40 Gallon Tank Central/SA cichlids for 40-gallon breeder cichlid community?

I have been in the hobby for just over a year now, with a simple 20 gallon Von Rio Tetra tank, and just picked up a free 40-gallon breeder from a friend. I have been wanting a 55/75 gallon for a long time but happened to come upon this. It's a bummer knowing that half the fish I wanted to keep I can't keep in the 40 gallon, but I'm in the market for some "smaller" cichlids, as I want the tank to only be cichlids (possibly rainbow's or algae eaters). Some cichlids that I saw and liked were the T-bar cichlid, Rainbow cichlid, Electric Blue Acara, Nanocara Anamola, Keyhole Cichlid, Firemouth cichlid, Pelvichachromis (Kribs and Subocelotus), Flag Acara, flag cichlid, Apistogramma Panduro, Geophagus Altifrons, etc. One question I have: Are there any Geophagus species that can be suitable for a 40 gallon? Also, should I be getting pairs of these fish for a community, or just single specimens? If so, male or female? I am also a little bit lost on the stocking amount. Can someone tell me approximately how many of these cichlids I can keep without having territory/heavy bioload? I will, at the same time I first cycle my 40 gallon, will have a "quarantine/separation tank" that's a 20 gallon long for new fish/bullys, and for fry (if I get pairs). I am also really interested in different cichlids than the ones I listed! Thanks.
 
Solution
They seem to like anything that gives them dense cover. Most of what I've got in their tank is Hrygrophilia compacta, Hygro Willow, a little Hygro Wisteria, a tiger lotus, and some Ludwigia Repens, although I don't really think specific plants are as important as just giving them cover to hide in. I've added dwarf water lettuce in the last month, and it seems to put them even more at ease. It seems counter intuitive, but the denser you plant their tank, the more out and about they seem to be. They've also got a couple of coconut shells on either side to hide in as well, which they'll use here and there to nap in.
I would find a cichlid you like then do a pair with some other fish.
I had a 180 with a firemouth, convic, blue acara, and pike cichlid. And it was a chore to keep them from fighting.
 
I would find a cichlid you like then do a pair with some other fish.
I had a 180 with a firemouth, convic, blue acara, and pike cichlid. And it was a chore to keep them from fighting.
If only 4 fish were in your 180 and fighting, would you recommend overstocking? I will have a 20-gallon long for tank bullys if I need it. Any other ideas if my fish are fighting? Also, if I get a pair like you said, when they breed do I immediately take the fry out, or do I take the pair out also?
 
If you go with some of the smaller (slightly less feisty) cichlids like rams, kribs, apistos, or keyholes, you could still keep a community of other fish with them in the 40.

I have personally kept German blue rams and kribensis. I would think you could keep a small group of rams or a pair of kribs. Both of these fish were peaceful until they bred. The kribs became even more aggressive though, so that's why I would just do a couple.
 
If you go with some of the smaller (slightly less feisty) cichlids like rams, kribs, apistos, or keyholes, you could still keep a community of other fish with them in the 40.

I have personally kept German blue rams and kribensis. I would think you could keep a small group of rams or a pair of kribs. Both of these fish were peaceful until they bred. The kribs became even more aggressive though, so that's why I would just do a couple.
Thanks! So getting more of one species is a better idea than trying to keep 1 of each? The idea was that I wanted to have variety, but if that's going to lead to aggression problems then I think it's best to go with the groups. I have plans for separation if I need to, but since I've only kept one cichlid before, probably best to pick the less aggressive ones. If I do pick less aggressive cichlids could I make a community that way?
I've heard good things about groups of Krib's coloration, so how many of them could I put in a tank (maybe with rainbows for the middle/top layer)?
Keyhole cichlids also look stunning. Could I potentially do those with the Kribs or something like a T-bar?
 
So getting more of one species is a better idea than trying to keep 1 of each?
Generally yes, but that depends. The challenge with groups is that they will pair off and breed. This is truly wonderful and fascinating to watch, but they get aggressive when they do this. So, sometimes it is easier to just get one of a couple of different species...but then sometimes they fight with each other that way too. I prefer to get groups of just one species.
If I do pick less aggressive cichlids could I make a community that way?
Yes. For example, a small group of rams with cardinal tetras and sterbai cory cats would look amazing.

