Mbuna in a 130 Litre tank?

devsi

Can I keep Mbuna cichlids in a 130 litre tank? As I understand they need to be kept in groups of at least eight, which would be amazing for a species only tank, but I’m unsure if 130 is big enough?

Note: my ask isn’t if they can survive in a 130, but if they will be happy.
 

carsonsgjs

I’d have said that they would need a larger tank than that - 4 feet minimum.
 

devsi

I’d have said that they would need a larger tank than that - 4 feet minimum.

Oki Doki :) thanks! Mbuna are out then!

Got some other African Cichlids to research, so It will probably be two of one of those species or two Jewel Cichlids :)

Thanks for answering :)
 

A201

If you are set on African Cichlids. Look at the various types of Shell Dwellers. Most stay small enough for your tank.
 

devsi

If you are set on African Cichlids. Look at the various types of Shell Dwellers. Most stay small enough for your tank.

I’m trying to limit my options to what I can actually get at my LFS, to avoid disappointment and I don’t think they do shell dwellers unfortunately :(

I’ve just gone through all (yes, all!) the African Cichlids they have and the below are the ones that appear a decent size for my tank. Does anybody have any input on if any of these are suitable and, if so, how many I’d be able to keep?

  • aulonocara mamelela
  • elongatus neon
  • Calico Aulonocara (one of two favourites, so hoping this is suitable!)
  • red peacock
  • Aulonocara Jacobfreibergi
  • Aulonocara Orange Blotch (one of two favourites, so hoping this is suitable!)
Are any of these suitable for a 130? Or am I out of luck with the African Cichlids I like?

Note: I have researched them all (all are ~5 inches or smaller), I’m just not sure if they are ok in a 130 or not.
 

A201

You could have an Aulonocara wet pet in your smaller sized tank.
African Cichlids don't play well with others, so a solo Peacock wouldn't be out of the question.
Maybe a companion smaller variety Synodontis catfish.
 

devsi

You could have an Aulonocara wet pet in your smaller sized tank.
African Cichlids don't play well with others, so a solo Peacock wouldn't be out of the question.
Maybe a companion smaller variety Synodontis catfish.

Oh excellent! That means I could get Calico Aulonocara or Aulonocara Orange Blotch?

Presumably a pair (male/female) would be out of the question? Is that because of their size or because two is a bad idea (even different sexes) due to aggression?

Appreciate the advice :)
 

A201

A breeding pair in a small tank might not be too pleasant for the female.
Dealing with fry isn't all it's cracked up to be. You'll need a separate tank to raise them & a place to sell or trade them.
 

devsi

A breeding pair in a small tank might not be too pleasant for the female.
Dealing with fry isn't all it's cracked up to be. You'll need a separate tank to raise them & a place to sell or trade them.
Oki doki :) I definitely won’t do that then.

I’m not interested in breeding them, was just interested in what sort of setup I could have with African Cichlids.

Currently it’s between a single Aulonocara, or a pair of Jewel Cichlids (obvious not African).

Not sure which will give the most joy at the moment haha.
 

TClare

Jewel cichlids are African, but they are from the rivers of West Africa, which are very different in water parameters from the rift lakes. The pH and hardness of your tap water should help you to make a decision. It might not be that easy to get a compatible pair of jewel cichlids.
 

devsi

Jewel cichlids are African, but they are from the rivers of West Africa, which are very different in water parameters from the rift lakes. The pH and hardness of your tap water should help you to make a decision. It might not be that easy to get a compatible pair of jewel cichlids.

My pH is 7.0, does that change things in terms of what choices I have? I thought pH wasn’t that important for non-wild fish?
 

TClare

I believe that is too low for peacock cichlids, it would be fine for the jewels. Of course there are ways you can increase the pH and hardness if necessary.
 

A201

Peacocks need an elevated PH of 7.8 - 8.2.
Two Jewel Cichlids in a small tank probably won't end well for the subordinate.
 

devsi

A201 / TClare - thank you for your help and advice, I very much appreciate it.

From the language being used (“should be ok”, “might be able to” etc) it simply seems like using this tank for what I want to use it for would be unfair to the fish; I don’t want fish to simply survive in my care, I want them to be happy and to thrive.

So, I’ve decided to sell this tank, focus on my other four and at some time in the future I’ll do a proper African cichlid tank when I have room for a much bigger tank.

Thank you again :)
 

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