Beginner - Tank Mates For Cichlids

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Lapierre084

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I am new to the fish industry and was hoping to have a tank with one or 2 Oscars and several cichlids, but upon reading and doing my homework, the Oscars do not do well with cichlids and need a large tank for multiple Oscars.
I have a 75 gallon tank and I guess now, I would like to fill it with just cichlids (looking for large & colorful) but not sure which best mix well together.

What cichlids are good with each other and how many can I have comfortably with my tank?
And I'm open to mixing my cichlids with other fish or open to other fish in general if they grow medium to large.
Thanks for help!
 

thesoulpatch

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African Peacocks are very colorful, they come in a variety of colors, some come tie-dyed and look very pretty.
There are several types of them in each subcategory as well; Lake Malawi Cichlids, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Lake Victoria Cichlids.

South American can be pretty as well, I have 2 acaras, 2 jack Dempsey, and 1 fire mouth and they are gorgeous.

The big decided factor is your water and what your setup is. As you want to make sure that you adhere as closely as you can to the fishes natural habitat.
 

tyguy7760

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First, welcome to fishlore!

Second you have tons of options.

If you are wanting lots of cichlids (and only cichlids) with lots of color and lots of activity, then your best bet would be to do something like african peacocks, haps, or mbuna.

You also have the option of doing central american cichlids. Those guys have quite a bit of personality but you won't be able to stock as heavy with them. Some of the more colorful CA cichlids that would work in a 75 gallon would be species like sajicas (tbars), rainbow cichlids, jack dempseys, or firemouth/pasiones types. Or you may want to consider some of the hybrid species like blood parrots.

Then you have the south american cichlids that have a ton of variety. You can have very aggressive fish all the way down to quite docile. These will be the best suited to community tanks where you can mix and match schooling fish like tetras with bottom dwellers like corydoras and plecos. That's not to say you can't do the same with CA but that would be impossible with most of your african species. Some interesting species to consider from this group would be severums, angelfish, bolivian rams, blue rams, bandit cichlids, geophagus (tapajos), acaras, as well as many others.

I agree with @thesoulpatch though. You need to take into consideration what type of water you have. For instance african cichlids do best in hard water. Same goes for most central americans (though there are some exceptions) while south americans do quite well in soft water. These requirements can be worked around but if you have soft water it can be difficult to keep hard water species without doing some extra stuff to your water. Though soft water fish usually do better in hard water than the opposite.

My suggestion would be to identify a species or two that you really like and check your water. Then we can build around that.
 

Lapierre084

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African Peacocks are very colorful, they come in a variety of colors, some come tie-dyed and look very pretty.
There are several types of them in each subcategory as well; Lake Malawi Cichlids, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Lake Victoria Cichlids.

South American can be pretty as well, I have 2 acaras, 2 jack Dempsey, and 1 fire mouth and they are gorgeous.

The big decided factor is your water and what your setup is. As you want to make sure that you adhere as closely as you can to the fishes natural habitat.
Thanks for the response and as far as the water goes, I'm not really sure how to do the hard vs soft water. Guess I will be reading about that tomorrow. Bottom line I guess is, I would like somewhat large fish 6"-10"fish with cool colors. But this is becoming much harder than I thought haha.
So could I do a pair of jack Dempsey's or just one, with a frontosa, labeo shark, peacock, some danios, a pleco or Cory catfish and an Oscar?? Or did I just totally mix way too much?
 

Lapierre084

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First, welcome to fishlore!

Second you have tons of options.

If you are wanting lots of cichlids (and only cichlids) with lots of color and lots of activity, then your best bet would be to do something like african peacocks, haps, or mbuna.

You also have the option of doing central american cichlids. Those guys have quite a bit of personality but you won't be able to stock as heavy with them. Some of the more colorful CA cichlids that would work in a 75 gallon would be species like sajicas (tbars), rainbow cichlids, jack dempseys, or firemouth/pasiones types. Or you may want to consider some of the hybrid species like blood parrots.

Then you have the south american cichlids that have a ton of variety. You can have very aggressive fish all the way down to quite docile. These will be the best suited to community tanks where you can mix and match schooling fish like tetras with bottom dwellers like corydoras and plecos. That's not to say you can't do the same with CA but that would be impossible with most of your african species. Some interesting species to consider from this group would be severums, angelfish, bolivian rams, blue rams, bandit cichlids, geophagus (tapajos), acaras, as well as many others.

I agree with @thesoulpatch though. You need to take into consideration what type of water you have. For instance african cichlids do best in hard water. Same goes for most central americans (though there are some exceptions) while south americans do quite well in soft water. These requirements can be worked around but if you have soft water it can be difficult to keep hard water species without doing some extra stuff to your water. Though soft water fish usually do better in hard water than the opposite.

My suggestion would be to identify a species or two that you really like and check your water. Then we can build around that.
Thanks, happy to be starting my fish journey...
Thanks for the response and as far as the water goes, I'm not really sure how to do the hard vs soft water. Guess I will be reading about that tomorrow. Bottom line I guess is, I would like somewhat large fish 6"-10"fish with cool colors. But this is becoming much harder than I thought haha.
So could I do a pair of jack Dempsey's or just one, with a frontosa, labeo shark, peacock, some danios, a pleco or Cory catfish and an Oscar?? Or did I just totally mix way too much?
 

tyguy7760

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Unfortunately that is way too much. An oscar by itself will fully stock a 75 gallon.

You really shouldn't mix african cichlids with CA/SA cichlids so no frontosa (they need larger tanks anyways) or peacocks if you still want to do a dempsey.
 

Lapierre084

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Thank you all for the responses and information. So I have decided to cut out a few fish since it seems that I do not have a big enough tank. So I will be going with 2 OB Peacocks, 2 Frontosa's, 1 Jaguar, 1 Blue Moorii and 2 Giraffes. I know that may crowd the tank still, but I want to see how it goes and if I have to pull out the Frontosa's then I will. But I took the advice with getting rid of the Jack Dempseys as they are too aggressive for my tank. Again, thanks for the info and will keep ya posted on how this turns out.
 
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