African Cichlid Compatibility For My Tank

Discussion in 'African Cichlids' started by austinspeer810, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. austinspeer810New MemberMember

    Hello everyone,

    I am going to be getting my african cichlids this week!!! Im so excited!!! I have a 37 gallon tank because that is all that I can afford at the moment because I am going to school full time. I have been told that a 55 gallon tank is the minimum that can be used for african cichlids but I have a feeling that I wont have a problem with having a 37 gallon tank. I have seen some tanks about my size do just fine with housing african cichlids.

    I want to know which ones will be compatible with each other and wont be at each others lives everyday. I have about four rocks that can be used for hiding because I know they like the cave effect. I also want to have somewhat of a variety of cichlids (not just all one type). I will be getting a bigger tank in a few years once I move into my own place.

    I know that in an african cichlid tank you want to "overcrowd" the tank so the aggression is at a minimum and I like that. Can someone please give me some valid tips as to what ones will be safe with each other? I will also be starting them young so they can grow up with each other and will feel comfortable with one another.

    Thank You!!!
  2. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore!

    The larger african cichlid species that you're probably interested in need at least a 55 gallon tank. The only africans that I can think of that are ok in anything smaller are shell-dweller cichlids. I really wouldn't put mbuna/peacocks/haps in that size tank.

    You could also try south american, there are a few that will be able to fit in a 37.
  3. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    I've seen recommendations over on another forum about species only mbuna in "small" tanks like that, but you'd only be able to do a 1:3 or 1:4, so only 4 or 5 fish total. Species that stay under 5 inches are best. Check out this thread that I found:


    I know it's a 37 and not a 29 but that just means you have a little more space to work with. They mention Saulosi being suitable for a 29, I'm sure you could probably do them in a 37.

    You really can't do a full blown african community in such a small tank though, I'd say species only is the only (african) route you can go.
  4. JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    my pointer is that you need more rocks. 4 is not enough. I have slate and rocks layered halfway up the back of my tank. Slate is awsome. :) stack it up with crevices and they'll have lots of places to run from the mean guys in the tank.
    I agree. mbuna cichlids need a 55 gallon to stock all the way. with a 37 its just too small to put all 15-20 cichlids in. probably only 10-15 with a 37 I wouldn't go over 10 cichlids. demasoni don't get very big. you could think of doing a species only african jewel cichlid. they're gorgeous :)
    Petco is having the dollar per gallon sale right now. $55 plus tax for a 55gal tank. perfect for africans :D good luck.
  5. Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    Hi Austin, welcome to Fishlore.
    Well, you know that the 37 is not really big enough so no sense in going in that direction.
    i would not recommend nothing less than a 55 gl. but with that said, a 37 gl ( i believe it has a 36 in footprint, correct?) can be used for some of the smaller African species as mentioned above. many of the Mbunas stay on the smaller side and some of the Tangs are smaller.
    Tangs are less agressive than Mbunas for the most part, but when you say "some that wont fight with each other" that is really hard to find in Africans which is why we recommend overcrowding, this helps spread the agression out. because there will be agression, no way to stop it, it is in their genus.
    The Demasoni is considered a Dwarf Mbuna and only grow to about 4 inches or less.
    here is a list of some other so called Dwarf Mbunas
    Cynotilapia afra
    Labidochromis caeruleus
    Labidochromis chisumulae
    Pseudotropheus demasoni
    Labidochromis exasperates
    Labidochromis sp. Hongi
    Placidochromis sp.
    Pseudotropheus daktari
    Pseudotropheus msobo
    Pseudotropheus polit
    Pseudotropheus socolofi

    some of these will get bigger than 4 inches like the Yellow Lab, but would work because of its agression level.
    in this size tank i would go for the Yellow Lab ( 1:5 RATIO)
    and the Demasoni ( 1;4 ratio)
    this will give you some nice color but keep it a more manageable tank.
    As for rocks, i am afraid 4 is not even close to being enough. did you mean to say 40? you are probably laughing at this point, but i a really being serious. this is where you will find them in the wild, the graze off rocks for some of their food but more so use them to hide from the agressor. you should have at least 1/2 of the tank filled with rocks.
    good luck, let us know if we can answer any other questions you may have.

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