29 Gallon African tank?

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RyanDDD

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I have a 55 gallon lake Malawi tank with over 20 fish. The goal with african cichlids is to overstock the tank to calm down the aggression. But remember, if you were to overstock, you need amazing filtration. I have 690 gph of tank turnover since lots of fish means lots of bio load. For african cichlids (mbuna, peacocks, haps) I reccomend at least 40 gallons or more. More room for the fish, the better. And that small of a tank, will lead to many many water changes throughout the week. But if 29 gal is your only option, you can still work with that. At least 300 - 400 gph of filtration will work best for your tank. For cichlids, you want sand substrate. Not sure what type of african cichlids you are looking into but mbunas or possibly a few peacocks would do great in your tank. For that size of tank, I would do 10 - 12 fish maximum capacity. Possibly you could throw in a pictus catfish, or a small pleco. Plecos get very large so you might get a smaller/different species or take it out of your tank once its to big. So I would do 8 - 10 mbuna and maybe a peocock or two. Peacocks are buitiful fish, but you have to buy them when they are bigger then any other fish in you tank, since peacocks are way less aggressive than mbunas. If you get a pleco, make sure you have algea in your tank to eat. Mbunas are rock dwellers, so get many non-toxic rocks and stack them on each other. African cichlids are very fun fish but make sure you do your research. Happy fish keeping!
-RyanDDD
 
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NoahLikesFish

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I wouldn’t do Mbuna they are horrible fish for beginners and only really will do good in a 29+ gallon tank, also the overstocking thing is a myth. In the wild the fish are very sparse so I wouldn’t do them. If you like Africans a colony of firemouth or orange chromide could work. Both are way easier fish
 

NoahLikesFish

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I meant to say 75 gallon+ tank
also it’s a horrible idea to mix mid water Africans and rock dweller Africans also kribensis aren’t African chiclids in the sense something like a pet smart Malawi chiclid hybrid would be. Kribs are peaceful fish and should never be mixed with other “African chiclids”
 

Sprinkle

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I wouldn’t do Mbuna they are horrible fish for beginners and only really will do good in a 29+ gallon tank, also the overstocking thing is a myth. In the wild the fish are very sparse so I wouldn’t do them. If you like Africans a colony of firemouth or orange chromide could work. Both are way easier fish
This thred is almost year old, and I must tells u ur very very wrong. Overstocking with such cichlids is no myth but it true. I watched one of Sir David Attenbroughs about cichlids and the water they were in was glowing with fish in a traffic.
 
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Strongarm

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Mbunas can get big. 5-6". I think that would be to large of an mature fish to stay in a 29. Now that disclaimer being said, I have seen Mbunas in a 29 gallon. When they are small, they are beautiful and awesome! They get upwards of 4-5" when mature, so a 29 might be tight. I have seen them in one.
I think a 55 gallon, would be minimal for Mbunas, Haps, Peacocks, but again, I have seen them in a 29 gallon. Just remember if your tank is small, don't overstock it with Africans, because you may be making water changes a lot to keep up with the bio-load, and aggression is always a problem and the fish need someplace to hide. Peacocks are big, and haps are big and are free swimmers. The Dwarfs are cool, some have awesome coloration.
Below is a great 29 gallon cichlid fish. The Electric Blue Acara.

1611093766845.png

Here is the Golden Ram.

1611093924624.png

I think a couple of these in a 29 would be righteous!
 
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Wyomingite

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I meant to say 75 gallon+ tank
also it’s a horrible idea to mix mid water Africans and rock dweller Africans also kribensis aren’t African chiclids in the sense something like a pet smart Malawi chiclid hybrid would be. Kribs are peaceful fish and should never be mixed with other “African chiclids”
Okay. I know this is an old thread, but since it's been resurrected there is incomplete or just plain bad info that has been posted, and with a clear conscience I can't let it stand at that.

First, the average mbuna species run 4" to 6", true. But mbuna are diverse and encompass genera and species that the average hobbyist has likely never heard of. A 29 gallon isn't sufficient for any mbuna, even for the so-called "dwarf" mbuna species such as Chindongo demasonii, Chindongo saulosi , Metriaclima lanisticola, and a few others which stay in the neighborhood of 3" or so as adults. There's just not enough real estate to allow non-dominant fish to escape when being chased by more dominant fish. I will hold that 55 gallons is the minimum for Malawi mbuna, most peacocks, Malawi haps, and most Victorians as well. The largest mbuna, such as the Pseudotropheus spp. referred to commercially as acei, Metriaclima crabro and certain local variants of Labeotropheus trewavasae can easily reach 7" and can likely hit 8". With fish that reach this size, which include a few mbuna and a fair number of haps, a 75 or larger is a better option. Active mid-water fish should be housed in a 6 foot tank or larger to allow swimming room. Some RVs appropriate for a 29 gallon are a pair of the rock dwelling substrate spawners and the shellies from Lake Tanganyika. A few of the smaller species of peacocks can be kept comfortably as a breeding group of a male and 4 or 5 females in a 40 gallon breeder, but nothing smaller and I don't advise it without doing your homework first.

