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Old 09-20-2006, 06:48 PM   #1
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40G Stocking Advice

Hi there, my turn to ask for stocking advice for a 40G malawi cichlid tank setup (no advice on decor or setup please, I already have that down).

Current thinking:

4x (or 5?) L. Caeruleus
4x (or 5?) Cynotilapia afra
2x (or 1?) Synodontis Petricola (@ 4" I thought this was the best syno option).

wdyt? Is this under or over stocking? I am running my usual Tetratex EX (700) external canister on this tank, and am currently part way into fishless cycling. I will be introducing the cichlids at the same time, and then the synos afterwards (or the other way around...lol).

My question is: with a tank of only 40G, do I try overstocking to minimise aggression (though these two species are at the lowest end of aggression, albeit they're still cichlids), or do I opt for fewer for greater territorial space? I read articles on the one hand saying "overcrowd to minimise trouble" and on the other saying "they need their own territory, so plenty of space"...
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Old 09-20-2006, 07:21 PM   #2
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is the tank 36" (breeder) or 48" (long)?
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Old 09-21-2006, 01:55 AM   #3
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Better stocking plan would be 4-5 yellow lab's, 1 C, afra, (or 1 demasoni, for color/contrast) and 4-5 petricola's. The petricola's are schooling fish, 1 or 2 isn't a good number for stocking them.
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Old 09-21-2006, 05:54 AM   #4
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Wow, I had no idea petricolas were a schooling fish: thanks for the info I've missed that in my research :O
Would a school of 3 be ok to start with (I'm going on cory and loach lore with that number: I will admit I've never kept synos before), with the possibility of adding a 4th later on if I find they're not particularly happy? I'm just trying to think within my space limitations.

The tank itself is actually only 33" long (custom deep). Not ideal for cichlids which need a large 'footprint' I know, but I understand from the 'cookie cutter' setups at a well-known cichlid info site, that peaceful small species can be kept in smaller tanks even, so I figured if I kept to those for my tank and treated it in effect as a 29G I'd be ok, hence the yellow labs and the c.afras.

I was advised on that site that a group of 6-8 yellow labs + 1 petricola would work (by the site admin) but I thought some variety might be nice. Am I better sticking to the original advice, and reducing to say 6 labs + 3 petricola instead?

Also, I am pretty much set on the petricola btw: I have spent hours and hours of research on synos and they are the only small peaceful syno I'd feel comfortable looking after. The alternative was the cuckoo (multipunctatus) but this practices brood parasitism which I'd like to avoid.
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Old 09-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #5
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It would be better to stay with one species of cichlid, and a relatively peaceful one at that. You could keep the common upside-down cat, S. nigriventris, instead of the petricola's. That species isn't as bottom-oriented as most Syno's, and is also a schooling fish. Any schooling species will be more active and visible in larger numbers, but you need to consider tank size as well.
A tank less than 3' wide would be more suitable for Tanganykian shellies than mbuna, a small group of Paracyp's would also be possible w/the shellies.
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:04 PM   #6
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the smaller length wouldn't allow you to stock more than one species comfortably. so 6 labs and 3-4 perticolas does sound good. adding an afra to the setup might not be that beneficial, as i don't know if the afras color up nicely without females around.
i'd also suggest saulosi's instead of the labs (a colony of 6-8 should be fine) with some extra rockwork. since they are dimorphic, you have the added advantage of different colors in the tank (though barring the dominant males, i doubt if the other males would color up so beautifully).
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the continued tips, much appreciated

Ok, single species sounds like the best thing to do then from what I'm hearing. I hadn't spotted the pseudotropheus saulosi; you're right they're beautiful and also dimorphic so best of both worlds. But, from what I've read they're way more aggressive than the peaceful labs and actually grow to the same size, so am I better sticking to 6 labs + 3 petricola? I'd prefer the saulosi now I've seen them! But, with the smaller tank...are labs better :S
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:21 PM   #8
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go to the following link, select the august 2006 'tank of the moth' winner (johnlabbe)
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/tanks/
he's had a 30g saulosi community tank, currently with 4 M / 12 F. that's because all of them grew up together. but that's pushing it in my view. IMO, saulosi won't be that big a problem in a 33g. give them a try.

EDIT:
another similar tank, with both labs and afras, AND, saulosis (overstocked)
http://www.malawicichlidhomepage.com...salakidis.html
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