Central American stocking 125 gallon

heatherbeehappy

Hi guys! This is long but I wanted to give you a good idea of the situation so I can get the best advice possible.
I got a new 125 gallon tank and am setting it up now. Trying to figure out what I want to stock it with once I get it cycled. I was going to go with South American (I love those geophagus!) but after careful consideration I think I’m going to switch gears and go with Central American fish due to my water parameters. I want the fish to thrive, but not interested in breeding.
I would love to get some advice from some seasoned Central American cichlid keepers.

What I have:
* six foot 125 gallon tank
* sand substrate
* driftwood and rocks (no my pH has not been affected by the wood- still 8.2)
* some hardy, lowlight plants that attach to rock/wood (none buried in substrate)
* 16 Buenos Aires tetras

What I want:
* Central American cichlids that stay under 10 inches and are known to be less aggressive than most
* a variety of fish I can keep singles of together
* Lots of color (even if it takes a while) and good personalities

What I don’t want:
* Big bruisers like JD, Oscars, Green Terror, etc
* Plant eaters (yes, I know my BA tetras may be a problem and my plants may get bumped around some- that’s why I stuck with hardier plants I can attach to things)
*Groups of species- ie I don’t want five Firemouths and five Rainbows. I’m not interested in breeding or the increased aggression that comes with spawning.

Throw me some suggestions! So far liking firemouth, macaw/Nicaraguan, Honduran red points, rainbow cichlids, and polar blue parrot. I would also like a suggestion for a single catfish or pleco for the tank.
Thanks in advance!
 

FishFiendSP

(Just so you know, I'm by no means a seasoned cichlid keeper, just have some background knowledge)

I don't know of any central american plecos apart from Rineloricaria uracantha (sorry, couldn't find the common name). As for cichlids, here are a few species you might like: Andinoacara pulcher, Cichlasoma bimaculatum, Thorichthys aureus (these are known to be a little more aggressive), Herotilapia multispinosa, and Hypsophrys nicaraguensis are some options you could consider. I would also suggest adding some bottom feeders although I'm unsure as to what species.
 

Dewclaw83

I am also not a cichlid keeper, but perhaps a blue acara? The electric blue acara is a man made color morph (though easier to find), so if you're going for natural, the "plain" blue would be better, and, imo, it's prettier anyways. I'm not 100% sure if they're considered central american cichlids though. Good luck! It sounds like an awesome tank
 

TClare

The blue Acara is from South America. There are Andinoacaras in Central America, A. coeruleopunctatus that I know off hand. there is also at least one Geophagus species (G. crassilabrus) but it might be difficult to get. Apart from those already mentioned, Amatitlania nanolutea is colourful and not too aggressive by all accounts, I like Cryptoheros spilurus (blue-eyed cichlid) and the Vieja cichlids would be nice options as well. Personally I would much rather have a real convict cichlid than a polar blue parrot. Be careful if you are getting several species, some Central Americans can hybridize, it would be a good idea to research this first.
 

GlennO

Yes even if keeping singles of different species some breeding activity is likely if there are mixed sexes. The T-Bar (Sajica) is another nice smaller CA that is not too aggressive. But with Convicts and their hybrids you’ve already got some more aggressive types and may as well add Salvini to the mix. In that size tank there’s some room for varying aggression levels.
 

TClare

Yes, I was thinking of the T-bar as well, forgot to mention it. And regarding plecos or other catfish, I can't think if any available from Central America, I know there are some loricariids at least in Panama and Costa Rica, but I am not sure of the species. You might just have to go with Bristlenose plecos.
 

FishFiendSP

I am also not a cichlid keeper, but perhaps a blue acara? The electric blue acara is a man made color morph (though easier to find), so if you're going for natural, the "plain" blue would be better, and, imo, it's prettier anyways. I'm not 100% sure if they're considered central american cichlids though. Good luck! It sounds like an awesome tank
Sorry, I just stated that as an option and not a must have. I also find natural to be prettier in almost all cases. I found them to be in Trinidad which I thought was is in Central America.
Yes, I was thinking of the T-bar as well, forgot to mention it. And regarding plecos or other catfish, I can't think if any available from Central America, I know there are some loricariids at least in Panama and Costa Rica, but I am not sure of the species. You might just have to go with Bristlenose plecos.
I think Hypostomus plecostomus lives in Central America but it'll definitely get way too big.
 

TClare

Trinidad is in the Caribbean, very close to Venezuela. I also find the the natural, original blue acaras more attractive than the EBAs. There are a lot of potential choices for Central American cichlids, but Cental America extends from Belize to Panama, Often Mexico is included as well when talking about cichlids, so not all the cichlids mentioned so far would occcur together naturally anyway.
 

FishFiendSP

Trinidad is in the Caribbean, very close to Venezuela. I also find the the natural, original blue acaras more attractive than the EBAs. There are a lot of potential choices for Central American cichlids, but Cental America extends from Belize to Panama, Often Mexico is included as well when talking about cichlids, so not all the cichlids mentioned so far would occcur together naturally anyway.
Thanks for the info and I'll keep it in mind for the future.
 

Hellfishguy

I’m a big fan of yellow convicts, Amatitlania nanolutea. They stay fairly small and both sexes are equally beautiful.
 

GlennO

I’m a big fan of yellow convicts, Amatitlania nanolutea. They stay fairly small and both sexes are equally beautifu.
Very nice. I always get jealous when I see some of the Centrals that are obtainable in other countries.
 

heatherbeehappy

I am also not a cichlid keeper, but perhaps a blue acara? The electric blue acara is a man made color morph (though easier to find), so if you're going for natural, the "plain" blue would be better, and, imo, it's prettier anyways. I'm not 100% sure if they're considered central american cichlids though. Good luck! It sounds like an awesome tank
They’re South American but I do love them and have one in my other tank. Thanks for your reply!
 

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