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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
also are they difficult to keep and will they uproot my plants I have a heavy planted tank
 

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Keyhole Cichlids can get up to 4" in length. So using the rough rule of 1" per gallon of water, 30/4= 7.5. The fish probably won't all get to 4" so you could round up to 8 fish conservatively.

I kept Keyhole Cichlids in the late 80's and early 90's back when I was unable to successfully keep plants due to a prevelance of bad advice. So I don't know how they would do with digging behavior. However they were wonderful charismatic and gentle fish that I greatly enjoyed.

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I'm not an advocate of crowding fish nor the 1" per gallon rule. 20 1" chili rasboras would not be cramped in a 10 gallon; one 5 inch Oscar would be, to make an extreme example. It's all about mass and bioload, and keyholes provide more than average of both. a 30 long is 36" and you could probably have a group of 5 if 2 or fewer were males, in my estimation. Another issue with fish that provide parental care when spawning (such as cichlids) is that the rest would likely need to be moved out to prevent aggression come breeding time. Outside of Cyprochromis, not sure I've ever kept a cichlid species that didn't breed in my "community" tank -and those may have for all I know. Just something to think about. I honestly believe that you will find it more enjoyable to observe natural behaviors than keeping as many fish as will live in a tank anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys i think ill buy 2 with a school of cardinals and either two pear gourami or a small school of honey gourami or dwarf praecox rainbows idk yet im still waiting for my tank to cycle so far I have zero ammonia 2.ppm of nirite and 30ppm of nitrate for some reason its taking forever to cycle the nitrite wont move its been up there for two weeks and my lfs has the keyholes really small size less than half inch I hope the tank cycles before there gone they do not sell keyholes often its a shame.

Bump: Thanks guys i think ill buy 2 with a school of cardinals and either two pear gourami or a small school of honey gourami or dwarf praecox rainbows idk yet im still waiting for my tank to cycle so far I have zero ammonia 2.ppm of nirite and 30ppm of nitrate for some reason its taking forever to cycle the nitrite wont move its been up there for two weeks and my lfs has the keyholes really small size less than half inch I hope the tank cycles before there gone they do not sell keyholes often its a shame.
 

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2 is the max I would have in a 30 gallon. Keep in mind that while they are generally peaceful fish they are still cichlids and while not huge they do get reasonably large. When pairing off they can get aggressive toward each other or other fish in the tank. I have kept mine with small fish but sometimes they would eat them. It seemed like usually it would happen when the fish was already struggling a bit (old age or sickness) but it became a bit of a pattern and on a few occasions I witnessed it happen. Cardinal tetras and pencilfish would be struck from below, their stomachs ripped out. I would avoid really small fish like pygmy corys or ember fish or small barbs, danios.

ETA: as far as plants go they are generally OK with them. At breeding they do sometimes dig pits amongst plants so can uproot stuff but I really didn't have a big issue with it as long as the plants were well established. Even tough stem plants like Rotala were OK. But if you have a stem plant heavy tank or carpeting stuff it may be more of an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i do have alot of stem plants and carpet of styre repens ok so Ill get something else then.
 

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I always enjoyed keeping them.... a nice Cichlid that is somewhere between a Curvecips and Severum, both in size, appearance and temperament. Not destructive with plants like Severums (well they aren't destructive, they just enjoy a good salad). An underated cichlid, like Festivums and Uarus...
 
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