I've heard good things about groups of Krib's coloration, so how many of them could I put in a tank (maybe with rainbows for the middle/top layer)?
Keyhole cichlids also look stunning. Could I potentially do those with the Kribs or something like a T-bar?
If you went with Kribs, I'd just do a pair. They will breed (which is awesome), but they'll get aggressive when they do that.

I've never mixed cichlids, so I don't know which species would work with others.
 
My idea for the tank setup would be a few easy plants and manzanita driftwood, with some terracotta pots and/or manmade cichlid caves so there's a clear indication of territory for each cichlid. If I had a combination with a keyhole and a t-bar, would I be finding aggression if I provided the proper hiding places?
 
If you wanna have other cichlids in the tank, I would say one pair of cribs. Keyholes will do horribly in a tank with aggressive fish, so if you get kribs then no keyholes. With a pair of kribs, you could do one pair of T-bars, but even then there could be aggression problems when breeding. If you don't house them with any other aggressive cichlids, you could do at least 2 pair of kribs, maybe up to 3 pairs under certain conditions.

If you do fire mouths or blue acaras, you can have one pair and maybe you can get lucky and squeeze in another small cichlid or two.

Geophagus altifrons is one of the larger geophagus. The smallest geophagus get about 4-5 inches. You could house a pair in your tank.

I would just go with 2-3 species of smaller cichlids such as apistos, rams, kribs, dwarf acara, nanocara, etc. That way you could have potentially 6-8 cichlids of 2-3 species with other fish. You could even have 1 pair of 3 different cichlid species if you choose the right combination.
 
My idea for the tank setup would be a few easy plants and manzanita driftwood, with some terracotta pots and/or manmade cichlid caves so there's a clear indication of territory for each cichlid. If I had a combination with a keyhole and a t-bar, would I be finding aggression if I provided the proper hiding places?
Your plan for your set up seems very good. But, I have no idea if the keyhole and t-bar would fight. I've not kept either of those.
 
If I had a combination with a keyhole and a t-bar, would I be finding aggression if I provided the proper hiding places?
If the t-bars pair up and breed, you will probably have to remove the keyholes. Be very careful when choosing keyhole tankmates. They do not deal with aggression well at all.
 
Generally yes, but that depends. The challenge with groups is that they will pair off and breed. This is truly wonderful and fascinating to watch, but they get aggressive when they do this. So, sometimes it is easier to just get one of a couple of different species...but then sometimes they fight with each other that way too. I prefer to get groups of just one species.
I personally would prefer a variety, just because it will prevent me from having to deal with breeding. I know I have the 20g long for the fry, but I'm not sure if I am experienced enough for that. I would have trouble getting live baby brine shrimp frequently from my LFS, and feel like I would have trouble getting the juveniles out quick enough.
 
Is it inevitable that they will breed in a healthy tank? I like these fish but don't want to deal with fry.
Most of the fish listed on this thread are easy to breed, which is why they are so common in the aquarium trade. With certain species you could just get all of one sex, but even in some of those, females may "pair" up and breed. They would produce infertile eggs, but still show aggressive breeding behaviors.
 
If you wanna have other cichlids in the tank, I would say one pair of cribs. Keyholes will do horribly in a tank with aggressive fish, so if you get kribs then no keyholes. With a pair of kribs, you could do one pair of T-bars, but even then there could be aggression problems when breeding. If you don't house them with any other aggressive cichlids, you could do at least 2 pair of kribs, maybe up to 3 pairs under certain conditions.

If you do fire mouths or blue acaras, you can have one pair and maybe you can get lucky and squeeze in another small cichlid or two.

Geophagus altifrons is one of the larger geophagus. The smallest geophagus get about 4-5 inches. You could house a pair in your tank.

I would just go with 2-3 species of smaller cichlids such as apistos, rams, kribs, dwarf acara, nanocara, etc. That way you could have potentially 6-8 cichlids of 2-3 species with other fish. You could even have 1 pair of 3 different cichlid species if you choose the right combination.
What would be that small geophagus? Also, I think you've convinced me to go the route of groups and multiple pairs. I think it would not be as cool to only have a few cichlids in the tank, and it would be really cool to see a bunch of cichlids in the tank v.s. just a few. Do you have any tips for when they breed? I am not very experienced, so I'm not sure what to correctly do in that process other than the basics.
 
If the t-bars pair up and breed, you will probably have to remove the keyholes. Be very careful when choosing keyhole tankmates. They do not deal with aggression well at all.
If I did only 1 t-bar would that work in a community? I really like both fish, so I'm not sure which one would be better to have in a community with Kribensis, Blue Acara, etc.
I also forgot to mention the rainbow cichlid... good for community or aggressive?
 
geophagus steindachneri
geophagus parnaibae

There are more, but generally these and all there hump headed close relatives are the same size at about 4-6 inches. There are also some non geophagus that are very similar. For example, rams scientific name is literally Mikrogeophagus. Biotodoma cichlids are also sometimes called eartheaters.

What to do when they breed depends on what cichlid species they are. If your talking about aggression when breeding, there really isn't much you can do besides put lots of cover in the tank. Some people put a mirror near the breeding site so the breeding pair focuses their aggression on their reflections rather than other fish in the tank.

If you mean raising the fry, then first provide a proper breeding site. For cave spawner such as apistos, do a small cave-like hide for each pair. For open spawners like rams, a flat rock or other surface will usually do. There are other types of breeding methods in cichlids, but those two are generally the most common in dwarf cichlids. When the fry hatch, feed them very small foods. Some stores sell food specifically designed for "Wigglers", as newborn fry are often called. At a certain point you will have to remove the fry from the main tank so they don't get eaten by the parent or other fish. Then simply keep them in similar conditions as the adults and feed them foods based on there size. Make sure to keep upgrading the tank size as they grow.

Breeding varies highly throughout the animal kingdom, so the process I explained is relative, and some dwarf cichlids may require very special setups and care to breed an grow.
1 T-bar can be housed in a community with 1-2 pairs of other cichlids and other fish, depending on the other cichlids and fish of course.



Rainbow cichlid is fine in a community, but because of its larger size, you are limited on the amount of other cichlids you can have.

Pretty much all of the cichlids mentioned on this thread can be housed with other fish, even when breeding.
 
geophagus steindachneri
geophagus parnaibae

There are more, but generally these and all there hump headed close relatives are the same size at about 4-6 inches. There are also some non geophagus that are very similar. For example, rams scientific name is literally Mikrogeophagus. Biotodoma cichlids are also sometimes called eartheaters.

What to do when they breed depends on what cichlid species they are. If your talking about aggression when breeding, there really isn't much you can do besides put lots of cover in the tank. Some people put a mirror near the breeding site so the breeding pair focuses their aggression on their reflections rather than other fish in the tank.

If you mean raising the fry, then first provide a proper breeding site. For cave spawner such as apistos, do a small cave-like hide for each pair. For open spawners like rams, a flat rock or other surface will usually do. There are other types of breeding methods in cichlids, but those two are generally the most common in dwarf cichlids. When the fry hatch, feed them very small foods. Some stores sell food specifically designed for "Wigglers", as newborn fry are often called. At a certain point you will have to remove the fry from the main tank so they don't get eaten by the parent or other fish. Then simply keep them in similar conditions as the adults and feed them foods based on there size. Make sure to keep upgrading the tank size as they grow.

Breeding varies highly throughout the animal kingdom, so the process I explained is relative, and some dwarf cichlids may require very special setups and care to breed an grow.
1 T-bar can be housed in a community with 1-2 pairs of other cichlids and other fish, depending on the other cichlids and fish of course.

Rainbow cichlid is fine in a community, but because of its larger size, you are limited on the amount of other cichlids you can have.

Pretty much all of the cichlids mentioned can be housed with other fish, even when breeding.
I'm not sure I can get a bigger tank than the 20 gallon for the fry. My goal is for breeding to happen as infrequent as possible, so how can I make that happen. Also, how often would I need to be getting the live baby brine to feed the fry if I do end up having to raise fry?
The Geophagus options you gave are very helpful!
 
Honestly, with kribs, It's either a pair or a big group. I've kept them super happy in groups of 10+ (with TOOOONS of caves), and in just pairs. In a group, aggression is distributed more evenly, meaning that nobody is singled out.
 
The best and least risky way to prevent breeding is to get all of one sex. However, this can be problematic. For example, 2 male apistos in a small tank will fight with each other a lot, and it can be the same for females in some fish species. And as I said before, 2 females of some cichlids will still pair, producing infertile eggs, but still showing aggressive breeding behavior.

