Mbuna Newb 55 Gallon Tank

WanderingMbuna

Hey everyone! New here and getting back into the hobby after quite some time.

I have some stocking questions.
Went to my lfs and picked up some "assorted cichlids" now I've done some research on my species and have read some horror stories about the auratus and also the demasoni..
I was sold thoose two fish by the employee. It makes me wonder what I should do.. or if she was wanting to get them out of her tanks.

I'm currently in the process of stocking but waiting for the bio load to catch up before I stock more fish. I was told by the employee that all of these would work well along side of some yellow labs and that I could put any of the fish together and that the fish would let me know if it works... I dont really like that mentality.
I would like to add some yellow labs.
I've read that demsamoni need to be kept in larger groups but people have had success with there only being 1.
And I've read some terrible things about the auratus they seriously have a bad rep from what I've read.
Everyone is getting along great in my tank for now my rusty (if it is a rusty.)seems to be a peace maker between all of the fish.
However I'm wondering if I should try to go exchange them as I have 1 week to do so for a full credit.
I would like some advice as I feel like I'm making newbie mistakes and taking the lfs advice instead of doing my own due diligence.

What would be some good suggestions? Will it work? Could I keep the 1 auratas and the 1 demsamoni as 2 lone fish?
My tank is a 55. 2x 350 marineland filters a sponge filter and also two sun sun power heads. Also have lots of reef rock in my tank and sand.
I really only want to stock 16-18 fish total.
Thanks in advance.

I have:
1 Demsamoni
2x Yellow tail acei
1 Orange zebra
1 Melanochromis auratus
1 Rusty

I would like to add 4 yellow labs
2 more yellow tail acei
3 more orange zebras
2 more rusty's and that would have my total stock at 17 (that would be keeping the auratus and demsamoni)

I'm overwhelmed I don't know if that mix would mix.
I would greatly appreciate any advice. I'll post pictures of my fish and tank.
 

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conreality

I'm not 100% certain, but have you looked into aqadvisor? It's really helped me when coming to stocking a tank.
 

MacZ

I'm not 100% certain, but have you looked into aqadvisor? It's really helped me when coming to stocking a tank.

I wouldn't. Especially with specialties like Mbuna calculators are worth nothing. Mbuna may need to be overcrowded to spread aggression.

Well then,

Nice tank, not yet a 100% the amount of rocks necessary, but almost 90% of what is needed. Best Mbuna beginner tank lately.

The "rusty" is indeed an Iodotropheus. On the other hand you misnamed "demasoni". But this one is also indeed a demasoni cichlid.

I'd stock up on the rusty cichlids and return the demasoni and the acei, as those are usually aggressive even for Mbuna. The auratus are rather medium aggressive in my experience.
I would maybe look into Labeotropheus, those are kind of overlooked and are not that aggressive in my opinion.

For that tank size I would not pass the 10-12 fish mark. Wait for the fish to grow out a bit and decide then whether adding more is a good idea. Especially as you will have to keep an eye on the pecking order.
Most of the species you have will surpass 15cm, and the bioload is enormous. But ok, you got quite some filtration. Maximum would indeed be about 15 fish.
 

conreality

I wouldn't. Especially with specialties like Mbuna calculators are worth nothing. Mbuna may need to be overcrowded to spread aggression.

Good to know!
 

WanderingMbuna

Thanks so much for the response. I went to lfs today and they encouraged me to keep them dem. And to wait it out and see how it goes once I get the tank fully stocked. But I’ve read that they need to be in large groups.. the employee said that I should continue to wait and see how the stocking goes and then remove any fish that are causing aggression issues.
My plan is to ad some yellow labs and bring up the stock count to everything I have. At least that’s what the lfs says would be the best bet. It’s overwhelming because I want to try my best to do everything right. They also mentioned doing male only tanks so I’m doing some research on that now.

thanks for the response!
 

MacZ

Actually that employee is not wrong. He may be telling you this about the demasoni because he knows that it would be hard to sell those and he probably had several returns of those.

A male only tank is a common thing in Mbuna keeping, because it calms them down a bit. Problem: Malawis can hybridize. So one female of any species in the tank can make the males of all species lose their minds and go berzerk with aggression. Yellow labs are notoriously hard to sex without the necessary knowledge and even professionals have a 50:50 chance of accidently catching and selling a female. So, if you should want to do a male only tank, keep that in mind.
 

WanderingMbuna

Actually that employee is not wrong. He may be telling you this about the demasoni because he knows that it would be hard to sell those and he probably had several returns of those.

A male only tank is a common thing in Mbuna keeping, because it calms them down a bit. Problem: Malawis can hybridize. So one female of any species in the tank can make the males of all species lose their minds and go berzerk with aggression. Yellow labs are notoriously hard to sex without the necessary knowledge and even professionals have a 50:50 chance of accidently catching and selling a female. So, if you should want to do a male only tank, keep that in mind.
Thank you so much for the response this site has been of so much help to me. With what I have what would you recommend? Maybe just stock with males and not go with the labs?
 

MacZ

I'm not sure if one of you're orange zebras or yellow tail acei are eventually females, so trying to do a male only tank could be compromised already. So, go with what your gut tells you. It comes down to yellow labs yes/no. Eventual females can still be rehomed later.
One word of advice: Eggspots are NOT always a 100% sure way to sex Mbuna. Especially with zebras and other often bred species the spots can be really confusing.
 

Islandvic

We started a 55g African tank last July 4th. It has around 13-14 assorted male mbuna, 2 zebra obliquidens (female) and 2 male peacocks, and 1 synodontis petricola .

All of the Mbuna were different, except for 2 rusty's and 2 yellow labs. One yellow lab killed the other about 2 months ago, and now one of the rusty's is starting to jack up the other rusty.

My advice is to attempt to source all male mbuna of different types.

Off the top of my head, these are what i have....

2x rustys
yellow lab
cobalt blue zebra
ice blue zebra
yellow tail acei
red top ndumbi
green afra mbweca
purple lupinga afra
yellow top mbamba
red exasperatus
maingano
one other i never can remember the name!
2x female zebra obliquidens
synodontis petricola ( i want to buy 2-3 more )
otter point jake peacock?
red rubin peacock?

the peacocks were from PetSmart from their assorted tank, so only a guess what they are.

I had 5 peacocks at one time in the tank, but 3 were eventually killed and the 2 remain

I wish I had the following fish....

Lions cove afra
Orange Cobue Afra
Jalo Reef afra
Red Top Hongi
Perlmutt
zebra gold
red top albino zebra



So far, except for the yellow lab that killed the other, and the one rusty beating up the other rusty, the Mbuna for the most part have not really been over agressive with each other. The peacocks seem to act more like the PITA's.

Of the stock I have, the Zebra's may have the most potential to be the bully's, but they haven't acted this way yet.

for now, keep an eye on the auratus and the demsamoni.

I suggest to look at online sources for stocking as well, this would enable you to have a better selection and be able to obtain males.

My friend and i have bought fish a few ties from Imperial Tropicals and all the fish were healthy and as advertised. They have a YouTube Channel also.

One online vendor I ahve kept my eye on is the Quinn's Fins website. They state they only sell what they breed, they have a very good selection and their prices for medium 2"-3" and large 3"-4" is very reasonable.

I recommend to give your mbuna a varied diet, try giving them different flake and pellets. I give mine slices of cucumber once or twice a week and skip at least one day of feeding a week also. Try to get foods that have veggies as a large ingredient.

I get my flake and pellets from Ken's Fish website and use their house brand of fish food. Very quality foods that don't break the bank. Plus Ken's food doesn't cloud up the water.

quality foods and frequent WC's is what makes the Mbuna happy !
 

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