Mbuna/cichlid questions

klogue2

Member
So I've made my final choice... Hopefully... And I want to try an mbuna tank! I love the array of colors they come in and they just are lovely. Now to the questions

1) do cichlids adjust to ph like other fish? I just see that it's stressed more for cichlids that you have correct ph.

2) of the follow species (these are the ones I Really like), which ones would you recommend for a beginner cichlid owner?

Albino peacock cichlid
Yellow lab
KenyI cichlid
Cobalt blue zebra cichlid
Blue JohannI cichlid
Red zebra cichlid

Based on which of these you guys would recommend as beginner cichlids, I will research more on their specific care and compatabilities I wI probably have more questions later on.
 
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klogue2

Member
I've been researching all the species I listed and found about half of them are very aggressive (the kenyI and red zebra, I think the cobalt blue zebra as well). I looked a little more at the albino peacock cichlid and have changed my mind about them as well; I'd like a nice bright colorful tank and the albinos just don't seem to have much color imo.

So far I now I want yellow labs and blue johanni. I haven't found a lot of info on the blue johannI in terms of aggression. Just that they ARE aggressive... that says a lot lol.

As for the cobalt blue zebra, I did have a question. Are they as aggressive as the red zebras? And would you recommend them for a beginner?
Also, I found this picture of a blue zebra that I really like. Are the stripes there because of the sex, or is it a different kind? Most of the cobalt blues I see have faded or no stripes. These are very bold and pretty:


Some more mbuna species I'm going to research:

Yellow-tail acei
demasonI cichlid
maingano cichlid

One more thing; has anyone ever ordered from PetSolutions or LiveAquaria and used the "assorted African cichlid" option? Where they send you a random african cichlid from the lake you choose (I believe that's what they do at least)? I would think this would be detrimental to having a good M:F ratio if you only got one of a bunch of different species. But it seems like another nice option if it would work.
 

Mer-max

Member
Labs, johanni, and kenyI are what I have so far. First cichlid tank. My ph is naturally 8.4. I would say pretty easy so far. When I walk in the door no joke I have every single fish in that tank at the front glass watching me. Flattering yet kinna creepy. When I lift the lid to test the water or anything they think they are getting fed and go crazy. It's fun. Makes it easy to get a head count on fish as well lol
 
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klogue2

Member
That sounds so awesome! That's one of the reasons I want to start cichlids, is because of their brains and personality. They're so cool to watch and from what I've seen a lot of them can get really personable with their humans!

I just read the demasonI prefer species-only tanks in large groups. I really like them but I'd rather have some variety, so those probably won't be what I got for.

JohannI look like them though so perhaps those will replace them

From what I'm reading, I should pick 3-4 species and do a ratio of 1:3-4, M:F. In a 55 gallon, I'm not sure if I should do 3 groups of 4, or 4 groups of 3. I read that 12 cichlids is a good amount for a 55g, without being too overstocked (which I need to overstock on purpose to reduce aggression).

So, I will definitely get labs and johanni. I'd love to do a cobalt blue zebra fish like the one I linked to.

Edit: Is it true that you have to add all the cichlids at once? I'd think that would be extremely hard on the BB. I'm unsure because some places say it works best, while others say to add them in order of least aggression to most.
 

beginner

Member
I think you'll find some people have twenty or more in a 55. I think you can add more any time you like but, believe me they will find them selves being a target. some people suggest stocking 2 males per female. this is because the dominant male will spend his time chasing away the sub dominant male rather than chasing the female
 
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klogue2

Member
Thank you Maybe I could get away with 4 groups of 4 then? That plan also sounds good but I'd rather have as little aggression as I can so they all stay safe.

One thing I did see in several places was that people cycle with feeder fish so the BB is ready for the cichlids when they put them in all at once. I think adding them all at once would be better, but I'm unsure if cycling with feeders is a good idea. I'd probably have to put a ton of fish in there to get the BB up to par with cichlid bio-load (they're very messy I've read).
 

beginner

Member
I like your thoughts on being prepared for messy cichlids. feeder are definetly gong to cycle your tank just be careful they are kept in such rank conditions they maybe be carrying some disease
 
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klogue2

Member
I see, I did plan to get feeders from somewhere I know is clean (unlike one of the LFS that has what was either parasites or genetic cysts on their feeder guppies) if I went the fish-in route. I could always give the feeders back when the tank is cycled, I don't want to just flush them
 

Mer-max

Member
If you get some then later add more just move your rocks and decor around so they all have a chance to claI'm new territory
 
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klogue2

Member
So I asked around on cichlid forum about stocking, and here's what I've decided on

5 White Top Hara (1:4)
5 Rusty (1:4)
5 Yellow Lab (1:4)

It seems like a gorgeous array of colors to choose and they were easy enough to find for sale online Can't wait until this tank is ready!!
 