Overstocking Rift Valley cichlids isn't a myth. It's been standard practice in the hobby for decades. Honestly, I've never heard this refuted before. Some species don't need to be over-stocked but with others, mainly mbuna and Victorian rock dwellers, you will end up with a single dominant male unless you do. If there are not enough fish in the tank to disperse aggression, it won't be long before the dominant male kills the other fish, either directly or more likely from stressing the non-dominant fish to a point where they die from reduced immunity and secondary diseases. Males are hard on females if the female isn't ready to breed, hard on females that are holding because they recently bred, and hard on submissive males. Over-stocking prevents a few non-dominant fish from being harassed literally to death by offering so many targets that the dominant fish doesn't hit any one fish again and again without that fish getting a break to recuperate.

Firemouths are Central American cichlids from Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, and orange chromides are Asian fish from Sri Lanka and the Indian sub-continent. Neither has any place in an RV tank, nor with each other for that matter. Mixing mid water and rock-dwelling cichlids isn't necessarily bad, and in a large enough tank can make an attractive display. You did get the part about kribs not being Rift Valley cichlids and that they shouldn't be housed with RV species right.

WYite
 

FishAddict74

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Dec 8, 2020
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Okay. I know this is an old thread, but since it's been resurrected there is incomplete or just plain bad info that has been posted, and with a clear conscience I can't let it stand at that.

First, the average mbuna species run 4" to 6", true. But mbuna are diverse and encompass genera and species that the average hobbyist has likely never heard of. A 29 gallon isn't sufficient for any mbuna, even for the so-called "dwarf" mbuna species such as Chindongo demasonii, Chindongo saulosi , Metriaclima lanisticola, and a few others which stay in the neighborhood of 3" or so as adults. There's just not enough real estate to allow non-dominant fish to escape when being chased by more dominant fish. I will hold that 55 gallons is the minimum for Malawi mbuna, most peacocks, Malawi haps, and most Victorians as well. The largest mbuna, such as the Pseudotropheus spp. referred to commercially as acei, Metriaclima crabro and certain local variants of Labeotropheus trewavasae can easily reach 7" and can likely hit 8". With fish that reach this size, which include a few mbuna and a fair number of haps, a 75 or larger is a better option. Active mid-water fish should be housed in a 6 foot tank or larger to allow swimming room. Some RVs appropriate for a 29 gallon are a pair of the rock dwelling substrate spawners and the shellies from Lake Tanganyika. A few of the smaller species of peacocks can be kept comfortably as a breeding group of a male and 4 or 5 females in a 40 gallon breeder, but nothing smaller and I don't advise it without doing your homework first.

Overstocking Rift Valley cichlids isn't a myth. It's been standard practice in the hobby for decades. Honestly, I've never heard this refuted before. Some species don't need to be over-stocked but with others, mainly mbuna and Victorian rock dwellers, you will end up with a single dominant male unless you do. If there are not enough fish in the tank to disperse aggression, it won't be long before the dominant male kills the other fish, either directly or more likely from stressing the non-dominant fish to a point where they die from reduced immunity and secondary diseases. Males are hard on females if the female isn't ready to breed, hard on females that are holding because they recently bred, and hard on submissive males. Over-stocking prevents a few non-dominant fish from being harassed literally to death by offering so many targets that the dominant fish doesn't hit any one fish again and again without that fish getting a break to recuperate.

Firemouths are Central American cichlids from Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, and orange chromides are Asian fish from Sri Lanka and the Indian sub-continent. Neither has any place in an RV tank, nor with each other for that matter. Mixing mid water and rock-dwelling cichlids isn't necessarily bad, and in a large enough tank can make an attractive display. You did get the part about kribs not being Rift Valley cichlids and that they shouldn't be housed with RV species right.

WYite
Thank you! I just stumbled onto this thread and was feeling compelled to say something, but you said it all perfectly
 

FishAddict74

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I knew that overstock them was no some myth, am glad someone agree with me on this ^_^
[/
Mbunas can get big. 5-6". I think that would be to large of an mature fish to stay in a 29. Now that disclaimer being said, I have seen Mbunas in a 29 gallon. When they are small, they are beautiful and awesome! They get upwards of 4-5" when mature, so a 29 might be tight. I have seen them in one.
I think a 55 gallon, would be minimal for Mbunas, Haps, Peacocks, but again, I have seen them in a 29 gallon. Just remember if your tank is small, don't overstock it with Africans, because you may be making water changes a lot to keep up with the bio-load, and aggression is always a problem and the fish need someplace to hide. Peacocks are big, and haps are big and are free swimmers. The Dwarfs are cool, some have awesome coloration.
Below is a great 29 gallon cichlid fish. The Electric Blue Acara.

View attachment 228846

Here is the Golden Ram.

View attachment 228847

I think a couple of these in a 29 would be righteous!
I agree that a 55 would be minimum for most if not all Malawi cichlids since with those, length is most important rather than volume. I think a 40b is ok for a breeding group of most vics and a 29 would be good for tangs like shellys and from what I’m told smaller julies. I know this is old, but people still browse the topics
 
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