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Katie1998

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Hey all, this is my first post here. Sorry ahead of time if it's a lot at once :eek: I'm thinking of setting up a 75 gallon with an assortment of peacock cichlids and wanted some help setting it up! It'd be a standard 75 gallon tank, and for filtration I'm going to build a sump and refugium so I can customize the filtration process; sump is going to be a 20 gallon tank for a total of like 85 or so gallons of water with about 600-700 gph flow. First of all, if the fish will get to be about 4-5" max size, how many of them should I stock? What kind of decor? Any plants, live or plastic? I know rocks and caves, but wood? (Yeah, I know about high pH for the fish and tannins from the wood, but I'm not that worried about it) And tankmates? I'm thinking mainly a bottom-feeder or a few, like a loach or catfish. I'd get them more for the fish themselves than the sake of a scavenger/bottom-feeder, anyway. What about rainbow sharks? Like two or three of them since it's a bigger tank? Or synodontis catfish? Or pictus cats (and how many?) A pleco? It's going to have a sandy substrate and so I was thinking something that likes sand and might burrow through it, and loaches look pretty neat, but I've never had one before and know little about them. Whatever it is, I'd like to see it some of the time, but it doesn't have to be often, so a mostly nocturnal or a shy fish wouldn't matter. I want fish that are going to get along and hopefully not eat each other, but also know that it's going to be at least a semi-aggressive tank.
 
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tanker

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I do not have much experiences with Peacocks, but I would not have other fishes in with them. Synodontis cats would be OK, but I would not keep loaches and other fishes with them. Do you want cats, or looking to get scavenger? IMO, the Peacocks would not have any left over food for them. I alos would not keep plants with Peacocks, They will probably up-root them.
 

Tifftastic

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First of all, if the fish will get to be about 4-5" max size, how many of them should I stock?
Cichlids are a bit of a pain and you either need to overstock or understock to suppress aggression. If overstocking you'll need to judiciously monitor your nitrates. I would suggest having about 12-15 individuals at minimum. You'll want to add them three at a time and aim for a male to female ratio of 1:3 at the lowest, preferably 1:5. This may result in needing to trade some out as they grow as you won't be able to ID to sex as juveniles.

What kind of decor? Any plants, live or plastic? I know rocks and caves, but wood?
I wouldn't do any live plants as they'll just get shredded. Plastic plants will be picked up and moved. I would just stick with rocks and caves, PVC pipes and flower pots are also an option. You can paint them with a thin cement to make them look more natural or silicone smaller rocks onto them. The more caves the better.

And tankmates? I'm thinking mainly a bottom-feeder or a few, like a loach or catfish. I'd get them more for the fish themselves than the sake of a scavenger/bottom-feeder, anyway. What about rainbow sharks? Like two or three of them since it's a bigger tank? Or synodontis catfish? Or pictus cats (and how many?) A pleco?
As far as tankmates you typically want to stick with cichlids. Clown loaches may be ok, but you need to get big ones and that can be pricey. They don't grow as fast as the cichlids and you'll want them roughly the same size, so you'll need to buy them big and they're schooling fish so you'll need a minimum of 3, preferably 6. This will also lower the number of cichlids you can have, which will make managing aggression difficult. If you go with catfish I would recommend the synodontus genus, but do keep in mind that this will likely result in decreased breeding of the cichlids. Which will either be good or bad depending on your goals. I would recommend against rainbow sharks for a couple of reasons: 1) they will either be nippy with the cichlids or the cichlids will be nippy/aggressive with them; 2) they're large and territorial so even though you have a lot of space they may still squabble with each other. They also don't like the same water parameters. Again if you go with a pleco it has to be big and that's going to give you a lot of nitrates. With African cichlids its usually best to just have a species tank.

I want fish that are going to get along and hopefully not eat each other, but also know that it's going to be at least a semi-aggressive tank
Its going to be an aggressive tank. Just keeping the peacocks from killing each other is going to be work. It can be done, but once they hit a certain age, it can be nearly impossible when they get in a mood.
 

myswtsins

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Yeah, I agree with pretty much all that has been said. Overstock, over filter, manage nitrates, stick with cichlids but syno cats can work and avoid plants. Adding pothos with just it's root in the water can be a big help with nitrates, may need to protect roots though. Are you planning a mixed sex tank or just males? I'd up your sump size if possible.
 

Katie1998

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Whoops! I should have specified at the beginning. I don't know for one hundred percent sure if it will be an all male tank or mixed sex, but I'm leaning toward all male. What would be the advantages and disadvantages if I chose one over the other? I'm not looking to breed, though it would be pretty cool....but I won't have any other tank to grow them out or separate them, and am worried about increased aggression and fighting if they do breed.
 

myswtsins

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All male tanks can be a lot of juggling to find the right combo. Removing aggressive males for time outs or all together, adding new guys (always in a group) etc. You get a lot of color patterns with this but sub-dominant males will be much less colored, looking almost female at times. No breeding aggression. Also no awesome breeding behavior though.

Mixed sex tanks can require juggling too but usually not as much. You need to stock proper ratios which requires buying a LOT of fish, growing them out and sexing them to get a ratio of 1 male to at least 3 females but more is better. Females tend to not be as colorful but for the most part they are still way more colorful than other species. I find mouth brooders to be completely fascinating!

Either way you will want at least 1 extra tank, if not 5. You need a quarantine tank for sure, that can hopefully double as a hospital tank because there will be injuries and some may need isolation to recover. You can use a sponge filter and bucket or tote as a time out "tank" but I don't recommend that for QT as you need be doing through visual inspections. You may have fish coming and going at the same times which would require at least 2 extra tanks.

My recommendation for the easiest tank is always a group of yellow labs 1:5 (m:f), acei 1:5, rusties 1:5 and a group of synocats (they will add entertainment and eat babies). All of those are the most peaceful of the bunch, the labs and acei are a great color combo with good looking females (the rusty male gets purpleish but the females are just brown but they are as chill as they come), you get experience breeding but if you don't remove the moms/fry they won't overcrowd you and it's way less juggling than other setups.

African cichlids can be challenging and a lot of work but extremely rewarding. Be prepared, this is not a tropical community tank.
 
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