Help stocking an african tank

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

I guess it bears repeating.

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

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

Went to the LFS today, the guy is a true professional, he said the same thing, I have no option but putting them in 65 gallon tank.
In a 113 cm 65 gallon what do you advise me to put ?
Would aulonocara and yellow lab work in such a tank ?
Would it be a good idea if I start with very small (1-2 inch) specimen and allow them to grow together ?
(Also yout suggestions for the 40 gallon would be welcome, I was considering angelfish but the guy said unless I am going to always use at least 50% RO water for water change, the angelfish won't tolerate our extremey alkaline water.
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

toni-a, please excuse my frustration, but it feels like all this has been discussed before. It feels a lot like you'll keep pressing auloncara and yellow labs nevermind what you are advised here. In the end, it's your fish. Do what you want.

In my experience, aulonocara, all of them, don't do well with mbuna. Yellow labs are mbuna.
Yes, they are some of the least aggressive mbuna, but even mild mbuna are still more aggressive than aulonocara. Their colours won't be what you want them to be if they feel threatened. Aulonocara want open water with some caves, yellow labs want caves all the way to the top of the water.
Some people have tried this and it has worked - but then some people manage to keep tiny little fish with oscars too. Would you recommend this? No.

As for juveniles - if they're juveniles, how will you sex them? If you want females, keep a species tank - females between species are indistinguishable, if you mix them they're worthless (except as hybrid aulonocara females - which no one wants), and their fry are worthless - they are almost definitely hybrids (poor colours, uncertain aggressive tendencies). At the very least, there will be no way to know.
Yes, it's best to raise them together from juveniles. This can't be done with all male, at least, not easily. Since you're after colour, and lots of it, you'll want an all male setup. This means you need to buy the fish as sexable males - not at full colour yet (you could, but this is pricey) - but clearly showing male characteristics.

All male setups are also usually only recommended in a 75 or larger aquarium. Well, yours is smaller. It may be possible (it may not), but it will take more water changes, and will take more work to get a group of fish that won't kill each other, or terrorise some of the group's members into poor colour and hiding.

toni-a, would you just go and buy a bunch of american cichlids and throw then into a tank? Say you decide to limit your species only to parachromis - and you get two of each of the four species, thinking it will be colourful. You place them into a 400 gallon aquarium - should be ok, if a bit on the small side.

Will that work? No, you'd have a bloodbath.

If, however, you do your research and get them an appropriately sized tank (in this example, it would have to be enormous, big as a house), make sure they pair off and keep all pairs with clear territory markers, or make sure you have only females or only males (and in this case, one of each) - basically - follow some sort of keeping strategy that is proven to work in most cases, your odds of success increase greatly.

Aulonocara are like the parachromis in this example, except there are many more than four species, and many different levels of aggression. Do your research first - it feels like you are not doing this (or are downright unwilling to hear anything you don't want to hear). Simply stuffing them into a tank will lead to disappointment. This disappointment does not happen quickly, it happens after six or so months and gets worse from there onwards. Just like with oscars. For six months, a little oscar may actually be ok in a 30 gallon tank - after that problems come. This is why so many people can say "but they're fine in my tank". If they haven't been like that for two years or more, they're talking out of their arse.

You need to know:
1. what species you're going to keep, and how compatible these species are (you need about 12 different species, plus about 12 backup species)
2. how they will look as adults (this is essential to compatability - they must look as different as is possible given the available species)
3. how to manage aggression in an all male setup
4. where you will take males that don't work out (or at the very least, what you'll do with them)
5. how to manage a hospital tank

simply wanting all the fish just in a tank won't give you what you want - it will give you a bloodbath, or a bunch of desperately hiding grey fish with one swimming fish, and piles of hybrids.

So come back with a list of what aulonocara species you're interested in keeping (or are available to you - because I can make lists as much as I like, I don't know what fish you have available to you). We can talk from there.
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

I did some errors before and I don't want to see myself committing them once again.
As you can notice I dropped the idea of using the 40 gallon for africans and will use the 65 gallon tank for it, of course I want healthy fish, had oscars in a small tank it ended in a disaster, in good conditions fish show their real potential like my green terrors .
I am reading a lot, however it is always a good idea seeking expert advice
There are two fish stores here having africans one is a pro and quite pricey I can ask him about the species he has the other one is less than half price but he just has youth fish in a tank and I have to choose the ones I want.
If I get aulonocara only there are plenty of colors available within aulonocara and that would be enough for me.
I am most interested in the aulonocara fire red,(I know it's a hybrid) would it be suitable in a 113 cm tank, what tankmates might work ?
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

My options use the 40 gallon tank get yellow labs with possible tankmates however congo tetras are not available here any other suggestion ?

the other option use the 65 gallon tank does this really allow me having a good micture of african ?
Too bad the green terrors are in a square tank (2X2X2 feet) and I was considering moving them to the new tank :(
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

It depends. Some of the 'fire reds' are hybrids, some are simply line bred from Aulonocara sp. "Stuartgranti Chipoka". Of those that are actually hybrids, the best I can say is that they should be ok with most aulonocara that don't look like them, and grow to be the same size.
What size that will be, and what they'll look like... well, as their fishy parents, they're the only place that can tell you.

