Merging a tank community with one full of cichlids and am unsure what can and can't stay

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Sprinkle

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Acei are great, and they're one of the most mellow mbuna I've ever kept. As TwoTankAmin said, they're herbivores. I know people who have said they've kept mbuna with java fern, but the few times I tried the fern got ripped up into little green bits that clogged my filter intake. It pissed me off even worse because they never actually ate the fern. Like I said, I've never had anything actually eat java fern. In general, larger cichlids are hard on plants, either shredding them or uprooting them while the fish are rearranging the tank to their liking, and mbuna eat most plants and destroy anything not edible. BTW, I stand by my statement that cichlids have a secret Code of Honor that requires the destruction of plants. 😀
Apparentely vallisneria is mbuna proof, but I’m not so sure. I like the way you wrote your post :D
 

Snagrio

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i would give the loaches away as they get far too big even for a 125 gallon imo. I would give away the rainbows, the rainbow shark and those UDC as well as the danio where they need a group of 6 or more. However I am mixed on the pleco. What gender is this one and the other one?
After all the work I've done to provide the fish that effectively kickstarted this project with a bigger, better home that's over double the size of their current one, easily making this my most ambitious aquarium yet, all the work it took me and my folks to disassemble it and bring it home (it was a 4 hour's drive round trip) and set it back up again and it ended up STILL not being enough? That's, very disheartening to hear...

Also why is seemingly everybody telling me to rehome nearly all my original fish? The entire point of this upgrade was for them. I know many of them need more of their kind, which was half the reason along with the clown loaches being too big that I got a bigger system, to be able to more comfortably provide them with more companions. There used to be more rainbows and danios that have since passed away and I didn't get more because the tank was getting cramped due to the clowns (the UDCs however have always only been two, didn't research them properly when I got them).

Acei are great, and they're one of the most mellow mbuna I've ever kept. As TwoTankAmin said, they're herbivores. I know people who have said they've kept mbuna with java fern, but the few times I tried the fern got ripped up into little green bits that clogged my filter intake. It pissed me off even worse because they never actually ate the fern. Like I said, I've never had anything actually eat java fern. In general, larger cichlids are hard on plants, either shredding them or uprooting them while the fish are rearranging the tank to their liking, and mbuna eat most plants and destroy anything not edible. BTW, I stand by my statement that cichlids have a secret Code of Honor that requires the destruction of plants. 😀

There are a lot of smaller cichlids that you could keep, but they are mostly small to medium sized fish that live near the substrate. They will be constantly stressed with a school of large clown loaches swimming around all the time so you can rule them out. If you're looking to keep any cichlids, your options really are limited. I could probably come up with some mid to upper level dwelling cichlids that won't destroy plants and will be large enough to avoid being eaten if you want, but I'll have to think about it a bit. It sounds to me that cichlids just aren't a plan for the tank at all, though, which as a sworn cichlidophile is a disturbing, alien concept. 🤣😆🤣

Never been much of a loach person. The only loach I've ever kept consistently are zebra loaches. I had a couple of clown loaches for a few months years ago, they were rescues that I kept until I rehomed them with a friend who was getting a bigger home and bigger tank. Since the loaches are your centerpiece fish, than you can decide of a schooling species or two for the upper regions and you'll be set. I like giant danios, but with all the rainbow and larger attractive barb species available today I guess they are kind of bland.

WYite
I repeat that the cichlids were an unexpected wrench in the machine. The project was meant to be a clean transition for everybody from one tank to the next but I was having no luck finding a good deal on a larger tank until the one I got.

That and, frankly, my history with cichlids in general has been horrendous. First was a random red zebra that was the sole other fish with the original clown loach in the old 30 gallon (eventually got rehomed) plus I've tried angelfish and rams in the past at different times and neither scenarios lasted long due to my mediocre care and knowledge on the hobby at large back then.
 

Wyomingite

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Sprinkle, Like any other plant, vallisneria is only mbuna proof if it's plastic, IME. I've kept 70 or 80 species of mbuna, maybe more, over the last 37 years. I've always had good stands of val in other tanks that I could harvest and try in Rift Valley tanks, time and time again. Time and time again it failed. They did eat the val rather than just shredding it like Java fern, though. Plants and mbuna have never worked out for me. Peacocks (sometimes) and some Malawi haps will leave val alone, but it is really hit and miss and by genus or even species. A lot of the Tanganyikan rock and shell dwellers do well with val and other hardy plants such as Java fern and anubias, as do mid column dwellers such as Cyprichromis, Paracyprichromis, Opthalmotilapia and Cyathopharynx. Victorian rock dwelling and bottom-dwelling cichlids from genera such as Neochromis, Astatotilapia, Pundamilia, Xystochromis, Ptyochromis, Paralabidochromis, etc. don't do well with plants IME, but my experiene is limited to a handful of species of each genera and I won't make a total broad statement about these. Some of the predatory Victorians such as Pyxichromis love to hide in stands of val and it helps provide cover for females and subdominant males. This is a good summary of my experiences with Rift Valley cichlids and plants.

Don't forget that there may be plants out there that are tough enough, but that can't handle the hardness and high pH of a Rift Valley cichlid tank.

I will stand by my statement that mbuna and plants cannot be kept together in an aquarium for any length of time without the plants being destroyed. I've never met a plant that a mbuna didn't eat. 😀

Anyways, my apologies, Snagrio, I really got off-topic. I just brought up about the acei and plants because you mentioned you really liked the acei. I'll be interested to see where you go with your choices with this tank, Snagrio.

WYite
 
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fishorama

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Back to clown loaches & plants...I kept 6 5-7 inchers in a 4ft tank with plants. I fed them romaine & zucchini 2-3 times a week...but if I didn't, they made U shaped holes in swords or crypts leaves. They didn't eat them, but let me know they wanted the "good veggies" ASAP. Before they learned that cute trick, I had put a bit of wafer or pellet into a slit in the squash a few times to get them the idea that it was food. The CLs never bothered the rotala indicus or java ferns, but they were spoiled for better food choices.

I had to rehome them before I moved last time (sniff). The ~11 year old little clown pleco too. They never bothered him but I had lots of rocks & wood. I only saw him in the middle of the night, we were insomniac friends, lol.
 

NoahLikesFish

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I’d return the mbuna keep severum and get festivums and/or rare angelfish then a nice school of corydoryas and big hearty tetras
 

Snagrio

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At this point I've resolved to homing all the cichlids, and as a last resort I'll take them over to Aquarium Adventure but if possible I'd like to see if I can sell them through Craigslist or the like to get a return on investment before I begin redoing the 125 gallon, but I'd like opinions as to what their value would be as a group (as a reminder, 2 red devils, 2 green terrors, 2 blood parrots, 2 yellow tail aceis and 1 severum, all sub-adult/adults except for one acei).

Also have come to the decision that the clown loaches aren't going to work out either. Not only will they still get too large but they'll likely disrupt any attempts I make at trying live plantings even with "substrateless" species. So the same question as above as to how much they'd go for (they're all adults to sub adults, ranging from 4" to over 6").
 

Wyomingite

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I can't speak to the loaches. Not much of a loach guy. I can give you some guidance on the cichlids, however.

You don't have anything too exotic, so don't expect too much. The red devils and parrots are a dime a dozen and also mean, nasty tempered fish. Red devils are tank busters to boot. I'd advertise at $10.00 or best offer each. Take $5.00 without even haggling. Regardless, your best bet is to take what is offered and get rid of them to the first person that shows any interest, even if you have to give them away. Don't get too stubborn with your haggling.

Green terrors are a bit better and if they're on the larger side you may get $10.00 each. Do you know the sexes? A male and female might get you $30.00 even if they aren't a proven breeding pair. Sexing would also be helpful, because a hobbyist may be looking for one sex or the other to pair up with a fish they already have. If you know the sexes I'd advertise $15.00 each. If you have pics I could probably help with that. Otherwise, I'd advertise $10.00 each and settle for $5.00. I'm assuming that these are just regular garden-variety green terrors and not one of the other Andinoacara species.

The severum is an interesting case. There are so many related species from the genus Heros in the hobby that use "severum" in the name. If you do happen to know which species of "severum" you may be able to ask $25.00 to $30.00. If you don't know specifically which Heros species you have, expect $5.00 to $15.00, with $5.00 if it's on the smaller size and maybe $15.00 if it's on the larger size of the range you mentioned.

The acei are probably worth a solid $5.00 if they're on the 4" side. I'd advertise for $10.00 if they were closer to 6".

Like is said, I'd definitely take the first offer that came my way on the parrots and red devils. The rest really depend on how quickly you want to get rid of them. If you hold out you could probably find some one that will pay your asking price, but it might take some time to find that person.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

WYite
 
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