Cichlid advice Part II

Discussion in 'American Cichlids' started by GreenMan, Jan 8, 2018.

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Which tank?

This poll will close on Jan 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM.
  1. Tank 1

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  2. Tank 2

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  3. Tank 3

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  4. Start over Greenman! ;-)

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  1. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Hi again, this thread is related to the my previous thread in which I asked for advice for stocking a 65g tank. The thread is here: http://www.wafishbox.com/forums/threads/cichlid-advice-please.13647/

    Anyway, after some health issues and extensive research I'm FINALLY ready to pull the trigger on this tank upgrade. I've narrowed it down to two stocking ideas and wanted to run them by you to get your feedback. Obviously I'm a newbie at this and have limited experience.

    My current tank is a 45 tall and has a breeding pair of angels, 4 Bolivian rams, 1 school each of Cardinal tetras and Serpae tetras. I also have some corydoras and otos. Nobody has been interested in adopting my angelfish so I am planning to work around them. I THINK I have a home for my Bolivian rams and I intend to keep the other fish.

    I bought a 65g and made a stand for it. Now I'm ready to go! I've planned a heavily planted, medium tech system with CO2. I intend to add a protein skimmer and UV filter within 6 months. I'm running an Eheim canister filter rated for 50% higher than the 65 tank I'm using. Eco-complete is the substrate but I may make a last minute switch to sand depending on advice given here.

    That was a very long introduction to these two stocking ideas:

    Tank 1

    - 2 angelfish (breeding pair)
    - 3-5 firemouth cichlids
    - 1-2 red shouldered severum
    - 2 schools of tetras (red-eye, serpae or lemon)
    - 1 mating apistogramma pair
    - 3-5 flagtail porthole catfish

    Tank 2

    - 2 angelfish
    - 5 blue acaras (not electric)
    - several apistos of various types
    - 3-5 flagtail porthole catfish
    - tetras

    Ok, I can't resist because I'm still hoping to find a home for my angelfish:

    Tank 3

    - 1 red shouldered severum
    - 3 keyholes
    - 5 blue acaras
    - 2 dwarf acaras
    - 1 pair apistos
    - 3-5 flagtail porthole catfish

    Which of these stocking ideas sounds most reasonable? I'd love your feedback! Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
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  3. lloyd378
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    lloyd378 Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    To be honest.... I think all three options have some concerns with them...,, here are my thoughts.

    Option 1: I’d ditch the firemouth cichlids as they will rip up your angels.... additionally, the severums can get aggressive with each other . I’ve had a trio of severums in a 75 gallon, and the largest one got aggressive with the slightly smaller ones and I had to separate.

    Option 2: I like this option the best, but I’d only do a couple of the acaras instead of the 5-6..... I’d put my money into the apistos as they have so many different varieties and so many amazing colors.

    Option 3: I think this combination would get along the best, but worry that the keyhole cichlids may get picked on.....

    Just my thoughts.

    So to wrap up, I like the sound of #2 the most but think #3 will get along the best
     
  4. dwarfpike
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    dwarfpike Active Member

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    #3 without the blue acaras and portholes would work the best.

    What footprint size is the tank? All three options are stuffing a lot of territorial cichlids into what I assume is a fairly small footprint (I'm guessing the same as a 75 gallon, just short ... IE 48"x18")

    Even dwarf cichlid pairs can take up a 24"x18" territory when breeding.

    1 would work without the firemouths. Just 1 sev though, preferably a female given the tank size. Without the firemouths, you could also add a pair of either keyholes or dwarf acaras. Instead of the portholes, I would go with Corydoras robineae which has the same pattern as the flagtail portholes, but don't get as big. Assuming you don't want to raise any of the dwarf fry of course. Catfish are very effective egg eaters. This is probably the option I would go with.
     
  5. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    lloyd378 and dwarfpike thanks for your advice! I'm going back to the drawing board! I'll post an new idea soon.
     
  6. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Hi again. I'd like to throw this out and see what happens. Let's say it were you and in your experience, using a 65g planted tank (18" x 36"), what would you stock it with? Please keep in mind that I'm not in the position to handle too much aggression and I have an affinity for severums based on what I've read about them. Otherwise, it's wide open...

    That said, is anyone interested in a mating pair of angelfish?
     
  7. dwarfpike
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    dwarfpike Active Member

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    It's only a 36"x18"? Ouch. Well Sev's would be out, also they usually treat plants as a salad bar.

    Honestly, I'd keep the angel pair and go with either a pair of the keyholes or dwarf acaras or a trio of apistos, and a large tetra school, some oto's, and a small group of cory cats if you didn't care about raising the dwarf cichlid fry. An outside the box idea would be a pair of dwarf pike cichlids, but you would need a taller bodied tetra species.
     
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  8. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most of what's been said here, but here's my two-cents-worth anyway. I don't think any of your options are viable long-term, because a 36" x 18" tank simply is not big enough. Things like severums, firemouths, and even blue acaras will need more space. Since the tank is tall, it is perfect for mid-water fishes, like angels. I'd keep the angels, get a couple of good-sized swordplants to occupy their mid-water attention, add a school of tetras for dithers, and perhaps some dwarf cichlids to populate the tank bottom. So basically it's Tank #2 without the acaras. To make up for that, I'd choose some of the larger Apisto's, like A. steindachneri or A. macmasteri for the tank bottom, or even better (IMO), a few keyhole cichlids, which was my original suggestion. Such a tank would be pretty, peaceful, and long-term viable.
     
  9. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Great advice even though it's not what I wanted to hear. It's a real temptation to cram too many fish into a small tank but in the long run it's obviously not a good idea.

    sir_keith, so you think a "few" keyholes are okay? How many is a few? I'm thinking 3-5.... Don't they also get territorial when spawning? Also, it's often said that angelfish can be kept in groups as well. I know introducing new ones, especially to a mating pair, is difficult and fraught with danger but since I'm starting a completely new tank would it be reasonable to add new angels first, and then put my pair into the tank? This way it's not "their" tank and they're the newcomers...just a thought. Not sure I want to do that but just looking for options.

    Everything I've read about keyholes appeals but I have to say I'm very attracted to blue acaras. By all accounts I've read they are the same size as keyholes, would they really not fit into this tank?

    dwarfpike, I will consider a 'dwarf pike' and they are beautiful but I can barely find any online to purchase and I've never even seen one in a lfs. Do you have a specific species you can recommend I check out?

    Thanks again!
     
  10. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    If you already have a mated pair of Angels, I wouldn't try to add any more in a 36" tank. As for the keyholes, if you can find maybe 4 little ones, and let them grow out, hopefully you will get a pair, and depending on how they get along with the 'extras,' you can decide how many to keep. It's just how it works with cichlids. As for spawning, the keyholes require only a small territory on the substrate. That's not true of the blue acaras- they'll want your whole tank.

    Good luck.
     
  11. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Thanks sir_keith. I appreciate all the help.
     
  12. dwarfpike
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    dwarfpike Active Member

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    Dwarf pikes are rarely bred, so most are wild caught thus you usually see them in spring locally. I've bought them from Bridges, Sierra in Renton, and A Place for Pets. But as long as Wet Spot has them, most of the local stores can get them in.

    Though probably the prettiest, I'd stay away from compressiceps. They are the most territoral and predatory of the dwarf pikes I've kept. Regani are the mellowest, though get the largest. The others fall inbetween. One note, they can and will take out fish too large to swallow if they can get their mouths around the heads. I had a compressiceps pair do that to some tetras.
     
  13. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    This is 'more peaceful than angelfish,' which is where this thread started? Seriously? LOL! :rofl
     
  14. dwarfpike
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    dwarfpike Active Member

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    I've kept them with dwarf cichlids before without issues. A former member here had a regani pair in his planted tank with dwarf cichlids and all sorts of high bodied tetras without issues. They are predatory and will protect their cave, but outside of compressiceps, aren't really that aggressive.

    I find them far less aggressive than the blue acaras I've kept which also started the thread.
     
  15. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    Good to know, but I still don't think this is the best option for the original poster, all things considered. And I agree, given the size of the tank, the blue acaras are definitely off the table.
     
  16. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Any other ideas guys? I completely understand and respect your opinions but, quite honestly, I feel a little lost and discouraged. First of all, after reading volumes about fish and specifically SA cichlids, I've rarely seen advise on HOW to stock a tank with a particular fish or biotope. Advice is often approached as "minimum tank size" or some other generality but I rarely find specific info on how many fish of a particular species/sex will comfortably live in a tank of a particular size and how to deal with mating, pairing, aggression, tank mates, etc.

    I'm looking to create an interesting and attractive tank of SA cichlids, tetras and catfish and maybe a few oddballs, preferably with plants. I have an affinity to cichlids (especially severums, geophagus and dwarf cichlids) because of their apparent intelligence and ability to interact with me. I'm almost afraid to mention this but I recently "met" a red parrotfish and the two eyes looking back at me had a real personality behind them, that's the experience I want with my tank. Even my angelfish have that, they look at me, watch me walk across the room. Last week I was sick and spent a good deal of time on the couch, they watched me for hours!