Disc61

Member
HI Klogue, congrats on your choice, you will enjoy them. the group you have above in post #10 is a nice looking group and should work for you. ( I am assuming you are putting them in a 55 gal tank)
I would have went with The Red Zebra, The Yellow Lab and the "Acei" which was all part of your initial choice. this would be an awesome choice with great color.
Of the ones you mentioned, I would not recommend the peacock or the Kenyi, all the others would work together.
if it is a 55gl I would definitely go with 1 male to 4 females as a ratio.
the PH is not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. My Mbuna have lived in 7.6 PH for years. having a consistent PH is much more important, you don't want your PH jumping up and down ( big cause for a PH crash) just keep it consistent.
My last Mbuna Project I added the entire stock at one time and have always done this. some recommend adding a group then another then another. I like the idea of all growing up together and claiming their territory from the beginning. if you add a group at a time, add the least aggressive first then so on. But, honestly, my last group has done so well by adding them all together, I have had over a dozen babies and 6 growing out in another tank. JMO
 
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klogue2

Member
Thank you Disc! Yes these are going in my 55
I really like the stock I chose but that one sounds nice too! I think the bright colors will all look nice against black sand and a black background.

I'm almost ready to start the cycle, just need the stand (and lights but they're not as important yet) and another timer. Oh, and a new test kit, because I found out today mine is a year past expiration That may be why I was having some funky readings...
 

Disc61

Member
klogue2 said:
That may be why I was having some funky readings...
that would be a good guess, and you should definitely have a good kit to start off this project. you know what's next, Pictures.
 
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klogue2

Member
Haha will do! I still need some more rocks too, I don't think what I have will really cut it. So As soon as I at least have the stand I'll be getting some pictures up for you guys!
 

Disc61

Member
In my opinion, you can't have to many rocks. at least 2/3 of the tank.
 
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klogue2

Member
I see, I plan to go to home depot or a local garden center and seeing what I can find
I'm not sure if I want to stack flat rocks and make gaps between them, or just get some really hole-y rocks. I believe I read somewhere Mbuna like hole-y rocks better, as it's more like their natural habitat.

Would you say it would be better to start out with a bunch of juvies and wait until they're old enough to sex, and risk having odd numbers that won't work, or would you rather buy adults at the right ratio of gender? Just wanting some opinions on it... Someone suggested to me to buy twice as many juvies as I was going to get for adults, and let them grow until they can be sexed. Problem is the ones I chose are difficult to sex without venting, and I don't think I want to try that and risk the fish's life lol... Would be better for me to just buy sexed adults, if I can find them.

Edit: just found out what venting was! Lol I feel dumb, you just have to look at the fish I guess after netting them. Very life-risking
So perhaps it would be a fun idea to start with a bunch of juvies?
 

Mer-max

Member
We should start a chiclids sex swap on fish lore, each end splits the shipping in case I ended up with more males and someone else had all females or something. . . Just an idea
 

Disc61

Member
once you vent a fish a couple times, it is pretty easy and not real tough on the fish. I myself always start with juvies and I do buy a few extra. Also, if they grow up together the males have more of a tolerance for each other and sometimes learn to live with each other better. overcrowding is not so bad with Mbunas or most Africans in general as it helps spread their aggression out more throughout the tank.
 

beginner

Member
hey I have have 50 auratus and 50 red/colbalt hybrid fry!!!
 
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klogue2

Member
Grats on the fry!
That's a really good idea Mer-max! I'd definitely be interested once the juvies I plan to get are grown enough to sex.
I think I may start with 6-8 juvies each instead of 10, and then see how those work out. I'll watch behavior and hope for good ratios, but maybe I'll get some good temperament individuals.
 

beginner

Member
the thing about mbuna is the strongest survive and the weak perish. you won't find many with good temperament especially when they reach the breeding age which is somewhere around 2yrs. dnt quote me but that's how long it took mine. you may want to have more than one male of each species you keep though, just sayin. your females with really appreciate it. the males are endless in there aggression!!! or you can keep all males, some people do
 

Mer-max

Member
klogue2 said:
Grats on the fry!
That's a really good idea Mer-max! I'd definitely be interested once the juvies I plan to get are grown enough to sex.
I think I may start with 6-8 juvies each instead of 10, and then see how those work out. I'll watch behavior and hope for good ratios, but maybe I'll get some good temperament individuals.
Get in touch with me once you figure it out. Your not too far.

Mine are all tolerant. Surprisingly - the rosey red minnows I use to cycle my tanks are the meanest fish I have. Except my pufferfish and he's only mean to tank equipment lol
 
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