what cichlids to stock in a 55?
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:58 AM   #1
jtilley
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what cichlids to stock in a 55?


Hi all,
I just bought a used 55g a few days ago and got it up and running now. I am looking to stock African cichlids and would like some suggestions of which ones.
Preferred qualities
Colorful (don't really like the black or silvers or white).
At least one type in there that has good parental care, and will raise fry.
Be able to keep some some java moss and fern in there (Not eat the plants).
I understand that cichlids are aggressive but hopefully not fight so much that they injure or kill each other
A type that I can actually find within a reasonable amount of time or request at the lfs and they will have at least heard of it (haha)
I am ok with having just one type of fish, if it comes in multiple colors but would prefer at least 2~4 species.
I don't need interbreeding happening, so please be sure not to recommend any combinations that will possibly produce that.

A few questions
Should I stock them all at once as juveniles?
How many or does that depends on the type?

Thanks! I look forward to any and all comments or suggestions!
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:37 AM   #2
Kdog
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Perhaps look at some peacocks and haps, though some haps can get really big.
They are colorful but not as aggressive as mbunas.
I'd recommend stocking all your fish the same time. That way you will not have established fish picking on the newbies. Having juveniles is a good choice, you save money and also if you have patience you can watch them bloom into colorful fish.
You can have 10 to 15 fish and it all depends on the species. Some people like to overcrowd the tank to lower aggression.
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:54 AM   #3
Diana
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Do the fishless cycle. It was originally designed for stocking African Rift Lake Cichlids.
Stock them all at one time.
If similar age juveniles are available that would work.
Or stock them as adults.
Don't mix juveniles and adults. The adults would claim the whole tank and attack the other fish that are not mature enough to claim territory.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Fishless Cycle

Set up tank and equipment.
Fill with water, including dechlor.
Optimum conditions to grow these bacteria the fastest:
GH and KH at least 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Add some other minerals, for example plant fertilizers: KH2PO4, trace minerals.
High oxygen levels.
Good water movement.
A place to grow. They grow on surfaces, not drifting free in the water. Filter media is great. Sponges, floss, bio-media are all good places for these bacteria.
You can add a starter culture of the right bacteria if you want. It is optional. The cycle can go faster if you add something. Media from a cycled, healthy filter. Bottled bacteria containing Nitrospira species of bacteria. Do not waste money on anything else.

Add ammonia (no surfactants, no perfumes) to test 5 ppm.
Test daily. Add more ammonia to keep the test at 5 ppm through the first few days.
Test for nitrite. When nitrite shows up allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
Test daily, adding enough ammonia to bring the test to 3 ppm once a day. If you are growing plants that do not like this level of ammonia then test twice a day, and add enough ammonia to bring the test to 1 ppm twice a day.
If the nitrite gets to 5 ppm do a water change. Perhaps add less ammonia for a few days. The nitrite removing bacteria (Nitrospira species) are slower growing, and the ammonia removing bacteria might be making more nitrite than they can deal with.

When the ammonia returns to 0 ppm after 24 hours, and no nitrite shows up at that same 24 hour mark, then the cycle is done.
A fishless cycle with no plants might have VERY high nitrate. Do a BIG water change, or even a couple of them to get the nitrate way down before adding the fish. You can fully stock the tank.
A fishless cycle with lots of plants might show almost no nitrate. The plants are part of the bio filter, and are removing a certain amount of the ammonia before the bacteria even have a chance to turn it into nitrate, and then the plants are removing some or all of the nitrate produced by the bacteria. I would still do a big water change.

If the fish you want to keep need water different than the hard, alkaline water that grow the bacteria so well, now is the time to change that to softer, acidic water. While you were trying to grow the bacteria as fast as possible you wanted optimum conditions for the bacteria. Now that the colony is well established you can change the conditions. They might not grow so fast, but that is OK.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:37 AM   #4
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Instead of starting a cycle from scratch could I move some filter media and java moss from my 20 gallon community tank and start the tank that way? I cycled that tank by adding a few fish at a time over several months, and put a few live plants in there. It never had any problems.I just think that would be better because then the bacteria will already be there, they will just need to grow in number for the amount of fish I would be stocking all at the same time.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:46 AM   #5
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Look into Pseudotropheus acei and Labidochromis caeruleus. They're both peaceful mbuna that will go well together and/or with Peacocks. Visit the Cichlid-Forum for more info on these and other African cichlids.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Do the fishless cycle. It was originally designed for stocking African Rift Lake Cichlids.
Stock them all at one time.
If similar age juveniles are available that would work.
Or stock them as adults.
Don't mix juveniles and adults. The adults would claim the whole tank and attack the other fish that are not mature enough to claim territory.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Fishless Cycle

Set up tank and equipment.
Fill with water, including dechlor.
Optimum conditions to grow these bacteria the fastest:
GH and KH at least 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Add some other minerals, for example plant fertilizers: KH2PO4, trace minerals.
High oxygen levels.
Good water movement.
A place to grow. They grow on surfaces, not drifting free in the water. Filter media is great. Sponges, floss, bio-media are all good places for these bacteria.
You can add a starter culture of the right bacteria if you want. It is optional. The cycle can go faster if you add something. Media from a cycled, healthy filter. Bottled bacteria containing Nitrospira species of bacteria. Do not waste money on anything else.

Add ammonia (no surfactants, no perfumes) to test 5 ppm.
Test daily. Add more ammonia to keep the test at 5 ppm through the first few days.
Test for nitrite. When nitrite shows up allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
Test daily, adding enough ammonia to bring the test to 3 ppm once a day. If you are growing plants that do not like this level of ammonia then test twice a day, and add enough ammonia to bring the test to 1 ppm twice a day.
If the nitrite gets to 5 ppm do a water change. Perhaps add less ammonia for a few days. The nitrite removing bacteria (Nitrospira species) are slower growing, and the ammonia removing bacteria might be making more nitrite than they can deal with.

When the ammonia returns to 0 ppm after 24 hours, and no nitrite shows up at that same 24 hour mark, then the cycle is done.
A fishless cycle with no plants might have VERY high nitrate. Do a BIG water change, or even a couple of them to get the nitrate way down before adding the fish. You can fully stock the tank.
A fishless cycle with lots of plants might show almost no nitrate. The plants are part of the bio filter, and are removing a certain amount of the ammonia before the bacteria even have a chance to turn it into nitrate, and then the plants are removing some or all of the nitrate produced by the bacteria. I would still do a big water change.

If the fish you want to keep need water different than the hard, alkaline water that grow the bacteria so well, now is the time to change that to softer, acidic water. While you were trying to grow the bacteria as fast as possible you wanted optimum conditions for the bacteria. Now that the colony is well established you can change the conditions. They might not grow so fast, but that is OK.
+1 for all advise given here please follow suggestions
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:01 PM   #7
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I have set up a tank before and understand the cycle but thanks for the refresher. I will keep a close eye on the levels with my test kit and do water changes as needed. I am hoping my plant and filter transfers will be enough to get the tank started without it having any major spikes since I plan on stocking small 1~1.5 inch fish.

Thanks rwater and kdog for your suggestions. I will look into them. If anybody else has any suggestions I will be happy to look into those too.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:16 AM   #8
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What kind of African cichlids? As far as east Africans, you can't get cooler than shell-dwellers.

There are the West Africans, too. Jewels, dwarf jewels, kribs, buffaloheads... to name a few common ones.
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Old 07-15-2014, 02:24 AM   #9
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Well shells are out of the question, I just filled it with rocks.
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