Bioload/Cichlid Question! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Bioload/Cichlid Question!

Hey! I hope everybody has had a fabulous weekend! the tank and I have had it a little hard We had a small fungal infection that clogged the canister filter. The fungal medication was really hard on the plants and was creating consistent biofilm. Some carbon in the filter, and a filter cleaning has cleared this all up!

Now to my question. I'm right on the edge of my bioload, but would like to get a couple of small cichlids! I kept 2 GBR's that were happy for about a year, but succombed none the less. I have a ph of around 8, out of the tap, and I think this may have led to their shortened life.

So, the question is, does anyone have a recommendation for a small pair of cichlids living in a 38G planted tank? I would think it best if they were non-aggressive, as some of my tankmates may object

Thanks in advance for any ideas, have a great week!

EB


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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 05:12 AM
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PH of 8 is rather high unless u get maybe some dwarf African shell dweller cichlids.
I believe all cichlids get aggressive once they start to spawn.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 05:31 AM
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What other tank mates live in there? That is what will determine what fish to go after. A pH of 8 is certainly not a problem for African cichlids as they prefer 8.2


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I have: 1 Siamese algae eater, 1 dojo, 1 albino bristlenose pleco, 5 scissor tails, 6 black widow tetraz, 2 ottos, and 2 sitimuki. I also have around 20 assassin snails to rid the hundreds of rams horn from the tank.

Is there any concern about the African cichlids munching on my plants? My tank is lush, and can take some snacking, but Id hate to lose all the plants in the long run...

Thanks again, EB

Also, what conditions do I need to get my fish to spawn? The only reproducing that's happened are the rams horn snails. I could feed a small town with those xD


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-25-2014, 03:47 AM
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Pretty much all African Cichlids will eat plants but it depends what type of plants you have, and they'll probably uproot them.
All African Cichlids would be aggressive, and most need a 55 Gallon tank at the minimum. Some shell dwellers don't but they're still aggressive.
With African Cichlids you don't want to get a pair because the male is too aggressive trying to mate and will beat the female to death if there's only one, if you want them to breed you should get a one male to at least 3 female ratio.
To get Africans to spawn you just have to put a mature male in a tank with mature females and wait.
I'd suggest you don't get African Cichlids because they're too aggressive for your tank-mates. and if you are going to try Africans DON'T GET MBUNAS they're the most aggressive type of Africans and they need a 55 Gallon tank minimum to be happy.

You could probably breed an Angelfish pair in that tank.

If you still want to keep Africans go to Kgtropicals on youtube, he has a great channel and has tons of info on African Cichlids. He also has a 7 video series on breeding angelfish that's really informative.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Pretty much all African Cichlids will eat plants but it depends what type of plants you have, and they'll probably uproot them.
All African Cichlids would be aggressive, and most need a 55 Gallon tank at the minimum. Some shell dwellers don't but they're still aggressive.
With African Cichlids you don't want to get a pair because the male is too aggressive trying to mate and will beat the female to death if there's only one, if you want them to breed you should get a one male to at least 3 female ratio.
To get Africans to spawn you just have to put a mature male in a tank with mature females and wait.
I'd suggest you don't get African Cichlids because they're too aggressive for your tank-mates. and if you are going to try Africans DON'T GET MBUNAS they're the most aggressive type of Africans and they need a 55 Gallon tank minimum to be happy.

You could probably breed an Angelfish pair in that tank.

If you still want to keep Africans go to Kgtropicals on youtube, he has a great channel and has tons of info on African Cichlids. He also has a 7 video series on breeding angelfish that's really informative.
Thanks for your info

I have tried putting angelfish into my tank two or three times, but they've never lived more than a couple weeks, I'm unsure why :-/

I'm probably just gonna stick with my original choice, the GBR at this point. I think they're one of the nicer looking fish anyways, so win win I suppose.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew. View Post
Pretty much all African Cichlids will eat plants but it depends what type of plants you have, and they'll probably uproot them.
All African Cichlids would be aggressive, and most need a 55 Gallon tank at the minimum. Some shell dwellers don't but they're still aggressive.
With African Cichlids you don't want to get a pair because the male is too aggressive trying to mate and will beat the female to death if there's only one, if you want them to breed you should get a one male to at least 3 female ratio.
To get Africans to spawn you just have to put a mature male in a tank with mature females and wait.
I'd suggest you don't get African Cichlids because they're too aggressive for your tank-mates. and if you are going to try Africans DON'T GET MBUNAS they're the most aggressive type of Africans and they need a 55 Gallon tank minimum to be happy.

You could probably breed an Angelfish pair in that tank.