You could alter the environment so the water conditions aren't right enough for the fish to breed or produce viable eggs, such as lowering the water temperature so the eggs aren't warm enough to develop properly. However I have never seen or heard of anyone doing this, and it would also require an extensive amount of research on a scientific level to get it right. Then there are the risks that is poses to your adult fish. In the wild, they usually live in waters that are ample for them to breed in, meaning water that they can't breed in may be uninhabitable for them. This method is out of the question, especially for a beginner.

Finally, you could let the adults breed, but then remove the eggs and/or fry early, thus making the adults come out of breeding condition. However, there is no guarantee that they will come out of their breeding behavior. Their breeding behavior might run on a sort of internal clock, that stops around the time that the fry can mostly fend for themselves. So they would still be aggressive and protective, but with no eggs or fry to actually protect. Then there is the fact the the eggs and fry could die. Fish eggs are often very fragile. Removing them off of the surface there glued to could tear them apart. Taking them out of the water for a split second could alter their development. The conditions of the new tank might not match the conditions of their native tank. I could go all day with the things that could potentially kill or mess up the fry and/or eggs during the removal process. Also, some cichlids can actually go through a kind of "depression" if deprived of there eggs and fry.
 
Bolivian rams are like mini Geophagus. They are super colourful and have loads of personality. I would recommend a pair for a 40 gal. They are smallish and very docile so I’m not sure how they’d mix with other cichlids, I’ve never tried that.As for breeding I agree that taking away eggs fry too often can cause the cichlids to become depressed and can even cause bonds to break between pairs which can lead to fights. Fry don’t usually survive long I just usually leave my rams and their fry alone and the fry last about a week before being picked off by other fish or dying of other natural causes. The rams don’t seem to get “sad” when the fry slowly die off like this and they enjoy caring for the fry for a little while. It’s more when you take all of the fry at once that the fish become very frustrated
I have been in the hobby for just over a year now, with a simple 20 gallon Von Rio Tetra tank, and just picked up a free 40-gallon breeder from a friend. I have been wanting a 55/75 gallon for a long time but happened to come upon this. It's a bummer knowing that half the fish I wanted to keep I can't keep in the 40 gallon, but I'm in the market for some "smaller" cichlids, as I want the tank to only be cichlids (possibly rainbow's or algae eaters). Some cichlids that I saw and liked were the T-bar cichlid, Rainbow cichlid, Electric Blue Acara, Nanocara Anamola, Keyhole Cichlid, Firemouth cichlid, Pelvichachromis (Kribs and Subocelotus), Flag Acara, flag cichlid, Apistogramma Panduro, Geophagus Altifrons, etc. One question I have: Are there any Geophagus species that can be suitable for a 40 gallon? Also, should I be getting pairs of these fish for a community, or just single specimens? If so, male or female? I am also a little bit lost on the stocking amount. Can someone tell me approximately how many of these cichlids I can keep without having territory/heavy bioload? I will, at the same time I first cycle my 40 gallon, will have a "quarantine/separation tank" that's a 20 gallon long for new fish/bullys, and for fry (if I get pairs). I am also really interested in different cichlids than the ones I listed! Thanks.
 
Bolivian rams are like mini Geophagus. They are super colourful and have loads of personality. I would recommend a pair for a 40 gal. They are smallish and very docile so I’m not sure how they’d mix with other cichlids, I’ve never tried that.As for breeding I agree that taking away eggs fry too often can cause the cichlids to become depressed and can even cause bonds to break between pairs which can lead to fights. Fry don’t usually survive long I just usually leave my rams and their fry alone and the fry last about a week before being picked off by other fish or dying of other natural causes. The rams don’t seem to get “sad” when the fry slowly die off like this and they enjoy caring for the fry for a little while. It’s more when you take all of the fry at once that the fish become very frustrated
So even if my fish breed, I should just keep them in the tank with the parents and they will eventually die? Is that what most people do with their fry? Sorry, I am still a beginner so I don't quite know the trends for breeding. Also, should i just be looking and making sure the breeding pair isn't killing anyone in the tank before the fry die off?
Bolivian rams are definitely on my list, I was just not sure if they'd be too docile for some of the semi-aggressive fish I want to keep like the T-Bar and possibly Firemouths.
 
Some people wouldn't support leaving the fry in there just to die. I typically wouldn't do it myself, but its understandable in your situation. See if there are any fish stores or hobbyists willing to accept the fry first. Also, depending on how the tank environment is, some fry may survive to adulthood in the main tank.

