Cichlids, what should I get?

(30 Posts)
DangerousMouse Fri 19-Oct-12 17:50:30

I am being given a tank, i think it's about 180l. I need some ideas about what to put in it.

I already have a tank with a Betta, another tank which is community with a pair of long finned rams and a nursery tank with some odds and ends in.

I am thinking of cichlids, but have never kept them before, can you advise me which live together happily and which are the pretty ones!

Am open to other ideas aswell, I like decisions like this!

EauRouge Fri 19-Oct-12 18:05:26

Are you thinking of a mixture, like African Rift Valley cichlids? Never kept them myself, but they're on my to-do list grin

I think MamaPizza has some so she'd probably be able to tell you more.

DangerousMouse Fri 19-Oct-12 19:04:29

A mixture would be good, can you keep different cichlids together? I thought I would ask your advise rather than googles!

The tank is quite deep rather than long if that makes a difference.

It would be nice to have maybe 4 different pairs in there, if they will live together ok

MamaPizza Germany Fri 19-Oct-12 19:23:42

Hello, I'm here now (Thank fuck for the weekend)

African cichlids are great, so much personality! TBH, 180 litre is really pushing it, the bigger the tank the better. You probably know about the key rule of overstocking due to their aggression. It's the simple principle of 'getting lost in the crowd'. In order to achieve this overstocking you need super filteration, I got two very powerful externals for mine. Also, be prepared to do weekly 50% water changes due to the quick build up in nitrates as you can't really have plants.

This is a good intro article: http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/403847-malawi-mbuna-for-beginners/

Read through it and let me know what else you need to know if you still want to go ahead.

Another option would be - South American cichlids. I got those too, my rams are my favourite fish. Apistos are also great.

Aaah, just thinking. What is your ph? This will determine what you can keep anyway.

DangerousMouse Fri 19-Oct-12 19:49:26

Thank you for the link, that's really interesting reading. I would love to keep these, I think I will wait until I have the tank, then I will know the exact size, I don't want them in a tank which is too small.

It will tank so long to cycle, I can decide then.

I am PH8.

I have a pair of rams in my community tank, they are so lovely, they are my newest addition and are doing great - they are long finned rams

MamaPizza Germany Sat 20-Oct-12 08:53:16

Sorry, I missed the bit about the rams in the first post. I'm jealous you got long finned ones, they are so beautiful.

Let me know once you have the tank and how big it exactly is. You can measure it and calculate the tank volume here.

PH of 8 is great. If it is 180 l, you could still go for some of the smaller and more peaceful species: yellow labs and Astatotilapia calliptera for example. The astatos are beautiful, my male is showing amazing colours, and they stay on the smaller side and are peaceful compared to others. I will pick my brains and think of a third species that could go with them. Then you would have three different species in there and I suggest 4 of each, 1 male to 3 females. Maybe something blue? Then you'd have yellow, olive green and blue. Maybe blue zebras, but they can be a bit more aggressive, so obviously lots of rock work needed. They are fine in my tank, but probably only because I got most of them as juveniles at the same time so they have grown up together.

MamaPizza Germany Sat 20-Oct-12 08:54:43

Another good read: http://www.fishforums.net/index.php?/topic/400971-useful-information-for-aquarist-cichlids/page__pid__3373521#entry3373521

DangerousMouse Sat 20-Oct-12 13:17:49

Thank you so much! Really helpful, just need the tank now! Hopefully I will have it in the next week, then I have to do some shifting around as the new tank is going in the front room, and my front room tank is going in the kitchen!

On another note - I want to get a tank made, can you do this yourself or is it best to get a professional in to do it?

MamaPizza Germany Sat 20-Oct-12 13:35:55

You're welcome, just let me know when you have the tank and we can build you the perfect stock from there.

You could build it yourself, but I'd rather pay extra and trust a professional. Your choice, but I wouldn't be happy to do it myself.

