African Cichlid Help

NaturalGothic

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Hey guys!
So I’ve had a motley crew of chiclids for awhile now and over the last few days, I’ve noticed two of my cichlids appear to be fighting for territory and in the process, are making the other fish miserable. The weirdest part? Meter of these guys are the tankboss. It looks as if he’s just trying to stay out of it. Now, when I purchased these fish, one was labeled “African assorted” and the other was labeled “Peacock” nothing more nothing less. I thought they were both socolofI (one is blue, one is an O.B.) but now I’m worried they might be a more aggressive type like a zebra mbuna. I’ve attached some photos bellow. Help is GREATLY appreciated. Please pardon the cloudy water, I was having a bacterial boom. I even moved everything around and it seemed to help a little at first. Then, oddly enough, it seems to have made things worse.
 

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MacZ

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Ok, first of all, only the two albino looking fish in the background are Peacocks. The rest are Mbuna.
Mbuna as a group are known to be aggressive a-f. so you should likely add far more rocks and hiding places. Google Malawi-Tanks and underwaterfootage of Lake MalawI so you get an impression of what I mean.
I hope sincerely that you don't keep them with any non-MalawI fish, because this is usually not working out longterm.
And finally: Mbuna are herbivores, Peacocks are carnivores. Though they share the biotope in the wild, this leads toa massive feeding problem in aquaria, as a meat heavy diet, required for Peacocks can end with a deadly bloat or indigestion for Mbuna.
Also I'm wondering how long the live plants in that tank will survive.

In any case, there is no all-cure for Mbuna aggression. Besides offering enough hiding spaces and view blocking to divide the tank into several territories, overstocking has been often times a solution, though this is also the reason MalawI tanks need massive filtration.
 

A201

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As MacZ noted, more rocks, more Mbuna and a weekly 50% WC.
Once things settle down, you'll probably really like keeping Mbuna.
 
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NaturalGothic

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BeardedTetra said:
What size is the tank? How many fish are in it?
MacZ said:
Ok, first of all, only the two albino looking fish in the background are Peacocks. The rest are Mbuna.
Mbuna as a group are known to be aggressive a-f. so you should likely add far more rocks and hiding places. Google Malawi-Tanks and underwaterfootage of Lake MalawI so you get an impression of what I mean.
I hope sincerely that you don't keep them with any non-MalawI fish, because this is usually not working out longterm.
And finally: Mbuna are herbivores, Peacocks are carnivores. Though they share the biotope in the wild, this leads toa massive feeding problem in aquaria, as a meat heavy diet, required for Peacocks can end with a deadly bloat or indigestion for Mbuna.
Also I'm wondering how long the live plants in that tank will survive.

In any case, there is no all-cure for Mbuna aggression. Besides offering enough hiding spaces and view blocking to divide the tank into several territories, overstocking has been often times a solution, though this is also the reason MalawI tanks need massive filtration.
A201 said:
As MacZ noted, more rocks, more Mbuna and a weekly 50% WC.
Once things settle down, you'll probably really like keeping Mbuna.
Actually I have more peacocks and peacock hybrids than I do mbuna; they’re just not in the pics. I knew my O.B. was more than likely a mbuna which is why I stared adding more rocks to my tank. I notice they like chunks of marble too. The blue one, I thought for sure was a socolofi. It’s also worth pointing out my blue one is a female which is probably causing some mating aggression. Currently, I have 9 cichlids and a an albino rainbow shark in a 29 gallon grow out tank. I do 2 50% water changes a week and plan to upgrade to 55-60 gal in a few months. I also have a Marineland penguin 200 filter to keep up with the bio-load. My guys are all juveniles at various sizes. The two smallest are about 2-2.25inches and the largest are about 4”. Outside of mbuna, I purposely picked cichlids that won’t grow to be more than 6 inches. As much as it breaks my heart, I’m considering re-homing my blue girl. Not because she’s aggressive or a mbuna, I just can’t have my fish breeding. I have no business trying to deal with spawning and fry. I’ve been at this for 3 months and started with some of the most aggressive fish people can buy; I knew nothing about them and dove in balls deep lol I’ve come a looooong way in terms of knowledge and understanding these fish. So far, I’ve only lost one cichlid and it was less than half an inch big. Honestly, I think the stress of simply bring it home is what caused it’s death. No one was messing with it or stopping it from eating and there was no signs of disease. I must be doing something right if I can maintain all these guys and their personalities lol