    That's why I put a severum in my stocking ideas above. They seem highly aware and intelligent while being kind of peaceful. I don't care if they eat my plants since that's part of their natural diet. I will probably setup my tank with good substrate, CO2 and hight light, let them eat what they want. What I DO care about is stocking a tank with attractive fish who have some personality and intelligence and won't constantly terrorize the other fish with aggression.

    I know that aggression and cichlids go together like butter and popcorn but there are obviously some examples of cichlids who are less aggressive or at least can be kept more peaceful through a quality stocking plan and setup. I'm thinking discus, geophagus, severums, etc. I've even seen someone claim (on youtube) that convicts are the best beginner cichlid out there if they're kept properly. I've never seen anyone suggest HOW to properly keep them, just that it's possible. That doesn't help someone like myself.

    So if you were me given the limitations I have with tank size what would you do? I'm really open to any "outside the box" thinking as dwarfpike put it. The only thing that can't change at this point is my tank size. 65g 36x18x25. Plants, substrate, angelfish, it's all open at this point.
     
  17. dwarfpike
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    dwarfpike Active Member

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    You have good taste in cichlids, but the issue is the tank size (well more footprint). As an example, if I wanted to do a pair of blue acaras, a pair of sevs, a group of porthole catfish, and a group of high bodied tetras like bleeding hearts ... I'd be looking at a 125 gallon (72"x18") tank. I would probably add a pair of smaller (but not dwarf) pikes like bellycrawlers.

    The blue acaras I kept back when I first entered the hobby was in a 40 gallon breeder (same footprint as yours, 36"x18") and had stocked it with a school of serpae tetras and a pleco. The pair killed everything in that tank, and they were only half grown (3" male and 2.5" female). With new world cichlids, that footprint is the most important part due to their territoral nature. For example, you could not add any more cichlids to a 65 gallon (or 50 breeder, or 40 breeder) as you could a 30 gallon breeder as they have the same footprint. With the exception of a few cichlids like angels and discus, height really doesn't have an impact.

    Most dwarf cichlid keepers would keep a single pair of cichlids (or an apisto harem) in a tank with that footprint.

    Keep in mind we are usually refering to the final stocking. A lot of us would buy 4-6 juvenile cichlids and let them grow up and pair off naturally, then remove the extras.

    Pairs require more space, so yet another alternative would be doing all males. Someone here used to have tank with like 5 males of different apisto cichlids. As long as you are getting males from different species groups, that's certainly an option and you don't have to worry about pairs dividing up your tank when they breed.
     
  18. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree here, but the upper reaches of the tank would still afford space for a mid-water pair, like your angels. But I've already said that...

    This is absolutely correct, and the usual cichlid-keeper strategy.

    True enough, but this is a matter of taste. For me, keeping fishes in an unnatural environment, e.g. all males, is no fun, because it precludes species-typical behavior. And for me, cichlids are all about behavior.

    All of this is just food-for-thought, because obvioulsy there are many different ways to do this, and many different opinions. No one view is 'right.'

    Good luck!
     
  19. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Thanks guys, good responses. So I'm "stuck" with what I have I suppose. I really cannot get a larger tank given other parameters such as space, spouse and spending. ;) Are either of you familiar with geophagus redhead tapajós? This is a beautiful fish, small for a geo (5-6") and apparently prefers to be kept in small groups. I was considering 5 of those, my angels and tetras?

    https://www.reef2rainforest.com/201...ad-geophagus-sp-orange-head-tapajos-surprise/
     
  20. sir_keith
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    sir_keith Well-Known Member

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    Well, how to say this...

    It's all a matter of perspective. There are lots of folks out there with cool 10 or 20 gallon tanks that wouldn't feel the least bit 'stuck' with a 65. And there are plenty of cool things you could do with your tank, once you give up- for the time being- your fascination with 'big' cichlids. And make no mistake, five 6" Geo's count as 'big' cichlids in a 36" tank; it's just not going to work.

    Generic suggestions-

    For Neotropicals- your pair of angels, with Apistogramma and/or Nannacara on the substrate. A school of tetras as dithers.

    Being partial to Africans, I might choose 2 or 3 breeding pairs of Nanochromis (which are gorgeous and easy to sell, especially transvestitus), and a school of beautiful Congo Tetra's mid-water.

    In either case, abundant plants, and driftwood.

    Makes me want to set up a soft-water tank myself! :)

    Good luck.
     
  21. GreenMan
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    GreenMan Member

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    Those Nanochromis are beautiful! Very tempting and I"ll do more research.

    I guess i shouldn't be such a crybaby and be happy with the tank I have... I'll research those Africans and see if there are any others. I know Kribensis are very interesting... I'll look into that.

    Thanks
     

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