FermezLaBouche Sat 20-Oct-12 17:13:46

I would second Rams! I have a pair of Blue Rams and they are brilliant - really beautiful (pic on profile!)

MamaPizza Germany Fri 02-Nov-12 21:23:36

Have you got your tank yet?

MamaPizza Germany Fri 02-Nov-12 21:23:56

Sorry, that sounded very impatient and rude. Been wondering how you were getting on.

bureni Fri 02-Nov-12 21:29:31

Kribensis are a good starter cichlid, very easy to sex and breed but not a all agressive most of the time and since they are small can do little damage to other fish and imo one of the most colourful and easy to keep of all the cichlids.

MamaPizza Germany Sat 03-Nov-12 08:38:27

Be careful with kribensis. I thought they'd be peaceful enough, but once they had their brood they turned into aggressive little shits, bullying everyone else in the tank, even killing a tiny pygmy cory who stayed out of their way, but the male wasn't happy with that. I removed the other fish all now, but they were little bastards.

EauRouge Sat 03-Nov-12 08:54:37

Kribs are a good choice if you've got the conditions right but as Mama said, they can be quite aggressive when they've got fry. All cichlids have the potential to be aggressive, some more than others, so you really need to do your research.

MamaPizza Germany Sat 03-Nov-12 09:56:23

Must say, kribensis are great parents though. They are in an 80 litre tank on their own now and really looking after their babies. Quite cute to watch, so as a breeding project they are lovely.

DangerousMouse Sat 03-Nov-12 10:14:36

I have the tank, yay! Its 165l, been set up a week and Ive been adding a bit of fish food and also have a couple of guppy fry in there to help get things going. I have fallen in love with the electric blue jack dempseys in my local aquatics shop, but I know my tanks too small!

EauRouge Sat 03-Nov-12 10:17:09

Jack Dempseys are beautiful, aren't they? Total buggers though and like you said need loads of space. They are on my fish wish list grin

EauRouge Sat 03-Nov-12 10:18:55

Speaking of cichlid breeding and fish wish lists, I've always fancied giving discus a go, have you seen the way the fry feed off the parents mucus coating? Sounds gross, looks super-cute though.

DangerousMouse Sat 03-Nov-12 10:19:41

They are so pretty! So maybe I could get a trio of kribs and another trio, what do you think would go well with them?

EauRouge Sat 03-Nov-12 10:31:15

I'd just stick with the kribs in a 165 litre, I had a pair of rams in a 180 litre and it sounds massive but I wouldn't want to have packed in any more cichlids. Once your kribs are breeding they will kick the crap out of anything that comes near. You might be able to get away with something tough that won't get in their way, maybe some medium sized barbs or tetras. Not corys or other bottom-feeders and nothing too delicate.

DangerousMouse Sat 03-Nov-12 10:33:31

Ok, great, so some kribs and maybe some barbs, how many kribs do you think? Should I get 2 males 2 females, or is another ratio better? Also how many barbs? Sorry for the questions, but you know more than the spotty teenagers in the shops! (actually the shop I go to is really good, I'd just like the advise before I go to get the fish!)

EauRouge Sat 03-Nov-12 11:24:28

I'd stick with the one male, I think two females would be OK but best to check with a cichlid expert or on google (check several sources and go with the most conservative to be extra safe!). If you heavily plant the tank so that they each have their own area then that would make things safer.

Number of barbs would depend on what barbs. Tiger barbs are fairly robust- you'd need at least 8 to even out the aggression amongst them.

I'm by no means an expert on cichlids though!

DangerousMouse Sat 03-Nov-12 12:14:24

Thank you! I'll have a google and chat to the guys in the shop, we will probably go for either rosy barbs or black widow tetras.

MamaPizza Germany Sat 03-Nov-12 12:32:24

With kribs you can get one male and one female and they will pair up. It might take a while, but it will happen. Pick the biggest male and the pinkiest bellied female and you should have a perfect match.

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