Honestly, if anyone wants her, I’ll be more than happy to give her to you. Free of charge, just pay for shipping. All I want is to make sure she goes to a good home. Her name is Bubbles and she’s actually a really great fish. She’s just started to hit a growth spurt and has some beautiful colors coming in. When light hits her scales just right, she has an almost green shift. I didn’t think females got that kind of coloring to be honest. Granted, I could be wrong but I don’t think I am.

I tried my best to take a photo of her vent when I was moving the rocks around. Please, correct me if I’m wrong.
 

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A201

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Glad to have another African Cichlid keeper in the forum. I agree, the blue fish is likely a female Socolofi. Blue Zebras are a more full bodied fish.
Regarding fry, likely the other fish will eat them. Keeping the female really won't add to the aggression level, males will quarrel anyway. Her presence will add to the digging - nest building.
I tried my best to select only male Mbuna, but a couple of pretty females accidently found their way into my tank.
They are really no problem & keep the males at maximum coloration. Here is a pic of a male Socolofi.
20200402_081305.jpg
 
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NaturalGothic

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This is my fishy family
A201 said:
Glad to have another African Cichlid keeper in the forum. I agree, the blue fish is likely a female Socolofi. Blue Zebras are a more full bodied fish.
Regarding fry, likely the other fish will eat them. Keeping the female really won't add to the aggression level, males will quarrel anyway. Her presence will add to the digging - nest building.
I tried my best to select only male Mbuna, but a couple of pretty females accidently found their way into my tank.
They are really no problem & keep the males at maximum coloration. Here is a pic of a male Socolofi.
She does LOVE to dig. The nests she makes are honestly impressive. It’s not about lowering aggression per say. It’s more so the idea of baby fish. I’d have no idea what to do with them. And these guys mate like aquatic rabbits. For some reason, when there’s only one of them in the tank, it’s more relaxed. I think it’s because I didn’t make the hides between the rocks for big enough for his size. He’s gotten a lot healthier and chunkier living with me lol

Currently, they’re both in an isolation box in my tank. I moved everything around and created bigger hides to accommodate his size. I’ll post a pic once the sand settles and I can actually see the plants. If I showed you what he looked like when I unboxed him (I work part time at an aquarium store and got first dibs on the new Africans) and what he looked like when I first brought him home, you’d be amazed. He was in really rough shape and most of his tail fin was gone. It’s starting to re-grow but I don’t think it’ll fully come back.

MacZ said:
Ok, first of all, only the two albino looking fish in the background are Peacocks. The rest are Mbuna.
Mbuna as a group are known to be aggressive a-f. so you should likely add far more rocks and hiding places. Google Malawi-Tanks and underwaterfootage of Lake MalawI so you get an impression of what I mean.
I hope sincerely that you don't keep them with any non-MalawI fish, because this is usually not working out longterm.
And finally: Mbuna are herbivores, Peacocks are carnivores. Though they share the biotope in the wild, this leads toa massive feeding problem in aquaria, as a meat heavy diet, required for Peacocks can end with a deadly bloat or indigestion for Mbuna.
Also I'm wondering how long the live plants in that tank will survive.

In any case, there is no all-cure for Mbuna aggression. Besides offering enough hiding spaces and view blocking to divide the tank into several territories, overstocking has been often times a solution, though this is also the reason MalawI tanks need massive filtration.
I’m not sure if I want to overstock just yet. I’m not afraid of the filtration needs of the work to maintain them or anything like that. I just want to make sure everyone is healthy and happy. I’ll probably add as I se fit in the future.
 

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Islandvic

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I've got a 55 gallon set up since last 4th of July with mainly Mbuna and now down to 2 Peacocks. In my particular situation, the Peacocks have been more aggressive with each other versus the Mbuna for the most part.

