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55 cichlid stocking chat


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hi everybody. i consider myself a medium experienced fishkeepr and a novice to cichlids. I have a 55 gallon tank that was dormant for years. I'm cycling it and found Cory's videos. Now I'm gonna give the forum here a try b/c i want to talk fish all day every day ....

Planning to go african cichlid. wife and kids want active, colorful. I've heard 3 colony 6-9 each. Can i get away with 4 colonies of 6 fish each? 

What say you about male/female ratio?  I hear everyone say 2 male/4 female per species.  Does that mean that everyone conceded that 4 of thei 6 fish won't have much color? Or is that more a peacock concern? is it worth going all male to try to get brightest most active fish? 

any suggestions for species mixes behind the well tried: yellow labs, red zebra, purple acei

thanks all! 


Edited by kcsquare
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Mostly it's just the peacocks where the females don't have color. You can do the mix of 4 species, but you may not need too, things like a pseudotropheus saulosi have blue males and yellow females so you get 2 colors right there.  I think some of the fun for the african tank is getting babies going, the fewer the species,t he easier that is to do naturally without having to pull babies. 

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Gotcha, thanks! 3 colonies of 6 each will leave more room for babies if/when they come. 
Can I get away with 3 male/3 female per type? Or is there no reason not to always just go with 2 male/4 female. 

I always hear you say: yellow lab, red (or cherry) zebra, demsoni, purple acei ... anything else on the outskirts I can keep  my eye out for or that could/should work? 

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Yellow labs and Red Zebras are OK to do 2 males and 4 females, but Demsoni are more like 1 male and 5-7 females and Purple Acei also less males (like 1:3).

I'd skip the Demsoni and Yellow labs and go with Saulosi (vibrant blue and white stripes for males, deep yellows to orange for females) along with some red zebras and purple acei. If you really want a 4th type/color, another Pseudotropheus like Socolofi, they are either called powder blues (regular) or snow whites (albino), makes a good option. 

That combination can also produce blueberry OB's or orange spot OB's depending on which of them cross breed.

Here's my 75 with Pseudotropheus Saulosi, Acei, Socolofi (white) and some of the OB's.


What ever mbuna you pick, definitely an active and colorful tank.

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