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Old 08-10-2005, 09:28 AM   #1
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mbuna/malawi community in a 90 gallon?

I hope I haven't jinxed myself by posting this, but I think I've got my wife talked into letting me get a bigger aquarium. I'm looking at a 90 gallon.

Is a 90 gallon adequate for sustaining a mbuna/malawi community?

What species comprise a mbuna community? My water is pretty hard already so I think I can sustain a mbuna/malawi community better than a south american community.
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Old 08-10-2005, 09:55 AM   #2
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The 90 gallon is plenty big for a mumba tank.. It has the same footprint as the 75 gallon tank.. so you could just add a few fish (to make a few larger groups) to the recomendations for the cookie cutter list for the 75 gallon on the cichlid fourm..
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/article...cutter_75g.php
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:24 AM   #3
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Great website greenmaji! I'll keep lookin at it for ideas.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:26 AM   #4
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90 gal is more than adquate. Most Mbuna's are fine in a 55 gal until you start getting into the larger ones. Do you have any Mbuna's in mind?
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:39 PM   #5
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I'd like to know what the difference is or the subset designation requirements for being a mbuna community. I like yellow labs but I'm not sure of the other fish that can be housed together. Many of them look similar. I like Pseudotropheus saulosi. I also like the haplochrome Sciaenochromis fryeri, but it doesn't go with mbunas, I think. Can you mix haps with mbunas? If not, then why? I also like the Aulonocara baenschi or benga peacock. Heck, I like the peacocks in general and would probably like most Lake Malawi cichlids b/c of their bright colors. I just don't know all of the whys and why nots and I guess I just need to read more on them. I've got plenty of time b/c I won't get the potential new tank until Christmas. I just like to think about possibilities.
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Old 08-10-2005, 12:56 PM   #6
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Congrats on getting the approval for the 90!

The problem with the Africans is simple...different species just don't like having to compete with each other and hence, the battles will begin.

These are probably the most colorful and personable of the cichlidae family but that is precisely why the problem exists...more color...more competition.

Egads!
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Old 08-10-2005, 01:09 PM   #7
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I like yellow labs but I'm not sure of the other fish that can be housed together.
yellow labs are one of the mellowest of mbunas. they can be housed with either mbunas or haps/peacocks (because they are omnivores, more on this later)
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I like Pseudotropheus saulosi
saulosi females have a coloration almost similar to labs (more orange though). only the dominant male will take on the beautiful blue-barred color.
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haplochrome Sciaenochromis fryeri, but it doesn't go with mbunas, I think
you are right.
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Can you mix haps with mbunas? If not, then why?
the main problem is related to diet. mbunas have to be fed a veggie-based diet because of their long and convoluted intestines. if they are fed mainly protein-based diet, they get the deadly malawi-bloat. the haps/peacocks on the other hand thrive on a protein-based diet.
also, peacocks are much less aggressive than mbunas. some haps are mild, but some haps are even more aggressive than mbunas.
over-crowding works very well with mbunas (with good filtration), because that's how they interact in nature. but it doesn't work that well with haps/peacocks.

but in the end, a lot of people keep them successfully in large enough tanks (or even in a 55g). but its not advisable to do so.
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I also like the Aulonocara baenschi or benga peacock
another popular tank is an all-male peacock tank. since the peacock females are all drab and very hard to distinguish, the chances of cross-breeding are very high. and then the fry are not very desirable. so people just have males in a tank. but you can have other haps in there too.

