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Old 01-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
k3xx
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First cichlid tank


I really want to set up a 50-55 gallon cichlid tank. What are some good fish to start off with, and any pointers or important things I should know! (And dont worry, I'll do my research before I buy any fish)
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:15 AM   #2
nikelodeon79
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What type of cichlids are you interested? S. American? African?
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:27 AM   #3
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Visit www.cichlid-forum.com, they are as good for cichlids as this site is for plants.

The best advice i can give you is to never, ever listen to advice that generalizes cichlids, as they can be extremely different from each other - you can't generalize anything about "african" or "new world" types either. Look into ideas that can work, then do further research on those individual species so you can know just what they need.

The above site has a page called "cookie cutter" tanks, which give good ideas for a tank of your size - and you can go with any ideas of any smaller setup too, and increase population numbers - check it out.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:12 AM   #4
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I think what Nik meant was biotope related. To me, mixing riverine cichlids with lake cichlids or African with CA and SA has an ugly result. If you are looking for a plant-compatible cichlid(s), don't get the big ones (discus and angels excluded). Laetacara, Nannacara, Apistogramma, Mikrogeophagus, Pelvicachromis, Teleogramma, Anomalachromis, and Lamprologus are all good genera to look into for smaller, lesser-aggressive (to a point), and plant-compatible cichlids. There are quite a few more, though, and you won't be disappointed with an almost 2,000-member family to choose from. There is literally a cichlid for every tank and hobbyist. Most important: do your homework. Learn about the fish. Be ready to provide your species its special care.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:37 AM   #5
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Don't get me wrong, my statement was based on the stupid things i've read on the web, as just a few examples - "Africans are herbivours", "Africans need to be overstocked", "Africans are extremely agressive" or "Africans need hard water" - all of these facts very true in some cases, and very false in others.

I kept various cichlid setups for many years and find them to be among the more misunderstood and miskept fish, so good and direct research is important, and preferably at specialized sites and not catch-all type places.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:08 PM   #6
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You are all so nice! and I am definitely looking at African cichlids. By the way, LB79, i absolutely love that quote!
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:20 PM   #7
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Africans as in mbuna? Very fun fish... not generally plant compatible.

If you are looking at mbuna, get a tank that has a large footprints (a standard sized 55g works well as a starter tank). I'd recommend a canister filter: they are messy, messy fish. As stated above, many cichlid keepers believe they must be kept overstocked... I believe they can be kept within the tank's limits successfully, without overstocking.

cichlid-forum.com is a great site and where I learned most of what I know (which isn't a whole lot). I had a 55g with Ps. saulosi (a GREAT starter mbuna, IMO: smaller sized, not super aggressive, and a fun color - males are blue/black barred and females are bright yellow) and Cyno. sp. white top hara. The white tops are also fun fish: the males are powder blue w/black barring and the females are purplish blue. I highly recommend the mix to all mbuna newbies. These two particular species are actually herbivores (as stated above, not all are) and IMO New Life Spectrum sinking pellets is a great food for them.

Mbuna need lots of caves, etc.... generally rockwork is best as driftwood can lower pH and they do better with slightly higher pH (mine is around 8.0). They do appreciate sand and will rearrange the substrate as they see fit. They also like higher temps.

Let me know if you have any questions about setup, etc. and I can see what I can do. Otherwise, the folks at cichlid-forum should be able to help.
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