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Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2012

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    Default What do you think of this combo?

    0 Not allowed!
    Im new to owning a larger fish tank. My friend gave me a 80gallon tank. I decided to put in some Cichlids. I studied up on what kind of water conditions they liked then went to the fish shop. Now the people at this fish shop are just terrible at recommending fish. They have great fish and stuff but just terrible advise...

    Ive bought a terrible combination of fish for compatability and for tank size and water conditions.

    I now have 3 Giraffe Cichlids, 2 Red Forest Jewels, 2 Zebra Obliquidens and 2 Clown Loaches. Yes, as I said, terrible.

    (I am now planning on buying a 6 footer)

    I realise I will have to get rid of the Jewels as they like more acidic water. but I currently went to another fish shop (one that was recommended) and there I met a man who services fish tanks (also works there) and I asked him what I should do.
    He said that if I get a larger tank then they should all be fine in the same tank in they arent having problems now. He said that he has serviced some tanks with fish in it he would never suggest to anyone and they seem to work together nicely.

    All my fish have been together for 2 months and are all around 3''. They seem to get on really well and swim together as a group, especially the giraffes and Zebra's.

    Do you think that fish get used to each others company when younger and so they wont have problems when they are larger? Or do you think this is all leading up to a blood bath?

  2. #2

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    Oct 2012

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    until you get your angel :o) - fishmommie   ٩(̾●̮̮̃̾̃̾)۶ - korith   


    0 Not allowed!
    is your tank cycled

  3. #3

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    Oct 2012

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    0 Not allowed!
    yes, I cycled my tank with my giraffes in it.

  4. #4

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    Jun 2008
    Tampa, FL

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    for a fellow front lover - sailor   All the saltwater help! - squirt_12   Thanks! - squirt_12   For the million fish man - Lady Hobbs   Excellent puffer advice. - Brookfish   


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Asherbonnie
    Do you think that fish get used to each others company when younger and so they wont have problems when they are larger?
    It depends. The pecking order is established early with youngsters however as the fish mature the pecking order may be challenged.

    From personal experience I had 4 nimbochromis venustus ('giraffe' cichlid) in a 180gal tank, they were acquired as tiny unsexed juveniles at maybe 1.5" in size.

    Unfortunately due to the luck of the draw the four ended up being 2 males/2 females (the ideal gender ratio is 1m/multiple females). The two males co-existed with little issue until the sexual dimorphism developed (at 4"-4.5" if I recollect correctly) at which time one male assumed the role as the alpha male.

    Things were still fine because all the alpha male required was that the sub-dominant male give him a wide berth (as long as they were two feet or more apart they were fine but any closer and the alpha male would shift into full dominance colors and pursue the sub-dominant male).

    When in full dominance mode the males lose their giraffe-like blotches (this is the same venustus displaying both the normal color pattern and full dominance pattern):

    When they reached 7" the alpha no longer tolerated the sight of the other male which through aggressive behavior he kept suppressed among some rocks or PVC out of his sight.

    At about 7.5" in length out of the blue, the sub-dominant male made a series of power plays. Instead of fleeing from the dominant male's presence it wouldn't back down and began to defend itself which resulting in a bunch of lip-locking battles (which are tests of strength) with both fish shifting into full dominance colors:

    The alpha male would always win and would pursue the other male until he reverted to his sub-dominant blotched pattern and then peace would be restored.

    One day the sub-dominant male won a lip-locking contest and from that day forward things changed. Once defeated the former alpha male would never display dominant colors again and the new alpha male was hell-bent on killing him (additionally, he became overly aggressive with all of the other fish in the tank). My 180gal had become too small for the both of them.

    I eventually ended up separating the new aggressor (which was kind of hard because he was a large fish at this point) and finally ended up selling him.

    These were two tiny fish who grew up together and eventually became mortal enemies in a span of 16 months (these fish grow fast).

    If your 3 giraffe cichlids are 2m/1f you may want to sell/exchange one of the males as soon as his gender becomes apparent.
    Last edited by kaybee; 10-23-2012 at 11:11 PM.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  5. #5

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    Oct 2012

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks heaps for that information. I watch them every day double-checking that they all get along together and that no ones fins are getting nipped.

    With my giraffes Ive noticed that they grow quite fast! Ive noticed that some females has a slight bit of yellow on top of their heads. All my 3 giraffes are stating to get this little bit of yellow but one has a bigger stripe of yellow and Im guessing that this one is a male? This giraffe also seems a bit larger than the rest as well?

    Did you have any other fish in with your Giraffes? If so how did they all get on together?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Eugene Oregon USA

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    0 Not allowed!
    Yeah +1 to the above.

    The thing is that it totally depends. Very rarely it can end up alright permanently because as you guessed they can get a pecking order established early.

    For instance I own a red top ice blue Mbuna. I got him as basically a rescue when I bought his tank from a lady. When I saw what she was going to do with him when I took the tank I just asked if I could keep him. He also has a Senegal bichir as a roommate. Now these two should never have gotten along. They have different diets, different habits, and different requirements. On top of that the Mbuna is a very large Malawi chichlid. But the thing is that when they were both young the mbunas mate died, and since then these two have been the only inhabitants of the tank for about five years now. It even got to the point where they sleep crammed into a little jar together. Sometimes they get in little tifs and the Mbuna will push the bichir around with his huge lips, but it's always very mild and that pecking order is exactly what lets them get along.

    Now bear in mind that this is by far the rarer outcome. It isn't like my Senegal is ever going to challenge the Mbuna for dominance and there is no female for either of them in there. But it can happen if they are together from the start. The reason we never recommend it is because 9 times out of 10 you will get a situation like Kay's where almost over night it turns into a bloodbath. And there's really no way to tell when it will work out. So we err on the side of caution.

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing tho. Keep talking to people here and that guy you trust at the second LFS. They will "prob" be ok until you can get the new tank set up for them. Just keep an eye on them. And remember that most aggression is going to happen at night under the cover of darkness. So try to check on them in the middle of the night a few times without a bright light if you can. If they are always ok then it means you are most likely ok, for now at least.
    "A grain of sand is all I ever wanted to be. Lay me down and let the water wash over me, wash over me." -Mickey Newbury
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  7. #7

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    Oct 2012

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the help.

    Ive been on other forums asking the same questions and they've all said that I shouldnt have any of them together and some have said to just get rid of them all. I'd hate to rid of any of them so Ive just been making double sure I cant keep them together.
    From what ive heard from a few people now is that it is possible it might work. Once I get the other tank if any behaviour changes then I can just move them to the other tank.

    Also KAYBEE, 1 of my Venustus has been lightening its spots so you can barely see them and just goes silver, does this mean this ones a male? When they were younger (1.5'') they all seemed to do this though.
    What is the first thing that happens that tells them apart?

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