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Mixing baby cichlids into a community tank?

4894 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  JulieR
I bought a 5 gallon tank tonight from a guy who was breeding lake malawi cichlids and he thew in four about an inch long babys a male and female of two different colors. I am wondering about putting them in a heavily planted 40 gallon that currently contains 8 adult rummy nose tetra, one German blue ram, a old guppy soon to be gone and a 4 inch Siamese algae eater also soon to be gone.

If this is a no go I may just take the embers out of my 20g and throw in a bunch more rocks...

Please fill me on possible ways this may play out

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i dont know alot about malawi cichlids but from what i have read and heard

they are some of the most aggressive fish we have available to the hobby

they come from very rocky areas with very few plants

they grow to be quite large 5"+ in most cases
Here are some pictures of the cute little guys and gals

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The Rift Lakes have very hard water, GH and KH WAY over 10 degrees, perhaps 20 degrees. pH to match: about 8.

The other fish you list are soft water fish with GH and KH in the single digits, like 3-5 degrees, and pH on the acidic side of neutral.

These fish are not compatible.

Most Rift Lake fish are quite aggressive as they mature. As juveniles they are somewhat gregarious, so as babies they might not be too bad with Guppies, Mollies, and other mild mannered or semi-aggressive hard water fish. But at some point they start maturing and will try to claim territory. This may result in the death of the milder fish. And in a heavily planted tank it will be very difficult to remove fish.

I would not try to keep these types of fish in the same tank.
Update, See'n as I had no choice I drip acclimated them for bout three hours off the 40g and threw em in. So far so good started off pretty nippy, but respect the ram(twice their size) and sometimes follow and act like him.

They leave the others alone even in close proximity. The guy I bought em from had like 20 babys in a 10 gallon and had food regimented them so they were growing verrry slowly. I feed every other day or two so maybe it'll take a while for them to get big.

Im liking them a lot already so I may just change some priority's, we will see....

Any other comments or advice welcomed!

Oh yeah and a proper identification would be much appreciated

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The respect for your ram will not last... And they may or not respect the taste of your plants...
They seem to be male and female Kenyi's.

My boyfriend keeps african cichlids and they are VERY aggressive fish. He too made this mistake and thought "Oh, well they're small and they will do fine in a 20 gallon for a little while.." within weeks the sweet babies were viscious. He had to go out and buy a 55 gallon. Kenyi's are too big and aggressive for a 55 so he had to get rid of them.

Seriously, those fish are cute and playful now but they will kill everything in your tank--every tetra, ram, whatever--will be dead. They are a pain to catch too, so you're going to have problems there as well. My boyfriend had to completely dismantle his tank (take everything out) to catch these suckers. They're mean and fast.
Your ram could end up with some missing fins...

Most Rift Lake Cichlids are mean as spit. This setup is kinda a gamble.

Water are your water parameters? As mentioned these do not do well in soft water at all.

I have seen some planted rift tanks, but they also had TONS of rocks. They need rocks to establish territory, as well as for comfort and breeding. Certain rocks will also help provide the proper PH and Hardness required for their survival.
Yep, those are Kenyis, one of the most commonly available and super aggressive mbuna species. Housing them in your planted community tank is a disaster waiting to happen, unless you don't particularly like your community tank :p I've got my own mbuna tank at home, but even I wouldn't touch kenyis.

You can either rehome them or set up a cichlid tank, which is no small project. Good luck with them! Males are yellow, females are blue/black striped, just for reference :)
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