Cichlid Aquarium

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Clinton McClure, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I've been thinking recently about starting a new cichlid tank. I currently have a 2 year old 29g tropical community tank with some serpae tetras, angelfish and a clown loach (need another pleco though, my last one died a couple months ago) and also have an empty 29g ready to go.

    What cichlids are compatible and decent for a 29g tank? I'm looking for a variety of color.

    My current tank is 80° with a neutral pH. What is the best pH and temp for cichlids? Do they need any freshwater salt?

    Should I use a bottomfeeder (pleco, etc...) in a cichlid tank?

    What do they feed on? Frozen, live, flake?
     
  2. PeterK

    PeterK Supporting Actor

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    here you go. Everything you could ever want to know about cichlids. I've never kept them before, but I am gonna guess you're probably going to want to keep the dwarf variety because your tank isn't very big, If you're going to get serious with cichlids I think you're going to wan't to upgrade to somthing atleast 50 gallons, preferably more.

    As for the pleco, I am not sure, but I think that if you put a pleco in with cichlids, the pleco should be atleast as large as the cichlids, otherwise they might pick on him. I believe cichlids are terrritorial, especially when the have babies.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    cichlids are pretty hard core about their territory, but generally if you provide each with their own space (with plants, rock holes to hide in, etc) then they can settle down.

    I've never had any problems with cichlids and plecos, even my Oscars used to be cool with plecos.

    Obviously you don't put any other docile fish in with them because they will get destroyed.


    I'm not an expert on African vs South American, but I have mixed and matched before with not too much problem. The only time I've lost cichilds was do to a bad heater or big water changes, except for one fish that was an unknown reason (but he had been fine in the tank for months prior).

    One nice thing about cichilds is that they tend to move around more since they are territorial, plus they have the best colors of all fresh water fish IMO.
     
  4. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    Thanks for the info.

    Seth - What types besides Oscars did you have?
     
  5. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Hmm, well back in the day I had 2, then 3 Oscars in a 55.

    A few years ago I had about 7-8 various Africans/Americans in that same 55.

    I split that group into 2 smaller aquariums, going with 4 in a 29. One was a nice Jack Dempsey, I had a timid Rainbow Cichild, a Texas Cichlid that got pretty big and one other I forget. The Texas was black with bluish spotting and the Jack at that size (few inches) had great colors still.

    Heater broke and overheated the tank, woke to 3 of 4 dead. Moved the others from another tank in (2 were the yellow, white and black horz striped, forget the variety name, but common). Lost 2 of those in a water change some time later.

    The survivor from all of this was the Rainbow, which has vert stripes and used to have a jewel marking near the eye IIRC.

    Sucked to lose the Jack and the Texas because those guys were nice.


    I can rarely keep track of the specific types of cichlids and just go by style usually. I avoid overcrowding them so things don't get nasty, that way I don't have to be too careful when mixing some varieties. Plus I keep a close eye on the tank early on or when adding a fish, changing landscape. The dynamics of a cichlid tank seem to fluctuate as much as interaction between cats or dogs. One guy is a bully, next thing you know another one is top banana.

    As long as they all have a safe spot to hang out in and can feel secure enough not to stress and die. Colors are a big factor in chosing too, especially in terms of maturing and losing color or patterns.


    There is one I have now with the Rainbow, a pure yellow variety, and he has kept his color very well. The Texas kept his color well also for several years till he died. But the yellow/black/whites really fade to yuck sometimes as they mature it seems, at least in my experience.

    That's the one problem that I saw, you get a nice looking fish but then it gets older and loses some of that style. Water chemistry and tank health also strongly affect cichlid coloring it appears. Several of mine have faded after water change/tank clean aggrevation and then regain good color once the tank is clean and stable in a day or so.
     
  6. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    I had a 6" Oscar kill my 7~8" pleco. They were the only tank inhabitants at the time since the Oscar had already killed his slightly smaller mate.
     
  7. HarryEV

    HarryEV Auditioning

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    I am new so I can't post a link but I frequent cichlid-forum.com and they can answer any question that you can think of. The water conditions for cichlids vary as far as what region they are from and everything. I am currently keeping african cichlids from lake malawi and my ph is so much higher than what you would find with south american, asian, or american cichlids. Other things to consider is exactly what breed of cichlids you plan on keeping. Like in my tank I keep peaceful peacocks as well as some more aggressive zebra types so it is up to you what kind of tank you end up with.
     
  8. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    Angels are cichlids themselves, in case you didn't know. A couple cichlids I've kept in tanks with fish similar to yours are kribs and keyholes. Both are relatively peaceful, especially for cichlids. Some I've read that would do well in the same type of community tank are the different apistogrammas. I've never kept them, so I can't comment on them. Two cichlids that I definitely would not recommend are the rams and discus, because both can be very finnicky and fragile, especially with the water qualities.
     

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