New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

  • Micke
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Micke created the topic: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

Hi all!

I am starting up a 140 gallon tank, 5.2x2x2 (530 litres, 160x60x60 cm). I have a Fluval FX5 from my last tank but I will not be using it, unless I absolutely need to, since I will be installing a Back to nature Amazon background and create a filter behind it. It should be more effective than the FX5.

Everything has been going well up until I started thinking about what types of cichlids I would like to have.

I do want to keep one Green Terror and one Oscar. Other fish I have been thinking about getting are: Brazilian Earth Eater (Geophagus Brasiliensis), Chocolate Cichlid, Severum, Key hole cichlid, etc. The Chocolate Chichlid is more or less ruled out because it demands slightly different water levels/values than the others.

What I would like is to keep three larger cichlids (Oscar, GT and ???) a breeding pair of a smaller cichlid (maybe the Key Hole Cichlid), and a smaller Pleco or Ancistrus (L144). I don't think it will, but would that be over stocking? Will the smaller cichlids, say 6", be okay and healthy in this type of set up?

JD's, Texas Cichlid, etc. are excluded since I want a South American tank and not a mix of SA and CA cichlids.

Please share your ideas and experiences of what I could be getting. Right now I can't come to a decision there is much to choose from. Any suggestions on other cichlids or South American fish that I might have overlooked?

Oh, and the fishes will be bought as juveniles, all of them. They will grow upp in the tank.

Pardon my english and the long post. :)
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  • Darth Nandopsis
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Darth Nandopsis replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

What water requirements exclude the Chocolate from this tank w/ all the other SA cichlids, as they all prefer soft, acidic pristine water??

I would recommend you use the FX5, as you can never over-filter a cichlid tank.

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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

If you want to only change 50% of the water once a week in order to keep nitrates below 20ppm, then it is best to allocate around 5g of water per inch of adult fish. This means that a 12" oscar should get around 60g of water volume, and a 6" inch cichlid should get arounr 30g of water volume. Based on your desire to keep

1 oscar = 60g
1 gt = 50g

You get about 30g to work with or another 6" adult fish.

If you are willing to change water more frequently (like every 3 days), then you can get more fish to your tank.
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jnet replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

I think you could add the geo you want they are nice fish I have a pair and male is a stunning fish. Or maybe go for a pair of rainbows.

I personnelly would run the extra filter its just better that way the more filteration the better.

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  • ehall67
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

I have a South American community tank and I keep an Oscar, Severum, Chocolates, Hecklii, tapajos, and SD! all love it but mine is a closer to 300 gal take a look ... Im not sure what you are talking about the Chocolates not liking ?


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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

Consistant water parameters, and big water changes are all that is required. PH really doesn't mean much for most South American cichlids. It really only matters to wild caught fish.

You should also think about the growth rate of each of those cichlids. The oscar has the fastest growth rate at 0.75-1" a month. The green terror is really a slow grower, around 0.25" a month. The chocolate and brasilensis see average growth rate at 0.5" a month.
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cebosound replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

welcome to the site.

nice size tank. options are wide open. ... Oscar should be at the top of the list. ;)

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Micke replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

This is why I love this site. So many helpful nice people. :)

Rocksor wrote: Consistant water parameters, and big water changes are all that is required. PH really doesn't mean much for most South American cichlids. It really only matters to wild caught fish.

You should also think about the growth rate of each of those cichlids. The oscar has the fastest growth rate at 0.75-1" a month. The green terror is really a slow grower, around 0.25" a month. The chocolate and brasilensis see average growth rate at 0.5" a month.


Yes, this is something I have thought about and I might buy the cichlids other than the Oscar a bit larger.

On the Chocolate Cichlid. it was my understanding that the Chocolate requires warmer water than many other South American fish, 27-29 celcius? Says so on a number of (Swedish) sites, but what do the know huh? ;)

50% water change, every week? Hmm, so a 140G tank containing say: 1 Oscar, 1 GT, 1 Brazilian Earth Eater, 1 ancistrus, and two Key Hole Cichlids or Rainbows would be way over stocked?

The tap water here in Sweden is excellent, one of the best in the world in fact, and contains no poisonous substances for fish (and of course no good bacteria either). Is this something to even take into account when discussing a tanks size and population or is it irrelevant (when speaking of the amount of water that needs to be changed and how often)?
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Micke replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

ehall67 wrote: I have a South American community tank and I keep an Oscar, Severum, Chocolates, Hecklii, tapajos, and SD! all love it but mine is a closer to 300 gal take a look ... Im not sure what you are talking about the Chocolates not liking ?


Lovely tank! I like the coloration on the Chocolate and Severum.
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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: New 140 G tank - cichlid combinations?

Micke wrote: On the Chocolate Cichlid. it was my understanding that the Chocolate requires warmer water than many other South American fish, 27-29 celcius? Says so on a number of (Swedish) sites, but what do the know huh?


I kept a chocolate cichlid in water with a ph of 7.6 and temp of 25C-29C with no issues.

Micke wrote: The tap water here in Sweden is excellent, one of the best in the world in fact, and contains no poisonous substances for fish (and of course no good bacteria either). Is this something to even take into account when discussing a tanks size and population or is it irrelevant (when speaking of the amount of water that needs to be changed and how often)?


My definition of overstock is having to do more than 1 50% water change every seven days; and with the amount of fish you have chosen, you will surely do more than that before they even reach full size. There are still not a lot of people willing to do that type of work. You will find that a lot of successful big fish keepers easily do at least 2 50% water changes every 3-4 days. I myself had to do around 300g of water changes a week when my stock in a 240g tank was 1 7" oscar, 1 7" Nicaragua, 1 7" vieja bifasciatus, 5 4" silver dollars, 1 11" pleco, 1 2" sajica cichlid just to keep nitrates below 20ppm.

When nitrates hit 20ppm, it is an automatic water change of 50%. Nothing can get rid of nitrates except for a water change. The more fish you put into the tank, the more nitrates are produced,the sooner the water change. It doesn't matter how clean your tap water is, the waste is produced by the fish and stays there until a water change.

If you are not willing to do a 50% water change more than once a week, I would stock the tank lightly, like 1 large cichlid and 1 small to medium cichlid.
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