeah my kenyi I got as a baby with my red zebra cobalt blue yellow lab and socolfi and it isn't aggressive at all and is about 4.5 inches long now


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Old 09-29-2014, 02:33 PM   #8
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Cool thanks, I think I'll give it a shot, thanks guys.
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