Help with African Cichlid tank

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Tbone replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Hi Nina!!! Sorry for the last few days, it has been extremely hectic at work.

All is well in the tank right now (since we took out the peacocks and added more rocks & castles) everyone seems to be doing their own thing now and they definitely look more relaxed. I am really starting to see why you love these fish so much (and btw, so is Chrysti). I came home late last night and she was sitting there watching my tank :P usually she's messing with her O's. They are very entertaining, a different kind of entertaining than the oscars, maybe not as personable as the oscars but they can definitely draw you in for hours and hours!

I really like all 3 of those fish that you mentioned. Btw, the more you go on about them, the more excited I get about it :silly: whenever you mention a different fish I go to the cichlid gallery and look it up! They had some of those acei's at our fish store a few days ago. But I really love the color on the pundamilia nyererei (looks like a rainbow...beautiful fish!) I also really like the maingano with the blue and black but remember we have those two striped ones (yellow/black-crabro & blue/black-demasoni) those have vertical stripes and the maingano have horizontal stripes. The lady at the fish store said we can't mix vertical with horizontal striped fish, is that true?

Oh... I have 2 more pics for you! They are of the two striped ones that we still have. I did not rehome those yet because they all seem be getting along right now (although that may not be the case in the future).

This is the blue and black one that you said was a demasoni or possibly a kenyi but you needed a closer pic to tell for sure...


This is the yellow and black one - crabro - this ones black stripes can drastically change from dark to almost nothing (completely faded)...


I really like these two striped ones and I hope they keep getting along so they can stay!

I'll give you a run down of whats in the tank as of now...
2 yellow labs (labidochromis caeruleus)
2 cobalt blue zebras (metriaclima callainos)
1 red zebra (metriaclima m. estherae)
1 albino-ish (metriaclima sp. red top)-this ones fins are turning more and more orange!
1 demasoni OR kenyi (???)
1 bumble bee (pseudotropheus crabro)

Since they are still pretty small I am going to get a few more yellow labs, cobalt blue zebras, red zebras, and a few more of the blue/black striped ones. What are your opinions about the striped ones since they are getting along (right now)? I know the crabro are supposed to be way more aggressive but right now he just keeps to himself, we haven't seen an ugly side to him (yet). The only action we see with him is when he tries to go into the castle (which the albino has claimed) the albino will chase the crabro out of it.
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

The blue and black striped fish - that's a kenyi. If it's a male it will turn yellow and get quite a temper. If it's a female it will stay like that - but oddball females will mate with any random guy that comes along, making hybrid problems for you.
Not a good option for harems either, if you want to keep your yellow labs. The labs won't be able to stand up to them.

The crabbro... I see why you like them. They're really pretty, when they're small, and some (a few) grow up pretty too. But go into this with open eyes -

males end up like this:


females like this:


and they really are killers. They're also enormous, you can expect males to get anywhere between 9 and 11 inches big.

Please, read around a bit, and reconsider.

Your fish are very young. You'll start seeing the ugly side in about three, maybe four months. But it will happen over night - you go to bed with happy fish, you wake up to badly injured fish.

Have you seen my video of two female cobalt blues fighting?

This is not 'normal' as in "it happens daily" - if that were the case I'd need to change things. But this is 'normal' in that it happens regularly before these two ladies spawn with Shep. No one gets hurt, because they're evenly matched aggression wise. Imagine this situation with a bigger, more aggressive fish. Eventually, the less aggressive one runs away - the more aggressive one gives chase. Tail fins (and other fins) shrink down, until there's nothing left. Infection, bloat, death. It's a horrible thing to see in a tank, even worse in your own.

Horisontal and vertical stiped fish can get along, but horisontal and horisontal, and vertical and vertical is a recipe for disaster. They see each other as competition and fight more than is normal.

So, I'd suggest you stay away from the kenyi, and stay away from the crabro. Crabro more so than kenyi, with kenyi you can still make it work (although that really does eliminate yellow labs and the victorian fish I showed you).

If you're set on the kenyi, they'll take up the space of two other, less aggressive species, because you will need seven or more females to one male. So with kenyi, that would mean only four species in your 125 in the end.

As a last word, please be a bit wary of what pet shop owners tell you about these fish. Very few people put in the time and effort to figure out how to keep them long term, and it is in the interest of the pet shop to have you coming back again and again. I'm not saying your shop lady knows nothing, I'm just saying that you should do your own reading too :)
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Tbone replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Hey Nina!

We've decided to rehome the kenyi and the crabbro. I'm going to take them in this weekend before anything bad happens. I've read around a bit more and your definitely right about the aggression. I really hate to take the chance and wake up with injured fish! I guess we should start getting used to doing this anyway since we're gonna have to rehome extra males as they start showing up ;)

Here's the plan... Right now our 4 main groups are going to be the yellow labs, cobalt blues, red zebras, and albinos. When we take in the 2 striped ones we are going to get more of those 4 groups. Once we get the 125, then we will pick 2 more groups such as maingano, greyshaki or maybe acei.

I really appreciate your help with this Nina! I know it's gonna be a lot of work and back & forth to our fish store but in about a year I'm sure we will have a wonderful african tank that we can enjoy. Although any excuse to go to the fish store... I know Chrysti likes to go :silly: so do I :P

In your video of the cobalt blues fighting, I saw a yellow one with black stripes. What is that one called? Also on your profile where you listed your fish, you put that you have 7 snowies. What are snowies? I looked all through the cichlid gallery and I couldn't find "snowies" anywhere. Just trying to get an idea of what you have and other choices that might work well with our 4 main groups.
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

my 'snowies' are albino pseudotropheus socolofi, the breeder I got them from calls them snowies, and distributes them by that common name :)

They stay the purest white all throughout their lives, while many albinos end up more flesh coloured.

The yellow with black stripes is probably my mbipia lutea - he looks more like this normally:

When there is a fight going on, he turns off his colours.

Alternatively it could be a female yellow lab, also in scared colours - I have one that is particularly inclined to be dark yellow with black banding.

My profile is a bit outdated, I should update the fish on there. They've been breeding, I actually don't really know how many of what I have right now.

A final note, generally the 'rule' is to give each group 1 foot of tank space, and to leave 1 foot 'open' (with more aggressive/larger fish, you give each group 2 feet, and if there is an odd foot, leave it open). This is why, generally, three more peaceful species of mbuna in a 55 - which is four feet long. So if you want 6 species, you should look at a 7 foot tank. This helps to give everyone space to stake out a claim and to not be too crowded.
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

I never saw this fish of yours NINA he is beautiful!! so many colors !!!

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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

thanks Eddie. I'm a bit worried about this fish. Oddballs in a tank are not a good idea, I'm finding. But nothing serious yet, just need to start up an 'in case' plan.
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

umm but that maybe my favorite fish of yours?! :unsure: !

is it new or have I just been blind ??

(sorry for the quick hijack ill put it back when im done :whistle: )

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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

I've had him a while, about nine months now.
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Nina_W wrote: I've had him a while, about nine months now.


:pinch: missed him !!

love the fish tho !

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  • Sully
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Sully replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Nina_W wrote: The yellow with black stripes is probably my mbipia lutea - he looks more like this normally:


I have to agree with Eddie on this.... This is one spectacular fishy... I love it!!

I was browsing around a bit and I found where you had posted this under Lake Victoria
oscarfishlover.com/forum/64-lake-victoria-cichlids/228136-pictures-of-my-lutea
I see why these would be very hard to come by and would definitely be up for the challenge to try to locate them. That is wonderful that they will do well in mbuna community! I think this is probably going to be one of Tims top contenders for a 5th species apon the arrival of the 125! If thats the case then we will just have the 4 species we have now and just add the mbipia lutea as the 5th and final species for the tank (instead of having 6 species). Now let me ask you... how will mbipia lutea do in an open water community with red empresses, or are they better off with the mbuna?

A final note, generally the 'rule' is to give each group 1 foot of tank space, and to leave 1 foot 'open' (with more aggressive/larger fish, you give each group 2 feet, and if there is an odd foot, leave it open). This is why, generally, three more peaceful species of mbuna in a 55 - which is four feet long. So if you want 6 species, you should look at a 7 foot tank. This helps to give everyone space to stake out a claim and to not be too crowded.

We have measured the wall in which we will be placing the 2 six foot tanks side by side (one with malawi mbuna and the other with open water) and I don't think we will be able to fit anything longer than 6 feet so it looks like we will be sticking with the 5 species instead of 6 for the mbuna to make sure we don't over crowd.

So as of right now we are kind of at a stand still with the 4 species in the 55 gal (which is a bit over crowded but new tanks coming soon :woohoo: ) yellow labs, blue cobalts, red zebras and albinos then once the tanks get here we can get our 5th species to complete the malawi mbuna tank... then we can start on the 2nd 125 with open water :woohoo: This is so exciting!!!
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