Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

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Dutchie created the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

Hi guys,

Ever since I started my cichlid tank I've been turning to this site for help, now I'm ready to ask some questions.

I currently am running a very healthy well established 3ft tank with an oscar, mbuna, convict, two clown loaches (used to be three until one was turned into Oscar food) and two red jewels. I know it's not the best combination of fish and if I where to start over again I would've done it differently, but they where all getting along just fine. I say where because in the last few weeks my oscar has started bullying on the smallest of the jewels. (Which isn't even smaller than he is)

I've bought a new 4 ft tank which is also wider than the old one, 46cm wide, and I am now cycling this new one. Set it up with sand instead of gravel and more rocks and hiding places. I also have some java fern which the fish don't seem to mind and helps the water get clear. Once my water levels are up to scratch I'm gonna put the existing fish in the new tank. Now for my question: should I introduce the less territorial and more placid fish in here first or the more aggressive ones? And how long should I let them swim around before adding the rest? I just want to make sure that I've done all I can before deciding to maybe return some of the fish as a last resort. I read something about 'fish jail' where you isolate the aggressive one in order to let the placid ones find themselves a spot in the tank so I figure that this upgrade would be a perfect time to do that.

Cheers, Gwen
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

Hi Gwen. Welcome to the forum. There are members here with decades and lifetimes of experience in the hobby, so it's a great place to get information and ask questions.

Those dimensions sound like about 75 gallons. That's the perfect size for one oscar with no other fish. Oscar's usually get to be around 12" and produce a tremendous amount of waste. With other fish, the tank would be overstocked, maintaining water quality would be extremely difficult, and aggression would likely be a problem. I'd urge you to keep only the oscar in the new tank. They are very happy to be alone. Mine is in a 75 gallon by himself.

You may not need to wait for the tank to cycle. You can take old, dirty media (pads, filters, etc.) from your old tank's filter and put them in the new filter. This way, you're seeding it and won't have to wait long for the bacteria to get established in the new filter. Sometimes, it can be ready to use right away if enough old media is moved to the new filter. You can cut it to make it fit if necessary.

Can you keep both tanks? If not, I'd suggest returning or rehoming the other fish.
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face mcshooty replied the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

welcome to oscar fish lover i can only reinforce what was said above a tank that size is only big enough for the oscar not to mention hard water species like mbunas and red jewels shouldn't be kept with soft water species like oscars water parameters are just too different

Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead focus on what to do next
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Dutchie replied the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

Thanks for replying, I am aware of all of the above, but it doesn't really answer the question. As said I have had all the fish from when they where tiny babies and they are all thriving, and as said were getting along just fine until recently. I am also aware that I don't need to cycle the tank if I use old water and filters, but it's a new filter etc. so I am doing the cycling regardless. I will rehome the others when Oscar gets too big but for now it works perfectly fine. So I would just like to know who I should introduce to the new tank first instead of getting advice on what I'm doing wrong :) that would be muchly appreciated. Thanks :)
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Lammergeier replied the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

You should introduce your oscar first, then no other fish because you will have re-homed the others yesterday. That's the only real answer. If you care about your fish's well-being at all you'll do your research and (quickly) get the hint that your question isn't being answered because there is no answer that won't harm your fish. There's a bunch of links to oscar care on this site alone, and a quick google search will tell you all you need to know about why you shouldn't keep mbunas and red jewels with oscars.

Those fish should not be kept together at any size in either the 3ft or the new 4ft tank - it's too small, they need different water parameters, they're too territorial, I could go on. Someone else might come along and say otherwise but I'm personally not willing to spoonfeed you and tell you something fluffy that you want to hear that will only do your fish more harm in the long term.
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daddadoo7 replied the topic: Re:Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

Do you test your water with a liquid test kit ? What size and how often do you do water changes ? I would imagine your nitrates are sky high. How big are your fish ?

Oscars can get 12, inches the loaches also get 12 inches and very thick (albeit slow growers) both mbuna and the the jewels 5ish inches. Simply put you dont have a large enough tank and no matter how you ask the question 99.99999 % of the members here are going to give you the same answer rehome or keep two tanks with an upgrade down the road.

Just to put it in percpective I have a 150 and will be adding a 4th cichlid to the tank soon. That along with a small catfish and small pleco equel what you have in a 4ft tank. Most members keep single specimens in 6ft tanks. Im not comfortable with my stocking but still 6ft of tank to work with and only one of my fish reach the 12 inch mark. I know you enjoy your tank but with the overcrowding health issues will certainly arise which is not fun
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Upgrading to a bigger tank, which mates to introduce first?

Regarding the cycling of the new tank (it's really the filter that cycles), it can take 2 months or even longer. There also has to be a constant food source (ammonia) in the water for the bacteria to feed on and multiply or they won't grow. I'm not sure why you would take this route instead of seeding the new filter with old media and then introducing the fish within days or hours. Maybe you weren't aware how long it takes for a tank to cycle. Most people aren't.

It can be frustrating. You've had a marine biologist and others that know what they're talking about tell you the same thing regarding the fish. I hope you're not still considering putting them all in the same 75 gallon.
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