Mbuna Cichlids: 1 of each or multiple of each?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by lol, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. lolValued MemberMember

    I'm looking to purchase a new tank, but I'm really bouncing around. If I were to construct a 55-gallon mbuna cichlid tank, should I be purchasing one of each cichlid, or should I go more for 1 male to multiple females per species? I am aware of the hardscape requirements but not as much for fish to fill the tank. So, what I'm mostly looking to find out here is whether it's best to purchase one of each type of fish, for example yellow labs, acei, afra (if I can find it lol), or should I go for the whole 1 male to 5-ish females thing and just have a few different species?

    My main concern is that the fish will not get along and will be aggressive due to just not being compatible, or from too many males and not enough females, etc. I've done some research, but I really can't figure out whether it'd be a problem to have one of each species of mbuna cichlid or not.
  2. tfreema

    tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    You will want to do 1:4 or 5 male to female ratio, look for the smaller varieties, and limit to two species in a 55 gallon.
    LeoDiaz is one the sites mbuna experts that helped me out while setting up my 55g mbuna tank earlier this year.

    I wanted to do three species, but the mbuna cichlid folks on two forums recommended two. I took their advice and glad I did. I don't think three would have worked out well with how territorial they are.

    I went with Salousi because I liked the fact that the male is blue and female orangey yellow. And the yellow tail acei, which is kind of purple with a yellow tail. Added three synodontis petricola and bristle nose pleco.

    Good luck! You will love your mbuna tank!

    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1465609077.509895.jpg

    Yellow tail acei
    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1465608579.042282.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016
  3. OP

    lolValued MemberMember

    Thanks!! If my LFS has rusty cichlids, it'll probably be a tough choice for me for which two species to get. Think rusty cichlids might go well with yellow labs or Acei cichlids? Or should I stick with yellow labs and Acei to be safe? Or could I get all three!? Again, thanks for the help.

  4. LeoDiaz

    LeoDiazFishlore VIPMember

    Rusty and yellow labs are perfect mix :)

  5. OP

    lolValued MemberMember

    Alright, so I haven't been to my LFS to see whether they have rusty cichlids, but I'm 95% sure they have Acei and 100% about yellow labs. Could I have:

    Yellow labs, 1m 4f
    Rusty, 1m4f
    My Labidochromis 'Nkali', unknown gender?

    Would that setup work in a 4ft 55-gallon? I may need to get a 3-foot 50 gallon due to lack of space, though... would that still be OK?
  6. LeoDiaz

    LeoDiazFishlore VIPMember

    You can only have 2 species and u cannot have yellow labs and nkali together they will crossbreed. Also for mbuna tank it has to be atleast 48in Long.
  7. tfreema

    tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    I get wanting three species for the variety. I wanted to also have blotched orange zebras. I now understand why two in a 55 are recommended. I don't think there is a way to set it up to accommodate three territories unless you have at least a 75gallon.

    55 is the absolute smallest and even with 1:4 ratio fish for two species , you will need excellent filtration and keep up with pwc's. I find they are heavy waste producers. I have 1:5 ratio of two species, 3 juvenile synodontis, and a bn pleco and that is maxed out.

    If you want more variety consider a peaceful community tank. You can do a lot with a 50 or 55 gallon going that route. Look at oddball fish like leopard ctenopoma that require a minimum of that size. Black red tail shark is another great centerpiece. Or you could do four angelfish which are awesome and interactive with you.
  8. OP

    lolValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the replies; I'll take a trip to my LFS and see which two cichlid species I'd like best. I can say right now that one of them will be Acei :) And yeah, I had a feeling 3 feet would be pushing it a little too far. I'll find a way to make 4ft work.

    Another question: I saw a video which said that temperatures on the lower end might make your cichlids less aggressive. Is this true?
  9. LeoDiaz

    LeoDiazFishlore VIPMember

    Doesn't make them less aggressive they just become more sluggish and that's why they don't fight. But I keep my tanks at 80-82
  10. tfreema

    tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    I keep my tank at 78, which creeps up to 79-80 during the day. Keeping the ratio of 1 male to several females will be the best measure to spread the aggression out so there is not one fish getting bullied too much.
  11. OP

    lolValued MemberMember

    Thanks LeoDiaz and tfreema for helping. I think in order to proceed I'll just have to go to the LFS. Can't set up the tank for a bit over a month but I'm already excited
  12. tfreema

    tfreemaFishlore VIPMember

    If the lfs does not have what you are looking for, ask if they can order them for you. They don't stock everything available to them. I do that and they keep them in the bag for me to pick up the day the fish order comes in bypassing exposure to the lfs tanks.

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