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  1. #1

    Default Unusual tank mate combination? But it's working. Thoughts?

    0 Not allowed!
    I have a 70 gallon long African Cichlid tank. I was told at my lfs (with a very knowledgeable owner, not a petsmart dummy) that my combination was strange and may not work. But this tank has been running for a little over 2 months and I've yet to run into any aggression or sick/uncomfortable fish.

    Here is what I have:
    Yellow Lab
    Blue Lab
    Blood parrot
    Jack Dempsey
    Black convict x2
    Jewel Cichlid
    Acai Cichlid
    Pleco (small-medium sized as of now)

    Temp: 78 F
    Ph: 8.0
    Ammonia: 0
    Nitrites: 0
    Nitrates: 15
    Running 1 Marineland Biowheel filter for a 60 gallon tank, thinking about putting a 20 gallon biowheel on the other side just to overfilter, and because the other filter is rated about 10 gal short.

    The largest fish as of now is the Jack Dempsey at about 4 inches. Everyone else ranges from 2-3.5 inches.
    Since the Parrot is technically a SA, but he's a hybrid I was told he would be able to adapt to the higher Ph, and he has. He shows no sign of discomfort. The only reason I have the SA Jack Dempsey in the tank is because I got him from a friend who had to move and was getting rid of his fish or flushing them, and the Jack was at risk of the toilet bowl. And he seems to have adapted very well also.

    So on to my question.... Do you guys think this is an okay choice of tank mates, even though it's a bit different? Is the tank going to be overstocked when the fish grow to full size? Or do I have room for more, if so what should I look into? And are there any small tropicals I could put in with them either way?

    Sorry for the long post, just looking for some insight here.

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    The biggest issues I see is you have some fish that are primarily herbivore and some that are primarily carnivore, and some in between, I think feeding may be an issue in the long run. You also have old world and new world cichlids, water conditions may be an issue (a hot topic on the forum right now). There are environmental issues too, some of your fish would prefer a planted tank and other a good amount of rock work. The fact is in many cases 2 months is not long enough to judge if the fish will work together or not. As they mature I see potential for a lot of aggression issues.
    Last edited by mommy1; 06-25-2013 at 10:57 PM.
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    2 months is nowhere near long enough to say that your tank stock is working. You need to wait 6 months minimum or so when some of those fish start to mature and/or become territorial. I've had cichlids last almost a year before problems developed into threatening or terminal issues.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Honey Badger 1 View Post
    The fact is in many cases 2 months is not long enough to judge if the fish will work together or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheamurai
    2 months is nowhere near long enough to say that your tank stock is working.
    ^ These are worth repeating one more time.
    Gas mileage isn't everything OIIIIIIIO
    Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    Why pretend there are no stupid questions? Actually, There are many stupid questions: "Should I drink this bleach?" Is just one example.
    Having said that, Just because it's a stupid question doesn't mean that it shouldn't be asked. It's better to know.

    A warm beer is better than a cold beer. Because nothing is better than a cold beer, and a warm beer is better than nothing.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    all of your fish are young, which is why there currently are no aggression issues. once they mature and want more elbow room the problems will start showing up.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Understood. So should I wait until I start seeing aggression and then donate the aggressive fish to my lfs? Then pick more standard compatable tank mates. As of now I have about a 50/50 mix of plants, driftwood and other artificial caves.

    I've been told at this age it is fine just to feed them regular tropical flakes. Is there something else I should add in for now, besides the occasional bloodworms they get?

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    cichlid tanks almost always need tweaking, so yah, keep an eye on them and juggle fish as necessary. You may not want to automatically remove the most aggressive one, tho, as it depends on why it is aggressive. Generally what happens is you remove one thats aggressive, and the one he was bullying becomes the next bully, or it is replaced by another bully. So you kinda have to think about whats going to happen after you remove a certain fish, once you get a feel for each of their characteristics. A bully may be keeping 5 other potential bullies in line, so you may want to remove the fish thats being picked on instead, depending on which species it is.

    I don't have much respect for most flake food, and would never feed only flake to cichlids. I would start them on a good quality pellet, and feed a mix of flake and pellet. I would not feed your mix of cichlids any frozen foods as it doesn't suit some of the species, unless you can spot feed some of them.

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the input on this, It's much appreciated. As I have been running a few aquariums for a couple of years now. One has been a marine tank, and the other a small tropical tank. So the world of Cichlids is new to me, as is the helpful world of this website/forum!

    I was told flakes would be okay for now, as most of my fish are unable to get there mouth around even the smallest cichlid pellets(even the Jack Dempsey has trouble and he has quite a big mouth). Is there something else I should try? If not the occasional freeze dried blood worms, what is a suitable diet for this variety of fish to keep them all happy and give each one a proper diet to maintain health until I do some tweaking. Luckily the small family owned LFS will take fish back (more or less a donations) if they are not working in a certain tank, I would feel awful having to, 'get rid of' any of them for whatever reason'.

    And one last question (sorry for so many, as I said I'm a cichlid noob)....
    It makes since not to remove the bully, and to remove the fish being bullied. But when they do get larger in size and I do have to do some tweaking with the tank mates, what type of combinations of fish should I put in and stick with. After removing the ones bullying/being bullied/unhappy or stressed.

    Once again any advice would be greatly appreciated! You guys are great, I'm really glad I found this website and can't believe I didn't know about it before in my years of fish keeping. Keeping your head in books and online articles doesn't beat the advice of some experienced people like you all.
    Last edited by coleman1771; 06-27-2013 at 11:20 AM.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    If that's all they can eat, thats all they can eat. I didn't realise they were THAT small. Just switch to pellets as soon as you can...or buy pellets and crush them to feed.

    What you should add once you start tweaking your tank depends on what you end up keeping. Anything you add will end up being the same type as whatever you have left - no one here will advise you to add an oscar to your tank if you have predominantly africans for, what you decide you like and want to keep plus tweaking for temperament will decide what you it will have to wait until the tweaking begins (months likely), unless you want to prevent problems from arising rather than reacting to them. In which case you could start thinking about your favourite fish now, and tweak with that in mind.

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by coleman1771 View Post
    Since the Parrot is technically a SA, but he's a hybrid I was told he would be able to adapt to the higher Ph, and he has. He shows no sign of discomfort.
    A blood parrot is technically a CA. It is a short bodied hybrid cichlid created from central american cichlids like amphilophus labiatus or amphlilophus citrinellus and vieja synspilum. While some believe a South American severum is involved due to body shape (and/or a mistranslation of a Chinese interview), this is far from the truth. You just have to look at other short bodied fish created like the balloon molly, balloon blue ram, and the very popular fancy goldfish.


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