Keyhole Cichlid appreciation thread

toeknee

Member
I've noticed lately Keyhole Cichlids seem to be gaining traction and becoming more popular in the hobby. I see a lot more talk here on the forums about them as well.. They're definitely an underrated fish still. Not as flashy as other colorful Cichlids but from my experience they're one of the most peaceful and sociable Cichlids around that are perfect for community tanks. Post any videos or photos of yours if you have any! Here's a quick video I just took of mine feeding in the 55 gallon.
 

Cody

Member
I had two of them years ago in a tank that ended up springing a leak and I had to give them up. I ended up with a pair by luck and the were gorgeous in breeding dress.

I do Agree though that they’re underrated since they aren’t super flashy. But they are great for viewing and their mild manner is great too.
 

SinisterCichlids

Member
Definitely underrated for sure. Love seeing their peaceful nature with smaller community fish, and even rams and corys! Truly amazing. I just wanted to say that your scape is one of the best I have ever seen and I strive to be as good as that some day!
 

ChrisX

Member
toeknee said:
I've noticed lately Keyhole Cichlids seem to be gaining traction and becoming more popular in the hobby. I see a lot more talk here on the forums about them as well.. They're definitely an underrated fish still. Not as flashy as other colorful Cichlids but from my experience they're one of the most peaceful and sociable Cichlids around that are perfect for community tanks. Post any videos or photos of yours if you have any! Here's a quick video I just took of mine feeding in the 55 gallon.
I love your tank. Looks like you have the CO2 and light cranked up !

I've turned down the light in my tank and have easy plant species now. This way I don't have to deal with (much) algae.
 
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toeknee

Member
SinisterCichlids said:
Definitely underrated for sure. Love seeing their peaceful nature with smaller community fish, and even rams and corys! Truly amazing. I just wanted to say that your scape is one of the best I have ever seen and I strive to be as good as that some day!
Thank you very much, it's taken well over a year for this tank to be where I want it. It takes a lot of patience, time and a good amount of OCD. I'll be staring at my tank and find one individual leaf in the wrong spot and I'll have to move or trim it because it bothers me. Good luck with your tanks!
ChrisX said:
I love your tank. Looks like you have the CO2 and light cranked up !

I've turned down the light in my tank and have easy plant species now. This way I don't have to deal with (much) algae.
Thank you! I do have CO2 and two Beamswork DA FSPEC led's running. As long as my plants are outcompeting the algae for resources I have minimal algae issues. There will always be SOME algae. I've battled with outbreaks of almost every sort of common aquarium algae with this tank over the years. I think I've found the closest as I'll get to "the sweet spot" with this tank. Pretty much all of my plants are in the easy-moderate difficulty range. I have a lot of these same plants in other non-co2 tanks and they do fine but lack vibrant color, don't grow as densely and tend to look much different. Good luck with your tank and algae battles!
 

ChrisX

Member
toeknee said:
Thank you very much, it's taken well over a year for this tank to be where I want it. It takes a lot of patience, time and a good amount of OCD. I'll be staring at my tank and find one individual leaf in the wrong spot and I'll have to move or trim it because it bothers me. Good luck with your tanks!

Thank you! I do have CO2 and two Beamswork DA FSPEC led's running. As long as my plants are outcompeting the algae for resources I have minimal algae issues. There will always be SOME algae. I've battled with outbreaks of almost every sort of common aquarium algae with this tank over the years. I think I've found the closest as I'll get to "the sweet spot" with this tank. Pretty much all of my plants are in the easy-moderate difficulty range. I have a lot of these same plants in other non-co2 tanks and they do fine but lack vibrant color, don't grow as densely and tend to look much different. Good luck with your tank and algae battles!
When I had alot of plant mass in my tank, I had to run an airstone at night to oxygenate for the keyholes. (Still do) Hungry plants take all the oxygen out of the water at night. Keyholes looked better and were better behaved. In the morning they were breathing heavy and cranky until around noon when the plants had oxygenated the water. You may have enough surface agitation that you don't need to do this, but its just a suggestion.

With two of those lights, you probably have 100+ PAR at the substrate. I am in the 50-60 range atm, but I'm always looking for an excuse to put the tank back in overdrive.

BTW, what is that carpet plant on the right side?
 
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toeknee

Member
ChrisX said:
When I had alot of plant mass in my tank, I had to run an airstone at night to oxygenate for the keyholes. (Still do) Hungry plants take all the oxygen out of the water at night. Keyholes looked better and were better behaved. In the morning they were breathing heavy and cranky until around noon when the plants had oxygenated the water. You may have enough surface agitation that you don't need to do this, but its just a suggestion.

With two of those lights, you probably have 100+ PAR at the substrate. I am in the 50-60 range atm, but I'm always looking for an excuse to put the tank back in overdrive.

BTW, what is that carpet plant on the right side?
I actually had that issue a couple months ago. I woke up a few mornings to find all my Rasboras and Keyholes hanging out at the surface. I now have an tiny water pump hiding in the back right corner on a timer from midnight-6 a.m. It's pointed up at the surface and creates all kinds of surface agitation, I haven't seen any surface swimming ever since.

