Stocking Mbuna in a 40 gallon

lemonbean

Hi all :)

I currently have a 40 gallon breeder with 9 mbuna in it. Here’s what i have right now:
1 kenyi
1 johanni
2 yellow fin mbamba
1 yellow tail acei
1 yellow lab
1 chewre
1 jewel spot
& then 1 that i’m not quite sure what he is

They are all juveniles, the biggest one is the johanni who is a little over 2”, the smallest is one of the yellow fin mbambas who is around 1.5”

I am wondering how many cichlids i should put in this tank? I have read multiple places that it’s best to overstock mbuna tanks, so how many more should i add? I also want to note that i have full plans to upgrade their tank to a 75 gallon or larger in about a year, maybe sooner.

With the 9 i have, how many more would be a good number?

Thanks in advance
 

MacZ

I used that tanksize for grow-outs, never kept adults in it. I would not add anything until the new tank is ready. It's easier to add more fish in the new tank, as this one very likely here has an established pecking order. You will want to have the bigger tank up and running in about 4 months.

I have read multiple places that it’s best to overstock mbuna tanks, so how many more should i add?
That's an outdated technique. Nowerdays it's turning out that instead of mixing a dozen species a good sized species group and only keeping 2-3 species is the better alternative longterm.

1 yellow tail acei
Though taxonimically an Mbuna species their lifestyle and diet is very different from the rest, I'd think about rehoming.

& then 1 that i’m not quite sure what he is
Post a picture in the ID forum.
 

lemonbean

I used that tanksize for grow-outs, never kept adults in it. I would not add anything until the new tank is ready. It's easier to add more fish in the new tank, as this one very likely here has an established pecking order. You will want to have the bigger tank up and running in about 4 months.


That's an outdated technique. Nowerdays it's turning out that instead of mixing a dozen species a good sized species group and only keeping 2-3 species is the better alternative longterm.


Though taxonimically an Mbuna species their lifestyle and diet is very different from the rest, I'd think about rehoming.


Post a picture in the ID forum.

Thanks for all this information!! I have some questions based off your response though if that’s okay.

I was thinking i might need to add more fish because i found my demasoni dead tonight, and i’m not sure if it was due to aggression or not forsure because i wasn’t home when it happened, i came home to find him dead and half eaten, but from what i have read i was thinking it was due to aggression sadly. :( If i need to upgrade to the bigger tank that soon, how many more should i add with the new one?

For the yellow tail acei, what makes him so different lifestyle and diet wise? I thought he was a herbivore like the other mbuna i have, or at least that’s what i was told. He seems to be doing great and actually seems to hangout with the yellow fin mbamba a lot. Should i really consider rehoming right now when he’s doing good, or is it something i could wait out and if there is problems then rehome him? I would just hate to have to rehome him because he’s so beautiful…
 

MacZ

I was thinking i might need to add more fish because i found my demasoni dead tonight, and i’m not sure if it was due to aggression or not forsure because i wasn’t home when it happened, i came home to find him dead and half eaten, but from what i have read i was thinking it was due to aggression sadly.
It's almost impossible to determine the cause of death in hindsight, sorry.

If i need to upgrade to the bigger tank that soon, how many more should i add with the new one?
There is no "should", there is only a "could". I would likely overthink the whole stocking for the new tank.

For the yellow tail acei, what makes him so different lifestyle and diet wise? I thought he was a herbivore like the other mbuna i have, or at least that’s what i was told. He seems to be doing great and actually seems to hangout with the yellow fin mbamba a lot. Should i really consider rehoming right now when he’s doing good, or is it something i could wait out and if there is problems then rehome him? I would just hate to have to rehome him because he’s so beautiful…
P. acei are open water fish, live in almost school-like groups and unlike other Mbuna mostly graze on driftwood-aufwuchs, not rock-aufwuchs. They have almost no territoriality, so they tend to become the whipping boys of a tank, just like Labidochromis caeruleus, that everybody else takes to let off some steam. Right now this might not be the case yet, but it's really likely to happen later on.

For reliable information visit seriouslyfish.com and malawi-guru.de
 

lemonbean

It's almost impossible to determine the cause of death in hindsight, sorry.


There is no "should", there is only a "could". I would likely overthink the whole stocking for the new tank.


P. acei are open water fish, live in almost school-like groups and unlike other Mbuna mostly graze on driftwood-aufwuchs, not rock-aufwuchs. They have almost no territoriality, so they tend to become the whipping boys of a tank, just like Labidochromis caeruleus, that everybody else takes to let off some steam. Right now this might not be the case yet, but it's really likely to happen later on.

For reliable information visit seriouslyfish.com and malawi-guru.de


i’m just confused at this point honestly lol. I really have no idea of the appropriate number of fish to add after setting up the new tank. I have 9 currently, how many do i need to add?

Also, i’m very confused about the acei. I have read that they are moderately aggressive, and that good tankmates are other mbuna. He does good in my tank like i said, and he’s the second biggest fish in there. The few times i’ve seen someone else try to go after him, he immediately turns around and stands his guard.

To be honest with you, i feel like i always read/ hear/ see something different about cichlids everytime i need information about something lol. For example, i was told i could have duboisi cichlids in my tank, but when i did some research, because i knew they were tanganika cichlids, i saw that they would be a terrible fit.

