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What kind of Cichlid do I have and other possible tankmates?

Discussion in 'African Rift Lake Cichlids' started by sonic7779, May 13, 2006.

  1. sonic7779

    sonic7779 AC Members

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    Hello All!

    This is my first post on Aquaria Central and I recently bought a 5 inch adult Cichlid from my nearby Petco store and I was wandering if anyone could tell me exactly what type of Cichlid it is. Petco just labeled my new fish as an "African Cichlid" and I would like to narrow that down. I don't have a pic at the moment because my sister has my digital camera, but the Cichlid (which I believe is female) looks just like an Electric Yellow Cichlid, but does not have any black at all on her fins. So, I am not sure if she is an Electric Yellow or not. She is a very beautiful fish, eating her Tetra Cichlid Flake Food like crazy, and swimming all over my 46 gallon acrylic tank, which as of right now she is the only resident in (I cycled my new tank with some swordtails, but removed them before putting my new Cichlid in).

    I have read online that when keeping Cichlids you should always keep around 8 or more to reduce aggressions. I do not want 8 Cichlids in my tank because I think that would overcrowd my tank. I would not mind having say 4 Cichlids in my tank, but I would like an expert opinion on that. I am happy with just the one Cichlid I have, but would like to add 1 or 2 more fish if keeping only 4 Cichlids in a tank is not a good idea. So, if anyone knows of any other tankmates that would be compatible I would appreciate any suggestions. I really like the Pictus Catfish or Red Tail Shark, but do not know if they would be compatible with my Cichlid.

    In the tank at Petco that I bought my Cichlid out of there were only three Cichlids in the tank (all full grown I believe) and I never witnessed any aggressions between the Cichlids while I was watching them. The tank could have been no bigger then 10-15 gallons and so, it would seem that keeping 4 Cichlids in a tank might work, but would like some input on that.

    Thanks for your help!

    Ronnie
     
  2. kay-bee

    kay-bee AC Members

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    Welcome to the site!

    It'll be hard to exactly determine the type of african cichlid you have without a photo as there are a number of yellowish mbuna species around, as well as a hybrid which could be of any particular pattern or base color. Does it resemble a yellow lab only in color, or in shape as well, just minus the black markings?

    For mbuna, a 46-gal may be considered bare minimum size in which they can be housed successfully long-term. A 10-15 gal tank with 3 full grown mbuna is considered very close quarters. That small display tank is only meant to house fish for a temporary basis (I wouldn't trust how mbuna behave in display tank as a benchmark on how'd they'd act in a larger tank, since a larger tank offers a larger territory and will promote claiming/defense of a territory, a natural mbuna behavior).

    In your 46-gal, a total of 4 may be too few (makes it too easy for an aggressive fish to dominate the entire tank unchallenged). 6-8 would be a better number to go with. However, you might want to determine exactly what species you have first (you might have a male kenyi on your hands and that will effect the aggression level in 46-gal tank and your stock options).

    Any particular species you have in mind to add to your tank?
     
    #2 kay-bee, May 13, 2006
    Last edited: May 13, 2006
  3. liv2padl

    liv2padl cichlidophile

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    as you may have learned from your reading, Malawi cichlids are particularly aggressive. this stems from (a) the fact that they generally feed in the same way on the same things and there's a limited biomass for them to feed from. this means that competition for food is high and the most dominant fish end up getting the most food. one of Darwins 'survival of the fittest' tennents. (b) these species are harem brooders. males are always sexually active and in search of females to mate with, despite their readiness to do so. the resulting spawning pressure on females is very high and they can get quite tattered as a result. if maintained in a group as one male + 4 females of the same species, the spawning pressure is significantly reduced since of the 4 females, one is likely to be ready to do so and the male will not have to spend all his time harrassing females to spawn. (c) generally, in a given population of Malawi cichlids, there's always at least one male/female combination in spawning mode and competition for a territory/cave in which the female can brood the eggs is high. there are afterall, just so many caves to go around.

    maintaining Malawi cichlids in an 'overstocked' condition can reduce the territorial aggression but in my opinion, results in other stressors which are at least as damaging as the spawning and territory aggression which you are attempting to mitigate. i personally don't recommend this method of keeping Malawi cichlids and feel that it is only promulgated by hobbyists who lack a thorough understanding of the functional biology of these fish.

    it's far better to maintain a proper stocking level, maintain a proper sexual ratio of males and females, provide sufficient territory for all females to occupy and do not keep species together that will initiate combat. what does this mean? it means not keeping a tank of only blue fish. Malawi cichlids are focused by color and shape and one blue male with stripes cannot tell the difference between another male of his species or a different species which looks just like him. if you've looked at pictures of these fish, you know that a great many of them are blue with stripes.

    thus, in a 46 gallon tank i'd recommend you keep only one group (1M+4F) of one species. understand however, that these fish are very rambunctious and 'some' battles will occur. this is not a problem and not something you can or want to stop completely. that's their genetic code. let them exhibit that natural behaviour.
     
  4. DeputyChiefJR

    DeputyChiefJR Glub! Glub!

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    One thing I don't fully agree with here is that one male of one species cannot tell the difference between that and a similarly colored fish...The fish in my tank seem to know each other apart, while they may start into a chase based on mistaken color, usually they stop short of an actual try once they realize their target isn't what they thought and both kind of just stop and sit together....
     
  5. sonic7779

    sonic7779 AC Members

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    Hello Kay-bee, liv2padl, DeputyChiefJR!

    My Cichlid looks exactly like an electric yellow in both shape and color, minus the black markings. The closest picture I could find online that resembles my Cichlid can be found at the top of the page of the following link.

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...llow+cichlid&type=jpeg&no=239&tt=270&ei=UTF-8

    I would say my Cichlid looks exactly like the yellow Cichlid in the picture. Mine has 2 white eggspots on her anal fin. Like I said before I think she is a female, but I could be wrong. I have read online that females will have only 1 or 2 eggspots, while males will have several. I don't know if that is true or not though. I have read so much online about Cichlids and a lot of the information I have read contradicts each other.

    I am fully content on keeping my one Cichlid alone in my tank. She is constantly swimming around and is a blast to look at. I really do not need fry because I do not have any place to go with them. I have again read online that it is perfectly fine to keep one cichlid in a tank without there being any issues of loneliness.

    So, if after looking at the picture in the link I posted you might now know what type of Cichlid I have I would apprecicate it if you could fill me in. Also, if there is an easy way to tell the gender of my fish that you know of I would appreciate hearing about that as well.

    Thanks again!

    Ronnie
     
    #5 sonic7779, May 13, 2006
    Last edited: May 13, 2006
  6. DeputyChiefJR

    DeputyChiefJR Glub! Glub!

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    Those rules vary between species....With kenyi only the males have eggspots....I'm leaning against it being Yellow Labs due to the lack of the black fins and the presence of egg spot, which i've never seen on yellow labs....
     
  7. kay-bee

    kay-bee AC Members

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    Based on shape alone, the fish in the pic is definately not a yellow lab. If your african cichlid is identical to the one in the photo, then it's safe to say your fish is a metriaclima/maylandia of some sort, most likely a male m. lombardoi (kenyi), a species of great aggression potential. Female kenyi's are blue with black stripes.

    You might be better off keeping this particular fish by itself in the 46-gal (I think they do better in larger tank among mbuna with similar aggression levels). I think it will react aggressively against any fish you add to the tank.

    Getting to the aggression issue, some mbuna may be 'wired' to be aggressive against their own kind or similar looking fish ('conspecific aggressive'), but there are mbuna that will exact aggression against any other mbuna regardless of coloration depending on the circumstance.
     
    #7 kay-bee, May 13, 2006
    Last edited: May 13, 2006
  8. DeputyChiefJR

    DeputyChiefJR Glub! Glub!

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    Missing the v-shaped bars to be a kenyi, also wrong shaped face
     
  9. fiske

    fiske AC Members

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    I have three mbunas like that, two that I bought 4-5 inches long and have grown to 5 inches and one that I bought around 1/2 inch long and that has grown to 3 inches since November. The smaller one has always had the yellow color so they could not be kenyi or another species that changes to yellow after their juvenile coloration. I thought that they were electric yellow labs that were selectively bred to eliminate the black but maybe I am wrong.

    The two adults are that nice bright yellow with just a speck or two of black along the base of the dorsal, blue dots on the tail fin and tip of dorsal fin, and one full egg spot. There is just a speck of another egg spot on the very edge of the anal fin. The blue dots sometimes dissappear when their yellow darkens.

    The smaller one has the same exact markings as the adults only without the solid egg spot and black specks and its yellow sometimes fades to offwhite. I had a hard time telling it apart from an albino red zebra in the lfs tank until I could make out its head shape but it has shown yellow more often as it grows. On the average it is yellow with a white belly but it shifts back and forth between the two colors.
     
  10. sonic7779

    sonic7779 AC Members

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    Hello Everyone!

    I was able to get my camera back and was also able to finally get a descent picture of my Cichlid without it moving on me and messing up the shot. I hope someone can tell me for sure what kind of Cichlid I have.

    I have no problems keeping him/her alone, but if anyone does have any suggestions about any other possible fish that I might be able to keep with my Cichlid I am open to hearing about them. In the tank at Petco that I bought my Cichlid out of they had some type of long eel looking fish also in the tank with the three Cichlids. I did not pay any attention to what it was because I was so focused on the Cichlids.

    He/she is a beautiful fish in my opinion and I am planning on keeping him/her no matter if I can put another type of fish in the tank or not. He/she has a lot of personality and I have already named him/her. I like angel fish as well as the pictus catfish and red tail shark, but if my Cichlid is one of the extremely aggressive kind then there is no way I will put any other fish in with him/her.

    Anyways, take a look at the pic and let me know what you all think.

    Thanks again for your advice and help everyone!

    Ronnie
     

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    #10 sonic7779, May 13, 2006
    Last edited: May 13, 2006

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