Eventually you will need to upgrade to a 55 gallon at a minimum. If you have a PetSmart near by, wait until they have their 50% off Top Fin kit sale and you can score their 55f combo kit for $99. If you download their app and play the in-app game, you can earn 25% off coupons and bring it down to $75 for a new tank, lid, lights, heater and filter.

That is what our 55 gallon African tank is, a Top Fin combo kit.

I would suggest for your 29 gallon to add more rocks and terra cotta pots. Ledger or flagstone are good to stack and make caves.

This will break up the line of sight and provide hiding places. Twice a month, rearrange everything and mix it up. That way their established territories get disrupted and they start over again claiming their spots.

Also consider getting a Golden Pothos plant, aka common house ivy. I have Pothos in our tanks now, with only the roots hanging down into the water and the main plant wedged between the lid, filter and tank wall in each tank. Pothos needs no extra light besides what is already in the room from ceiling light.

Pothos is good because the cichlids won't mess with the roots hanging down, and the plant will help out with ammonia and nitrates.

Regarding their diet, just keep the food you give them a variety. I will give mine cucumber once a week and skip feeding them the next day. The cucumber acts like fiber and cleans them out.

Finally, consider adding a sponge filter to the tank . It will help out with your biological filtration and you can remove it and drop it into a 5 gallon bucket or 10 gallon tank for an instantly cycled quarantine or hospital tank.
 
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NaturalGothic

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Islandvic said:
I've got a 55 gallon set up since last 4th of July with mainly Mbuna and now down to 2 Peacocks. In my particular situation, the Peacocks have been more aggressive with each other versus the Mbuna for the most part.

Eventually you will need to upgrade to a 55 gallon at a minimum. If you have a PetSmart near by, wait until they have their 50% off Top Fin kit sale and you can score their 55f combo kit for $99. If you download their app and play the in-app game, you can earn 25% off coupons and bring it down to $75 for a new tank, lid, lights, heater and filter.

That is what our 55 gallon African tank is, a Top Fin combo kit.

I would suggest for your 29 gallon to add more rocks and terra cotta pots. Ledger or flagstone are good to stack and make caves.

This will break up the line of sight and provide hiding places. Twice a month, rearrange everything and mix it up. That way their established territories get disrupted and they start over again claiming their spots.

Also consider getting a Golden Pothos plant, aka common house ivy. I have Pothos in our tanks now, with only the roots hanging down into the water and the main plant wedged between the lid, filter and tank wall in each tank. Pothos needs no extra light besides what is already in the room from ceiling light.

Pothos is good because the cichlids won't mess with the roots hanging down, and the plant will help out with ammonia and nitrates.

Regarding their diet, just keep the food you give them a variety. I will give mine cucumber once a week and skip feeding them the next day. The cucumber acts like fiber and cleans them out.

Finally, consider adding a sponge filter to the tank . It will help out with your biological filtration and you can remove it and drop it into a 5 gallon bucket or 10 gallon tank for an instantly cycled quarantine or hospital tank.
I’m well aware I’ll need to upgrade to a bigger thank; I’m fully prepared to do that when the time comes. I’m gonna get a 55 gallon but I’ll go bigger if I can. As far as my guys and their temperament goes, we worked it out. I experimented on my fish doing something I don’t think anyone has. Not to my knowledge anyway. I’ll be making a post about it later on today so keep an eye out; you might find it interesting. Don’t get me wrong, there’re still cichlids, they chase and bicker. But it’s not creating chaos and no one is getting hurt or seriously bullied. I won’t use Topfin, I don’t like them because they’re products never work for me. I always found myself modifying their filters to make them work. I’m happy they work for you and I get what you’re saying ^^ I feed my guys veggies once a week and I give them broken up pleco wafers. Plus, I always have Java ferns in my Aquarium got them to graze on. Whenever a small Java fern get pulled from the mother plant, I stick between my filter pads. Also, I moved stuff around in my tank after I posted those pics. Here’s the updated layout -
 

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A201

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For what its worth, the pictured Peacock in pic #3 looks to be a male "Jacobfreibergi". A very pretty variety once fully grown.
 

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