New to Cichlids

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Jun 17, 2023
Hi all i Have decided to go with a cichlid tank most likely a Malawi setup.

New to these but not new to fish keeping, have had a few tropical tanks and about 6 marine tanks overall, started with a 3ft then ended with a 5x3x3 tank and then moved from Manchester and ended up back in Cornwall :dance:

My current tank is empty and used to be a marine tank but decided to go down the fresh water side of things after weighing up work and home commitments, tank size is 110x54x60 (useable space) with a 90x30x20 sump flow rate through sump is going to be about 1800lph via central weir with a possible second return pipe if i find its not enough.

so any way enough of the tank side what fishes should i go with :whistle:

so been thinking about mixing mbuna and peacocks and possibly haps, along with a few other hard/alkaline water suitable tanks mates like plecs and cat fish and some loach just to keep the algea down. so having rocks (15kg) at the low end of the tank and having 1/2 to 3/4 of the tank for free swimming i think the peacocks and haps should be happy, could be wrong tho :whistle:

any way thats a bit of a long intro welcome to any feedback you may have experience of these fish would be great, and if you think this wont work or if you feel there is a better way, filtration can always be added to so not a worry there.

thanks for taking the time to have a read :drinking:
Plecos, most catfish and loaches naturally occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm). Lake Malawi has very hard water (GH 300-350ppm) and plecos, Corydoras and loaches should not be kept in hard water if you want them to live a full life. These fishes did not evolve in hard water and when kept in hard water, tend to develop calcium crystals in their kidneys and other organs, which eventually kills them.

In addition to the pleco, catfish and loaches not being suited to hard water, Mbuna cichlids and most Rift Lake cichlids are highly territorial and will attack and kill other fishes. Having a bunch of bottom dwelling fish like catfish and loaches in a tank with Mbuna will end in disaster due to the aggressive nature of the Mbuna and the fact they live in the bottom half of the tank, where the catfish and loaches live.

If you want catfish for a Rift Lake tank, look at Synodontis multipunctatus or S. petricola. They come from lake Tanganyika and naturally occur with Rift Lake cichlids. This means they will be fine in hard water and shouldn't get killed by the other fish. But again, Mbuna are aggressive and could kill them because they both live in the bottom half of the tank.

Peacocks and some Haplachromis species are nice fish and do well with Synodontis catfish. You could mix these with some Labidochromis caeruleus and they would all get along quite well.
cheers for the feedback, will look at the syno's i think it was the petricola i was looking at.

pleco's was getting some info from every ones favourite place YT they were saying that bristlenose were ok, but will take onboard the info and remove them from the stocking plan, same again with the loaches was looking at the yoyo (Pakistani) but yeah its almost as much research as i did with the marine tanks
You may not need an algae eater in with the africans as many are algae eaters themselves. If you look at their mouth structures ( i.e. Tropheus, Labeotropheus) the ones with a turned down mouth are designed for scraping Algae. (y)
If none of these species are desirable, many people have success with Ancistris species of plecos with their Africans but keep in mind that that "all Ancistris are plecos but not all plecos are Ancistris. " ;) You would need to choose yours carefully. (y)
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