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Old 10-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
tetrabettaguy97
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Small Cichlids


Hello-

I am thinking of starting a small cichlid tank, maybe a pair or two. I need to find the smallest species around, and what the minimum tank size is for a pair and what the minimum tank size is for two pairs. On a budget, so I might have to save up a bit.

Thanks,

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Old 10-16-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
Fat Man
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A pair of apistos can be kept in a 15 long or 20 high, 2 pair in a 40.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #3
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You can do 2 pairs, but you'll likely find it easier just to keep a trio instead. Territorial disputes can get rough in a small tank. There's going to be squabbling between the males and females still, but male vs. male is much worse.
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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Do some research. Some Cichlids are harem breeders, and one male can be happy with 2 or more females in a 10 gallon. Many more are pair breeders, and to get 1 pair they are OK in a fairly small tank (such as 10 gallons), but to add another pair they will kill each other if the tank is too small, as fat mas suggests. You would need a MUCH bigger tank to safely house 2 pair.
The larger tank is helpful, too, because it can be heavily planted so the 2 pair cannot see each other. Set up the rocks or cave (according to species) at opposite ends of the tank.

Apistos (several different family habits)
Shell Dwellers (family colony fish, and other patterns)
are the two groups I would start looking into.

Neolamprologus multifaciatus are fun to start with one pair. The babies grow up and join the colony. There are some spats, but usually they get along OK. Plants are fine with these Lake Tanganyikan fish. A 10 gallon is OK, but more floor space is better. A 20 long would make a really impressive Shellie tank.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:08 AM   #5
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What size tank are you thinking of putting them in? There's significant tension in my 65 gallon with a trio and an "odd man out". If you're planning to keep more than 3 or 4 Apistos, even if they are different types, you won't want to use a 10 gallons or even a 20 gallon tank. In my experience most Apistos will squabble with any other Apisto even if they are very different types.

I don't have any experience with shell dwellers, but they seem interesting, and it looks like you could safely keep a larger number in a smaller tank.
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