Dwarf mbunas tank and colony size

bwill1500

hi guys, i’m gonna keep this long story short.
I’ve been a hobbyist for acouple of years now, i’ve just gotten back into it.

I’m not familiar with the mbuna species. i went into the store, with a new young employee suggesting dwarf cichlids.
i thought i had asked the appropriate questions of how large will they get, max tank size, landscape, and how many to house together to curb aggression.

i guess i didn’t get the right information as i’ve been reading upon a few forums. so in a breeding tank a new employee said that two would do fine in a 5 Gal TEMPORARILY., as they aren’t even a quarter inch yet (juveniles).
the two obviously weren’t getting along and one slightly bigger was picking on the smaller one, so i added another mbuna, (yellow and black) to hopefully spread out the aggression, changing the lay out so they’d all have a chance at their own territory. i wasn’t comfortable adding anymore due to the tank size.

I know that it would be healthier adding more to the group to spread out that aggression, but financially would i be okay with going to a 10 gal adding another? (so on and so forth) if not should i immediately buy a 55 gal and add more ?
how many should i stop at in a colony and what size?

please no judgement, i’m now seeking the best options in caring for these little guys they aren’t even half an inch yet it’s been a few weeks since i’ve had them. the yellow and black mbuna is now glass surfing over the past few days and i’m eager to make a change i just want to do it correctly.
any suggestions on tanks? thank you!!!
 

MacZ

You have been advised very badly. Whoever sold you these fish for your tank size deserves being fired from their job. ASAP!

First of all: What exact species do you have? Cichlids are a group with over 1700 species.

Secondly: Mbuna are a group of Lake Malawi cichlids containing several dozen species. And none of them is suitable long term for a tank below 350 liters, despite what people say. I've been breeding them for a decade in the 90s and although back then given minimum tank sizes were smaller on average, we learned the hard way that the given dimensions did not fit the fish at all. So a 55 is your minimum, 75 would buy you 1-2 years, only with a 125 you can relax completely longterm.
There are also no "dwarf Mbuna". "Dwarf cichlids" are not a group of related species but are grouped by lifestyle and size. No Mbuna falls into the "dwarf cichlid" category.

My advise: Rehome the fish and start over from scratch, that will be best for the fish, your nerves and your pockets.

If you like post a picture for accurate ID of the animals.
 

bwill1500

you’re right the person who sold them to me should be fired… i went back in and one of the employees who have been there for years said they’d only grow about 3 inches. he also said that these blue guys are the offspring of something with zebra?? they’re not even one breed of fish. they’re unbelievably small.
he said they were demasonis.
 

MacZ

you’re right the person who sold them to me should be fired… i went back in and one of the employees who have been there for years said they’d only grow about 3 inches. he also said that these blue guys are the offspring of something with zebra?? they’re not even one breed of fish. they’re unbelievably small.
he said they were demasonis.
You got 2 different species there. Not breeds.

The yellow one is a Melanochromis auratus. The females look like this later on, the males get a jet black lower half. One of the most aggressive aquarium fish. They grow up to 15cm.
The other one could well be a Chindongo demasoni. They indeed only get about 10cm.

Please for the animals and your fishkeeping experience... return them and research thoroughly before getting more fish.

Here's a website you can get loads of info on about these fish. (There's a language toggle right under the top menu.)
www.malawi-guru.de
 

bwill1500

aaaand that’s why i’ve asked cause i figured i was misinformed. thx.
 

MacZ

Good luck. I wish you'd have had a less bumpy start into the hobby.

Best thing I can advise you otherwise: Change the fishstore.
 

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