Male Only Mbuna Tank

Rob Shannon

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My research indicates that overstocking may be the best way to counter the aggressive and territorial nature of Mbuna. That being said, how many should I have in my tank? The tank is empty right now. How many do I start with and how many of each species should I get?
 

Demeter

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With all males it may be best to get only one of each species as the dominant of of one species will bully the less dominant males of their own kind, but I can't say for sure on this. I've got about 20ish mixed gender Africans in my 55gal so I'd shoot for 15-20 individuals for your tank.

Will you be buying juveniles are already sexed adults? If juveniles then get fish in groups of 3-4, this way you are more likely to get at least one male and be able to pick which males to keep and then remove the females once they mature.
 
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Rob Shannon

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With all males it may be best to get only one of each species as the dominant of of one species will bully the less dominant males of their own kind, but I can't say for sure on this. I've got about 20ish mixed gender Africans in my 55gal so I'd shoot for 15-20 individuals for your tank.

Will you be buying juveniles are already sexed adults? If juveniles then get fish in groups of 3-4, this way you are more likely to get at least one male and be able to pick which males to keep and then remove the females once they mature.

Thanks for your input. I too have read that 20 would be a good fully stocked number.

I don’t mind growing them out but I was hoping to start with fish that have already been sexed.

Does anyone else have insight into how I should start the stocking process?
 

Demeter

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If you do some researching before hand on how to sex young fish on your own I bet you will end up with only a few females and mostly males rather than buying a trio and waiting till they mature.

The physical indicators that I know are:
1. Long pelvic fins (usuall past the vent)
2. Slightly pointed/squared anal and dorsal fins
3. 2 holes the same size for males, females have one large hole and one smaller hole (when venting)
4. Largest/most colored up fish in the tank is usually male.
5. Blue sheen on gill plates plus vibrant egg spots (species dependant)
6. Most aggressive individual in the tank.

These tips mainly only works for fish 2in+ but if you watch the display tanks closely and the employee can net the right fish I think you will be able to get mostly males.

It’s become a habit of mine to get 2 fish of the same species at a time, mostly to ensure I get a male and as a backup if one keels over. I pick the largest and most colorful + aggressive fish with said fin shapes/length and almost always get males. Most cases the fish available to me are around 1.5-2in.
 
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