Aggressive Tomato haps (Species 35)

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

nateyj90

AC Members
Feb 13, 2020
24
7
3
20
Everett, WA
So I've had 4 Tomato haps for about 3 and a half months now. 1 male and 3 females. They are in a 40 gallon breeder and have been doing well. Water parameters are fine: 7.6PH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, about 20 nitrate. (API master test kit) Temperature is 76-78f. Seachem Prime is the water conditioner I use. I use well water. I feed them a pinch full of Aqueon Cichlid mini pellets twice per day and give them a pinch of Seachem Chlorella flakes every 3 days or so. I also give them a pinch of frozen beef heart about once a week.

Lately, they've all become fairly aggressive with each other. The male is almost constantly chasing a female and it doesn't seem like he is trying to mate, but I could be wrong. All 3 of the females have spawned once before but I only stripped one of them of eggs and ended up with 8 fry that are in a separate 29 gallon. The females have also started to get aggressive with each other.

I'm guessing that the cause of aggression is from the tank being under stocked, there is a good amount of hiding spots but I can tell that the smallest female is getting stressed. It looks like she is the one who gets chased the most. None of the fish have damaged fins yet and I don't see any lacerations on their mouths.

My question is: What are some good tank mates for these guys? I'm thinking that I should add 3, maybe 4 more cichlids to the tank. My only problem is that I can't really find any Tomato haps for sale in stores and I'm not willing to buy online because there may be a big size difference. It's also been hard for me to find any good info for these guys online, they seem to be somewhat uncommon. What are some other species that they can be kept with? I'm really worried that one of them is going to get too stressed and end up dying. Added a picture for size reference.Screenshot_20210119-191354_Video Player.jpg
 

Wyomingite

Fish Wrangler
Oct 16, 2008
567
324
72
52
Wonderful Windy Wyoming
Real Name
Ivan
These are one of my favorite Vics. Males are as beautiful as any Rift Valley cichlid when in full breeding dress.

Based on your description, I'm guessing they were relatively small when you got them? One thing I've found with almost all Vics that I've kept is that their aggression increases a lot as they grow, whereas mbuna will maintain a steady level of aggression throughout their growth. A hyper-aggressive mbuna species will be hyper-aggressive when young and just as aggressive when it's older. With the Victorians I've kept they are mellow when they are small and their aggression grows with their size. These aren't the most aggressive fish I've kept, but they can hold their own.

Your biggest problem is going to be tank size. I had three males and ten females in a 55 gallon to start, and then moved them to a 90 with a group of Paralabidochromis chromogynos. That said, you'll want to stay away from anything with gray or brown non-descript females to prevent hybridization. Due to the size of the tank, you'll also want to avoid the larger mbuna and rock-dwelling vickies.

With your setup, I'd look at a mid-sized fish with medium to high aggression. I'd also look to add five or six. This may require you add filtration, but it will be worth it in the long run. I'd stay away from red and yellow fish completely. A blue fish will make a nice compliment and reduce the risk of hybridization. I'd try cobalt blue zebras (Metriaclima callainos) or powder blue or socolofi cichlids (Chindongo socolofi). The cobalt blues are more compatible from an aggression and size standpoint, but are larger and you don't have a lot of room to work with. The socolofi are smaller and more mellow for the space you have, but the tomatos may totally overwhelm them. The last species I'd consider, and overall maybe the best, is Labeotropheus fuelleborni. There are a variety of blue and OB morphs to choose from and it's intermediate between the two in aggression, but still similar in size to the cobalt zebras.

Whatever you do, avoid any Melanochromis species. These are probably the nastiest, most aggressive genera of fish from any of the lakes. I'd also avoid kenyi cichlids (Metriaclima lombardoi), which is another hyper-aggressive species. You could probably pull off the kenyi with the tomatos, but not in the size tank you have. If you have questions about other species feel free to ask, as there are probably a lot more that I'm not thinking of right off. If you want a really good on-line source for rift valley cichlids send me a private message and I'll let you know.

WYite
 

nateyj90

AC Members
Feb 13, 2020
24
7
3
20
Everett, WA
Thank you very much for your response. I'll start researching the species that you have listed. I'll shoot you a private message when I've decided what to go with and if I have anymore questions.
 

FishAddict74

AC Members
Dec 8, 2020
363
217
46
46
So I've had 4 Tomato haps for about 3 and a half months now. 1 male and 3 females. They are in a 40 gallon breeder and have been doing well. Water parameters are fine: 7.6PH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, about 20 nitrate. (API master test kit) Temperature is 76-78f. Seachem Prime is the water conditioner I use. I use well water. I feed them a pinch full of Aqueon Cichlid mini pellets twice per day and give them a pinch of Seachem Chlorella flakes every 3 days or so. I also give them a pinch of frozen beef heart about once a week.

Lately, they've all become fairly aggressive with each other. The male is almost constantly chasing a female and it doesn't seem like he is trying to mate, but I could be wrong. All 3 of the females have spawned once before but I only stripped one of them of eggs and ended up with 8 fry that are in a separate 29 gallon. The females have also started to get aggressive with each other.

I'm guessing that the cause of aggression is from the tank being under stocked, there is a good amount of hiding spots but I can tell that the smallest female is getting stressed. It looks like she is the one who gets chased the most. None of the fish have damaged fins yet and I don't see any lacerations on their mouths.

My question is: What are some good tank mates for these guys? I'm thinking that I should add 3, maybe 4 more cichlids to the tank. My only problem is that I can't really find any Tomato haps for sale in stores and I'm not willing to buy online because there may be a big size difference. It's also been hard for me to find any good info for these guys online, they seem to be somewhat uncommon. What are some other species that they can be kept with? I'm really worried that one of them is going to get too stressed and end up dying. Added a picture for size reference.View attachment 228850
I had a breeding group of Xmas fulu, Xystichromis phytophagus, 3 females and one male, and they did exactly what you’re describing. He bred with all three within a week of getting them, but after I removed the fry and put them all back together, the male was showing spawning behavior but the females weren’t interested and he began chasing them constantly, I added lots of large rocks, almost like a reef tank and the females were able to stay out of his sight most of the time. I’m not an expert, but from my experience, you’re choices are to add a lot more scape or a lot more fish, probably less aggressive mbuna like WYite said. I’ve had multiple Vic species together before and they seem to be very aggressive towards other vics. I’ve also kept vics with mbuna and peacocks and that seemed to work much better., but I also had 32 fish in a 75, so the aggression was spread out. Here’s a vid of one I had, I had several vics in this tank, but I had to remove most eventually because they were starting to single each other out. Hope this helps, good luck!!
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store