Its unlikely that a breeding pair of any of the cichlids mentioned will kill a fish, at least not directly. The stress of being bullied over and over again for a long time could kill a fish, but that is rare in most common aquarium fish.

Bolivian rams with T-bars should be fine for the most part, even when breeding. I can't say I'v actually seen firemouths housed with bolivian rams before, but don't think it would work.
 
Some people wouldn't support leaving the fry in there just to die. I typically wouldn't do it myself, but its understandable in your situation. See if there are any fish stores or hobbyists willing to accept the fry first. Also, depending on how the tank environment is, some fry may survive to adulthood in the main tank.

Its unlikely that a breeding pair of any of the cichlids mentioned will kill a fish, at least not directly. The stress of being bullied over and over again for a long time could kill a fish, but that is rare in most common aquarium fish.

Bolivian rams with T-bars should be fine for the most part, even when breeding. I can't say I'v actually seen firemouths housed with bolivian rams before, but don't think it would work.
Ok! I want to do that, but you all have been saying it's not good to take out the fry, so I'm not sure what i should do. Remember, I have a 20 gallon long if I need to take out the fry and no breeding experience. Going to the LFS for baby brine frequently and then trying to transport the fry to the LFS would seem really daunting for a beginner like me. Any suggestions?
Do I just need to wait a while for the fry to become a certain age to transfer them?
 
So even if my fish breed, I should just keep them in the tank with the parents and they will eventually die? Is that what most people do with their fry? Sorry, I am still a beginner so I don't quite know the trends for breeding. Also, should i just be looking and making sure the breeding pair isn't killing anyone in the tank before the fry die off?
Bolivian rams are definitely on my list, I was just not sure if they'd be too docile for some of the semi-aggressive fish I want to keep like the T-Bar and possibly Firemouths.
Bolivian rams are very docile and I’m not sure if they would be able to stand up to larger cichlids. I feed the fry while they're in the tan and help to keep them healthy as long as possible. But the thing is that Bolivian rams will lay eggs a few days after you take the fry away and they can lay 200 eggs each time it would be physically impossible to raise them all. It’s also not really ethical if everyone with rams was raising the 200+ fry that they produce sometimes twice a week we would be over run there wouldn’t be enough homes for them. I am currently raising 15 Young rams that a stole from my adults. 6 months on they are now just barely getting big enough to sell and I’ve been doing a 90% water change daily for 6 months. So you cant raise them all. At first I was kinda horrified at the fact that I couldn’t save them all but you kinda just get used to it and all you can do is give the fry clean water and food I think they have short but pleasant lives and raising teh fry is very enriching for the adults and allows them to exercise their natural instincts. Having said that rams are still my favourite and ill always have at least 1 pair. Right now I have two pairs in different tanks and 1 loner in another tank. I think this is just part of owning cichlids unless your keeping single specimen. Also rams are too gentle to defend the fry against anything other than very peaceful community fish if another fish is persistent the parents won’t be able to protect them. Rams certainly won’t go around killing other fish to defend their fry. I find my fry disappear once the fry start being bold enough to explore a little too much they’re smaller than a 1/4” at this stage and don’t look like rams yet. Fish stores are not going to accept fry this tiny, they are a lot of work. Keep in mind too that some cichlids just aren’t good parents they’ve been hand raised so long many cichlids just don’t have good parenting instincts and may eat the fry as they hatch I have one pair that often cant even get any eggs to hatch because they’re bad at cleaning them. Sometimes the parents randomly just kill them all too.
 
I think I have an idea of stocking, based on everyone super helpful suggestions on this thread:
1x Pair of either T-bar cichlids, Keyhole cichlids, or Rainbow cichlids
2x Pairs of Kribensis
1x Pair of Bolivian Rams or 1x Male Readhead Geophagus
6x Rainbowfish

Too Much stock?
 
I think I have an idea of stocking, based on everyone super helpful suggestions on this thread:
1x Pair of either T-bar cichlids, Keyhole cichlids, or Rainbow cichlids
2x Pairs of Kribensis
1x Pair of Bolivian Rams or 1x Male Readhead Geophagus
6x Rainbowfish

Too Much stock?
I’m not sure about the rams with the other cichlids but I know keyhole cichlids are quite gentle so rams and keyholes might work. The trouble is that cichlids have such individual personalities they don’t always behave as expected.
 
