Possible Cichlid Build Help

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Stryphe89, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Stryphe89New MemberMember

    Hey guys! I recently posted asking for centerpiece ideas for a peaceful community tank.
    Well, it seems that things are going to have to be.. um, redesigned. My husband decided shortly after that he wanted to upgrade to a 120 gallon. Hey, who am I to argue with the man? Anyway, we're moving the community tank to the 120g (Yay! Bigger schools!), and now I have a 46g (?) to play with.
    I'm thinking that I want to do an african cichlid tank. I've kept some SA/CA cichlids before but I have no experience with African Cichlids. I'm thinking that I would like to keep Dwarf Mbuna. I've been doing some research but keep finding conflicting information.
    So, this is where you lovely folks come in! I'm hoping to get some ideas from people who have personal experience with them.

    Tank footprint is 36x15x18.

    How many can I keep in this size tank? I know they suggest overstocking to decrease aggression...?

    Can I mix different types? Some sources say you can mix dwarf species and some say not to.

    Can I stock other fish with them? What about a clean up crew? The horror stories...

    What type of rocks and substrate would you recommend? I've read limestone is a good choice to harden the water.

    What about lighting and filter? Is a canister best? And what about creating waterflow? Is it necessary?

    Etc., etc., etc...

    So you know, I'm only asking about everything. Lol

    Thank you guys in advance for any input you have for me. There's an overwhelming amount of information out there, and it's hard to sort the good from the bad, sometimes.
  2. fisshWell Known MemberMember

    You can try afras (all types) and labidochromis (all types). Your tank size is the bare minimum for any type of mbuna, I would look into lake Tanganykan cichlids instead. A canister is the best filters for any types of Africans, get about a 10 times gph ( and yes that's about 2 times what you here) for a canister. No need for bottom feeders or mixing other dither fish, all Africans will clean up after themselves. Yor 120 would be a perfect size for a mbuna tank. DSCN5150.JPG
  3. Stryphe89New MemberMember

    Thanks for the advise. I had heard that dwarf mbuna were the smallest of the African cichlids. Are Lake Tanganykan cichlids actually smaller? After looking into them there are some pretty cool fish in that group. They dont have quite the same intensity visually as the Mbuna, but still some very lovely specimens.

    Do you think Peacocks would work?

    I'm particularly taken with Labidochromis caeruleus. If nothing else would work, could I at least keep a group of these with some other tankmates, even if not cichlids?

    As far as the 120g, the community tank was something that my husband and I both really wanted, and one of the main reasons we decided to get into the hobby in the first place, so I think we will stick with it being the community tank. Cichlids were something that I personally found an interest in after getting into the hobby. If, through everyone's advise here, we find that this smaller tank wouldn't work well for a cichlid tank, then I may have to wait for another, larger tank, and find something else to do with this one, instead.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  4. fisshWell Known MemberMember

    Lake Tanganykan has the smallest cichlids in the world (shell dwellers) and a lot of the other fish are small. You could have a community of a few kinds of fish. a lot of them are shy in general, and not as active as mbuna. If you like the electric yellow, you cold put in 12 to 14 fish in the tank. They are a dwarf but seem to thrive in a tank and some get much larger than they're wild counter parts (I've seen them get around 5") Most of the ones I have are 3" to 4". You might also look into labidochromis textiles, it gets about the same size and would add a different color. Mbuna seem to like sand, a black blasting sand or pool sand work well. If your tap ph is 7.6 or above you can use other rocks besides lime stone. I use lava types of rocks, Mexican bowl rock. If you have a low ph, below 7.4 I would use crashed coral for substrate and lime stone to help with the ph. Here is a picture of some of my shell dwellers (Neolamprologus multifasciatus) the biggest are around 1 3/4" and that's the breeders. DSCN6115.JPG Neolamprologus multifasciatus)
    If you have any other questions, the good people on fishlore can help.
    Good luck and have fun with your hobby.
  5. Stryphe89New MemberMember

    Those Shellies are some attractive and fascinating little guys! Been looking at them since you mentioned Tanganykan. Thanks so much for the information, you have been incredibly helpful.

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