I forget exactly was my PAR is I think it was in the 120ish range at the substrate level with those two lights combined. You can still do a lot with 50-60 PAR!

And that carpet is Staurogyne Repens, about ready for a big trimming.
 

ChrisX

Member
toeknee said:
I actually had that issue a couple months ago. I woke up a few mornings to find all my Rasboras and Keyholes hanging out at the surface. I now have an tiny water pump hiding in the back right corner on a timer from midnight-6 a.m. It's pointed up at the surface and creates all kinds of surface agitation, I haven't seen any surface swimming ever since.

I forget exactly was my PAR is I think it was in the 120ish range at the substrate level with those two lights combined. You can still do a lot with 50-60 PAR!

And that carpet is Staurogyne Repens, about ready for a big trimming.
I have a DIY LED light, I can crank the PAR up to 200 if I wanted, but I haven't had the time to aquascape and grow challenging plants. With 50 PAR and a sand substrate, can't really grow any red plants. But I'm not constantly trimming either.
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
ChrisX said:
I have a DIY LED light, I can crank the PAR up to 200 if I wanted, but I haven't had the time to aquascape and grow challenging plants. With 50 PAR and a sand substrate, can't really grow any red plants. But I'm not constantly trimming either.
Haha, awesome you have the option to crank it up if you ever wanted. Luckily trimming is my favorite part of maintenance. I usually only do it twice a month and it takes an hour or two. I find it relaxing like trimming and shaping a bonsai tree.
 

ChrisX

Member
How did you make the background?
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
ChrisX said:
How did you make the background?
Frosted window film like in the link below. Just need to spray the glass and film with water and stick it on. Use a credit card to flatten and smooth it out and a razor blade to trim the edges to fit. It can be removed and reused as well. The tank lights illuminate the background currently but I'm considering buying some backlighting led's to experiment with different colors illuminating the background. https://www.amazon.com/Coavas-Adhes...qid=1599589199&sprefix=frosted,aps,208&sr=8-5
 

Siett88

Member
Beautiful tank! I have 4 keyholes in a 55 with an angel, corys and neon rainbows. Sometimes I see the keyholes schooling with the rainbows, swimming back and forth with them, like 'no cichlid here, I'm a rainbow, dont know what you're talking about!' Not as flashy, but beautiful in their own right, and full of personality!
 

Siett88

Member
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
Siett88 said:
Beautiful tank! I have 4 keyholes in a 55 with an angel, corys and neon rainbows. Sometimes I see the keyholes schooling with the rainbows, swimming back and forth with them, like 'no cichlid here, I'm a rainbow, dont know what you're talking about!' Not as flashy, but beautiful in their own right, and full of personality!
Thanks! haha. I attempted an Angel in this tank awhile back. Everything was fine until the Angel matured and started being a bully and chasing after everyone in the tank. Even saw him take a bite at one of my Harlequin Rasboras. Needless to say he's been re-homed. I initially wasn't so sure how they would do with the Rams but gladly the Rams and Keyholes don't even seem to notice eachother is there.
 

faydout

Member
The past couple of days, I've noticed my Keyholes are getting some weird dark patterns on them, and I was wondering if one of the 2 of ya'll could help out, since you've both got more experience with them. The pic I'm attaching is the closest I could get (as soon as they see me walking up to the glass, they get hungry and colors all drain back to normal). The pattern is right, but the parts that are dark, get much darker than this when I'm peaking at them from my desk. Do I need to do some troubleshooting on this tank, or is this just the beginning of breeding behaviour? I've checked my parameters, and everything is perfectly normal for this tank (0, 0, 30 - 40 / 75.6 degrees). I'm thinking they're just getting close to breeding size / age, but if I need to do more investigating, I will (just don't like changing something blindly).
 
  • Thread Starter

toeknee

Member
faydout said:
The past couple of days, I've noticed my Keyholes are getting some weird dark patterns on them, and I was wondering if one of the 2 of ya'll could help out, since you've both got more experience with them. The pic I'm attaching is the closest I could get (as soon as they see me walking up to the glass, they get hungry and colors all drain back to normal). The pattern is right, but the parts that are dark, get much darker than this when I'm peaking at them from my desk. Do I need to do some troubleshooting on this tank, or is this just the beginning of breeding behaviour? I've checked my parameters, and everything is perfectly normal for this tank (0, 0, 30 - 40 / 75.6 degrees). I'm thinking they're just getting close to breeding size / age, but if I need to do more investigating, I will (just don't like changing something blindly).
Those dark colors are often a sign of stress (but not always). When my light first comes on in the morning I notice most of my Keys are darker, then they go to normal color after the shock of the light coming on wears off. If I approach the tank too fast or startled them in any way they will instantly turn a blotchy dark brown color. I have one breeding pair and when they are breeding their black lines and yellow circles get very vivid and defined but they don't turn dark brown. I can only speak from my own experience on what mine are like so take what I say with a grain of salt since every fish and every tank are different. Not sure what your whole tank looks like but providing tons of cover for them will help them feel safe. Dither fish help them feel comfortable too. My guess is they just don't feel 100% safe in your tank so they startle easily when you are around. (total guess, I could be wildly wrong)
 

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