What's a minimum size?

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trailblazer295

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Hey all

So at this point it's just curious and few gears turning for the future. I've always liked salt water tanks, the look of the tanks decor, the wide variety of fish, shapes, size, colours and also swim style. Salt water fish seem to move differently then fresh water. A lot more unpredictable and erratic but that might be just me. I've always liked the african cichlids because they seem to have a number of those qualities, the variety, bold colours, and swim style. Just much easier to keep vs salt water and cheaper setup. For a guy that works a lot an easier to care for tank is better. I think of it as a poor mans SW tank.

I would like to one day setup a lake malawi rock only tank. From my limited research the mbunas have the general size, and qualities that fit best in a 55+ish sized tank. I would be piecing together used components to build up all the stuff needed but it all starts with the size of the tank. I couldn't find any threads touching on what's a good minimum size for these fish, I read a lot about 55g tanks. When I got rid of my 35g I did because of moving but also if i wanted a bigger (not 10g) I wanted to go bigger to open up my options. Now watching past episodes of tanked (bad idea lol) has gotten the fish fire going again after almost getting out of the game. I'm more into reptiles now but that's a different tale. I figure a 55g is a good starting place for the idea of a mbuna tank but wanted to get more opinions.

I would be looking for an active, colourful tank. Not interested in breeding, I couldn't even breed convicts when I tried. I just want it to for me to sit on the couch with a cold beer and just stare at the tank. With active colour and variety. I have no equipment at this point so I'm wide open.
 

BDpups

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Everyone has their own opinion, but I would take a mbuna tank over any SW tank every time. Nothing poor about mbuna. And not nearly as gaudy as a marine set up.

A 75 or 125 would be better for a mbuna tank. You could have much more options of fish with these over a 55. But a 55 can work with the right fish.

If you are willing to try and get the right combination of fish though trial and error, which means re-homing more aggressive fish until you get ones that get along, an all male tank would ensure a colorful and non breeding environment. Although there are lots of colorful female mbuna, all male means no fry.

You couldn't get convicts to breed? Did you have a male and female?
 
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trailblazer295

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I am open to going bigger then a 55 but a 125 is to big for my place. A 75 or other 4ft long tanks that are taller is also acceptable. Space wise a 4ft is my comfortable limit in terms of floor space and getting it in the house. Re-homing would be a bit of an issue due to work etc. Having fry isn't a big issue if they end up getting eaten by others.

They were a breeding trio then they picked on one female so rehomed her. Then just male and female in the tank, saw free swimmers twice but within a few days all gone. I'm just that talented lol

Is a 75 just a taller 55? Not sure what standard sizes in this size range are in terms of a foot print. Any 4ft long tank would be okay, possibly 5ft I'd have to check but a 6ft 125 is too big.
 

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A 75 would be fine, they are 18 inches deep. A 55 is 12 inches deep. Both 4 foot long. But I don't know the height of either off the top of my head.

If you could do a 5 foot tank, there are 5 foot 120 gallon. I think there are also 4 foot 120's. But again don't know the dimensions without looking them up.

Mbuna are excellent parents. So if you have them spawn, you will have fry. Adding some catfish may help to keep the numbers of them more in check as they will eat some of the fry.

But a 55 will also work.It will just be fewer fish you could keep.
 
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trailblazer295

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I think 75 might be 20inches maybe a bit taller then a 55. A few inches taller isn't an issue. I think I've seen a picture of a 5ft 120 or might have been 4 it was 30 tall which makes cleaning bit harder. I'm open to adding catfish to. An 18 deep tank is fine.

Update: I checked the space, a 5ft tank won't fit so that leaves me with tanks that are 4ft wide. Depth and height have wiggle room. A 75g sounds like a good fit, not to tall to make cleaning the bottom difficult. Nice to know it opens up more options fish wise.
 
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trailblazer295

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I'll look for a used 75g tank, I'd rather have the expanded options fish wise considering if I do buy one it will be for sure a mbuna tank no question. I tried planted in a 35g and failed miserably. My planted 10g looks pretty good though, the only tank I can keep everything green. I've always liked them and pause to admire the display cichlid tanks in big als, some might not be malawi could be victoria but that look anyway. I like everything about them and want one myself. Part of the reason I had convicts in the 35 at one point for that look, I had a rock setup and all. I don't want shell dwellers so it's basically down to malawi mbuna seeing as I don't think lake victoria cichilids will fit. Just plan on sand bottom with rocks and some limestone to maintain pH.
 
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