If you still want to keep Africans go to Kgtropicals on youtube, he has a great channel and has tons of info on African Cichlids. He also has a 7 video series on breeding angelfish that's really informative.
so far my mbuna's have not touched my plants.. i have amazon swords, crypts, melon swords and Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini in my 75 gal.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 03:06 AM
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There is a lot of general information passed about cihlids which is just not true of all cichlids. To say African cichlids all have a particular trait is almost likely saying all American do this or that. There is a cichlid for almost any situation so if you want to branch out and get into somehting you have not tried, there is no reason to shy away just because of the common stories.
I would suggest going about the search in a more informed way rather than just writing off one of the larger groups of fish.
It will take some study to fit somebody in with your group but then it sounds like your group may not be totally fiting now.
With your High Ph, African cichlids might be a good place to start. No worry about finding ones who don't eat plants. It is a common mistake to assume they all eat plants. In the mbuna group there are all kinds of activities involving algae but that does not mean they eat algae. When they were first introduced, they thought that was true but then when they looked at what was really in their stomachs, they often found the fish were just "combing " the algae to get the micro organisms. But still the old stories are passed like gas!
Look at some of the open water bug eaters for some who don't eat plants.
And they don't all automatically have any special requirements as far as group size or M/F ratio. Find a site that tells you some of the traits of each group and you can begin to cut the list down as there are hundreds to choose from. The Labidochromis group has some small ones that might fit. Yellow labsare the most common for this group but Lab. Chisumulae might be a better fit for you.
Cichlid forum is a place that has a ton of info in the articles as well as a really large fish profile section.
This is a crowded 20 gallon with Chisumulae and hap ahli. The male is blue white striped but note the holding female above and behind him. They do not eat plants and they do not kill each other when breeding!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flukekiller View Post
so far my mbuna's have not touched my plants.. i have amazon swords, crypts, melon swords and Alternanthera reineckii 'Mini in my 75 gal.
My mbuna's did not bother any plants for several months one of my favorite and oldest plants a indian red sword I accidentally ripped a leaf vacuuming so the fish got a taste of the plant and shredded that thing in a day, other than that no plant issues.

I just got my 1st F1 pair wild caught there in there own tank its amazing how much more brilliant and lively colorful this wild fish is compared to my other commercial raised healthy fish

125g,75g,50g,40g,27g,10g
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 02:34 PM
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My mbuna's did not bother any plants for several months one of my favorite and oldest plants a indian red sword I accidentally ripped a leaf vacuuming so the fish got a taste of the plant and shredded that thing in a day, other than that no plant issues.

I just got my 1st F1 pair wild caught there in there own tank its amazing how much more brilliant and lively colorful this wild fish is compared to my other commercial raised healthy fish
It probably helps that I feed them nori and soilent green on a rock for them to graze on
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 03:13 PM
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The bigest mistake I find on information about African cichlids is that they are sometimes written about as if they were all cut from the same mold. It would be the same as saying all Central or South American cichlids are the same. It is just not logical to say that an angelfish and an Oscar will do the same things so why is it logical to say all African cichlids are the same? In fact, when we look at the African cichlids it is even less logical for them. Since they are so much more adapted to fit very specific niches in the lake, for them to all be spoken of as doing the same is really just a lack of knowledge.
There are mbuna who eat algae. There are mbuna who comb algae looking for micro organisms to eat and are not at all interested in eating algae. There are African cichlids who hide in and under rocks and there are those who live in huge schools out in the open water where they rarely go near a rock. Some are territorial and some who are not.
If they are 9 inch fish living on bugs and in open water, they will not act the same as a one inch fish living in a shell.
Choosing an African cichlid is just the same as choosing any fish. You just have to find reliable information. But there is one further complication. A smaller percentage of the written iformation on African cichlids is correct. Much of it was written in the days of Axelrod and that info is still being copied and passed on.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 03:39 PM
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I completely agree. Plus tanks are not the same as a natural environment so fish do react differently
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 03:54 PM
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I would assume that those who wrote book's on the topic of African's and their dietary habit's would have done so after some studying of same over a period of year's,not just one group or two over a few week's.
I stopped keeping them due to the increasing cross breeding being allowed and fish stores advertising "mixed african's" which more often as not were just that mixed.cross bred fish that did not look exactly like any species (with a few exception's).
Most of those I kept,did well in large group's when juvenile's, but became increasingly aggressive as the became sexually mature around 4 month's or 4 inches.
Then the tank's were basically a free for all and i did not like removing,re-homing fish almost monthly.
I found them to be excellent digger's, and this along with their appetite for plant matter, made keeping plant's difficult with exception of anubia's,val's,and water sprite which grew fast enough that they could not really hurt it too much.
Carpet plant's never got to root before they were dug up but potted plant's did ok.
My peeve has alway's been with those who insist a particular species noted for particular behaivor, has more to due with personality (see Betta keeper's) rather than natural instinct's. They try and attach human qualities to fishes where there is none.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2014, 09:53 PM
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I will not say that keeping any type of fish in planted tanks is not a challenge. It is also obvious to me that keeping plants and cichlids of any type will be a bigger challenge due to the natural traits. Cichlids as a group are often considered far more advanced than many other types. Their breeding habits take more care than other groups like egg scattering types. Along with those traits one has to learn what fish are more prone to doing the things we don't like or we have to learn more ways to live with those traits. But just because a person has had some of the common African cichlids that dig, does not mean that all no African cichlid can be kept in planted tanks. It just takes more study and often work to adapt our methods, just as it takes more study and work to grow carpet plants than it does for other plants.
If we want to grow difficult plants in a difficult situation like where water is really wrong, we have to learn and adapt. Same goes for fish. We can learn and adapt or we can write off as too difficult some of the best fish available. But I like to make my choices from current knowledge available now, not from books that were written decades ago.
One of the myths still passed around is that African cichlids have to be crowded to do well. DUH! One sure way to create a problem with any animal of any type is to overcrowd them. Any old chicken farmer can tell you what happens when you put too many chickens in the hen house. Somebody gets picked to death!

Last edited by PlantedRich; 03-28-2014 at 09:55 PM. Reason: too many typos!
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry to interrupt the discussion lol...but I found a pair of beautiful Jumbo GBRs. They're much more opalescent than the typical GBR I've seen, and they are still small and young

So I appreciate all the help and suggestion and info, I guess I just wanted to stick to my comfort zone haha...I'll try and get some pics if I FINALLY get that new phone next week

Again, many thanks,
EB


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