good luck with the tank.
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Old 08-10-2005, 02:19 PM   #8
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Thanks tetrin! This certainly clears up a lot of questions. I think I may go with haps and or peacocks and throw in some yellow labs b/c of diet. Kudos to you!
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:17 PM   #9
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Another lesser reason that Mbuna and Haps are not frequently kept together is terrain preference. Mbuna, as a whole, tend to favor broken rocky terrain with plenty of nearby shelter/caves. Haps are more of deep, open water fish. This is not to say that the two cannot co-exist in the same environment. You just may want to consider the needs/preferences of both types of fish in your final design
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Old 08-10-2005, 10:32 PM   #10
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Feeding both types would seem to indicate a dietary conflict, right. The mbuna need veggies and the haps need meat. How can you make sure they get what they are supposed to have in a tank when they need to eat different stuff. If the mbuna eat too much protein they get sick.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:41 PM   #11
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Check out the "Malawi tank recipes" at Malawi Mayhem. This site has lots of great info.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:49 PM   #12
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How can you make sure they get what they are supposed to have in a tank when they need to eat different stuff.
That's the real problem, you can't. Although yellow labs tend to do better in mixed Mbuna/Hap tanks because they are omnivores and deal better with higher protein in their diet than most of the other strictly herbivorous Mbuna.
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Old 08-10-2005, 11:59 PM   #13
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travis is right. i'm yet to find out how to provide the fish with different foods in the same tank.
but from what i understand, some haps, specially the utaka (copadichromis sp.) have plankton as their staple diet. so they do well on a spirulina (main component of the veggie-based diet). also, spirulina should be an essential component in hap diets too.
another interesting food is the european shrimp mix (a quick google search brings out the recipe). its recommended for virtually all cichlids by the guru - ad konings.
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Old 08-11-2005, 12:02 AM   #14
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Okay. The list of fish I think may work in a 90 gallon tank is below. I'd like to choose about 6 - 7 genera from this list with about 25 - 30 individuals. I got the number of individuals from the Malawi Mayhem website. Let me know of problem fish. Again, this is a potential tank that may be purchased months from now so this is all dreaming, which is almost as good as having it now.

Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab)
Cynotilapia axelrodi (?)
Copadichromis sp. (Mloto fluorescent)
Copadichromis borleyi (Yellowfin Borleyi cichlid)
Metriaclima estherae (Red Zebra)
Otopharynx lithobates (Aristochromis Red Top)
Aulonocara baenschi (Benga peacock)
Aulonocara stuartgranti (Chilumba)
Sciaenochromis fryeri (Ahli hap, Electric Blue)
Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" (Acei cichlid)
Protomelas taeniolatus (Red Empress)
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Old 08-11-2005, 12:20 AM   #15
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labs and acei - most peaceful.
the reign of the tank would probably be a toss up between the dominant zebra, the dominant fryeri and the empress.
if you are going to keep females, keep an eye out for hybridization between the copadichromis ps. and the aulonocara sp.

other than hybridization, i see no other real issues, though please note that i have not kept any of these species yet, except the labs. but i have been dreaming too , about a 75g (same footprint as a 90g).

don't feed anything with animal protein. feed small amounts (as much as they can eat in a minute or so...they are extremely fast eaters) for 3-4 times a day, and aggression should be a minimum.
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Old 08-11-2005, 01:35 AM   #16
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Do they make commercial cichlid foods that have the right type of protein so I won't have to worry about that? What if I get all males of each species? Will they still color up and be satisfied?
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:43 AM   #17
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You would be very lucky to be able to sex the fish at all unless your getting medium or adult size fish..
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:50 AM   #18
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Good point maji. Let me think on that. I guess you get what you can and trade out what you don't want.
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:51 AM   #19
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There are alot of cichlid pellets on the market by the way..
http://bigalsonline.com/catalog/cate...tegory_id=1809
heck.. there are Spirulina Pellets as well.. if you needed to supplement with some prepped herp. food.
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Old 08-11-2005, 09:53 AM   #20
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commercial cichlid foods
that was what i was going to suggest. the best in market is the new life spectrum. i'm thinking of getting some from ebay.
from what i have read so far, about 70% of any malawi cichlid's food should be composed of veggie stuff (mainly spirulina). the rest varies for mbuna and non-mbuna. there's a lot of controversy behind the root causes of bloat. but the consensus is that its mainly caused by overfeeding (and animal protein) and not by just protein-rich food in case of non-mbuna.

so i guess you should be ok if you feed a standard cichlid flake or pellet. but have the bulk of the diet based on a veggie-based flake/pellet (hikari/ wardley/ OSI/ omega). i personally use omega, but i think the others are just as good.

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What if I get all males of each species?
that is exactly what most people do. Unless you are keen on breeding, there's no need for females of the suspect species (aulonocara and copadichromis). they display their colors to almost anyone who's interested. but i think the zebra would be much less aggressive in a harem of 1m-3f.

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and be satisfied?
in the end, just remember that its a balance between your satisfaction and their satisfaction . if they had their way, then the hobby wouldn't exist.
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