55 Gallon Tank Need Help With A 55 Gallon

Zeros

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I am buying a 55 gallon aquarium and it's coming with a Blue JohannI and a Livingston cichlid. I know the Livingston shouldn't really be in a 55 but that's beyond my control at the moment. I would like to turn this into an Mbuna tank. I've heard that keeping the tank overstocked helps with aggression but I do not want to add too many fish at once and overload the system. Any advice on what to do in this situation? How many Mbunas should I put in the tank? Any general advice is welcome since I am new to cichlids.
 

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Are you completely new to fish? If so, cichlids aren't the best route. But, since they are coming with the tank, it is best to leave them in. I'm not a cichlid expert, but they tend to be aggressive, or on that side. Stock the tank with a good selection of plants and driftwood, but don't make it an obstacle course. They need room to move around. Don't have new world and African cichlids in the same tank. For adding in fish, give the 2 a week in the tank. Monitor them, and the parameters. If they do well, then you can add in another fish (cichlids are big, so bigger fish=bigger bioload.) Repeat that process. If you like, add in plants in between that time.
 

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I would try to get the livingstonI to your lfs.

In my opinion mbuna look and do best in species tank and a Johanna 55 gallon will look fantastic with yellows and blues. You’ll want a lot of rocks, try and make caves, hiding spaces, and territories.

In a 55 I would suggest no more than two male johannI but there is a high chance if one relentlessly dominates the other one will have to be removed. Fill the rest of the stock with females I would try to stock about 8-10 johannI with heavy filtration and water changes. Watch your fish closely, some may be picked on too heavily or dominate the aquarium and have to be pulled. Keep a 20 gallon on stand by if you need to isolate one.
 
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SomeoneFISHy said:
Are you completely new to fish? If so, cichlids aren't the best route. But, since they are coming with the tank, it is best to leave them in. I'm not a cichlid expert, but they tend to be aggressive, or on that side. Stock the tank with a good selection of plants and driftwood, but don't make it an obstacle course. They need room to move around. Don't have new world and African cichlids in the same tank. For adding in fish, give the 2 a week in the tank. Monitor them, and the parameters. If they do well, then you can add in another fish (cichlids are big, so bigger fish=bigger bioload.) Repeat that process. If you like, add in plants in between that time.
No, I’ve been keeping fish for about 4 years now. Thank you for the advice. I’ll definitely keep an eye on the parameters after adding new fish.
 

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OK, you should be great with the cichlids then. I would recommend you take a look at some African ponds, so you can get a good idea of the plants, and substrate. For the cichlids themselves, get a variety of color. In the wild, bio-diversity is good, so it should be great in the tank. If aggression happens, I would get a Q-Tank, and separate them.
 

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I personally disagree with some of the advice given in this thread and I’ll explain why.

1. While swim space would be good with larger and bulkier American cichlids, mbuna are fish that hide in cave and rock like territories and prefer many crevices and spots to dispute over.

2. For the absolute best results in a 55 gallon you want to keep the number or male mbuna in the tank to a minimum and the easiest way to achieve this is by sticking to one species. You want to reduce males to avoid aggression and deaths. If you’re tank was larger, say 100 gallons or more I would say this would be less of a concern. A 55 g despite being a common recommendation for mbuna is a tight space and you are better off keeping a smaller species (like johanni) by themselves in order to achieve the best resuluts.
 

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Morosith said:
I personally disagree with some of the advice given in this thread and I’ll explain why.

1. While swim space would be good with larger and bulkier American cichlids, mbuna are fish that hide in cave and rock like territories and prefer many crevices and spots to dispute over.

2. For the absolute best results in a 55 gallon you want to keep the number or male mbuna in the tank to a minimum and the easiest way to achieve this is by sticking to one species. You want to reduce males to avoid aggression and deaths. If you’re tank was larger, say 100 gallons or more I would say this would be less of a concern. A 55 g despite being a common recommendation for mbuna is a tight space and you are better off keeping a smaller species (like johanni) by themselves in order to achieve the best resuluts.
So I can have better info in the future, are you talking about having one strict species of African Cichlid?
 

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SomeoneFISHy said:
So I can have better info in the future, are you talking about having one strict species of African Cichlid?
For a 55 that’s definitely what I’d recommend. And some may disagree and have success which is great! This is just the path to success in my experiences.
 
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Morosith said:
I personally disagree with some of the advice given in this thread and I’ll explain why.

1. While swim space would be good with larger and bulkier American cichlids, mbuna are fish that hide in cave and rock like territories and prefer many crevices and spots to dispute over.

2. For the absolute best results in a 55 gallon you want to keep the number or male mbuna in the tank to a minimum and the easiest way to achieve this is by sticking to one species. You want to reduce males to avoid aggression and deaths. If you’re tank was larger, say 100 gallons or more I would say this would be less of a concern. A 55 g despite being a common recommendation for mbuna is a tight space and you are better off keeping a smaller species (like johanni) by themselves in order to achieve the best resuluts.
Thanks. I was under the assumption that lots of rocks and crevices were good for Mbunas. To clarify, are you saying keep only Mbunas or only keeping one specific type of Mbuna?
 

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Zeros said:
Thanks. I was under the assumption that lots of rocks and crevices were good for Mbunas. To clarify, are you saying keep only Mbunas or only keeping one specific type of Mbuna?
I would recommend only one species of mbuna. And a set up with 1 male and several females will yield the best results and reduce aggression related deaths.
 

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Morosith said:
I personally disagree with some of the advice given in this thread and I’ll explain why.

1. While swim space would be good with larger and bulkier American cichlids, mbuna are fish that hide in cave and rock like territories and prefer many crevices and spots to dispute over.

2. For the absolute best results in a 55 gallon you want to keep the number or male mbuna in the tank to a minimum and the easiest way to achieve this is by sticking to one species. You want to reduce males to avoid aggression and deaths. If you’re tank was larger, say 100 gallons or more I would say this would be less of a concern. A 55 g despite being a common recommendation for mbuna is a tight space and you are better off keeping a smaller species (like johanni) by themselves in order to achieve the best resuluts.
As an exclusive cichlid keeper I agree with morosith. Also "get plants"? Bad idea with africans. South american and north american cichlids absolutely. Africans will either eat them or rip them up. Convicts might too but africans dig with a fury.

Research cichlids and as a general rule of thumb seek out those of us that actually keep cichlids not just people that keep fish.
 

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This is a typical mbuna scape. Note the lack of plants and wood. Wood lowers the the ph and creates an unhealthy environment for African cichlids.
As far as stock goes I agree with what has been said about male/female ratio but you can also keep an all male tank with no like fish. One of the biggest obstacles for keepers of African cichlids are the keepers themselves. You need to be strong enough to cull out aggressive or bad fish. No sentimentality allowed when trying to achieve success. If you have a fish that destroys the scape constantly, kills other fish, or is overly territorial, that fish will need to go.
 

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