If they're line bred, they are compatabile with any males that don't look like they do, and that are about 5'' big, and mildly aggressive. Not aulonocara kandensee, they're too mild. Not OB peacocks, they're too boisterous.

Here's a list of literally all of them, hopefully this helps:
www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/category.php?cat=3
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

went to the LFS today he gave me part of his list of african cichlids
Cyrtocara compressiceps
cytocara ahli
haplochromis fusco
fenestratus taiwan reef
pseudotropheus ice blue
Metriaclima estherae
fire red aulonocara
peacock cichlid
yellow lab

Does any of this list fit for my 65 gallon tank ?
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

Besides fish listed here, can I put upside down catfish ?
still awaiting input before getting any fish
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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

toni-a wrote: went to the LFS today he gave me part of his list of african cichlids
Does any of this list fit for my 65 gallon tank ?


I'm going to go through them one by one. The names given to you are not their conventional scientific names, so please double check whether the names I give you actually are the fish he has labelled as such:

Cyrtocara compressiceps
This is most likely dimidiochromis compressiceps - common name: malawi eye biter.
Males grow to 8 inches, females to 10 inches. Open water predator, will eat anything that can fit into its mouth, or that it can get a good grip onto. Much too big for a 65, unless it's a species tank with one male, two or three females.

cytocara ahli
Probably actually Sciaenochromis ahli - common name: electric blue hap.
Very pretty adult males. Males grow to be about 5 inches, females 4 inches. Can live with aulonocara, as long as they don't look too much alike. If this is actually Sciaenochromis fryeri, you're also fine with these guys. Females will hybridise with aulonocara, but you should be able to differentiate them still if they are mixed.

haplochromis fusco
Probably Nimbochromis fuscotaeniatus - males 10 inches, females 8. Too big. Also highly predatory. But the males are truly stunning in breeding dress.

fenestratus taiwan reef
Probably protomelas steveni taiwan reef. Gentle giants. Males grow to be about 8 inches. I'd say this is too big a fish for a 65, but maybe worth considering. One of my personal favourites from lake malawi.

pseudotropheus ice blue
Probably pseudotropheus socolofi, but might also be metriaclima callainos. If socolofi, they grow to be about 4 inches big, if callainos, add an inch. Regardless, these are mbuna, and will not mix with haps/aulonocara. The haps/aulonocara will get beaten up by them. Lovely fish, though.

Metriaclima estherae
Red zebra. Same as above, too aggressive for a hap/aulonocara mix.

fire red aulonocara
Either a line bred version of aulonocara stuartgranti chipokae, or a hybrid. Can be beautiful, or can be nothing much, especially if a hybrid. Will go in an all male setup with other smaller haps (like the ahli) or other aulonocara that looks different. Don't mix females with other aulonocara females.

peacock cichlid
This means nothing. All of this www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/category.php?cat=3 applies here. Peacock is the general name for all aulonocara. Basically, this is probably a hybrid. Don't mix females of this fish with other aulonocara females.

yellow lab
Males grow to be just less than 4 inches, females about 3 (although they can also grow to be 4 inches big). Probably the mildest mbuna, and truly beautiful fish. In harems (1 male 4 females), the yellow labs, estherae, and ice blues will make a lovely mbuna tank in a 65. Very likely they won't work in an aulonocara setup, unless you keep one female.

Upside down catfish may work, or they may not. They generally need plants and softer water than the rest of these fish (plants don't have much hope with these fish, less than with an oscar). Better choices are synodontis multipunctatis or synodontis petricola.

From this list, for an aulonocara tank (with only males, since you really shouldn't mix females) what would work is:
ahli
aulonocara fire red
and maybe the other peacock

maybe (big maybe) the taiwan reef, but they may be too gentle and they are almost definitely too big.

If you put more than one male of the same kind in the tank, they will fight. All the time. Until one hides constantly, or is killed. So if you want to make an aulonocara tank with lots of colour, you need more species of aulonocara/small haps. You need to be able to stock about 12 males, different males. Some still won't work out, and then you'll need new males to replace them with to see if they are not more suitable.
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toni-a replied the topic: Re: Help stocking an african tank

Great I will follow your advice, expect to see me asking more and more questions :unsure:
I am reading a lot about african cichlids keeping, this is quite a magnificent world.
The LFS said he cannot be sure about sexing since he has only youth fish, so I am gonna get the fish and will need to rehome unwanted ones which is not a problem since there's another very friendly fish store (where I buy everything but fish) who will gladly exchange my fish for fish food or other goods.
Another question, I am preparing the tank: beach sand substrate and I will install decorations I was considering red bricks would they do a good job ?
It's easy to get calcareous stones here with caves and everything however woth ph 8.5 for tap water do you think it will be a good idea ?
I am speaking about rocks like those

Also in a local river I found some calcified wood I guess they would make wonderful decorations (they have very sharp edges) will take pics and post, which ones do you feel would make the most adequate decorations
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