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  1. Default Stocking ideas for a 40 gallon SA Cichlid tank

    0 Not allowed!
    I'm upgrading my goldfish tank from a 40 gallon to a 70 gallon and thus, my Firemouth will finally get to inherit the 40.

    Here is what I want to put with him:
    T-Bar Cichlid
    Honduran Red Point
    Yellow Convict

    All are small or medium and from the research I've done none require more than 40 gallons for a single fish. In the next couple of years I will be upgrading the goldfish tank again from 70 to 120, and at this time the cichlids will get the hand-me-down 70. Does this mix seem like it will work? Any other suggestions for small or medium SA cichlids?

  2. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    What I've read about t-bar cichlids are that they are very aggressive and require a min of a 55 gal tank so I'm not sure about the T-Bar in the mix but your others should be fine.
    I'm also thinking that a 40 gal with the firemouth, the HRP and the Convict is going to make a very full tank.
    Should be a very colorful tank :o)
    30 g FW planted:corys, ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, apple & nerite snails
    15 g FW planted:crown tail betta, neons, pygmy cory, clown pleco,apple & nerite snails
    90 g FW planted:congos, rainbows, roseline sharks, swordtails, ottos,krib pair, ABNP, peppered cories, apple snails
    90 Gal Journal:
    fishless cycling:
    fish in cycling:

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    All cichlids are aggressive to some degree, so combining more than one species in any tank usually is not wise unless the tank is very large--which a 40g and even a 70g are not by any stretch.

    Another consideration is never buy a fish that at maturity will not be suited to the tank you have today. Plans for future larger tanks may or may not materialize, for various reasons. But more importantly, is that fish grow continually throughout their lives, both outwardly in size, and inwardly in organ development. If the fish feels it is being crowded, internal development will not be normal, resulting in deformed organs and what we term stunting. This can occur without any outward sign, until it is much too late, and the fish cannot recover once this is set in motion.

    The other aspect is the opposite of aggression, i.e., when fish are being threatened by other fish in the tank. This does not need to occur as physical altercations, but can be unseen by the aquarist. Fish secrete chemicals called pheromones (which others in the species can "read," and allomones which other species read. These can cause severe stress. The Firemouth can suffer from other cichlids for instance.

    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    I have to agree with the stunting Byron mentioned. I purchased my first fish 7 years ago when I was 10 years old. It was female Blue Gourami. For about 6 years she lived in a 10 gallon without me really having the knowledge that this was detrimental to her health. A year ago I became aware a 10 gallon was too little and moved her to my 20 gallon. She's now very visibly stunted although since adding her she's grown another inch and is now about 4 1/2" long. She has gorgeous coloring, however, she's blind in both eyes. Despite the stunting she survived 3 years longer than the normal expectancy for Blue Gourami, and is still alive at this moment.

    Despite my good fortune with her though many fish do not recover or live happy, healthy, pain free lives after being stunted. Maybe you could keep the Firemouth with one other cichlid, or maybe a school of Larger Tetra??
    My 10 Gallon Aquarium Journal
    20 Gallon: 1x Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, 10x Nannostomus beckfordi

    ~Formerly known as Carapar56~

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the info. Byron, that was quite educational. I hadn't thought about the "feeling" of being cramped effecting their internal growth (this happening before they actually are cramped). I have to wonder at what point they would feel cramped if they are still small? Probably impossible to know, really.

    I know some cichlids can be quite fast growing but I'm wondering how fast the one's on my list would grow. I can downgrade to just the firemouth and maybe the a honduran red point since the honduran will stay smaller than the t-bar would.

    I also understand the sentiment of not "planning" on a new tank that won't materialize. Assuming I will get a larger tank for my goldfish in about 2 years, though, at which point the 70 gallon will be free, perhaps I could just do the firemouth and the honduran for now, then maybe add just one more cichlid when I move them up to the 70 gallon...?
    Last edited by stalefish83; 09-23-2013 at 06:38 PM.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    I still feel that a 40g is insufficient for more than one cichlid species. Both fish now being considered can be intimidated by other cichlids, especially when they are on their own. So it works both ways.
    Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Just FYI, all the fish you mentioned are actually CA cichlids, not SA.

    A 40g is not a large tank, and I would agree that the Firemouth already consumes most of the stocking space. Perhaps adding a school of larger tetras would be an option. I have a pair of T-bars and once had a Firemouth in the 120g tank with them. While the T-bars show no aggression towards the severums or blood parrots they vehemently hated the firemouth and drove him into the opposite corner of the tank the moment he came past halfway. In general, CA cichlids are considerably more aggressive than SAs and I have found that although my SAs do not bother one another and the CAs do not bother the SAs, the moment more than one species of CA fish is added to the tank carnage ensues.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the correction and input Amelia (I've done enough research I should've known they were Central, not South...) I'm new to cichlids and am glad to know that Central Americans are more aggressive. You don't think adding a school of dither fish would distract the Firemouth and Honduran from each other? I know that 40 gallons is not big by any means so if even if aggression can be put at bay by enough decor and potentially a distracting school of littler fish, would I still be way overstocked even with 170 gallons worth of filtration? (AC 110 & Aquatech power filter)

    I feel like I'm beating a dead horse (you probably feel that way too, Bryon, sorry about this) but I've read that having more than one species of cichlid (as long as they are regionally compatible) promotes more natural behavior in the individual fish and causes them to be more active. I don't want to stress my fish out, but I feel that being aware of territories (your own and your tankmates) and interacting with other fish that would be encountered in the wild is a naturally occurring part of a fish's life (granted, in a MUCH bigger space in the wild).

    I'm just hoping that the combination of lots of caves/broken line of sight/etc., small school of distracting dither fish, and 3-times the filtration could allow me to keep a Honduran and Firemouth in a 40 gallon tank. They will inherit a 70 gallon in 2 to 3 years.

    My apologies to the horse. I don't think he's quite dead yet but danged if he won't be soon!

  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    So I am coming in from a bit of an adverse perspective on HRP's. I had them actually in a 55gal grow out heavily planted with Discus and not a single fish argued ever. There were 10 HRP's, 7 juvi discus of 3.5in. They were never aggressive even during breeding, I would never question a 40 gal with HRP + Firemouth unless the firemouth was extra pugnatious.

    *Disclaimer - my experience may not be yours. All cichlids have different personalities. It is impossible to predict that you have the same experience even though I feel it is a good shot you will have a possitive one.*
    FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
    Sw: 1 55gal, 1 30gal show, 1 29gal show, 1 20gal and 2 10's

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you Sandz! I appreciate the different perspective drawn from your experience with HRPs. All the research I've done suggests that they would be OK, but what I've researched only talks about each individual fish, not them together. But I always learn something new from the good folks here at AC, and I trust the experience of the people in this community more than write-ups from random people.

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