Peaceful cichlids for community aquarium

Xavier
  • #1
HI guys

I have a 220 litre/60 gallon tank in which I'd like to keep a pair of cichlids, and was hoping for some suggestions/advice.

The tank was mature, but was empty but for snails for quite some time, so is effectively newly cycled (with the help of seachem stability) as of a few weeks ago. It is home to four young platies, two checker barbs, one gold barb, and two juvenile bristlenose. It is moderately planted- a java fern on driftwood, one other plant on driftwood, and a leafy plant of uncertain identity growing in the substrate which is fine smooth gravel. It has plenty of hiding spots in the form of driftwood caves, rocks, and artificial ornaments. pH is 7.0.

So I'm looking for a small or dwarf species, peaceful, and not too destructive to plants- I'm willing to pot the one in the substrate if necessary but would prefer not to. Preferably hardy, as I'm a newbie to keeping cichlids. I'd like to keep a male female pair with the hope of them eventually breeding, as I'm really interested in the parental care that I've read that many cichlid species display.

From the research I've done so far, my best options seem to be rainbow or cockatoo cichlids? It also sounds like the ideal way to get a breeding pair is to buy multiple youngters and raise them together to pair off naturally, but I'm not sure whether more than one pair of cichlids (even if dwarf ones) would be overstocking the tank? But it also sounds like determining the sex of young cichlids is often very difficult?

Any comments, advice, or suggestions would be very much appreciated

Thank you!
 
Wildside
  • #2
You should be okay with a couple of pairs of either type in your aquarium but be careful, sometimes if and when they breed they can be seriously nasty. You could also think about Kribensis, they're generally pretty hardy and peaceful. If they start breeding, it's best to keep an eye on them.

I have two rainbow cichlids in my community tank with neon tetras, guppies and hillstream loaches no problems.
 
tyguy7760
  • #3
Do you know the dimensions of your tank? Depending on that tells you what kind and how many you can do.

Dwarf peaceful cichlids would include any of the following; Bolivian Rams, Blue Rams (german, gold, electric blue are all the same), Laetacara Dorsigera/Curviceps, Kribs, and apisto's.

However, with a 60 gallon tank you can also do some of the medium sized ones that are still very peaceful. Cichlids like Keyholes, electric blue acara, T-bar/Sajica, rainbows, and bandit cichlids all make very peaceful additions and they get slightly larger than the dwarf species.

Though since you are interested in breeding I'd probably avoid the sajica and kribs as they are extremely aggressive during spawning and nothing in your tank would be safe. Though all cichlids have some spawning aggression, the rest should be ok with the rest of your inhabitants

Also, I would suggest uping your checkerboard and gold barb populations as both species are schooling and require 6 of each species minimum.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you for the responses! That is more options than I thought I had, and I'm surprised and pleased that blue acaras are a possibility. It's also good to hear confirmation that cichlids can be peaceful with smaller fish.

The aquarium is 4ft long, and roughly the same height as width (about an inch taller if I recall correctly).

About the barbs- when I bought the checkers they were the only two of their species, I was told they'd do well as a pair and they seem fine so far? The gold barb was an accidental acquisition (a case of mistaken identity in the store) and I was worried about him at first, as he hid a lot in the first two days, but now he seems to be happy, eating well etc and gets along well with both the other barbs and the platies. But is this arrangement likely to cause problems in future and/or could be stressing him out without it showing? I have been wondering about this and will get him some buddies if necessary

Thanks again
 
tyguy7760
  • #5
the checkerboard barbs are a schooling fish. Whoever told you they do fine in pairs gave you faulty information. Likely because they wanted you to buy them. Gold barbs are the same way. Schooling fish need larger groups of the same species to feel comfortable. Lowered numbers can lead to aggression and stress which can have ill effects down the road on immune systems and cause disease. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but they do need more than 1 or 2. I'd either rehome them or up their numbers to 6 checkerboards and 6 golds. However, gold barbs are sub tropical fish. They like cooler water which is going to greatly limit the type of cichlids you can put in there. If you want cichlids, I'd consider rehoming the little guy and uping the numbers of checkered.

Also, are your live bearers all male? If not do you have a plan for the fry?

a 48 inch tank gives you a lot of options as far as cichlids go. If you are interested in the blue acara I'd go with an electric blue as they are a bit more peaceful and don't get quite as big as the regular blues.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Okaydoke, can do. With a school (or possibly two) of six barbs, would I be running the risk of overstocking to go ahead with cichlids?

The platies are one male three females to limit harassment, but no worries, I've kept livebearers (mollies) before and am prepared to look after and rehome potential fry.
 
tyguy7760
  • #7
I don't think you are in jeapardy of overstocking with 6 barbs, a pair of cichlids, 2 BN's, and 4 platies. In fact I'd probably up the barbs to around 10.

Do you know what kind of cichlids you are interested in?
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Not specifically, beyond ones that will do well in the aquarium I have (i.e planted community aquarium with neutral pH), which (as far as I know) rules out most african cichlids and the large aggressive american species.

I've never kept them before but think they're a beautiful group of fish! And have heard a lot about their big personalities and interesting behaviours, so therein lies the appeal. It was actually a blue acara (standard) that first caught my eye- so definitely a first preference, but suitability is my priority.
 
tyguy7760
  • #9
Is breeding a must? You could consider perhaps a pair of blood parrots. If you are looking for big bold relatively placid but personable fish those would be good. Blue acaras are very pretty. I think you could do a pair in your tank. I believe they max out at about 5 inches
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Not necessarily, it's just something that'd be nice. I've never seen blood parrots in aquariums in my area but will keep an eye out. Thanks for all your advice on this I'll keep this thread updated with what I decide and how it goes.
 
tyguy7760
  • #11
Great. I'd suggest going to some fish stores and picking some out you like. If you have any questions we are here.
 
Wildside
  • #12
Seeing as Blood Parrots are hybrids, for the most part they're sterile. You'll get a bunch of eggs but they'll never amount to anything. They are very interesting fish though.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
A quick update: no cichlids yet, (hopefully later this week), but I have started introducing more barbs (taking it slowly out of caution with a relatively new tank), and noticed something interesting.

I introduced another gold barb, and the next morning the first one (now named Elijah) had bright red colouration on his belly- which a quick google search says confirms he's a male? The colour fades by night but is back by the next morning. No such colour on the new fish, so I'm guessing she's a she. They began swimming together from the start, though, and he seems much more relaxed with another of his own kind, so I'll definitely be getting more.

LFS says they'll get some acaras in at the end of this week, so we'll see how that goes
 
Plecomaker
  • #14
A quick update: no cichlids yet, (hopefully later this week), but I have started introducing more barbs (taking it slowly out of caution with a relatively new tank), and noticed something interesting.

I introduced another gold barb, and the next morning the first one (now named Elijah) had bright red colouration on his belly- which a quick google search says confirms he's a male? The colour fades by night but is back by the next morning. No such colour on the new fish, so I'm guessing she's a she. They began swimming together from the start, though, and he seems much more relaxed with another of his own kind, so I'll definitely be getting more.

LFS says they'll get some acaras in at the end of this week, so we'll see how that goes
Yep red belly comes and goes, breeding behavior. My school gets that occasionally.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Update #2
My plan to get some blue acaras is on the back burner for now as no aquarium shops within an hour and a half of me seem to be able to get them in stock. But I am, as of about fifteen minutes ago the proud fish parent of one juvenile Firemouth. He's not much over an inch in length and, IMO, really cute.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Pictures! He's a bit uncertain (and very camera shy, he'll swim over and stare at me then dart off as soon as I move to take a phpto) but seems to be settling in well.


image.jpg

The other fish, particularly the gold barbs, are fascinated by him. No harassment or aggression (I'll be keeping a close eye to make sure none develops), but they keep coming back to swim together.


image.jpg


image.jpg
 
tyguy7760
  • #17
awesome looking fish!
 
Plecomaker
  • #18
Should be fine together, just mind the temp.
Gold barbs prefer cool to moderate temp, firemouth often like mod to warm.
 
Xavier
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
awesome looking fish!

Thanks!

Should be fine together, just mind the temp.
Gold barbs prefer cool to moderate temp, firemouth often like mod to warm.

Aye. I'm keeping the temp moderate. And I'm not concerned about aggression any more- the new fish (Who I'm thinking of calling Andre) is turning out to be one of the shyest fish in the tank.
 
Plecomaker
  • #20
Thanks!



Aye. I'm keeping the temp moderate. And I'm not concerned about aggression any more- the new fish (Who I'm thinking of calling Andre) is turning out to be one of the shyest fish in the tank.
Yeah, firemouths aren't too grouchy most of the time, mine only get grumpy if my plecs try to cleanthe algae off his house.
 
sapphire
  • #21
looking for a centerpiece fish for a 45g tall community. Temp around 80 ph around 7 planted. Loaches
Cats
Congo tetras
Haven't decided on another school cause I need to decide on the center.

Was looking at cockato, golden dwarfs, kribs. But I'm new to cichlids. I'll take any advice, thoughts, suggestions. Was thinking 1 only.
 
dragon10monster
  • #22
could to a lone angel, that would utilize the tall tank
 
el337
  • #23
What kind of loaches and catfish do you have? Can you also list how many you have of each species?
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #24
All Cichlids are territory holders. With the exception of angels, the commonly available ones will hate those loaches. They compete for the same turf.
 
Al913
  • #25
Agree with el337, need to know how many of each fish! Some cichlids that come to mind are german blue rams and angel fish!
 
sapphire
  • #26
Al913
  • #27
Could do 1 angel and 1 GBR, what temp is the tank?
 
sapphire
  • #28
Around 80.
 
Finn
  • #29
Try to add some more cats. They like to school.

IMO
 
sapphire
  • #30
moving loachs

would a krib work alone? do they not work with snails?
 
el337
  • #31
Can you also provide the dimensions? Tank may not be big enough for congo tetras.
 
sapphire
  • #32
36x13x24h
 
el337
  • #33
Seems like it wouldn't be long enough for the loaches or congos. Your temp is too warm for the loaches and catfish as well. I'd lower the temp and just stock around the catfish. What about a dwarf gourami and some cool water schooling fish like zebra danios, cherry barbs, harlequin rasboras or neon tetras?
 
Anders247
  • #34
Agreed with el. How about a rainbow cichlid as the peaceful centerpiece?
 
sapphire
  • #35
the rainbow is pretty...
 
sheehanje
  • #36
Just seeing this post now. I just got two apistogramma borellii's cichlids. Had to get them online. Have them in a 44g pentagon community tank. My waterm is hard so not sure if they will work out yet. But they would thrive in your conditions and are supposed to be one of the more peaceful dwarf cichlids.
 
sharambil
  • #37
German Blue Rams, Electric Blue Rams, Bolivian Rams, Rams, Rams, and Rams.
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #38
Those are fine fish, but small - not centerpieces. They can have a key place in a thriving community, but they won't draw the eye.
 
sharambil
  • #39
You want a big fish in a 45 tall? I think it would take away from the scale that must be achieved in medium sized tanks. You could grow out some small geophagus red head tapajos in that tank for 4 months, then transfer them over to a large tank, but they only thrive in sand. Have you seen any Cupid Cichlids?
 
Anders247
  • #40
Apistogramma borellI need cooler temps than 80F, same with bolivian rams.
 

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