Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

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Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:53 am

Hello all
It has been years since I chatted in fish forums :)
I have decided to start keeping African cichlids as it is the only type of fish that I haven't kept before and I am up for a challenge! I have years of keeping tropical, marine and discus fish behind me, so pretty confident in water parameters and basic rules of fish keeping.
I have set up a large 300 litre tank and aquascaped it with ocean rock and pool filter sand. That probably leaves me with 250l plus 50l filter sump.
My main goal is to achieve a colourful fish display as I have a 3 year old and a pretty peaceful (if I can use this word with cichlids) set up. I want to avoid aggression battles as having a little one to look after has shuttered my resistance to stress levels :) Also, being a woman I find it hard to witness fish being attacked and eaten :(

You might say - why don't you have a tropical tank instead? Well, I have 2 (in the other room) :)
I am not planning to breed and sell, just something to watch and enjoy!

So my story goes on...
I got inpatient and used my Christmas break to visit some local shops and as you can guess I returned with bags of fish.
I did my research before deciding on the fish and despite that I did a naughty thing and bought a Malawi/Tanganyika mix.
Here is the main reason for this thread - please advice me on my selection as things have started to go wrong already.

Here is my fish list:
3 Yellow Labs (1m + 2f) - about 2inches
5 Cobalt Blue around 1 inch
3 Yellow Tail Acei (1m + 2f) about 3inch
1 Demasoni - <1.5inch
6 Afra Red Top cichlids <1inch

2 Lemon Cichilds (Tanganyika) 2.5in
1 Fairy Cichlid Neolamprologus Brichardi ( one fish is 2inch and one smaller)
2 Yellow Juliochromis (2.5inches)
4 Sardines cichlids (2.5inch)
1 Yellow Calvus ( 1inch size)

They were added all together with 1 day difference and have been in the tank for 4 days now.
Issue 1 - One of the Lemon Cichlids has decided to be the boss and started attacking my yellow labs. They are now hiding and only coming out for food.
Issue 2 - Julies fight with each other
Issue 3 - One of the small Afra started conflict with Demasoni (I guess it is the vertical stripes issue here)

Could you please advice how I can bring piece to this set up and the steps I need to take to correct my mix?
Waiting with impatience for your expert advice!
Many thanks!
Tanyanika

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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby boltons1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:23 am

I think it would be difficult to bring 'peace' to that tank without serious rehoming.

Personally I would keep the sardine cichlids and get more if you can, keep the altolamprologus and perhaps the Julies if they calm down. The rest I think will create the sort of havoc you wouldn't want in a peaceful tank.
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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:49 am

Thank you very much for your quick response.
Could yellow labs and Cobalts co-exist with the above selection? I love my yellow labs very much and ideally want something blue to mix with them for a good contrast.
I am planning to re-home the Lemon cichlids as a first step.
Sardines are hard to find, but I will try on-line, what would be the ideal m:f ratio for them?
I have just learnt that out of my afra red mix I have 2 rusties and 2 mbumba bay yellow top cichlids...
Does the whole lot needs to go?
Thank you!
Tanyanika

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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby stormbird » Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:36 pm

if all you want is a colourfull tank you'd be better getting rid of the Tangs & keeping Malawis
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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Thank you Stormbird
My current Tangs mix is supposed to be pretty colourful selection but Lemon cichlids started behaving badly from day 2 being in the tank. I bought them as I thought they were quite mild, perhaps, they are establishing boundaries now. They seem to chase my Yellow Labs until those are out of the Lemon's view.
I am taking one particular mean Lemon cichlid back to the shop for an exchange (another yellow lab female?)
Shall I keep Afra red tops/Mbubma bay, rusties or they can be a trouble when they grow up in this set up?

Also, another question - how many fish can I keep in the tank this size? The local fish breeder said 60, but having around 30 fish (small) already seems like a lot to me!
Tanyanika

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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby stormbird » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:50 pm

Housing Tangs is different to housing Malawi's although a few claim otherwise . Tangs essentially need their own space and will fight for it .
Malawis are diferent and can to a certain degree be packed into a tank although you will get some agression whilest they set up territories & establish a hierarchy

As for numbers, as you say 30 seems a lot even for Malawis, add Tangs to the mix & you have a big problem ! With the Malawis it will depend on size & how much rock work you have in the tank
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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:18 pm

That is very useful to learn, I didn't know Tangs can be that demanding in terms of territory.
I have a lot of rock and caves, which might be a huge problem trying to catch Tangs!
I suspected that breeder just wanted to sell fish and said 60, I regret now buying fish from him :(

Shall I get rid of Afra Red Tops, Rusties and Tangs? I might leave Julies and sardines to see if things calm down.
Also, would Lemon cichlid will behave on its own? I have two and only one just causing issues at the moment.
It is fine with everything else in the tank but not the Yellow labs!
If I get rid of all stripey fish, would Demasoni be OK? He seems fine with the rest of the fish, but clearly dislikes vertical stripes!
Tanyanika

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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby boltons1 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:05 pm

Where are you based? I have some cyprichromis that I could exchange with you (bought more than I needed) or I could take your other cyprichromis (sardine cichlids) if you have utinta?

Stormbird is much more knowledgable on African cichlids than I am but personally if you are wanting peaceful I wouldn't do Malawi every Malawi tank I've seen looks like chaos, though obviously tang tanks can look the same I guess if not stocked correctly.
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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:25 am

Hello
I am in Solihull B90 area, you are right about chaos. The overcrowding is something that I find very messy and not pleasing to look at.
I came home yesterday and was pleased by the piece in the tank. It looks like the fish has established their statuses and looked well behaved. Lemon cichlid is still the boss of the tank but yellow labs finally realised they were Mbuna and not Labradors! :) and look more brave now.
My sardines are still grey and they are about 5-7cm long. I am not sure if I have males or females. At what size do they start to colour up? I was told they are blue with yellow tails, so could be Utinta?
Boltons1, what would you be interested in to swap? Have you got Untinta males (just in case mine are all females?)
Tanyanika

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Re: Calling for experts - stocking new tank advice needed

Postby Tanyanika » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:39 am

The current aggression levels looks like this (scale 0 - 5 )

3 Yellow Labs (1m + 2f) - about 2inches LEVEL 0
5 Cobalt Blue around 1 inch LEVEL 0
3 Yellow Tail Acei (1m + 2f) about 3inch LEVEL 0
1 Demasoni - <1.5inch LEVEL 3 (problem with one small male afra,OK with the rest)
6 Afra Red Top cichlids <1inch LEVEL 0 (too small)

2 Lemon Cichilds (Tanganyika) 2.5in LEVEL 3 (one Lemon is chasing Yellow labs, OK with the rest)
1 Fairy Cichlid Brichardi ( one fish is 2inch and one small) LEVEL 0 (I think I have female)
2 Yellow Juliochromis (2.5inches) LEVEL 3 (only with each other)
4 Sardines cichlids (2.5inch) LEVEL 0
1 Yellow Calvus ( 1inch size) LEVEL 0


I understand it is early stages now and fish are small, what would you say can became a worst bully in the future?
I was thinking to take 1 Lemon cichlid back to the shop to exchange for another Yellow lab female. Shall I leave the other one as it is not causing any issues at all?
Thank you!
Tanyanika

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