Help stocking an african tank

  • toni-a
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toni-a created the topic: Help stocking an african tank

I just got as a present a new 40 gallon tank.
It is too small for an oscar or green terrors can I go African ?
The tank is 83X40X45 cm
How to start what to put ? I would like to get some very colourful fish, can I put aulonocara with yellow lab and jewels ?
I know I need a male for several females, how to sex those fish ?
I know I am asking too many questions but I learnt better read and ask questions than have dead fish.
PS no problem for cycling Filters are being cycled now :)
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  • ehall67
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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

wait till Nina gets back on in a few days she is moving and has been busy send her a pm to look at the thread she will get you right!

but I do not believe the Jewels are going to live with the labs

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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

also with africans color and size is the best way to tell male from females in may species also some males have egg spots to trick females for mating so thats another way to tell

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  • Nina_W
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

yeah, sorry I'm being a bit scarce, the move is taking a lot of arranging.

toni-a wrote: I just got as a present a new 40 gallon tank.
It is too small for an oscar or green terrors can I go African ?
The tank is 83X40X45 cm

For most africans, you need a 120 cm long tank to help them have enough space to not murder each other. So what you want to be looking at is either 'westies' - fish from the rivers and lakes in North-West africa. Jewels, kribensis, for example. Or, you could look at smaller Tanganyikan fish, make a shell-dweller palace.

How to start what to put ? I would like to get some very colourful fish, can I put aulonocara with yellow lab and jewels ?

Aulonocara -grow to 5/6 inches. Will almost definitely get beaten up by the yellow labs. Both will almost definitely beat up the jewels. With this small a space, you really need to pick fish from one aquatic habitat - and not three. What you have here is one fish needing open water next to rocky cliffs (aulonocara), one group in between rocks (labs) and the other from a densely planted riverine environment (jewels).

I know I need a male for several females, how to sex those fish ?

Jewels form pairs - so you either buy an adult pair or you get six juveniles and once a pair forms, you remove the others or they get murdered.

Aulonocara are only sexable once they reach a few inches. The first external signs are blue iridescent markings on the gills.

Yellow labs are next to impossible to sex externally. Some say that the females have less black on their fins, in my fish I haven't noticed this difference. Males do grow about an inch larger, and develop 'bearding' - a dark shadow on their face - if they are not dominant. Venting is your best bet, or buying a group of double the juveniles you want, and as extra males get 'kicked out' you remove them - you'll find them in the upper corners of your tank, or behind filters.

I know I am asking too many questions but I learnt better read and ask questions than have dead fish.
PS no problem for cycling Filters are being cycled now :)


Good news :)

If you really want yellow labs, a harem (one male four females) with congo tetras and a school of small synodontis (multipunctatis or petricola) would make for a lovely and interesting tank.

If you want mbuna, as I said in the other thread, pseudotropheus saulosi are amazing. They stay small, males are a brilliant blue, females yellow/orange, and with three males and nine or so females, and a lot of rocks, this would be fantastic.

Otherwise, do look into a breeding pair of jewels and maybe a pair of kribensis too (set up to allow separate territories on either side of the tank), and some tetras for action and movement, and some corydoras because corys are really great fishies :)
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  • toni-a
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

So if I get aulonocara can I put anything with them, the LFS has pseudotropheus saulosi (If I identified them correctly) would they work ?
Aulonocara with yellow lab would it work ?
Inside which specie do I have color differences
I don't like to have identique fish in the tank (exception for schooling fish which is not the case)
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  • Nina_W
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

I really would not put aulonocara in with mbuna - even yellow labs. They also grow to be 6 inches big, or more, and they swim fast, and lots. I honestly don't think there's space for an aulonocara, even less so with fish that will make it hide most of the time - it will also hide its colours, making it a rather dull grey fish. I know they look lovely, but this will go to dissapointment here.

If you badly want an aulonocara - get a trio of aulonocara kandensee - One male, two females. The male will look fantastic, the females will be grey/silver, and they'll occupy your tank, breed, and stay small enough that they won't outgrow the space.

saulosi, as juveniles, all look orangey. As they grow, males become blue and black barred. The contrast with females is lovely. A species tank of these guys are ideal.

If they're not labeled as such, they may be kenyi, which are the other way around (females are blue/black, males are yellow), grow far too large, and will play highlander in your tank - in the end, there can be only one.
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  • toni-a
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

Yellow labs look similar so I better go aulonocara ?
c
sexing juveniles is it possible ?
are aulonocara active swimmers or they hide in their caves all the tim ?
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

I do not think this tank is suitable for aulonocara. Have I been unclear up to now?

As for sexing:
It depends how big the juveniles are. But until a few inches, they all look grey. You can usually vent them before they show external signs of maturity, but venting is tricky - more so on fish that have never bred.
Also, aulonocara females all look the same. If you mix species, you'll get hybrids, of which we have far too many already.

They are active swimmers, although females need some refuge from males if you keep harems. Males will rarely hide, unless scared.

Toni, if you really want aulonocara, I think you should get a 75 gallon, set it up with 12 or so males. I really wouldn't try stuffing them in a too small tank - they will fight, their colours won't show up because they're scared, and they won't swim much for the same reason.

The only species I'd feel safe suggesting is the aulonocara kandensee (blue orchid peacock).
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  • bassetman
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bassetman replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

You will regret trying the too small a tank route with aggressive Africans. It will end in tears.


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  • toni-a
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

@ bassetman I wouldn't buy a 40 gallon aquarium, it was a present.

@ Nina, I have other plans for the 65 gallon new tank I wouldn't turn it african unless I really have to The LFS didn't get the veija not the promised severum :pinch: :pinch: :pinch: :pinch: :pinch: :pinch: .
I want some colour variations not fish looking similar, I don't think I will have enough color variety with yellow labs.
Aulonocara have by far more color variants, I like especially the red fire variant. The LFS has some very pretty juvenile do I have any chances making it work if I put a lot of decorations and caves ?
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