New to the site with cichlids

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Coral McKraken

Registered Member
Original poster
Nov 15, 2018
Hi My name is actually Carol with a Mc Irish last name, but I though Coral McKracken would be a fun name. I don't know why...but I started a fish tank almost a year ago, and man did I fall in love with aquariums! I started with fresh water mollies and a ten gallon tank. I find them very relaxing and cleaning the tanks are very therapeutic for me. Notice I said tanks...The ten gallon I gave to my daughter with a six of the fry. In the last nine months I've grown, I now have a 36, 46, 55 and 130 gallon tank. The 46 gallon have fresh water fish guppies, mollies, black skirts, platies, kissing gourami's, tetras, sword tail, and bala sharks. Each fresh water tank has two pleco's that have grown, one in the 46 is at least 8 inches and the other is 4 inches, the two in the 36 are six inches and 3 inches. The 36 have only female mollies (as I've learned a lesson, I've taken at least 500 fry mollies to the aquarium center for re homing) The 55 and the 130 have my new addiction....African cichlids. Now I must say I've done quite a bit of research on cichlid water parameters and I am enjoying the ability to keep the parameters at the perfect numbers. I've learned how to buffer and raise ph, carbonate, and hardiness with Epsom salt , baking soda and marine buffer, which I learned I could have done without the marine buffer. The hardier the hardiness of the water and the higher the carbonate the easier it is to keep the ph stable, and now that I have learned and keep those parameters the cichlids colors are vibrant, and they seem really happy. Although I am truly struggling with the hardiness. The numbers are half way where they should be. And I'm finding it difficult to raise it higher. But the colors of the fish again are now vibrant. So maybe i'm ok although I know the hardiness needs to be higher, because the ph will slowly and I mean very slowly get lower. That was the research on the water parameters. I recently bought the 130 and the man I bought it from advised me that a few of my cichlids will become quite aggressive, although when I researched, I didn't see they would be aggressive. He told me my ob parrots, parrots and acara, if I left them in the tank...would be a blood bath. All of my cichlids are very young and get along quite well, with the exception of the two parrots, although they are not viscous, they chase each other , the others seem quite content. in the 55 I have 2 blood parrots, two labs 2 electric yellow, 2 demasoni, 2 ob peacocks,2 snow white, 2 Lawanda peacock, 2 electric blue johanni, 2 zebra cobalt blue, and 2 Iwanda peacocks. I over stocked it as this is what I read to do to keep the aggressiveness down. Although I wonder will they grow to their potential? and I wonder about buying my daughter a 55 and giving her my fresh water fish so I can separate the cichlids in the 130 I have
Copadichromis trewavasae Lupingu: Males-Black body w/blue upper body Females-3 spots on body

Aulonocara Blue neon- Male: yellow body w/ blue face Females- tan to brown bodies

Lethrinops red cap itungi: Males: yellowish body w/ red head females- light tanish body
the 55 so they can grow to potential. They are 3 years old. You can tell who is the alpha male as he thoroughly holds one end of the tank , the rest stay on their end. they try to come to his area, although all he has to do is swim towards them and get back to their end of the tank.

So i'm keeping the 46 gallon, can I put the parrots , acara and the mubua (blue horizonal stripes) in the same 46 gallon tank until I can afford a bigger tank? Can I put the two electric yellow in with the above listed copadichromis trewavasae and ect? so if I separate the 3 above listed aggressive together and the yellows in the 130 to brighten it up? Then everyone has enough room to grow. Is everyone good? Plus additionally the bala shark have grown quite large...I'm unsure what to do with them. Any suggestions would be helpful. I've outgrown myself!

Thanks for any help


Global Moderator
Staff member
Jan 11, 2013
West Falls NY
Real Name
Carol, welcome! You've got a lot going on there.. My head hurts. :)

Why the stress over pH, hardness, etc? If these are captive bread fish, they'll adapt to the parameters of the tap water you have, or were adapted already when you bought them locally. It's just a LOT easier to keep your tank water the same as your tap.

To me, the more important thing is weekly water changes and keeping your nitrates as low as possible. Sorry if I missed it, but do you have a liquid test kit for measuring ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in PPM?

I get it that for some super special fish or breeding projects, you have to get the parameters to a specific level.

In regards to the cichlid keeping, it's all about ratios, space, decor, etc.. and experimentation to keep a happy tank.


Aug 4, 2011
Phoenix, AZ
And speaking about ratios and space, those bala sharks are going to be much too big for a 10, 36, or 46. I don't know that I'd want to keep them in a 75.

Also, plecos? Know what kind? Commons, and some others, can get to be well over a foot in length at full adult size, and shouldn't be kept in a tank as small as a 55, either.

And female mollies can apparently store sperm for a surprising amount of time, so you may still get some surprise litters.