It’s tricky and very time consuming getting a harmonious community of Central/SA Cichlids. Firstly because of different levels of aggression at a species level but also at an individual level. Secondly many CA Cichlids can hybridise so having all different species doesn’t guarantee no breeding activity and the aggression that goes with it. Thirdly, you can minimise that by having all the same sex but mature sexable fish are hard to find and you normally need to start with a group of juvies which means rehoming loads of fish as they mature. Fourthly, overstocking to deal with aggression doesn’t work with CA/SA Cichlids like it does with African Rift Lake Cichlids.

A long time ago I had a 55 that I stocked with some small to med semi-aggressive CA Cichlids. From memory, I had a T-Bar, Firemouth, Blue Eyed Cichlid, Rainbow Cichlid and a Nicaraguan Cichlid. They were all male except for the Nicaraguan. It took about 2 years before I ended up with that community, with lots of fish purchased and rehomed in the interim. It was a great tank though, they have so much personality.

Keyholes don’t work well in these types of communities. The slightest aggression stresses them. I’d avoid Convicts also. Their aggression level is higher than the others mentioned, and they will try to breed with anything.
 
You could keep a pair of GBR's with a few cardinal tetras.
That sounds like a great idea, but I’ve heard that GBR’s are pretty advanced and I personally like the Bolivian Rams better (even though there is less color I just like the coloration and hardyness)
Thirdly, you can minimise that by having all the same sex but mature sexable fish are hard to find and you normally need to start with a group of juvies which means rehoming loads of fish as they mature. Fourthly, overstocking to deal with aggression doesn’t work with CA/SA Cichlids like it does with African Rift Lake Cichlids.
Agree! Thank you!
It’s tricky and very time consuming getting a harmonious community of Central/SA Cichlids. Firstly because of different levels of aggression at a species level but also at an individual level. Secondly many CA Cichlids can hybridise so having all different species doesn’t guarantee no breeding activity and the aggression that goes with it. Thirdly, you can minimise that by having all the same sex but mature sexable fish are hard to find and you normally need to start with a group of juvies which means rehoming loads of fish as they mature. Fourthly, overstocking to deal with aggression doesn’t work with CA/SA Cichlids like it does with African Rift Lake Cichlids.

A long time ago I had a 55 that I stocked with some small to med semi-aggressive CA Cichlids. From memory, I had a T-Bar, Firemouth, Blue Eyed Cichlid, Rainbow Cichlid and a Nicaraguan Cichlid. They were all male except for the Nicaraguan. It took about 2 years before I ended up with that community, with lots of fish purchased and rehomed in the interim. It was a great tank though, they have so much personality.

Keyholes don’t work well in these types of communities. The slightest aggression stresses them. I’d avoid Convicts also. Their aggression level is higher than the others mentioned, and they will try to breed with anything.
I’m ok with refining them, as well as separating them in my empty 20g if the time calls for it. Your 55 sounds really cool on stocking!
*rehoming
That sounds like a great idea, but I’ve heard that GBR’s are pretty advanced and I personally like the Bolivian Rams better (even though there is less color I just like the coloration and hardyness)

Agree! Thank you!

I’m ok with refining them, as well as separating them in my empty 20g if the time calls for it. Your 55 sounds really cool on stocking!
*rehoming
Could you tell me more about the blue eyed cichlid? Also, would a keyhole group with some rainbows and maybe a geophagus work?
 
Perhaps a pair of Bolivians and a school of dwarf rainbowfish.
Would I do that with other cichlids or is that the full stock of the tank?
I would personally want to keep at least 4 cichlids, but I am definitely wanting to add rainbow's to the tank to fill in the upper region. Would a school of about 6 work with some of the cichlids I mentioned?
 
Maybe 2 pair of Bolivians? I'm not experienced with Bolivians so perhaps someone else can advise if 40 gal provides enough floor space for 2 pairs. 40 gal is fairly limited, if you try to mix species of breeding pairs (e.g. Bolivians & Kribs) it's possible that one of the pair will come to dominate over the others. Your Cichlid numbers are more limited when you have a breeding pair as opposed to non breeding individuals.

6-8 dwarf rainbowfish would be fine.
 
Maybe 2 pair of Bolivians? I'm not experienced with Bolivians so perhaps someone else can advise if 40 gal provides enough floor space for 2 pairs. 40 gal is fairly limited, if you try to mix species of breeding pairs (e.g. Bolivians & Kribs) it's possible that one of the pair will come to dominate over the others. Your Cichlid numbers are more limited when you have a breeding pair as opposed to non breeding individuals.

6-8 dwarf rainbowfish would be fine.
Yes, I don't want to raise fry if I don't have to and like the variety of one of each fish species, but people have told me on this thread that I would only be able to have a few fish if I do that and could possibly have more aggression since they are going to be the same gender (obviously).
 
Yes, I don't want to raise fry if I don't have to and like the variety of one of each fish species, but people have told me on this thread that I would only be able to have a few fish if I do that and could possibly have more aggression since they are going to be the same gender (obviously).

You don't have to raise the fry if you don't want to. Cichlid breeding behaviour is one of the joys of the hobby to observe however there is more aggression when breeding than non breeding which is what limits numbers. Keeping multiple individuals of different species might allow you to keep a couple extra Cichlids in there but requires careful selection of species and even then it is often accompanied by some trial and error due to individual temperaments.
 
You don't have to raise the fry if you don't want to. Cichlid breeding behaviour is one of the joys of the hobby to observe however there is more aggression when breeding than non breeding which is what limits numbers. Keeping multiple individuals of different species might allow you to keep a couple extra Cichlids in there but requires careful selection of species and even then it is often accompanied by some trial and error due to individual temperaments.
I think someone else on this thread said they just let their fry "die off," and another person said this is typically frowned upon by people. Is it a common thing to not raise the fry? Also, if the fry does somehow make it to juvenile stage without trying to raise them, should i sell them to the LFS?!
 
I think someone else on this thread said they just let their fry "die off," and another person said this is typically frowned upon by people. Is it a common thing to not raise the fry? Also, if the fry does somehow make it to juvenile stage without trying to raise them, should i sell them to the LFS?!

It's up to you, I don't make any judgements regarding how people deal with fry. If you have other fish in there it's possible that many will get eaten by the time they are free swimming. If any survive in the longer term you can sell or give them away.
 
It's up to you, I don't make any judgements regarding how people deal with fry. If you have other fish in there it's possible that many will get eaten by the time they are free swimming. If any survive in the longer term you can sell or give them away.
Disregarding ethics, would you recommend this option based on my concerns about raising the fry?
 
Disregarding ethics, would you recommend this option based on my concerns about raising the fry?

I think if this is your first time with Cichlids keeping one pair gives you your best chance of success without having to deal with aggression issues and will allow you to observe their interesting behaviours, some of which you miss out on when keeping singles. In a community tank, nature will take care of most if not all fry.
 
I think if this is your first time with Cichlids keeping one pair gives you your best chance of success without having to deal with aggression issues and will allow you to observe their interesting behaviours, some of which you miss out on when keeping singles. In a community tank, nature will take care of most if not all fry.
So... If I were to keep a pair of something, could I keep other cichlids in the community as well?
So... If I were to keep a pair of something, could I keep other cichlids in the community as well?
You said earlier that you would have me get someone else's advice on more than one pair and the combinations, so I'm not sure what that would look like. Mudminnow, do you have any ideas based on the stocking list I made earlier about what to alter?
 
Keyholes don’t work well in these types of communities. The slightest aggression stresses them.

Agree, really mellow (for cichlids). They really need to be the "big dog" of their tank. I love the 4 I've got in my 40B. Similar personalities to Oscars as far as the whole puppy-fish thing Oscars are famous for.
 
Agree, really mellow (for cichlids). They really need to be the "big dog" of their tank. I love the 4 I've got in my 40B. Similar personalities to Oscars as far as the whole puppy-fish thing Oscars are famous for.
Thank you, faydout! I was definitely thinking about a group of one of the cichlids I mentioned, and keyholes seem really cool. Do you recommend this route (people were saying Kribensis in groups are cool, too)? Also, how long does it take for the keyholes to show their color? With most of the CA/SA Cichlids, they take a while to color up, and I would prefer for them to color up quickly, but if they don't they are still cool!
 
So... If I were to keep a pair of something, could I keep other cichlids in the community as well?

Depends on species. A breeding pair of Cichlids in a 40 makes other Cichlid additions problematic, but not impossible. As suggested, Keyholes are docile and do well in a small group if you want more than a pair.
 
Depends on species. A breeding pair of Cichlids in a 40 makes other Cichlid additions problematic, but not impossible. As suggested, Keyholes are docile and do well in a small group if you want more than a pair.
Like I said, I want to keep one pair of either rainbow, keyhole, or t bar cichlids, 2 pairs of Kribensis, and a Geophagus since I was told the Rams wouldn't do well with those cichlids, as well as a school of rainbows (looks like you know a lot about them) if space allows it. I'm not sure if I should just get one species of those cichlids and just get like 3-4 pairs of them, and let the rainbows do their thing at the top.
 
Mudminnow, do you have any ideas based on the stocking list I made earlier about what to alter?
Honestly, the advice others have given you seems better than what I could offer. Like I mentioned, I've only kept GBRs and kribs. From what I've gleaned from this discussion though, it seems (even though other combinations could work) getting a group of keyhole cichlids or Bolivian rams (without trying to mix other cichlids) may be the easiest to pull off.

I would add that if you're worried about taking care of baby fish, it may not be much of an issue if you keep other fish with them. When I had my pair of kribs, I also had a school of zebra danios in with them. Although my kribs tried valiantly to keep those danios away from their babies, eventually they all got eaten. I would imagine, the rainbowfish you mentioned would probably do the same thing. And, if a few babies make it, you could give them to your local fish shop.
 
Honestly, the advice others have given you seems better than what I could offer. Like I mentioned, I've only kept GBRs and kribs. From what I've gleaned from this discussion though, it seems getting a group of keyhole cichlids or Bolivian rams (without trying to mix other cichlids) may be your safest bet.

I would add that if you're worried about taking care of baby fish, it may not be much of an issue if you keep other fish with them. When I had my pair of kribs, I also had a school of zebra danios in with them. Although my kribs tried valiantly to keep those danios away from their babies, eventually they all got eaten. I would imagine, the rainbowfish you mentioned would probably do the same thing. And, if a few babies make it, you could give them to your local fish shop.
That sounds like a GREAT idea. I'll eventually decide on the stocking, but for now I need to get everything besides the fish running in the tank first, so will hop on another thread.

Truely, everyone that went back and forth with me you are the best!!! It's great to see experienced fishkeepers help out beginners like me. Once my tank gets running I'll post some photos!
 
Thank you, faydout! I was definitely thinking about a group of one of the cichlids I mentioned, and keyholes seem really cool. Do you recommend this route (people were saying Kribensis in groups are cool, too)? Also, how long does it take for the keyholes to show their color? With most of the CA/SA Cichlids, they take a while to color up, and I would prefer for them to color up quickly, but if they don't they are still cool!

If you decide on Keyholes, a group would work best. I wish I had done these Keyholes in a bigger tank so I could have done a bigger group. They're really social, and do better in a bigger shoal. As far as coloring, they're pretty much the color(s) they're gonna be from day one. They're pretty drab compared to GBR's, Kribs, or Laetacaras. One neat thing about their coloring though is that they change pretty drastically based on mood and whether they're trying to blend in. I've seen mine from almost entirely black when they're stressed, scared and blending in to almost a pure white with some zebra like striping (I keep them in a tank with PFS mixed with black sand so again, blending in). Their natural color though, is an olive / off white sort of color.
 

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If you decide on Keyholes, a group would work best. I wish I had done these Keyholes in a bigger tank so I could have done a bigger group. They're really social, and do better in a bigger shoal. As far as coloring, they're pretty much the color(s) they're gonna be from day one. They're pretty drab compared to GBR's, Kribs, or Laetacaras. One neat thing about their coloring though is that they change pretty drastically based on mood and whether they're trying to blend in. I've seen mine from almost entirely black when they're stressed, scared and blending in to almost a pure white with some zebra like striping (I keep them in a tank with PFS mixed with black sand so again, blending in). Their natural color though, is an olive / off white sort of color.
Thanks! What are the plants you use/recommend?
 
They seem to like anything that gives them dense cover. Most of what I've got in their tank is Hrygrophilia compacta, Hygro Willow, a little Hygro Wisteria, a tiger lotus, and some Ludwigia Repens, although I don't really think specific plants are as important as just giving them cover to hide in. I've added dwarf water lettuce in the last month, and it seems to put them even more at ease. It seems counter intuitive, but the denser you plant their tank, the more out and about they seem to be. They've also got a couple of coconut shells on either side to hide in as well, which they'll use here and there to nap in.
 
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