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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m looking to start a tank. Will be 90 gallons. I want to have yellow lab cichlids, jewel cichlids, blue acaras , and Severums

maybe even a pleco? Or any other bottom feeder or cleanup crew fish I can use?

will all these fish get along? How many of each can I get?

last question, can I use real plants in the tank?
 

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Not sure you can use plants with those fish, probably not? I had bigger cichlids before and I could not, right now I have apistragrammas and they are ok with plants but they are smaller chiclids compared to other ones.

Good luck!!
 

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I can see immense potential problems with the aggression levels between these cichlids. Its never good to mix African Cichlids ( which tend to be very aggressive) with South American cichlids (which tend to be less aggressive than Africans).
Many have combined Severems and Acaras in an aquarium in carefully selected groupings with dither fish, PLECO's, etc... sounds like a good mix.
But, if you want Mbuna cichlids- the labs- add other Mbuna to the mix and stick with that. Stock dense- they do well under these conditions. Don't add jewels, though-- they come from softer water.
Now, if you are adventurous and have another tank to separate out any hornery fish from the others... then go ahead and give it a try. but, if that is not an option I would stick with some more compatible fish.
Severums love green plants. Not that they will decimate every plant, but they will nibble on their favorites. The other issue is digging, most cichlids dig-- my geophagus move a huge amount of sand in a dy. Plant deep rooting and fast growing stems before add fish and you will give plants a head start and plants will do okay. but, a stunning planted tank is difficult to keep with cichlids. Sure, it can be done- but, a challenge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can see immense potential problems with the aggression levels between these cichlids. Its never good to mix African Cichlids ( which tend to be very aggressive) with South American cichlids (which tend to be less aggressive than Africans).
Many have combined Severems and Acaras in an aquarium in carefully selected groupings with dither fish, PLECO's, etc... sounds like a good mix.
But, if you want Mbuna cichlids- the labs- add other Mbuna to the mix and stick with that. Stock dense- they do well under these conditions. Don't add jewels, though-- they come from softer water.
Now, if you are adventurous and have another tank to separate out any hornery fish from the others... then go ahead and give it a try. but, if that is not an option I would stick with some more compatible fish.
Severums love green plants. Not that they will decimate every plant, but they will nibble on their favorites. The other issue is digging, most cichlids dig-- my geophagus move a huge amount of sand in a dy. Plant deep rooting and fast growing stems before add fish and you will give plants a head start and plants will do okay. but, a stunning planted tank is difficult to keep with cichlids. Sure, it can be done- but, a challenge.
Thank you! The main fish I love and def want is the Severums. Are there any other super colorful and compatible fish to add instead since I can’t do labs and jewels? Thanks again for ur help!
 

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Make sure you have plenty of refuge for the pleco when mixing with south Americans, as they a bit more then Africans are bottom dwellers/sleepers and dont take overly well to invaders. Not that water parameters are the be all end all as most fish will acclimate to vary parameters but there is a large discrepancies between SA water and African lakes.
As others stated, plants and sand will be constantly relocated, established root plants stand a better chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m thinking maybe I’ll get the Severums, blood parrot, and blue acaras. However other than that idk? What can I get for cleanup crew and also any other fish compatible that’s super colorful? I really love colorful fish lol
 

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If you use fine sand, several members of the Geophagus genus are stunners, in a subtle way. I'm not a fan of parrots (or most man-made fish arguably with deformities) but there are some better lines out there than you'll find in PetSmart. Whatever you get, be aware that they will likely pair off and spawn, and you'll have to deal with the parental protection that comes along with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you use fine sand, several members of the Geophagus genus are stunners, in a subtle way. I'm not a fan of parrots (or most man-made fish arguably with deformities) but there are some better lines out there than you'll find in PetSmart. Whatever you get, be aware that they will likely pair off and spawn, and you'll have to deal with the parental protection that comes along with that.
I do have a local fish shop that I plan on shopping at. He has a huuuggee selection. I know they get aggressive when pairing and I def don’t want to purposely pair any… is it a huge favor to ever ask them to only give me male or female of each type of fish? lol I feel like it would be hard to tell and they wouldn’t want to spend time doing that but if it’s common to ask then I will.
 

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As a former LFS owner, it's incredibly common in my experience. Except for guppies and such that you buy by the pair; fish sold individually should be able to be purchased however you want them. The tricky part is correctly IDing gender at a young age.
 

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Forget the Rift Lake Africans, Jewels, and severums (sevs will decimate your plants). Try the blue acara with a species of mesonauta (festivums). Mesonauta are a mild tempered, medium size cichlid that do great in planted communities.
 

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I have personally kept the two, I had a jewel pair in an 80 gallon with 13 yellow labs as well as other more docile African cichlids. The jewels get very aggressive when pairing but I had a peacock in the tank who was the Alpha and the jewels didn’t bother messing with him. In fact the peacock was the biggest bully even when compared to spawning jewels.

I will mention that I had the Gabon variety of jewel cichlids, they have a yellowish base colour with really red faces. Maybe not as aggressive as the typical pet store strain hemichromis so.

jewels only look amazing when spawning, so if that’s what draws you to them do not add the labs. The labs are always beautiful regardless. Even a dominant male will only really chase and posture, not quite like an melanchromis Auratus lol

Severums and blue acaras are very mild, I think they could work with labs besides The obvious difference in water chemistry. I did once Have a crazy aggressive glass banger of a male gold severum. Out of the many I’ve kept over the years I only had one aggro. Same can be said for chocolate cichlids.

have you considered angels or discuss?
they will leave your plants alone. You could keep electric blue scars with angels no problem.
 
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