View Full Version : to cichlid or not to cichlid?

08-11-2007, 11:59 AM
I have a 240L aquarium set up atm with a very quarellsome community who fin nip and just generally I don't think they enjoy life, my ph is 8.5 and the water is too hard to lower it, I would love to keep cichlids but always refrained because I assumed they would be more difficult or more expensive, is this true? at the moment I have a sand substrate a few live plants (not many atm as I am waiting for a hood to fix a light to and they aren't growing very well) some rocks a few terracotta pots and some fake driftwood ornaments, is there any major changes I would have to make before I could get cichlids? and are there any suggestions as to what I could get first? and also how do I introduce new fish after the first lot because I've heard it can be difficult basically I just need some general info on keeping them

08-11-2007, 12:28 PM
I'd recommend you start your research here and go from there:


08-11-2007, 12:35 PM
Your ph is perfect for Malawi cichlids. I would not suggest getting any South or Central American cichlids with a pH of 8.5 and very hard water, but if you are wanting some Malawis, you probably don't need to do a thing to the water, as this is what they like. they honestly are not that hard to keep and cost may vary depending on the store. (you may pay up to 10 dollars for some, but I have seen them as low as 4 dollars). The most common African cichlids you will find at stores are probably fish such as electric yellows, socolofis, Kenyis, red zebras, etc.., you may see peacocks, which are also very good looking fish, but you should not mix peacocks with the above mentioned fish.

If you can recreate their natural habitat and diet, then they should thrive. Some tips I would give is to have at least 4 of each species, preferably 3 males to one female. Add them in groups, as this prevents as much aggression from being focused on one fish. Sometimes it is better ot overstock the tank so that the aggression is more spread out and each fish cannot establish a definite territory. (I have 15 in a 72 gallon). They will get along better if you can put lots of rocks in there (I mean piles of boulders). This also helps with aggression. You should never feed them live foods or high protein foods. They are mainly vegetarian and can die quickly of bloat if you feed them the wrong diet.

08-11-2007, 12:37 PM
PS. Cichlids will eat all your plants, so you probably won't be able to do live plants unless it is something like java fern.

08-11-2007, 12:52 PM
I just went on to that site and it doesn't really have any info on it, where am i supposed to be looking? :S

positive comments yay! i do like those lol so first question is what rocks? because I know that certain rocks do different things to the water and also what will I have to do before putting them in the tank? and yeah I was planning on malwai cichlids they are the most colorful :D which fish would you recomend I get first? and how many? also at the moment I have 2 kribs which I know are cichlids but does that neccisarily mean they can go in with the cichlid tank or should I keep them with the other tropical fish? and are you sure you meant 3 males to one female? because thats the complete opposite to normal :s wouldn't the female be picked on? thanks so far :D

08-11-2007, 02:03 PM
Try to find some large rocks that can be stacked into a pile. (or multiple piles). I used some river cobble that I found at a landscaping place. (got 200 pounds for about 30dollars). Yes, you are right that some rocks can change the pH and hardness. Anything with limestone, coral, etc.., will raise your pH. A way to test if it is neutral is to put a few drops of vinegar on it, and if it bubbles, this rock will change the pH. You don't really need any rocks that will raise the pH since you already have high pH water. I soaked my rocks in buckets of water, then baked them in the oven to kill any bugs.

Actually, I meant 3 females to one male, I wrote that out backwards and didn't catch it when I previwed my post...Thanks for clarifying. Sometimes it is hard to tell when they are juveniles and you will probably end up having to get rid of a few when they are adults. You will likely end up with several dominant males who compete for the tank.

malawis are a species only tank. You cannot put them with the kribs. You should start out adding the most peaceful first. As a general rule, it goes in this order from most peaceful to most aggressive: labidochromis, psuedotreuphues, melanochromis. Electric yellow labs are the most peaceful ones that I have and they have been breeding like mad, and very hardy. My very favorite and most colorful species in my tank is the Pseudotrophues Acei (it's the blue fish in my avator). I can try to post some individual pics once I figure out how again so you can see the different species and what they look like). I would say have at least 4 of each species.

A good food to feed is Hikari cichlid Excel or New Life Spectrum cichlid formula (fishguy swears by it). I have tried both, and the fish have really gotten some good colors after feeding the New Life Spectrum. I also feed some fresh veggies once a week life green leaf lettuce.

08-11-2007, 02:14 PM
i have 55 gal mbuna tank and i'm so glad i converted it from a community. if you check out my profile you'll see the current occupants in my tank. these fish's behavior is quite interesting and amusing. as of yet i have 0 problems with them and my male afra has bread with my female ice blue and now has his sights set on one of the female afras now. i'd say all is well and right now i have no aggression with the current occupants but i do plan to add more down the road along with another fluval 305.
for plants i have some anubias, java ferns and lace ferns. they don't mess with those but i did have some anacharis and they loved that stuff. they could strip a bunch of it to the stems in a day. i'll add a little in here and there to supplement their diet. i love my fish, they are awesome! biggest piece of advice is do lots of research on them so you know who's who and how they act.

08-11-2007, 02:19 PM
Here's some pics of the fish in my tank. The one in the top left corner with blue/purple coloring is the Acei, the one in the middle with the blue striped markings is a female Kenyi (males get a rusty yellow look to them as they age) and the yellows are the electric yellow labs.

08-11-2007, 02:23 PM

08-11-2007, 02:45 PM
your tank looks really nice jessie but nw I'm confused sergo's tank is the opposite of what jessie sed :S he has kribs and lots of just 1 of each species :S

08-11-2007, 03:01 PM
you're right i do but i don't think they will be in there too much longer. they were about the same size as my juvi mbuna but they have been growing a at good rate and now my kribs are the smallest BUT none of the mbuna mess with them at all. they just ignore them and vice versa. now my jewel and the kribs don't get along to well but they stay on their own sides of the tank and they chase the other off if they cross the line but nothing overly aggressive. other than that, that's all. i spend lots of time observing them so if things change i will remove whomever needs to come out but right now all is well.

08-11-2007, 03:18 PM
Kribs come from a different lake in Africa that has different water parameters, which I think are generally a little more acidic and lower pH. So while they may get along together, they generally will do best if you don't put them together. You will find that if you keep the malawis in a species only tank and recreate their natural environment, they will be the happiest and healthiest and you will see the most natural behavior. All of mine have bred except for the Acei.

08-11-2007, 03:33 PM
yayaya! breeding gets me so excited (dont take that the wrong way!)I'd love to breed everything but nothing ever has done in my aquarium hopefully would have more luck with the cichlids, so the review is that I should definately get malawi cichlids (if any ofcourse) the plants wont do very well in there so I should use java fern etc. and I need rocks and lots of them, I should start out with the most peaceful ones and get lots of them to start with so that agression is spread out between them, I really wanted to get a dolphin cichlid (i posted a thread about them to but that was before I was going to change to malawi tank) do you think they would be too big for my aquarium? its 4ft long and 240L which is about 55 US gallons i think (not sure)

08-11-2007, 03:47 PM
jessie is completely right. my ph runs 7.8 naturally so i just leave it since the 2 kribs and the 1 jewel are in there. what i'm doing is not advisable but it's working for now. my mbunas spawned one week after converting the 55 so i think they are pretty happy right now.

08-11-2007, 03:58 PM
Think I'm gonna go for it then, I'll get my 2ft tank ready some time in the next week, move some of my fish into there and get rid of the nuisence ones, then I can control their pH easier using bottled water (with a 4ft theres a bit too much to use bottled water) and then I shall get my 4 ft ready, with some rocks etc. and start my new cichlid community :D anymore concerns you think need to be adressed (apart from the fact that right now i should be doing art homework) :ezpi_wink1: thanks for all your help evryone! :D

08-11-2007, 04:15 PM
do species homework before you start adding fish. don't use bottled water. what is the ph of your tap water after dechlorinating it? what kind/how much filtration will you be using?

08-11-2007, 04:37 PM
yeah I will research before adding, and I'll come on ehre aswell I expect! my tap waters ph is about 8-8.5 after dechlorination, not going to use bottled in the cichlid tank i meant for the fish I already have, I will test it first why did you say not to use it? and what do you mean about the filteration in the 4ft with cichlids or normal community in the small one? in the four foot at the moment I have 2 fluval 3plus in-tank filters going at the moment and in the new 2 foot I will have 2 fluval 1plus in-tank filters is that ok?

08-11-2007, 05:19 PM
well due to the nature of these fish being somewhat messy and the fact they need to be slighted crowded in the tank, extra filtration is a must. i just wanted you to be aware of that.

08-11-2007, 05:53 PM
what do you suggest?

08-11-2007, 05:55 PM
what exactly do you have?

08-11-2007, 05:59 PM
2 fluval 3plus filters one of them has a carbon filter pad other one has a polyester one and they both have two sponge filters aswell

08-11-2007, 06:05 PM
i don't think those are going to cut it for a cichlid tank. you'll need to look into some canister filters, ie fluval 305 for example.

08-11-2007, 06:17 PM
kk will do found one for about 60 (about $120 i think) I shall get that a.s.a.p probably when I take the serpaes back to the shop anything else?

08-11-2007, 06:23 PM
you can find them cheaper if you're willing to be patient. i got mine for like $80 (US) on ebay and have seen some go for cheaper but you have to play the game.

08-11-2007, 06:35 PM
ok I'll keep my eye out thanks

08-16-2007, 10:17 PM
I've got them! today I bought three yellow labs, altough i'm not suuure one of them is but am going to keep my eye out and then identify it at an older age (at the moment it looks like a female lab which is slightly more orange) when it gets a bit older or if i starts causing problems then I'll post some piccis

08-16-2007, 10:36 PM
males typically have a lot more black in their finnage. that's a good start going with labs. good luck.

08-16-2007, 11:20 PM
yeah I thought they did it looks like I have 2 male labs and something else maybe its two male labs and a female i'm not sure but the man in the LFS said (not that I beleived him) that there is no way of telling and that they are too young to anyway, one of them is swimming very strangely at the moment, sadly I think it may be dead by tomorrow :( so I wil try and get a female one tomorrow if I take this one back :( which hopefully I won't have to

10-08-2007, 06:32 AM
Try it, But if your unsure id go for the less aggressive ones for a starter. And Ask a few ppl who have them. I love my Cichlid tank. They arn't as aggressive as the Little Red Non-community fish signs make them sound.:4: