Help with African Cichlid tank

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

Sully wrote: 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?


Having owned this fish for a time, I can tell you that no, they don't do all that well in a mbuna group (maybe for some people, which is why I got the advice I did, or maybe with other fish than my specific one). But mine, not at all. It's not dying, or getting hurt, but it really isn't a happy fish. I have to make a plan, and soon, to find it a happier living arrangement. I don't want any of my fish 'just getting by'.

With this in mind, a male of these guys would probably do better with your open water fish.

Just also remember, that with victorian fish the females are very drab. The males make up for it, but:

(not my picture, I don't have females. One should really listen to your own advice, yes? Live and learn)
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Sully replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Hey Nina! It's been a few days and Tims been really busy at work and I've been trying to keep up with these tanks by myself PLUS I just noticed about 4 days ago that I've been over feeding 2 of the oscar tanks (marv & sullys tank & kirbys tank) because there's a combination of high nitrates AND yucky planaria :sick: (hardly noticeable yet but don't want it to get worse) so I've been doing water changes EVERYDAY! :pinch: I really didn't think I was over feeding them but numbers don't lie (and for that matter neither do nasties on the glass). Do you think I should start a thread on this? I think if I just keep doing 50% w/c everyday it should fine right (I've looked up all the meds you can use but that would just be covering it up temporarily and I want to fix it). I always do w/c once a week and test the water prior to it which is amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate gets to 20 (but I'm changing the water at that point). Well this last time it was up in the 40's :ohmy: THEN I tested it again 2 days after the water change and it was in the 40's AGAIN!! That's when I saw the planaria and linked it to over feeding and started doing w/c everyday.

All is good in the mbuna tank, we took the kenyi and the crabbro back this weekend and got some credit for them. We are thinking about getting a horizontal striped one for a 5th species instead of going with the mbipia lutea (the fish store said someone else had been trying to find those but had no luck) plus I think a maingano might work better.

We also asked them to order some of the synodontis multipunctatis. You said those like to school so we asked them to get us 5. This is what is happening to the tank/holy rock right now:

Will those catfish help out with that?
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Hi! :)

The algae... the catfish are pretty much omnivores, and meat eaters. They'll primarily help to keep fry under control, and they're just really awesome fish (I think so, at least).

That brown algae - diatoms - grows on excess silica thanks to (usually) pool filter sand, or silica rich rocks. It will eventually go away (mine is finally starting to decrease after about a year of pool filter sand).

Your mbuna, once in greater numbers, should happily spend most of their day grazing on that algae, it's a very welcome site in a tank like yours. Feed your mbuna even less, and see what happens :)
That said, you really do want that algae there - it helps them live more 'naturally'. So, I'd make peace with it.
You could also decrease the amount of light the tank gets, and keep nitrates as low as you can manage, this should, over time, kill off your algae.

Maingano are great fish, just remember that they are of the more aggressive persuasion, especially to each other, so aim for seven or so females per male. They stay a bit smaller, and they zip around like lunatics, so they make a great contrast to the bigger, less active cobalt blues and red zebras.

Start up a thread, and chronicle your planaria battle. Overfeeding is much, much easier than we think. Most planaria medicines are quite bad for your system as a whole, so they're not the answer. But gravel vacuum and lots of water changes are the way (you're doing the right thing). Also, rinsing out your filter media can help too. It doesn't happen instantly, but over time, it sure gets there.

If you really want to kick those nitrates in the butt, take one day, do a 75% change in the morning, and a 75% change at night.

What this does to your water is:
40 ppm nitrates drop to 10 ppm in the morning, and +- 10 that evening drops down to about 3. That's as close to a reset button as aquarium water has :)

If you're getting 20ppm produced over two days there is really far too much stuff in your tank breaking down. But, what you can take from this is that your filtration really is doing its job nicely :)
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

just a confession from me. I don't much like the algae either. So I flip my rocks over every now and again, to keep it from growing too much. My fish keep it cropped down, so it doesn't grow tufty, but sooner or later I can't take it anymore, and I turn it over.

Some people manage to grow lovely, lush, green algae patches that looks oh, so natural, and so pretty. I get brown or black stuff - the fish don't mind, they much on it all, but it's not nearly as pretty as the green variety.

It's the catch 22 of holey rock. So pretty and white, but algae is instantly visible.

Here are some examples of what I mean with 'pretty' algae:

(pseudotropheus sp. hara male)


(acei and yellow labs)

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

That's very nice, it makes it look really natural. Love the acei's and yellow labs together, very beautiful combination!

Tim does the same thing to the holy rocks... he flips them, turns them, rotates them. I was kinda concerned about it and told him to rinse them off in a bucket of tank water but he said he really likes the way it looks so I'm glad it's not harmful to them. I do see them picking at it quite a bit every since we cut back on their feeding :whistle:

I did my 6th consecutive daily gravel vac/water change yesterday evening and pulled out my canister that is packed with bio only to rinse with tank water. I found a hand full of snails in there. I also changed out the filter pads on the other 3 filters. Just tested nitrates right now and they are at 10. Everyday there are less and less (I also turn the gravel vac sideways and suck off the nasties from the glass :side: ). About to start #7 right now so a 75% change should bring nitrates down pretty close to zero. I'm going to start up the thread here after I do the w/c. Thanks for your help. I'm not quite out of the woods yet but things seem to be improving :woohoo:
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

nitrates under 10 are great! Awesome :)

Now the trick is to keep it down there, but that's everyone's battle.

Snails... If you have healthy snails (pond snails or small ramshorn snails or even malaysian trumpet snails), try skipping a meal with your malawi fish, and plopping some snails in there in stead. Mine are like professional exterminators when it comes to snails. Definitely a good treat for these guys :)
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

that algae looks great for sure !!! pretty pictures

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

ehall67 wrote: that algae looks great for sure !!! pretty pictures


figure out, for all of us, how to grow lovely green algae like that!
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Matt replied the topic: Re: Help with African Cichlid tank

Do it and I'll make it a sticky lol

I've love some algae like that, I always end up with the doo doo brown color algae lol

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