I just feel like i keep getting different information everytime i ask something :(
 

MacZ

I really have no idea of the appropriate number of fish to add after setting up the new tank. I have 9 currently, how many do i need to add?
You don't have an idea because there is no appropriate number and thus no number you "need" to add.

Also, i’m very confused about the acei. I have read that they are moderately aggressive, and that good tankmates are other mbuna. He does good in my tank like i said, and he’s the second biggest fish in there. The few times i’ve seen someone else try to go after him, he immediately turns around and stands his guard.
As I said, it might change at some point.

To be honest with you, i feel like i always read/ hear/ see something different about cichlids everytime i need information about something lol. For example, i was told i could have duboisi cichlids in my tank, but when i did some research, because i knew they were tanganika cichlids, i saw that they would be a terrible fit.
There are many people out there with different opinions. If it's someone whose livelihood is in selling fish, chances are the information you get is rather conservative, often to the point that it's outdated.
Many other beginners in Malawi cichlids parrot the info they got elsewhere.
And sadly, not only is the state of Malawi cichlid husbandry variable all over the world. In some countries it's state of the art right now and in constant development, while other countries only just emerged from the dark ages of fishkeeping. The time of crushed coral substrate and holey rock with plastic plants under a much too bright light was standard in the 90s where I live, right now dark tanks with sand substrate and basalt or granite rocks under rather saltwater-tank lights is the standard. That's much closer to their natural habitat.
Also often "casual" Malawi keepers want colourful fish in a mix and don't care for their wellbeing. There you often see a "collector" mentality. I'm especially appaled by the fact how often they are just offered as generic "african cichlids", which ignores their ecology, taxonomy, and well... often also geography.

So yeah, your sources are probably a wild mix. To research I would not ask too many people but rather make use of reliable resources. That's why I mentioned those two websites.
 

lemonbean

You don't have an idea because there is no appropriate number and thus no number you "need" to add.


As I said, it might change at some point.


There are many people out there with different opinions. If it's someone whose livelihood is in selling fish, chances are the information you get is rather conservative, often to the point that it's outdated.
Many other beginners in Malawi cichlids parrot the info they got elsewhere.
And sadly, not only is the state of Malawi cichlid husbandry variable all over the world. In some countries it's state of the art right now and in constant development, while other countries only just emerged from the dark ages of fishkeeping. The time of crushed coral substrate and holey rock with plastic plants under a much too bright light was standard in the 90s where I live, right now dark tanks with sand substrate and basalt or granite rocks under rather saltwater-tank lights is the standard. That's much closer to their natural habitat.
Also often "casual" Malawi keepers want colourful fish in a mix and don't care for their wellbeing. There you often see a "collector" mentality. I'm especially appaled by the fact how often they are just offered as generic "african cichlids", which ignores their ecology, taxonomy, and well... often also geography.

So yeah, your sources are probably a wild mix. To research I would not ask too many people but rather make use of reliable resources. That's why I mentioned those two websites.

So you’re saying i don’t need to add any more cichlids? 9 is the right number for a 40?


I am mostly getting my information from my aquarium store, and from other fish hobbyists. Those 2 websites you mentioned, one is in a different language and i cannot read anything… The second one, has no information on Acei cichlids at all.
 

MacZ

So you’re saying i don’t need to add any more cichlids? 9 is the right number for a 40?
For the time being. Definitely upgrade your tank before they are adult size.

Those 2 websites you mentioned, one is in a different language and i cannot read anything
You can select the language in the top menu. I should have mentioned.

The second one, has no information on Acei cichlids at all.
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/pseudotropheus-sp-acei/

They do.
 

lemonbean

For the time being. Definitely upgrade your tank before they are adult size.


You can select the language in the top menu. I should have mentioned.


https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/pseudotropheus-sp-acei/

They do.

So reading that article you attached about the Acei, it seems like are fine to have in my tank? They prefer rocky and sand habitats, which i’ve got, and it also says they do well with moderately aggressive mbuna, which i have. I’m just so confused :(
 

MacZ

I wouldn't count the "M. lombardoi" and the P. johanni as moderately aggressive. The rest would be fine I think.

Confusion can only be resolved with knowledge. How about you sit down with a cup of coffee and start by reading up on the basics about Lake Malawi habitats and their fish on Wikipedia? Without knowing the whole picture how are you supposed to know where which puzzle piece fits?
 

lemonbean

I wouldn't count the "M. lombardoi" and the P. johanni as moderately aggressive. The rest would be fine I think.

Confusion can only be resolved with knowledge. How about you sit down with a cup of coffee and start by reading up on the basics about Lake Malawi habitats and their fish on Wikipedia? Without knowing the whole picture how are you supposed to know where which puzzle piece fits?

I think you are correct, I think i could really benefit from reading up on Lake Malawi habitats and their fish so i am able to get a better idea on the whole picture of things. Thank you so much for all your answers and the links you’ve provided, i really appreciate all of it :)
 

MacZ

You're welcome and have fun on your journey! :)
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
1
Views
178
Bwood22
  • Question
Replies
14
Views
261
coastalcoyote
Replies
4
Views
404
A201
  • Question
Replies
2
Views
161
Dcmbuna
Replies
5
Views
198
ProudPapa

New Aquarium Stocking Threads

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom