Choosing a Dwarf Cichlid...
I am currently looking at adding a dwarf cichlid to my 70g community. Current inhabitants include black skirts, a couple of baby angelfish and some cories.
It is heavily planted with a number of caves and "burrows" which could occupy these little critters.
I have looked around the LFS and here are some I am interested in:
- Kribensis -- as well as the Albino variation.
- Bolivian Ram -- I am also very fond of the German Blue although I have heard this is very sensitive.
- Apistos -- I don't know a lot about these as they are not very common here. Are their needs very similar to Rams and Kribs?
I don't really want to have fry if at all possible. I want to limit aggression as much as possible. Would it be possible to keep a small group of female dwarf cichlids (depending on which ever species I eventually pick, of course) without a male, (or males without females) or would they still be aggressive? Would one be happy on it's own? Which species are most peaceful? How many to keep? Which is less territorial? People's favourites and why? Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated.
What an outstanding question!!
I really love dwarf cichlids, I keep Bolivian Rams and Kribs the now, my tank is unfortunately too small for them all so I am having to rehome my bolivians to let my kribs spawn
In a 70g, well planted and lots of caves a breeding pair of kribs could work, only when they feel cramped do they lash out. Do not go for the albino variety, it is very dull compared to the blues and purples of Kribs (will attach some pictures of mines earlier this week in a second). Kribs I don't think colour up, well the purple blushing, unless they are paired so single sexes might not work.
Bolivian rams are extremely peacefull, I have kept 3 males for a considerable time in a community tank, with zero hassle, they really are a safe bet.
I know it technicaly isnt a dwarf cichlid but anyone who knows me or reads my posts knows im a sucker for a firemouth hehe
I know they are fuzzy pics but it is the colours i am trying to show
Last edited by ScottishFish; 04-24-2012 at 10:13 AM.
My therapist says I need a bigger tank . . . . .
All of your options you have listed are great choices. The bolivian is a great alternative to the GBR and much less sensitive to changes in water conditions.
Kribs are also a real tough little fish that you will really enjoy watching.
Apisto's i have not personally owned 'yet'. I've always wanted to get them and done a lot of research etc on them but never came across them in any of my local stores so have never had that chance.
All of those choices are all very peaceful if housed in the right size tank and either will be a great addition. If you want to avoid territory and fry issued then avoid males and females as they all will breed very readily given the chance. Terrirtory issues are a lot less likely if you choose females over the males.
I like the Apistos but never had them or any dwarfs, for that matter. I just like the variety of colors they offer.
Appisto's are small in general. Appisto Cacatoides is one of the larger ones and can be kept in a harrem in a 15-20gal tank. For the 70gal I would go more for Kribs or Bolivians. They have great color potential and they would have plenty of room to claim their territory.
If you are afraid of spawns because you dont want to raise and rehome fry, just dont go out of your way and let nature take its course. The angels and other fish in the tank would not let anything but the strongest grow up and its always nice to have eventual successors in the tank to hedge your bets on future loss.
In my experience males/females are at their best color during breeding so its an aid to get your desired fish at its optimum color and exhibit natural behavior by getting a male/female in the tank. Consider it wildlife enrichment.
Thanks guys! All very valid points. I'm swaying towards the Rams, I think I prefer the look and character of them more than the Kribs, but they are around 4x more expensive than Kribs in my area! Tough one.
Gorgeous Kribs, ScottishFish. :) Beautiful colours. I love the yellow.
Good point Sandz. I know I've had baby swordtails before and rehoming them is a pain! It's not so much the rehoming I would be worried about though, just the breeding pair beating up on my other fish when they're spawning -- especially my cories!
I love my GBR! She's been in my tank for around a month and thriving. Only spent the first day hiding, now she will be the first to swim up to greet you when you walk in my apt. A great little fish and I have not experienced any issues with it being temperamental with water quality. But I might just have a blue thumb because I seem to do everything wrong and still have good results lol.
12 gallon- Freshwater planted tank
55 gallon- Saltwater semi-reef tank
All cool fish, I have owned all of them at one point or another.
Kribs: Neat fish that I enjoy but I was never able to keep them alive. It tuned out that the reason they always died on me is they need a steady diet of green plant materiel in their diet similar to mbuna. I used to keep them with fish that I had on a steady diet of bloodworms and shrimp pellets, so they always got bloat and died from the protein. I have yet to try them since I learned that.
Bolivians and GBR: Both are really neat fish. Bolivians are by far easier, not picky about water and get along well in almost all communities. They also have the best personalities. GBR's are allot fussier about their water, and they can be real jerks, especially to each other. But they counter that by being the far more attractive of the two.
Apistos: Ah Apistogramma, they seemingly have it all. The most attractive, cool personalities without being aggressive, easy to spawn... But now for the ugly part, if you think GBR's are fussy about water, whew boy. Their water need to be soft and it needs to be clean. Even Cockatoo Apistos who are the most forgiving. I tried one in my community tank once, my water has a ph of 7.8 but was extremely clean, I understood that to be borderline but ok for Cockatoos. He was dead in 48 hours. Not saying dont get them, just saying they really aren't for a community. I ended up putting together an Amazon Blackwater tank just for softwater fish and currently keep an apisto that's doing great and will be getting more. So if you want apistos they really are worth it but they need a tank made for them from the start like Discus.
Hope this helps!
Edit: to add some pics of fish that I have owned.
Cockatoo Apistogramma Male - Still own this guy, awesome fish.
Last edited by FinalJenemba; 04-26-2012 at 04:25 PM.
Wow, thanks for the feedback! Awesome pictures. If the Apistos are that sensitive I'll definitely sway away from them. My water is about 6.6pH.
Looking more and more like the Bolivians are going to be the pick of the bunch.
There are a variety of dwarf cichlids and the chances are that if you know the exact details of your water you will be able to find a type or two that suits your tank water. I am assuming that you do a regular weekly water change of 25% or more.
My suggestions because they are ones I am looking into, but it depends on your water, hardness and softness.
Borelli's Cichlid small 2-3"
Panamanian Cichlid I think these are slightly bigger.
Both are extremely peaceful but from what I have read the Borelli's does better in a soft water environment but still with a reasonable Ph. The Panamanian which is mainly a yellow and black sometimes called a yellow convict prefers a harder range and more alkaline.
These aren't easily available so you should check where your fish is really coming from and its previous water environment.
German Blue Rams are wonderful colorful fish.
My understanding is that they prefer higher temps and lower Ph. They come in a variety of colors too from pure gold to pure blue and in between.
the seriously fish website has a very good dwarf cichlid index but I can't vouch for the accuracy of the parameters ranges it gives.
Unusually I have nothing more to add...