Stocking quiz! (many questions)

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by aylad, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. aylad

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    :;gift I'm accumulating birthday/Christmas funds from my family and family-in-law, and I'm busy brainstorming what kind of setup I want. I don't know yet how big a tank I'll be able to afford, so this is a set of hypothetical stocking lists:

    How big should a tank be to comfortably support:
    2 angelfish
    8-10 harlequin rasboras
    8-10 cherry barbs
    ...and would these be compatible?

    How big would the above tank need to be in order to add 6 pygmy cories? Or would the angels try to eat those?

    How about 2 angels, a school of harlequins, a school of cherry barbs, and 6 panda cories?

    Or... :;sh

    I'm pretty confident that I can swing *at least* a 55, although I'm hoping for more. Is a 55 adequate to support a malawi cichlid setup? If so, what would y'all recommend as the stocking list?

    If not, how big would I need to go for a good malawi setup?

    I've seen people mix plecos with cichlids, but I don't know if this is a good idea. What do y'all think about a clown or bristlenose pleco in a malawi tank?

    So... many... possibilities... :;juggle

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Hi, aylad -

    I'm not as knowledgeable on your first question and setup, but I can help on the Malawi Setup.

    With a 55 Gallon I would suggest about 3 to 4 groups of 6 of the species (i.e. 6 Johanni, 6 Yellow Lab and 6 Kenyi). You want to crowd the Cichlids a little to lessen the aggression and territorial habits they possess. Secondly, it mostly reassures that you could have a ratio of 1 or 2 males to 4 or 5 females. Options are quite a few on what species of the Malawi you can have (Kenyi, Johanni, Acei, etc).

    With my 75 Gallon, it's an Mbuna tank and I have 5 groups of species with 6 of each, if that makes sense. I also have 2 brown Bristle Nose Plecos in the 75 Gallon along with 2 Pictus Cats (usually the Pictus Cats don't go in with Mbunas but mine have thrived and grown very well).

    A Clown or BN Pleco would work well with the Malawi Cichlids.

    I'll tell you quite frankly, out of all my tanks, I love the Mbuna Tank the best! :)

    P.S. Below is a species page for African Cichlids and the Malawi Lake Species.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  3. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    For your angel setup a 55g would work great imo. I've never kept cherry barbs with angels so to be safe since they are small maybe use Gold Barbs insted, the rasboras should be safer because of their odd shaped body. Imo, a good list would be:

    2 Angels
    6-8 Barbs
    8 rasboras
    6-8 cories (not dwarf)
  4. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I don't know anything about Malawi cichlids but I can help with the first part :) I agree with Matt, a 55 would be great, and I would do regular cories. But if those are the only varieties of fish you'd want, I'd do more cories. Maybe 8-10 :)
  5. JDcichlidlover

    JDcichlidloverWell Known MemberMember

    For a mbuna set up you could also do a featherfin catfish. Chinese algae eaters do well with the cichlids too. A regular pleco is usually too docile to deal with aggressive cichlids and will get their fins ripped up. Everything else alex said is perfect ;)
    Make sure you have lots and lots of hiding places for mbuna. Slate works very well. I have live plants in my tank, I've heard a lot of people say don't do that but my cichlids loved the plants. Driftwood is also very good to put in there to make more hiding places. Rule of thumb is at least two caves per cichlid.
  6. OP

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for all the responses!

    Follow-up questions:

    For the angelfish setup, are panda cories considered dwarf cories? Or were you just warning against stocking with corydoras pygmaeus?

    For the mbuna:

    I'm interested in pseudotropheus saulosi (I guess these are the only species called "dwarf mbuna"?), yellow labs, and... not sure. Maybe afra cichlids? I know that I want the dwarf mbuna; what else could go with them and make for a really good display of colors?

    How should the mbuna tank be stocked? I've read that stocking all at once is a good way to establish all the territories up front, but with a small group of each species, that's a lot of fish all at once... and a pretty huge strain on the biofilter.

    I'm pretty much a newbie to the idea of keeping cichlids from any continent; I didn't realistically expect that I'd have the funds for a large setup for quite some time yet. Needless to say, I'll take my time researching and prepping before buying any fish. :)
  7. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Panda cories are not dwarf cories :)
  8. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    I wouldn't keep dwarf cories (Corydoras hastatus) or pygmies with the angels. While I have never kept panda cories, I understand they are one of the smaller cories and specimens I have seen would seem to back that up. I'm not sure that an angel could eat them but a cory lodged in another fish's throat would not be fun. I would probably stick to more robust cories like Sterbai or Bronze.

    Maybe someone who has kept the pandas can chime in with a good adult size, everything I'm finding is around an 1 1/2"-2" pretty tiny.
  9. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    On the Malawi Lake Cichlids, just make sure you stick with the African Cichlids. You can't mix the regions. For example, you can't put South American Cichlids with African Cichlids (different continent, different water parameter needs, etc) and so on. If you want Mbunas, I'd stick with the African Cichlids.

    For Example, Here is what I have in my 75 Gallon:

    6 Cobalt Blue
    6 Albino Redtop (With one being an actual Albino Socolofi)
    6 Yellow Lab
    6 Orange Zebra
    6 Kenyi

    That is a good overcrowding amount for a 75 Gallon. You have to keep in mind that even though they are 1.5 to 3 inches when purchasing them, they will eventually be 5-7 inches when adults.

    My suggestion for a 55 Gallon is similar to that number (as far as how many groups), but 1-2 less groups (3-4 groups in the 55 Gallon Fish Tank).

    I may sound like I'm rambling, but I'm really not! ;)

    As far as getting your Mbunas or African Cichlids, I did it with about 3-5 at a time. I've heard it's best to do it all at once and 3-5 at a time with adding no less than 2 for sure. IMO, I think the few at a time would be best.

    JD is correct on the hiding places, rock, driftwood, etc. It's best to have at LEAST 2 hiding places per Mbuna/Fish. I have about 50-60 rocks in my 75 Gallon and have managed to make nearly 90 hiding places (including the driftwood). The rocks were free as I got them at a nearby lake. Malaysian Driftwood is really nice in a fish tank, especially with Mbunas. A lot of color along with the rocks, too.

    And yes, the pseudotropheus saulosi is definitely a dwarf Mbuna. BUT, if you're going to stock these, then make sure that you keep similar sized Mbunas and not some of the bigger ones like the Yellow Lab. Crowding the tank is for aggression and territorial reasons. I guess, too, that is why I love having an Mbuna tank. You can overcrowd it without feeling bad. In the wild, it's the same way with Mbunas.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  10. AmazonPassion

    AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    I would go with the bigger varieties of Corydoras. I wouldn't stock Panda's with Angels because Pandas are the smaller varieties (not dwarfs) of Corydoras.

    I keep Albino Corydoras with my Angels.
  11. llfish

    llfishWell Known MemberMember

    I kept Julii corys with mine, and now they are with Albinos ;)
  12. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Anyone pass the quiz?
  13. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    LoL! I was just thinking that about 20 minutes ago! :)
  14. OP

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    Great advice = passing grade. ;)

    Ok... so how aggressive are the kenyi? It seems they're a better choice based on size than the saulosi, but I've read that their aggression can be a problem...?

    Or, what are some good tankmates for saulosi?

    No pandas with angels, gotcha. I'll find some other cory species I like, if I go with this plan. And that's a probable "no" on cherries; go with gold barbs instead.

    OOOOH OOOOH OOOOH what about lemon tetras? Will they do well in an angel tank?

    I do know not to mix African and S.American cichlids. ;) I'm switching back and forth between stocking plans because I'm unsure whether I want a heavily planted SA tank or a tank full of beautiful mbuna. ;D I'm kinda like a kid in a candy store right now... if you couldn't tell. :party0049:
  15. Matt B

    Matt BWell Known MemberMember

    They are a little small but they do have laterally compressed bodies, I would say a maybe. Some people are able to keep cardinal tetras with angels and they are much more torpedo shaped, it may help if you get small angels and they grow up with the tetras.
  16. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Kenyi are not real aggressive. They're about as aggressive as the other Mbunas - Moderate. They do stay around similar sizes as the other common Mbunas.

    With the Cichlids (SA vs. African) some folks like the SA's better and some the African (Malawi Lake). Personally, I prefer the Mbuna species because they don't seem to get AS big in size and they usually do not have the aggression that some of the SA's possess, IMO.
  17. OP

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    OK, how brightly colored do the kenyi get when they're properly cared for? The ones I've seen at pet stores the last couple days seem very pale...
  18. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Below is a picture (the small blue striped fish) of my Kenyii. He's in very good shape as his color is as it's supposed to be. If they are fed the proper food and ingredients, their color will be vibrant and pop out nicely. Life Spectrum is the best for Mbunas, IMO.
  19. OP

    ayladWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks! Last question, maybe. How likely am I to get fry in the mbuna tank, and what will I be able to do about it if I can't support the population? I guess I'm asking: if I don't intervene, how many will reach maturity?
  20. AlexAlex

    AlexAlexWell Known MemberMember

    Instead of going into a long spilled story, lol, I decided to post this page which is very informative on the breeding and fry scenario of the Mbuna community. IMO, the Mbunas are one of the easiest to maintain if they spawn and successfully have fry. Below is all the information page:

    Here is another excellent website loaded with information on the Mbuna setup, the ratios, etc.: