Need advice on a cichlid tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Need advice on a cichlid tank

I just got a 30 gallon tank and I'm wanting to do a cichlid tank. I have never had any type of cichlids and really don't know a lot about them except they can be pretty aggressive and they get fairly big when they are at full maturity. I already have 1 tank up and going and so far it's been pretty successful but I've heard cichlids are kind of hard to take care of. I would like to do a cichlid tank, especially an Angelfish tank, but I need a little more information on how to do this tank and if cichlids are going to be too much trouble. I love Angelfish and I know they are a type of cichlid and they like planted tanks. I know African Cichlids do not like live plants and I was wanting to do another live planted tank. Anyway if anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate it because I'm not sure what to do with this tank.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 10:54 AM
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#1 advice-- get your angels from a breeder, the more well known, generally the better.

#2 advice-- do not get angels from the LFS

aquabid has some good ones and there is the angelfishforum, go figure.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 03:28 PM
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cichlids are definately more tempermental, depending on what cichlids you get they may go great with your planted tank. angels are great, also there are a bunch of dwarf cichlids that have tons of personality. as long as you can maintain water quality and you are careful when you acclimate them, like a lot of tropical fish, you will be okay. the thing is not to go crazy and put a bunch of territorial fish into a small space and everyone should be happy
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jamntoast View Post
the thing is not to go crazy and put a bunch of territorial fish into a small space and everyone should be happy
that's actually what you should do with a the more common larger african cichlids. more fish equates to less aggression overall.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 03:48 PM
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Angels are great in a planted tank and fairly hardy. I have two in my 36 gallon, I am sure that they are going to get too large. I will grow them a bit and either move them to a larger tank or find a new home for them. You should take into consideration the amount of swimming room a few 5-6" long and up to 12" tall Angels will need. I think you could look into a few of the South American dwarf cichlids (Apisto's or Rams)and find a great and colorful fit. Kribensis are also beautiful if you really want to go African cichlid, but you will have to be okay with some digging. Good Luck with what ever you choose!

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 04:03 PM
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If you have never had cichlids, I would advise getting 4-6 keyhole cichlids. These are not very colorful, but they're tough and very good-natured (for cichlids). They're probably the best beginner cichlid.

If you want something with a little more flare, you could go for bolivian rams. Don't get them from Petsmart. Their rams are always in terrible condition and they have bad bloodlines (meaning they're drab and often deformed). Bolivians are a little more prone to fighting amongst themselves, and it's harmless sparring and very fun to watch.

If you want something with a lot more flare, you could get a harem (1 male-2 females) of cockatoo cichlids. The males hate each other (just get one to be safe), and the females also hate each other (in a less-aggressive way), so make sure you have available cover at both ends of the tank so that the females cannot interact.

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Last edited by LB79; 01-31-2013 at 08:28 PM. Reason: ...
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 04:18 PM
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In regards to cichlids and planted tanks, you will need to be very selective with your stocking choices. Angelfish are a no brainer, as are Rams and Kribs. Discus do well in planted aquaria, but they are notoriously difficult to keep.

Outside of these, you have to be very careful.

The first thing to consider is the relationship between your tank size and the adult fish size. In a 30 gallon, you are limited to the dwarfs and the smaller Central American cichlids such as the Thorichthys species, most commonly the Firemouth. At full grown adult size, 2 would most likely be the limit.

Second thing to consider is the temperment, both to each other and their tankmates. Even angelfish can display a mean streak, although it rarely results in death (save for neons or other small tetras which become dinner). The smaller Central American cichlids can be downright nasty, but it depends on the individual. I've had some that were very docile and some that were downright homicidal.

The next thing to consider is the earth moving habits of several cichlids. I have never kept a CA cichlid that was satisfied with my decorating style. They will move the substrate around to their liking. So rooted plants are out with them. A lot of Java Fern and Anubias attached to the rocks and driftwood can make a good display with CA's, just make sure that the rocks are resting directly on the bottom glass.

Another beautiful (In my opinion) cichlid group to consider are the Geophagus species. They are big time earth movers, but work well with the Java Fern and Anubias attached to the hardscape. You can break up the substrate with several large rocks to discourage the earth moving habits, just expect them to constantly rearrange the substrate.

Again, to stress the point, make sure that any large rocks in the hardscape are resting DIRECTLY on the bottom glass with any large or medium sized Central or South American cichlids. They will move the substrate around causing minor landslides.

Make sure you do your research on full grown adult sizes, you will be limited with a 30 Gallon tank.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the advice guys. I'm hoping to get another larger tank in the next few weeks and I can make that one my cichlid tank. I knew I would be limited to how many fish I would be able to put in my 30g, so I might wait a couple of weeks and try to get me a bigger tank and then start my cichlid tank. Again thanks for all the advice guys!!!
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