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Related FAQs: Cichlid Systems, Cichlids in General, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical CichlidsOscars, Oscar Compatibility, Flowerhorns Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction,

" Lamprologus" multifasciatus... some Africans aren't quite as mean as others...

Rescued cichlids... Please help; hlth., comp. issues/questions     4/15/17
Hello Crew,
I rescued a bunch of fish from somebody who was letting them die in 29 gallon long tank, severely over stocked tank because he no longer wanted to care for them.
I'm dealing with fin rot, fungus, Ich, and pop eye,

Most of the fish had clamped fins, All of the fish were crashed on bottom of tank, none of them tried to swim away when I netted and bagged them... I brought home four yellow labs, jewel cichlid, two green Severums, 9 angels, 3 large blood parrots, female kenyi, rainbow shark, iridescent shark and a monster Pleco. All crammed into 29 gallon with filter and heater not working. There was several dead fish in the tank. When I got home I tested water and was horrified to see 8.0 ammonia, 5.0 nitrite and 160 nitrate.
How on earth did they survive with water that bad? I'm surprised anything would be alive.
I juggled my fish around to get 2 quarantine/hospital tanks 40g and 29g.
Now my other tanks are over stocked but I had to have room for rescued fish to have tanks! sigh. I put angels and iridescent shark (he is small, 3 inches) in 29 g tall and rest of fish in my 40g. Sadly a lot of the fish passed, some within hours of being placed into clean water. The fish I'm still determined to save and are fighting to live is...The jewel cichlid he is in worst shape, he has horrible pop eye, his eyes are so cloudy. He had Ich and I'm still treating for fungus. Poor guy.
Three angels with sever fin rot, 1 quarter size Koi has no tail fin, only tiny dorsal and anal fin, About 80% of her fins are gone. another angel her ventral fins are pointed upward on sides of her body. (The ventral fins touch her dorsal fin) What caused the ventral fins to do this?
<"Poor water quality' mostly>
Will they ever be normal?
<IF the fins aren't burnt too far to the body; they may regenerate>
3rd angel is not so bad. She is missing an eye and about 30% of fins are gone. The angel without an eye will be able to be moved into my 180 angelfish tank without other angels picking on her?
All 3 angels will go into my big 180 gallon. Angels are improving! The angel with no tail is starting to get her tail fin. Yay! I read that angels should not be kept with more aggressive cichlids. Maybe the angel lost her eye to one of the other cichlids?
<Likely so>
Not sure how any survived with the jewel, labs, or kenyi cichlid...
Green Severum had big time fungus, seems to be gone. Two yellow labs survived Ich and fungus, The Pleco has grey looking faded areas no him, not
sure what's going on, maybe fungus?
<Deterioration period>
I lost two yellow labs, one green Severum, six angels, three blood parrots, kenyi, rainbow shark and iridescent shark. I tried so hard to save them.
My question is, the jewel cichlid showed improvement few days ago but the I caught him rubbing his eyes against the sand, since then his eyes are terrible like pop eyes and grey fog on them, his Ich is gone but still has fungus near the eyes and I'm treating the fungus and pop eye. I'm using API fungus cure, it also treats eye cloud. What else can I do?
<Just be patient at this point; provide good care>
I have salt in the tank, temp on 83 to kill the Ich, Afraid to turn temp down, Don't want Ich to come back. I have had him almost a week and if I cant figure out what else to do, He might be blind?
He swims around now and is defiantly the BOSS, He can still see because he chases the labs and Severum when they get within 18 inches from his cave...lol He is a feisty one! I tested water in both hospital tanks, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0.
How long would you suggest I keep the rescued fish in quarantine/hospital tanks after all signs of illness is gone?
<After... no time further>
I don't want to infect any of my tanks and god forbid I get my 180g tank sick. That would be a nightmare!
Last question, I never had cichlids other than angels and rams. The guy gave me the 29g long that all the fish lived in. I cleaned it and it is cycling. Once it is cycled will the jewel cichlid, 2 yellow labs and green Severum be able to live together in it or will I need to upgrade them at some point?
<Will need to upgrade. Severums need much more space. See WWM Re>
Are they compatible?
<Not really; no. The Labidochromis should be apart entirely>
The jewel is 5", labs 3" and 4" and Severum 4". So far the fish have gotten along. The jewel swims around and bothers nobody, He will dart out of his cave if the others get to close , Once he chases them away he returns to
the cave.
Can the Severum live with angels in my 180g?
<Possibly for long term... yes>
I have 2 blood parrots, 2 Bala sharks, Pleco, 4 angels, 4 Bolivarian rams , black ghost knife and the 3 rescued angels will be going in there. I read some Severums work out with angelfish.
Any advice would be appreciated and helpful.
Thank you!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Rescued cichlids... Please help       4/17/17

Hi Bob, Thanks for the reply! I have noticed since the labs feel better they pester the jewel and Severum badly. They chase, they lunge, they nip. To the point that the jewel now chases them frantically. He kind of chases the Severum occasionally, maybe out of frustration? I have 10 g hospital tank, a male Betta lives in it when not in use. I was wondering if I moved the Betta to daughter's tank with platies, Neons, and cories, (this is where he lives when a small fish needs the hospital tank)
<Should work to place the Betta; unless the Neons are very small>
Could place the two labs in there till I can get a pet store to take them?
<No... the Labidochromis are not compatible here>
Or is 10 g to small for just a few days? I don't want to stress them out! I hate to do that but they are kind of bullies. The 29 gallon long would be ok for the jewel?
<... yes>
If so, Do u think I could get him a buddy or should I leave him by myself?
<... alone for now>
If I can get him a friend, Can you suggest one? I'm going to try the green Severum in my 180g tank with my angels. I just seen the jewels eyes look a lot better, his eyes are pretty much clear but the one eye has a white spot near his pupil, Could that be because the day after I got him he was going nuts scratching his eyes in the sand? The skin around eyes and his black spot still are somewhat a grayish color, Is it fungus? He is turquoise jewel (I think) and his color is very drab. He looks olive green and his turquoise spots are dull looking. I just tested water, ammonia 0, nitrite
0, nitrate 0
The tail less angel who's tail rotted away all the way to her body, Is regrowing her tail fin. Her tail will never regrow fully?
<Already answered>
Is there anything I can do other than keeping her tank water clean to help her tail grow out a little quicker? I put some salt in the water. She has very little dorsal and anal fins as well.
<See Neale's piece on WWM re freshwater salt uses>
She looks pitiful but seems happy and swims all over and gets excited when somebody approaches the tank. I can add the three rescued angels to 180 gallon tank now? Or should I wait till fins start to grow out a little more?
<I'd likely move them. B>
The fin rot is gone. Thanks for your help Bob!

please help   6/20/11
Hello, I have a 55 gallon fresh water fish tank. It contains one Jack Dempsey, one African Cichlid,
<What sort? Some sort of Pseudotropheus zebra hybrid? Will be rather aggressive, and does need a much different (i.e., plant-based) diet compared to the largely carnivorous (e.g., insect larvae, crustaceans) preferred by Rocio octofasciata.>
and my pride and joy an electric blue Jack Dempsey. The electric is about three inches long where the other two fish are between 2-2.5 inches. I woke up this morning to find that front part of my electrics face had turned black and lost its shiny blue color??
What have I done wrong?
<Can't tell from your data, but could well be stress caused by behavioural problems. Two male Rocio *will not* cohabit in 55 gallons.>
These fish are prone to be very aggressive, but they have lived in harmony for over six months now.
<They're sexually mature now, and likely physically stronger, too.>
I have already tested the water today and all the levels came back normal.
<Meaning what? What is the hardness? The pH? The nitrite level? The nitrate level?>
I just do not want to cause any more harm to the my electric.
<Review aquarium conditions, review the needs of these two species, and act accordingly. This is very likely a social or environmental problem you've caused, so easily fixed by making the appropriate changes. Cheers, Neale.>

Piranha with cichlid   8/5/10
I have 120 gallon and a 55 gallon tank with 3 Cariba Piranhas.
<Pygocentrus cariba, a somewhat aggressive member of the genus. Do understand that while gregarious up to a point, this species is notoriously snappy, and I'm surprised your trio are getting along so well. Larger groups usually work better. As I'm sure you know, Pygocentrus tend to be more hierarchical when young, and full-grown adults can be fairly mellow, and the tricky part with a group is getting them there. Do also remember this species is partially herbivorous and adapt its diet accordingly; a common mistake people make with this species is to leave out a source of fresh greens, such as floating Indian Fern. As with all piranhas, don't use live feeder fish and avoid fish meats rich in thiaminase.>
I'm going to put the Caribas in 120 gal and wanted to try to put some cichlids in the tank with the Caribas.
<Not a chance.>
wanted to know if this is possible if so what cichlids can defend themselves against them.
<None. Cichlids, particularly their tail fins, are natural food for this species. Probably like you, I've come across tanks where there's a single Convict Cichlid bullying a bunch of Red-bellied Piranhas. But generally that doesn't work. A bullied Piranha is an unhappy Piranha; these are incredibly nervous animals that adapt poorly to home aquaria anyway, so anything you do to stress them shortens their lifespan. In really big public aquaria you do sometimes see them kept with livebearers; I've seen Piranhas mixed with Guppies and Ameca splendens for example. Here the livebearers operate as dither fish -- not really as live food -- encouraging the Piranhas to swim in the open more confidently. The problem is that in home aquaria the space for two species to coexist just isn't there, and half a dozen Guppies will end up eaten or worse, multiply so rapidly they become an unwanted nuisance. Bottom line, Pygocentrus cariba is best kept amongst its own kind. One last observation: this is an extremely dangerous species known to bite, so please do be careful. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Piranha with cichlid   8/5/10
Thanks. I guess I will put the cichlids in a separate tank.
<Good idea.>
My Caribas are strange I can keep Plecos and crayfish with them but I put a divider in my tank and put a Saber Tooth Tetra in it and one of the Caribas jumped the divider and chewed the Saber Tooth in half.
<Yikes! For what it's worth, Hydrolycus scomberoides has an abysmal track record in captivity. It certainly needs a huge aquarium with extremely strong water current and masses of oxygen to do even halfway well. It's
common for them to seem to thrive for six months or more, and then just keel over and die overnight.>
Oh and as them being dangerous I found that out the hard way about a year ago one of them took a dime size chunk out of the base of my thumb, after that I always use tongs.
<Indeed. The use of live foods tends to make fish more aggressive, but since you're using tongs, I assume you're feeding them thiaminase-free seafood and tilapia fillet.>
Thanks again
<No problem. Enjoy your fish! Cheers, Neale.>

Violet goby/cichlid combo (uh-oh?) 5/16/2010
<Hi Aymi. Melinda here today.>
I recently got a violet goby (sold as a dragon fish, I was told that it was freshwater and aggressive) for my 55 cichlid tank (Oscar, parrotfish, ahli, Pleco).
<This tank is going to be a difficult one in terms of maintenance. It is really quite overstocked, and you'll need to keep an eye on Nitrate levels, possibly doing as many as two or three water changes per week to keep Nitrate below 20, when these fish mature. If the Pleco is a "common" one, capable of reaching twelve to eighteen inches in length, then you probably won't be able to keep up. I'd go ahead and upsize to a 125 gallon aquarium if you want to enjoy this hobby with the fish you're currently keeping.
Otherwise, in order to keep your fish healthy, you're going to be doing constant maintenance to keep water quality up to par, and that just gets old after a while. Individuals who place themselves in this position don't
stay in the hobby for long. Oh, and yes, the Violet Goby is brackish.>
Only after I got home (I know, stupid mistake) did I read up on it and find out that it is a docile brackish scavenger. So far it seems to be doing okay, there are rocks, fake plants, and a few real ones for it to hide in and the other fish haven't been bothering it and it has started to venture out more from its hiding spots, especially early in the morning and late in the evening and he is eating at least some of the food I put in in the evenings.
<Just as many fish stores keep these fish in freshwater, and they last long enough to sell, your fish will tolerate non-optimal conditions for awhile. However, ultimately, the fish will not thrive in freshwater. Please read here on Violet Goby care:
htm, along with the linked files above the title of the article.>
Should I add salt to the tank?
<No. You should return the "odd man out" rather than cause discomfort to all of the other fish.>
How much would my other fish be able to tolerate?
<They won't enjoy or tolerate brackish conditions. This is what the goby requires, and what the other would not appreciate.>
Unfortunately, setting up a separate tank for the goby is not an option.
I'd like to keep it since it seems to be doing okay, but am concerned about its longevity.
<If you cannot set up another tank, I would return the fish. You are right to be concerned. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, you may want to research the other fish in the tank on WWM in terms of maximum size,
behavior, and system requirements, such as volume and filtration. I fear this tank will become too crowded, affecting water quality, which will affect the fishes' health. Please do write back if you have further questions after reading. >
<You're welcome.
Re: Violet goby/cichlid combo (uh-oh?) 5/17/2010

Melinda and all the other WWM volunteers,
<Hi Aymi!>
Thank you for the prompt reply and sound advice.
<You're welcome.>
I did not keep the goby, since it needs such different water conditions.
<You made the right decision for him.>
I'd like to get another one at some point, perhaps when my cichlids outgrow this tank I'll convert it to brackish.
<Sounds like a good plan. Do beware of MTS -- "Multiple Tank Syndrome" -- a condition which runs rampant among fishkeepers, and is characterized by the constant need of "just one more tank!">
It's a shame that so many beautiful fish are sold under false pretenses, I'm sorry that I contributed to this practice by not doing my homework first.
<You have, at least, discovered a fish in which you're really interested, but now have the time to properly prepare for keeping him. These guys are pretty popular in the trade, so I don't doubt there will be some available when you're ready. In the meantime, here are some links on brackish setups, etc. that you can peruse:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brackishsubwebindex/bracfishes.htm, along with those links at the top of the page. Setting up a brackish tank ensures that you're going to be keeping fish that a lot of non-aquarists and even
more casual fishkeepers have never even seen, so it's great for the "wow" factor, and something different for you to do. In any case, I am glad I could be of help.>
Thank you again,
<You're welcome.

Hello... Crays and Cichlids comp.  -- 11/16/2009
Hello how you doing? Once again want to thank you for all the great advice. I have another question I have a blue fresh water lobster do you think it is all right to put it in my 75 gallon cichlid tank? Thank you
ahead of time
<I wouldn't. I tried this once before with a crab in a Central American cichlid system, and all was well until the crab moulted, and then it was torn apart. Conversely, while crayfish are herbivores in nature, in an
aquarium they will not overlook easy prey. So while they rarely catch healthy fish, any fish having a bad day could end up as someone's dinner.
Crayfish generally are best kept on their own, in their own quarters.
Cheers, Neale.>

Terrible man buys Jack Dempsey for community tank
Mixing Old World and New World Cichlids 9/30/09

Hi, all, it's been a while since I had a question to which your wonderful site didn't already have the answer. Well, I have one for you (sorry for the long post!!). I've recently decided to transition my boring 150 gal (72"x18"x28") generic community tank to a cichlid tank. I generalized 'cichlid tank', because my original intention was to keep Africans (Mbuna, haps, and maybe some peacocks). To this end I bought three 2" yellow Labs, three 2" cobalt blue zebras (Metriaclima callainos) a 3.5" 'breeding pair' of red zebras (Metriaclima estherae var. "Red"), and a 1.5' unidentified juv. Haplochromis of some type (my daughter fell in love with it) and QT'd them for a month. They are now in the 150 with 9 sword-tails, 6 stunted silver dollars (1.5 yr old and only 2-3"), 4 Lg hatchet fish, 4 LG bleeding heart tetras (easily 2-2.5"), 5 serpae tetras, 5 Lg diamond tetras, one 3' run-of-the-mill Pleco (we've had really bad luck with
Plecos--lost 4 in a row during QT), two 1' Corydoras cats (spp?), one 4.5' Synodontis eupterus, one fat 3.5' Synodontis nigriventris, and a 3 yr old (in our tank) Boesemanni rainbow that seemed to go blind about 4 months after we got him (eyes clouded over but no fungus or anything and still manages to eat/survive). We intended to stick to more community-oriented Africans....but then I fell in love with a Firemouth pair (approximately 3 1/2") and a jack Dempsey (approximately 4 1/2"). They are currently in a 29 gal (30 1/4" x 12 1/2" x 18 3/4") quarantine tank with a little 2 1/2" Synodontis decorus and a bunch of snails (1 Apple, 2 Japanese trapdoor, and 7-8 small Nerites of some type for my 5 yr old son). They've been in QT for 10 days now and show no signs of illness/disease. I am, however, surprised by the lack of aggression from the JD. He is very content to hang out in his small section of the QT and is occasionally bullied by the male
Firemouth. The firemouths aren't bonded/mated (I separated the female from her mate because he wasn't as nice looking as the other male) and the male also harasses the female'¦who also harasses the JD. I've kept all of these animals before, except the JD, and I've never seen such aggression from firemouths (unless defending eggs) or heard of such a docile JD. Water quality is good in the QT (0 NH4, 0 NO2, 0 NO3, 7.8 pH, 17dH, 80 deg F--same as 150 gal.) and there are plenty of caves/hides for all parties. My questions are:
1) Should I interpret the JD behavior as his/her general temperament? '¦artifact of compressed environment?
< If it is a male (Less blue on the face and more on the body), then it may get more territorial as it gets older. A female may not be as bad.>
2) Should I be concerned about the Firemouth's aggressiveness?
< This may be a male Firemouth that will set up a territory and chase all other fish away. Those that cannot get away may be killed if they don't fight back.>
3) I know that at some point we'll need to clear out the sword tails and tetras but will the eventual size of the JD cause too much of a disparity w/ the Africans? '¦the firemouths?
< African cichlids generally don't get along well with New World cichlids. The faster Africans are heavily scaled and have lots of sharp teeth to damage other fish. The larger JD will not be able to compete with the faster meaner Africans. This may not lead to death, but will lead to damaged unattractive fish that may become ill.>
4) I've been feeding the QT group cichlid flakes, cichlid pellets, and carnivore pellets, as well as supplemental algae for the snails. I've only noticed the S. decorus eat when we fed the tank some blood worms'¦but he seems to be healthy'¦very reclusive/difficult to observe'¦should I be concerned?
<Bloodworms are not my favorite cichlid food. they can pick up toxins from the soil they ate found in and pass them on to the fish. I recommend using high quality pelleted foods.>
5) Is the *possible* future pairing of the firemouths likely to cause problems in the main tank?
< Pairs of cichlids can be a problem in a community fish tank. Initially they will guard the eggs and then the wriggling fry. But as the fry start to become free swimming the territory will become larger and may take over a very large area of the tank and damage the other tankmates.>
Thank you for your time and valuable (to me and many) advice!
< No problem-Chuck>

Adding Smaller Fish  5/21/09
Adding New Cichlids To An Established Malawi Cichlid Tank
Hi there, I have eight African cichlids (Lake Malawi) in a 75 gallon with adequate filtration. These cichlids, in particular the males, are close to max size. My question is this, can I add smaller, younger Africans (one inch) to this batch? If so how may would you recommend at once and what precautions should be taken, if any? Regards, Craig
< Much of your success will depend on the species you have and which species you are trying to introduce. Many of the more common cichlid species from Lake Malawi are the mbuna types. These are highly aggressive territorial species that are fast, heavily scaled and have a mouth full of sharp teeth. Ideally it is best to add all the fish as juveniles and allow them to grow up with an established pecking order. For now I would recommend lowering the water temp to 75 F. Move all the rock work around to different locations then turn out the light, then introduce the new group of fish. A single fish will get picked on instantly so it is best to add a group all at once. Try to provide plenty of hiding spaces like floating logs or pipe work as well as plastic plants may work as well. Hopefully the new species don't look anything like the established fish or they could be in trouble.-Chuck>

Housing Cichlids Bottom Fish With Cichlids  2/23/09 I was wondering what bottom feeder is recommended to have with cichlids? Right now there is a pictus catfish in the tank, but it seems that the cichlids are upset by his whiskers and are trying to pull them off. What would you recommend, Neale? Thanks, Lena. < Most Synodontis cats go well with cichlids. I would recommend that you match them up and make sure that the fish are all about the same size and the species have similar water chemistry requirements.-Chuck>

Cichlids? Mixing geographically...   8/5/08 hi I have 1-texas cichlid and 1-bumble bee cichlid in a 55 gallon tank there was 1-electric blue the tank bully and the smallest in the tank but he died he was pretty old. my question is I would like to add maybe 2 more fish what else would be compatible with the 2 I have now they both are mellow as far as temperament. any recommendations you may have would be appreciated. <I'm cautious to recommend anything here because mixing Central American cichlids (e.g., your Texas Cichlid Herichthys cyanoguttatus) with Malawian Cichlids (in your case the bumblebee cichlid Pseudotropheus crabro and the electric blue hap Sciaenochromis fryeri) just isn't a good idea. There is overlap in water chemistry of course, with the both sorts wanting hard, alkaline water. But there are differences in temperament and communication methods. Central American cichlids tend to be relatively easy-going outside of breeding, though they are of course territorial. Mbuna are aggressive pretty much all the time once sexually mature because they don't guard nesting sites but displaying grounds. The problem comes when the Central Americans become aggressively territorial, and being bigger and equipped with more robust jaws they have the potential to deal out real damage. Where communication becomes an issue is that cichlids have postures and colours they use to express dominance and submission. Cichlids that are closely related (like Mbuna, say) "speak" the same language, so they can communicate adequately well. I'm worried that Central Americans and Mbuna won't be able to do this, and you could end up with some real bullying. For every instance where mixing the "wrong" cichlids works, there is another instance of shredded fins, dislocated jaws, or outright death. The bottom line is that few fishkeepers take these kinds of risks -- so there's no body of experience upon which to draw. If this was me and I was stuck with these fish and could concentrate on *either* Central Americans *or* Mbuna, I'd perhaps be looking at relatively mild but robust species of either kind that could hold their own but wouldn't go looking for trouble. Perhaps on the Central American front something like Cichlasoma salvini. But 55 gallons is really no space at all where cichlids are concerned, and any one of the species you already have could well decide to take over the entire tank once mature. Adult Herichthys cyanoguttatus for example are BIG fish, and extremely aggressive and powerful animals. Likewise an adult male Pseudotropheus crabro will simply view 55 gallons as his personal domain. Any other Mbuna-type fish will be viewed at best with hostile intolerance, and at worst will be quickly killed. It is critically important to understand the concept of "dear enemy" where cichlids are concerned. Territory-holding fish tolerate fish they recognise adjacent to their patch. This way they don't waste energy on pointless border disputes. But when a new fish is added to the tank, the territory holders *don't* recognise this fish, and so as "mellow" as they may be now, they can become completely psychopathic towards the new fish. Move the rocks around is one trick used to break up the territories... but it doesn't always work, so should never be relied upon. In a 55 gallon tank if you were really after a community of cichlids, you should be concentrating on dwarf species that would be able to form stable harems without beating up each other too severely. What you're after is the sort of thing you'd do with 200 gallons of space, not 55. Sorry I can't offer anything more constructive. Cheers, Neale.>

More poor English... Cichlids incomp.   8/5/08 thanks for the insight Neale. I did have more fish at one time but the electric blue killed all but the Texas and bumblebee which he terrorized the bumblebee but the Texas was too big but he still tried. the fish are probably at least 6 yrs old. but maybe I should just wait it out. I don't wanna get rid of them and I really like the look of the Texas cichlid and I now notice that the bumblebee is becoming a lot more yellow again with the electric blue gone I think it was really stressed getting chased and beat up all the time. again thank you. <Ah, suspect you fully comprehend the situation already, which is excellent. If you want to add additional fish, why not go with catfish or perhaps large, midwater characins/barbs that the cichlids wouldn't see as threats. Perhaps an interesting Plec or Synodontis, or a characin such as Leporinus? No guarantees, but I suspect these'll provide a bit more fun without throwing the whole tank into chaos. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlids and Oscars -- 7/30/08 Hi WWM, My husband and I are in a bit of confusion and would appreciate any advice that you can give. We've been searching for the relevant information and can't seem to find exactly what we are looking for. My husband has a 5 ft tank with a 5 cm convict, 10cm jewel, 6-7cm blue cobalt and lombardoi, and (an extremely aggressive alpha) 10 cm peacock. The problem is my hubby loves Oscars and we did originally have 2 with these same fish (except the Lomb. and cobalt) and the tiger Oscar died about 4 months ago and the albino Oscar died in a friend's tank, while we moved and had to cycle our own tank, for no apparent reason (her tank was cycled and had had no fish in it at the time). I do have to say that the peacock did harass these Oscars (and the convict) repeatedly. Question: is it better to get 2 new "larger" sized Oscars to go into the tank, or should by husband perhaps get some more 'zebra' breeds like the cobalt and lombardoi, go for an extra jewel or could he get some Severums (he found your info on these fish and thinks they are great). However, Oscars are his passion-how can he have a happy tank with Oscars in it? Thank you for you advise. Tania <Hello Tania. The short answer here is "No, this won't work". For a start, Central American, Rift Valley lake, and South American cichlids have entirely different water chemistry requirements. Rift Valley cichlids want hard, alkaline water; South American cichlids want soft, acid water. Anything that suits one will be stressing the other, and there isn't a "happy medium" either. Secondly, Oscars are big but peaceful fish that don't do well in tanks where they are constantly having to defend themselves. By all means mix Oscars with big, peaceful catfish and characins, but please don't combine them with aggressive cichlids. Thirdly, keeping two specimens won't fix anything and could create new problems. Fish won't "gang up" to defend themselves just because they're the same species. A mated pair will of course protect their nest, but that's something else entirely. Fourthly, a full-grown Oscar could eat any fish under 10 cm long, which puts some of the existing fish in danger. While your collection of fish includes some lovely beasts, there's no logic to the combination of fish at all, and in fact plenty of bad choices. If it was me, I'd empty the tank, and then keep a South American community of some type with an Oscar, a Severum, a school of large characins (such as Silver Dollars), perhaps a Flagtail Prochilodus for fun, a nice Plec of some type, and maybe some sort of day-active, funky catfish like Hoplosternum or Callichthys. I'm just not a big fan of compromise tanks where none of the fish are really at their best and some of them a beating the heck out of each other. Cheers, Neale.>

? Cichlid... stkg.    12/31/07 Hi guys. Sorry to bother you once more, but I wanted to know what are fishes that are considered small? <Relative... to what?> Is it 3 inches and less? <Okay> If I have fast swimming fishes along with 3-4 inch fishes, can I keep them all with one jack Dempsey or one pearl cichlid? Sorry to bother you guys once more. Thanks for all your help. <More to Cichlid compatibility, stocking than size... Environments vary considerably in chemical, physical make-up... Psychological/temperaments... Best for you to read on the Net, some books on the families husbandry... You could start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm the third tray down. Bob Fenner>

African Cichlid... and Neotropicals (Firemouth) systems  12/7/07 Dear Crew, I have a few question please. What temperature range is best for the African Cichlids? The thing is that I have a Teco Conditioner (Chiller, Heater & UV built all in one) and it does not keep a constant temperature. If I set it on 24 Degrees Celsius, the unit only starts chilling at 26 until it reaches 24 then stops, and it does this very slowly, not quick so it should not shock my livestock. So is it ok for the temperature to be between 24-26? If not then please specify the best range. Cichlids I would like to house in one tank (200 Gallon with Wet/Dry Filtration) and hope I can also breed. 2-4 or more Pseudotropheus demasoni (Pombo Rocks) 2-4 or more Labidochromis caeruleus 2-4 or more Firemouth Also what about using a RO/DI Unit? Thank you. Ghulam <Hello Ghulam. The temperature variation you describe will not cause any problems. Firemouth cichlids (Thorichthys meeki) are not Malawi cichlids and I personally wouldn't mix them. Mbuna are quite violent animals; Thorichthys meeki are mild and have quite specialized jaws unsuitable for fighting. That's why they flare their red gill covers instead. Only rarely will Thorichthys meeki actually "lock jaws". If Mbuna and Thorichthys meeki get into a fight, things might turn nasty. Pseudotropheus demasoni is incredibly nasty towards other blue fish of similar shape and pattern, though yellow and orange Mbuna like Labidochromis caeruleus and Maylandia estherae are said to work well with it. So by all means replace the Thorichthys meeki with another Mbuna, but choose the species carefully so that it isn't blue and doesn't have vertical bars. Using RO water in a Malawi cichlid tank is a good idea. It keeps the nitrate levels low, so the fish are healthier. But you will need to add minerals to harden the water. You can buy "Malawi Salt" mixes, or you can make your own. A common Rift Valley salt mix is as follows. Per 5 gallons/20 litres 1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 tablespoon Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) 1 teaspoon marine salt mix (sodium chloride + trace elements) Stir in the bucket, and then when dissolved, add to the aquarium. Make changes to water chemistry in small steps so as not to stress any fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlids, stingrays and puffers...? comp.  -- 10/28/07 Hello, I have emailed you guys before and you have sent me great advise in return. I am considering buying a tank about 75 gallons in size and I have a particular interest in parrot cichlids. My question is would it be possible to place a teacup stingray in the tank with the parrot who are cichlids but more calm and less aggressive than other cichlids. I would also like to place some type of fresh/brackish water puffers in this community because I plan to place some aquarium salt in the tank for balance. If this is not possible could you please send me something in return in regard to fish that would be compatible with the parrots and the stingray. Also I have an interest in aggressive cichlids such as green/red terrors, jack Dempseys, (maybe parrots and Oscars), red devils. Could you please let me know if a tank of this sort would work out and if so could you give me a comp that could be placed in a 75 to 90 gallon tank. Thanks again. <In short: No. Mixing cichlids of any sort with Stingrays is unwise, and mixing Puffers with Stingrays even more unwise. Adding salt "for balance" doesn't have any scientific grounding at all, and is likely to cause problems. Put enough salt for brackish water Puffers to be happy, and the Stingray will suffer. Produce the soft, acidic water the Stingray needs and the brackish water puffer will die. Anyway, Puffers are 100% incompatible with Stingrays. Any species of Puffer large enough not to be eaten as food will be sufficiently big that it could nip the Stingray. So, discard this idea at once. As for cichlids: please do some more research. Oscars are NOT aggressive cichlids. An Oscar stuck in a small tank with an aggressive cichlid such as Amphilophus citrinellum (one of the "Red Devil" cichlids) is a very unhappy Oscar. Although territorial, Oscars are no more overtly aggressive than, say, Angelfish. Indeed, I've seen Angelfish that were far more problematic in community tanks than any Oscar! Parrot cichlids (by which I assume you mean those hybrid cichlids, not the "real" Parrot Cichlid, Hoplarchus psittacus) are essentially crippled fish, and forcing them to express their naturally territorial behaviour in a tankful of normal fish is unfair. Finally, there's no such thing as a "teacup Stingray". All that means is it is a baby. Given the various traded Stingrays easily reach disc diameters of 60 cm, and sometimes more, you need a huge tank to give them space. The common generic species is Potamotrygon motoro, and that's a fish with a 60 cm disc diameter and a tail that adds at least another 30 cm to that. As a rule of thumb, Stingrays need a tank that has width (front to back) NOT LESS than 150% the disc diameter of the fish. In the case of the commonly traded species Potamotrygon motoro, that means you need a tank NOT LESS than 90 cm front to back. Realistically, successful Stingray maintenance requires tanks measured in the HUNDREDS of gallons, not tens. A 250 US gallon tank of appropriate width and length is probably (certainly!) the minimum if you want the Stingray to have anything like a good chance of success in captivity. Does this sound excessive? It isn't. Of the Stingrays sold as pets, only a tiny fraction last more than a year, because so many people underestimate their requirements. There are many good books on Stingray care: I recommend you sit down with one of these and digest it cover to cover before moving forward. Are they worthwhile pets? Yes. Are they easy to keep? No. In absolute terms, they are significantly far difficult than most freshwater fish, and require a similar level of care to a marine reef tank with delicate invertebrates such as corals. Good luck, Neale>

Knifefish and Cichlids 8/28/07 I was wondering, I was interested in putting an African brown knife fish in a tank with my cichlids or maybe a black ghost knife . Can this be done?? < You didn't say what kind of cichlids. Usually cichlids are very territorial and will dominant other fish in the tank. Without more info on what kind of cichlids you have then I really cannot recommend Knifefish with your cichlids.-Chuck> -curious-

Hey.. need help with my fish - 06/27/07 hey, I have 2 jack Dempseys, 4 Africans, 2 convicts, and 1 Severum...am just wondering is this a good tank setup with these fish in my 55 gallon?..........they all get along fine so I really don't know...any advice? ...thanks! <Hello. Depends on how you define "a good setup". The Severum wants soft and acid water conditions. The JD and convicts something around neutral with moderate hardness. And the "Africans" -- by which I assume you mean some sort of Mbuna -- want very hard and alkaline water. So right off the bat you have fishes that require three totally different sets of water conditions. There are also big differences in temperament. JDs are large and extremely aggressive fish, while Severums tend to be fairly placid outside of spawning. African cichlids are somewhere between the two, depending on the species in question, but most of the common species are fairly small and may be bullied by the JD. If the Africans aren't Mbuna but Tanganyikans, things become even worse as Tanganyikans tend to be somewhat mild in disposition and easily bullied by more aggressive cichlids. Convicts (particularly captive bred specimens) are relatively small fish and while they are certainly territorial, they aren't as overtly aggressive as the JDs. In other words, putting water chemistry and behaviour together, you have real potential here for disasters. When keeping communities of cichlids, it is always a good idea to concentrate on fish from a specific area. The reason for this is that cichlids communicate things like threat and submission via colour patterns and body postures. Fishes that are from the same area tend to be closely related and share similar behaviours. In other words, they "speak the same language". So a smaller cichlid can communicate non-aggression to a bigger cichlid, or recognise when the bigger cichlid is being threatening and so swim away. Fishes from the other side of the world can't do this. An African cichlid doesn't always "understand" what a Central American cichlid is "saying", and this can lead to misunderstandings, and this in turn leads to fighting and bullying. Luckily, you have a big aquarium and you might just get away with things for a while, maybe forever. But your tank is hardly textbook stuff, and my guess is that sooner or later one species will dominant the others. My guess would be the JDs, especially if they are a pair and decide to spawn. Cheers, Neale>

re: hey.. need help with my fish -- 06/28/07 hey thanks for the advice man! ummm I have another question....what would be a good way to keep these fish all happy and safe??? my Dempseys are out growing my African Malawi cichlids and convicts...my Severum is just an chill fish...the JDs are starting to show domination...umm what kind of tank setup should I have for them and how to make it where all of them can hide and keep a spot to their selves?.... <Greetings. You likely can't stop the Jack Dempseys from taking over the aquarium. They are simply among the most aggressive and territorial cichlids in the hobby. Beautiful fish, yes, and excellent pets, but almost always kept as single matched pairs in their own aquarium. Given their large adult size they will be more than a match for any of your other cichlids. Possibly you can create a territory at one end of the tank for them, using a large, clean terracotta flowerpot pointing outside the tank, and hopefully if they are a pair they will stay close to that looking outwards rather than the other fish. You will also need to create lots of additional hiding places. Fish aggression is very much along the lines of "out of sight, out of mind" so that if fish can hide from each other, they don't tend to fight *quite* so much. Flowerpots and artificial tree roots are the way to go here. Tall plastic plants may help, too. Use these liberally, so fish aren't fighting over hiding spaces. The Mbuna will basically alternate between their caves and midwater levels and given hiding places should be relatively safe. Convict cichlids are similar. The Severum is a midwater fish like an angel or discus, and consequently most likely to be a target for aggression. Although a large cichlid, it has a small mouth and is much less able to fight than the more robustly built JD. Bottom line, your mix of fish is simply unlikely to work in the long term, so you may as well plan on alternate strategies such as rehoming some of the cichlids or buying additional tanks. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: hey..need help with my fish... Neale, pls send these back for English correction...  -- 06/29/07 > hey again....well I sold back my convicts and one of my Africans.....still considering the Severum..but my JDS are still tiny maybe juveniles and my African Malawi are bigger and will get bigger are you sure they wont be alright cause now I released back my adult African back with them and he is dominating the whole tank....I don't know I really like these fish...any more advice? <Well, the usual advice really -- read and learn. There's a whole stack of Cichlidae articles here at WWM, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm and you'll also find lots of books about them as well. It's difficult to generalise about cichlids because they are simply the most diverse family of fishes alive. But territoriality and aggression are things that need to be considered. Jack Dempseys are best kept in large tanks with other Central Americans. I've kept them with a Managuense cichlid, Red Devil, some Convicts, and some Firemouths in a 200 gallon system and not had serious problems. Lake Malawi cichlids are generally too aggressive for anything but their own aquarium, but even within the Malawi cichlid group there are (relatively) peaceful species like Iodotropheus through to very very aggressive species like Melanochromis. So you need to identify your fish, figure out its behaviour and adult size, and plan the aquarium accordingly. Removing fish often ends up "promoting" the ones left behind, so instead of being picked upon they turn into bullies! It's all very complicated. Anyway, my honest advice would be to return everything but cichlids from one area: i.e., keep the JDs and Convicts; or keep the Severum; or keep the Africans. You can then find cichlids that come from the same area and have similar levels of aggression. You could, for example, keep the Severum with Blue Acara and Festivum cichlids. Hope this helps, Neale.>

re: hey..need help with my fish -- 06/29/07 > hey man I know I having been writing you a lot of questions...but just to let you know what cichlids I have.. they are 2 auratus African Malawis which are 2 inches......one blue electric johanni which is 5 inches....and a Severum which is about 6 inches...I sold of one African and the two convicts..due to what you wrote...I have read that auratus and Johanni's are very aggressive and I also read that my jack Dempseys need fish that are the same temperament...will this still work <OK, Melanochromis auratus is one of the most aggressive of all the Mbuna. Melanochromis johanni is almost but not quite so bad. Since Melanochromis hybridise readily, it is not a good idea to keep two species together. Any offspring produced will be worthless and need to be destroyed. No responsible fishkeeper will produce them, and no responsible store will sell them. They are also very likely to fight. Heros severus (the Severum) is a shy, gentle fish totally unsuitable for life with the preceding species. While mated pairs of Severums are territorial when breeding, that's about it. Otherwise, they're basically like angelfish in wanting peace and quiet. The Jack Dempsey Archocentrus octofasciatus is very aggressive but also much bigger than either of the Melanochromis, so any fights will be completely one-sided. Not a good combination at all. None of these are bad fishes, but whoever advised you on what fish to get hadn't done any research. If you want life to be simple, decide on whether you want Mbuna, Central Americans, or South Americans, return the fish that don't work, and then add new fish accordingly. In a 55 gallon tank, I'd recommend Melanochromis auratus along with Pseudotropheus zebra and Labeotropheus fuelleborni. All of these are easy to get, won't hybridise, look good, and have similar levels of aggression. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about Crayfish and their compatibility with Cichlids    5/15/07 Hello, <Hi there> We just purchased a 20 gallon aquarium (no fish yet) and were interested in purchasing a Crayfish - <You are aware of how predaceous these are?> a woman at my work has one and it sounds like a really fun and very interesting pet!  The blue crayfish in particular has caught our attention.  We would like to get other fish for the tank but since crayfish are known to be aggressive toward slower and smaller fish, we wanted to be careful with what other fish we got.  Cichlids in particular seem to interest us, <Not enough room here for a crayfish and any Cichlid species that would likely survive its presence> and we read that they are aggressive fish as well which supposedly is compatible with crayfish's personality.  Would these actually be compatible with a crayfish? <Some could be mixed in a much larger volume... Not twenty gallons though> Also, we hear that Cichlids are best purchased in large groups, and so we were also wondering if 6 + a crayfish in a 20 gallon tank would be overcrowded? <For most all species available (there are hundreds worldwide, even hundreds described just in the U.S.), you'll end up with one, maybe two... and a bunch of parts...> Thank you so much! -- Laina VanDyke <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i4/crayfish/crayfish.htm and the linked files at the bottom. Bob Fenner>

Learning About Cichlids The Bob/Chuck Take - 04/17/07 Hello!! My name is Nikki I have a new 55 gallon that I have just begun cycling and a 10 gallon with two filters one that turns 100 gph and one that turns 50 or so gph. I was wondering the biggest most aggressive fish (cichlid/s) I could put in this setup? <Chuck-Many Central American cichlids would work nicely in this set up.> I like plants rocks driftwood etc. . but they are not necessary (I know most aggressive fish will tear up the tank). I am looking more for a fish with lots of character and not just looks. I have bought many tropical fish books and researched a lot on the web but a lot of the information contradicts what I know to be true (a novice aquarist) and what I have read so I turn to you for RELIABLE advice. PLEASE HELP!!! also is it okay to just have one fish in the tank or does it need tank mates?! <Quite a few Cichlids are best kept one to a tank, if the volume is small... e.g. the species called Red Devils...> many thanks for any help you can give me! In addition the 55 gal has two angelfish about 3 1/2 in each, an algae eater. I think it is a loach of some sort not to sure, and an African dwarf frog. I was wondering what cichlids would be compatible and fit okay in this set-up as well? <Mmm, other S. Americans... see fishbase.org... search by country, river (Amazon) then by family...> <Chuck- Look at dwarf cichlids such as APISTOGRAMMA, Nannacara, Laetacara and others classified as such.> I love the Sciaenochromis ahli "electric blue Haplochromis" I don't think it will be compatible in this case <You are correct here> but I love them they are beautiful...any suggestions? <Yes... books... perhaps the library... for the short works of Paul Loiselle on the family> <Chuck-The electric blue will require a special set up for Lake Malawi cichlids to thrive.> I also like Agassiz's dwarf cichlid, <A good choice here... if your 55 has soft, acidic, warm water...> salvins cichlid, dickfeld's julie, marlieri julie, ornatus, fuelleborns cichlid, and the fairy cichlid. Would any of these work and get along with the other inhabitants of the tank? <Mmm, not really... Best to not mix African Cichlids with non-Africans... and even to sort through the Africans (and non-) for bodies of water, habitat, compatibility issues...> Thanks again!! You guys are awesome <Read my young friend... redirect your enthusiasm, drive... focus that energy into quiet reflection on what you can find in books (not the Net) re this expansive family of fishes, their captive husbandry... Do consider joining, participating in the various Cichlid clubs... the American Cichlid Association in particular. Please do write back with more specific questions... am hopeful that our local cichlidophile, Chuck Rambo will be about, can/will offer you more/better direction. Bob Fenner> < Chuck-The best book for you would be "Enjoying Cichlids" by Ad Konings. It covers almost all the cichlids and is very informative. The Paul Loiselle books are also very good but are out of print and may be difficult to find. The American Cichlid Association is having their annual convention in Sacramento Calif in July. Check it out at aca2007.com> <<Thanks Chuck. RMF>>

African cichlids in a 120   3/11/07 Hello, <Hello, Brandon with you.>           I have a 120 gallon  <gallon.> fish tank that I had been keeping various <South?> American Cichlids in which, unfortunately did not survive the move.   <That is unfortunate indeed!> I now want to add African Ciclids <Cichlids.> to the tank, <Interesting fish.  I happen to be considering a rock pool tank at some point in the future.> as it is now thriough <through> the new cycling process. I will certainly be keeping various africans <Africans>, as well as some synodontis sp, <Synodontis> <Ok.> but what other cichlids, <Cichlids.> or agressive  <aggressive.> fish species would stand a decent chance with africans?  <Africans.> <I would leave it at that.  The Africans, and the Synodontis.> I know that there are 50/50 type fish that MAY do ok, as they are sort of rowdy, such as CAEs, and skunk loaches, but may not like the required hightened  <heightened> ph. <The Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, will get rather large, and may wind up eating some of the smaller Cichlids.  I know that it sounds far fetched, but it has/can happen.  Beyond that the Gyrinocheilus aymonieri do better with a pH of about 7.3.  The Botia can live in waters with a pH up to 8.0, and could make an interesting addition.  Just keep a supply of snails and other inverts on hand.> Would certain agressive  <aggressive> Central Americans, such as Managuenese <Managuense> Ciclids <Cichlids.>, or Red Devils be adaptable to the required water parameters? <The Managuense could be a possible consideration, but at a foot plus in size it will most likely eat some of it's tank mates.  The same issue arises with the Amphilophus labiatus, other than the fact that it needs a lower pH, it will get big enough to snack on it's friends.  The fish that you are talking about come from different regions of the world.  Stick with one region, and you can resolve compatibility issues that might arise.> Thanks, <You are welcome.  I hope that this helps.  Brandon.> Bill Day, Skowhegan, Maine

Oscar/Bumblebee Cichlid/Ich   12/15/06 Hey Guys <Andrea... "woman of the sea"> First of all, you have the absolute best site there is regarding fish. It's unbelievably helpful! Unfortunately, I didn't find my dilemma on the forums. I   have a 10 gallon tank. In it until yesterday was an Oscar, 2 Plecs, a Bala and a  Bumblebee Cichlid. <Yikes... going to be incredibly crowded... if not already... Oh, I see the solution below> We currently have a 55 gallon on it's way here. My boyfriend  came home from work yesterday to find a Plec had died. <Not surprising... need more room> He described it as being  covered in cotton. I didn't notice anything different when I left for work and  found this to be a little strange. He took the Plec out, did a 50% water change,  vacuumed the gravel and cleaned the filter. All was well until I noticed my  Bala, Jack, had half of his tail missing. I saw the Bumblebee, Wanda, picking on  him <Yes, also to be expected> so I moved him to a different tank to get away from her. I also got him  another Bala, Will, because I know they do better when there is more than one.  All that was left in the 10 was Wanda, Oscar the Oscar (haha I know it's a very  original name) and the Plec. I fed everyone this morning and went to work.  Nothing was strange. When I got home I noticed Wanda biting at Oscar <Ditto...> so I looked  closer and he was laying in a plant. I tapped the glass to make him move and saw  that he was covered in white spots. I think it's ich but I'm not sure. Could he  get ich that fast? <Yes... is omnipresent usually... able to infest in "stressful" circumstances> We keep the tank very clean. Also, should I keep Wanda, the  Bumblebee and Oscar separated? <Yes> I think it's a territory thing as well. I moved  everything around and she's still being a bully. Thank you for any help.   Andrea <Mmm... I suggest a bit more reading re the Compatibility of the species you list... and the tank upgrade ASAPractical. Bob Fenner>

Re: Oscar/Bumblebee Cichlid/Ich   12/17/06 Hey Bob (And Crew) <Andrea> Thank you SO much for the fast reply. My Oscar died last night, as did  Jack, one of my Bala's. After doing some research, I found that the Bumblebee Cichlid and Oscar couldn't go together. <Correct> Our LFS said they'd be just fine and  "any cichlid can go together". <... dismal> Mhmm, right. Wanda the Bumblebee went back to the LFS. Now we only have a lone Bala and a Plec. We decided to just get a 100 or 120 gal tank right away instead of doing 2 upgrades. <Wow!> It's easier and then we don't have to move the fish more than once. Knowing what we do now, we plan on  getting another Oscar as soon as we have the bigger tank all set and cycled. I  learned 99.9% of what I know now from your site. Again, thank you so much! Andrea <Thank you for the update and acknowledgement. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid Confusion and Questions... Too many species crammed in too small a volume     11/26/07 Hey guys! I hope that you can help me out here! I have a 55 gallon setup with the following: (2) Green Terrors (2) Jack Dempsey's (2) Black Convicts (1) Blue Kenyi (1) Yellow Kenyi <---I think they are Kenyis, they are blue and yellow with black stripes. I also Have a Dragon Goby that doesn't look like its doing to well....why is that? <In with the wrong crowd, big time here> My second question is if I am going to have problems with these guys as they get older (right now they are all roughly about 1 1/2 - 2 inches)? <Yes... now and worse then> Also, my convicts laid eggs a few days ago and now they are gone.....what gives? <Eaten by any individual here, including the parents> Im confused Also, my Green Terrors have laid eggs, should I be worried about them eating those ones too? <Yes> And one last thing I promise lol......my blue guy (the one I think is a Kenyi) is making a hole the size of a crater beneath one of the big rocks in the tank.....what's that all about? <Behavior> Thanks a lot for your time guys! If you could email me back that would fantastic!!!! Thanks again Jodi <You have too much, too incompatible a mix here... a 55 can hold maybe two of the species of neotropical cichlids... not an African, not the Goby... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlidcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Mixing African & South American Cichlids  10/29/06 Thanks so much for your advice and quick reply! It was very helpful and encouraging.   <Fantastic, always happy to help!> The new tank with more space has worked wonders. I also added a full dose of Melafix as you suggested, and it's really helped her relax. I had some left over from treating a sick platy from an older tank that got ick and a damaged fin due to an attack from another aggressor in the tank. I didn't think to also use it as a destressor, along with treating her eye, but it really did make a big difference. She's still edgy with people, but when we're far enough away from her tank, we're able to see her cautious exploring. Her brilliant colours and beautiful eyes seem vibrant and back to normal again, what a fast change! She still hasn't accepted any food, but I think it's probably because she's still a little stressed obviously, and too concerned with feeling out her territory and getting adjusted first before getting her appetite back. I should have clarified that what I've tried to supplement are not anything containing fish, but weekend feeding blocks that are supposed dissolve into the water providing nutrition for three days per block that contain a bunch of different things. They contain krill, Spirulina, calcium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, fish meal, gluten, yeast and a whole lot of vitamins. I put two in the new tank because it's a huge tank and also because I added more fish. The brand is Top Fin, and they are called Weekend Fish Food Feeders and are a package of four 3-day feeding blocks. I'm just looking for a more knowledgeable opinion on these things because pet store people don't seem to know much about them. All they've said is that it's a good idea to get ones that contain some Spirulina, so I did. I still have yet to try the garlic juice, but if she doesn't eat tomorrow I may have to make a trip to the grocery store. <I don't like those feeders at all.  You have no idea how much food really is going into the tank & although I can't remember what the rest of that block consists of, I wouldn't want that stuff in my tank.  Any special reason you're using them?> Another question regarding issues of fish compatibility and space. Once the South American blue eye is settled, we are planning on introducing a blue peacock African cichlid to the tank and another sucker fish. The lived together in a 30 gallon when they were still small, but were separated into two separate 30 gallon tanks when they got larger, started pecking at each other and would just hide in separate corners most of the time to avoid each other. We're hoping the little bit of extra room (in the 72 gal) will help but are still nervous if this even a good idea in the first place. They also have different natural environments, so arranging the tank to meet both their needs will be the trickiest part but probably the best chance of making it tolerable enough for them to live together. The water is to the harder side here, but they've both been doing okay living with the same water and we always use Prime to balance it at water changes. <Prime is good stuff, I use it in all my tanks.> I'm mostly trying to figure how to best set up a tank to accommodate two very different fish that are very territorial. We have a lot of plants, a couple big rocks and just a handful of smaller rocks to work with so far. Any suggestions for anything else or how to set it up? We're also thinking about getting some driftwood for the tank too. <Lots of decor, breaking up the lines of sight, is the best way to go.  Most don't recommend mixing Africans & South Americans together but I have done it successfully in a large enough tank with plenty of decor.  I'd keep a close eye on them & be prepared to separate, if you see any frayed fins or fighting.> I'm also wondering what's best for the bottom. We've always used really small pebbles which they love digging and pushing around and piling, but I've read some things that suggest the African in particular is used to a more sandy substrate to feed in, but that it is much harder to keep clean, the water clear and alters the pH. They also seem to be trained as falling food feeders at this point, chasing and catching food just before it hits the bottom. Is it a good idea to combine a bit of sand with pebbles anyway, or just stick with pebbles since they're used to that? <The substrate you have is fine.> Thanks again for your help. Fish are a continual learning process and we can use all the help we can get to get it right. -Christal and Trevor Cichlid Compatibility  - 10/25/06 Hey, Your website is awesome and has helped me out a lot.  However, I have a more specific question on something that I want to do with my 45 gallon tank.  I have 2 jewels right now about 1.5" in size.  I would like to add a couple convicts (albino and striped), a red parrot and a green terror.  Do I have enough room for this and are they compatible with each other?  I know the convicts will take up a lot of space when they breed, but could I just get two males, or will they fight too much?  If this set-up doesn't work, are there any African cichlids that I could have with my jewels? Thank you for all your help.  -Adam <The parrot will get beaten up pretty quickly and the green terror with out grow the other fish and be a real problem. Two males would be better than a pair of convicts. Look at other Central American fish like Firemouths and salvini. Rift lake cichlids are very fast, well armored, and have very sharp teeth. A bad mix with Central American cichlids.-Chuck>

Cichlid Compatibility  6/21/06 I was wondering if the following cichlids would get along in a 180 gallon aquarium? 8" red Oscar (likes to chase others), 3"convict,3"green terror, 2"jackdempsey,3"texas cichlid,7"pleco and maybe some type of catfish please get this back to me as soon as possible as I am getting the tank soon! <It would be best to start all the cichlids off a close to being the same size. The Oscar will bully the other fish until they get bigger. Go to planetcatfish.com to check out any kind of catfish you are considering. Cichlids are territorial and will probably push the catfish around.-Chuck>

Little White Worms In Cichlid Tanks  - 05/20/2006 Hi, I have a problem, well about a million little problems. First let me say that this web site is very helpful, and well put together. So, about my problem. I have a 60 gal, 50 gal, 45 gal, and a 20 gal, all freshwater aquariums. Most of the tanks have South American Cichlids, with the exception of the 60 gallon, which has my African Tigerfish and a Raphael cat. About three months ago I noticed these little white worms about 1 centimeter to 3 centimeters long. They pretty much stay out of sight, until I do a water change, or disrupt the gravel. Then the tank is full of them. I cleaned the 50 gallon out with bleach, changed the filters, and even bought new gravel. Then a week later I notice that they were back!!! They have spread to all of my tanks now due to my constant rearranging of plants and decorations. Please help me with this, are they good, bad, or does it matter? I also noticed that my Jaguar Cichlid in the 50 gallon acts sick when the worms are swimming around. < They are probably harmless but go ahead and treat all the tanks with Fluke-Tabs. This will kill all the invertebrates in the tank. These worms may have come in with the gravel.-Chuck> Adding Fish To a Pair of Convicts - 05/05/2006 Hello, I've been browsing your website over the past few months and I've been able to pull tons of helpful information, probably more than I need.  Thank you.  As a novice hobbyist I share information, tips, hints with friends and local pet shop stores.  As you probably could figure the information and "facts" are often inconsistent and also don't match to my experience so far, let me get to the point.  I have a 20g tank currently with a 5" pink convict (male) a 4"black (striped) convict (female) and about 15 pink and striped 1" inch adolescence convicts (obviously).  I originally inherited the convict when I didn't realize what I was in for and he promptly destroyed the gourami a had.  Anyway after some failed others including a large red devil (yikes that was a disaster) the store owner talked me into the striped convicts to which I bought about six and kept only one (giving the other to a friend.  My first instinct after they had fry was to remove them but after inheriting a 55g I decided to hold off.  Now I'm getting ready.  I just purchases a Fluval 304 canister filter and I'm picking up a stand so I can fill the tank and prepare the water and I'm trying to decide what to do.  I would like some variation.  I was thinking about a Jack Dempsey or some other cichlids maybe 2 more of similar size.  My other thought was, should I remove the female.  I was already planning on getting rid of the young convicts in the tank.  Will the male and female just become too territorial if I introduce other cichlids.  I appreciate your advice as your site has been the most helpful in my hobby thus far.  Any tips on this set up, compatibility with my convict including any other fish that may make the tank more interesting.  I like the adaptability of the convict and wanted fish equally as adaptive.  Thank you. Tim < A breeding pair of convicts do require space. You need other big aggressive fish or fast fish. They will probably take over at least 1/2 of the 55 gallon. Jack Dempsey's, Firemouths, jewelfish, port Acaras, would all be worth a try. Large groups of schooling fish like rainbows or giant danios would keep them busy for awhile too. Stay away from using African cichlids from Lake Malawi. they are very fast and have sharp teeth that can inflict lots of damage.-Chuck> Kribensis, Ram query... Corydoras comp.   4/21/06 Hi Crew, <Jeff> I hope all is well wherever you all are. Winter finally broke last week here in Edmonton, Canada. <Thank goodness... my cold tolerance (and no preference) is "out the window" with advancing age> Anyway, I have a reef invert question and a freshwater question. <Okay> Reef -  I recently added a frogspawn with three heads and a small xenia about 4 days ago. Both appear to be doing very well, the xenia is showing full movement (pulsing) and the frogspawn is still colourful and opens up very nicely during lighting hours. My system is a 29 gal with 130w of PC (10k & Actinic). Firstly, how often do I feed each species (Reefroids for xenia & Mysis for other). <3-4 times a week> Secondly, I have the frogspawn in the middle of the setup about 10 inches below the lights and set on my LR. Is it better to have it as low as I can and in the substrate? <Mmm, I would keep this Euphylliid off the bottom. See WWM re> I am letting the xenia tell me where it wants to be. <Good... just do keep it confined> Freshwater - I recently upgraded a 7 gal bowfront to a 25 gal tank. I had 4 Cory cats (5-6 years old each) and are very fond of them. I just added a male and female krib to the tank 5 days ago. I had not recently read up on the fish, just remembered that I thought they would be interesting and hardy. They are particularly beautiful specimens, but I am embarrassed to say that I didn't realize that they were bottom dwellers and would take nips out of my Corys. <Too likely, yes> My question is can I replace them with rams (tank bred) and have the Corys left alone? <Yes... a much better choice> If it is ok, I saw some very small and very red shrimp that would be neat to have, they are about 1/3 the size of my algae eating shrimp I have (2 only), would the rams bother the new small red shrimp. <Not likely> The shrimp remind me of camel backed shrimp for marine. Thank you again for your time, Jeff Morgan <Morgan: "Man of the sea"... Bob Fenner>

Cichlid tank    4/15/06 Hello, I just set up a 75 gallon tank which I have an Oscar, Jack  Dempsey, Pleco and a catfish.  My first question is can I add  another cichlid to this tank or would it be to much.     <Mmm... maybe... depending on the present size of the cichlids you have, the species of catfish>>   Second, the tank these fish came from was a 30 gallon, my Oscar  got  hole in the head and lateral line disease before the switch.  I have been mixing Metronidazole with his food.   <Not likely pathogenic, but nutritional cause here. See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm and the Related FAQs above> His behavior and  appetite is fine, the only problem is the holes and scars on his head  and body.  My water conditions are fine. will the extra space in  the 75 gallon solve this problem with my Oscar?   <Perhaps... with vitamin supplementation>   Finally, I live close to the ocean and fish very often, can I feed my  fish live bait fish from the sea such as killies and spearing?   <Yes>   Thank you in advance for your patience and help.     Jim <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> Stocking/Freshwater/Tough Man Contest    4/14/06 Hello there, I recently inherited a 55 gallon tank with 1- 6" green terror, 1-4" convict, 1- 4" jewel cichlid and 1- 5" jack Dempsey.  I know these occupants will get quite larger.  My question is will they be comfortable in this 55 gallon when they are full grown?  <No, tank is much too small.> The tank has 2 penguin filters with bio-wheels rated at 330 gph each.  I have been doing 25% water changes weekly and feeding once a day.  I have only had this tank for 4 weeks now, however it had originally been set up at a different location for around 4 months.  Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.  And I also wanted to comment on such a great website for those of us new to the hobby.  Thank you so much for your time.  <You have a crowd of bullies in your tank and left as such, they will eventually thin themselves out.  James (Salty Dog)> Teresa  

Mixing Cichlids From Different Continents    4/8/06 Hi Crew! I have a 90 gallon freshwater tank that I assume has some sort of parasite.  Two days ago I notice my small red empress scratching on the bottom as well as my small Hap Ali. There are no visible sign of anything being wrong except for the scratching. I raised the temp to 83-84 degrees and treated with  Aquari-sol 12 drops per 10 gallons. I noticed that my two Jurupari seems to be very sluggish and almost gasping for oxygen and are not eating.  The juruparis are about 6 inches and get along with the cichlids just fine.  I assumed that they might be deprived on O2  with the elevated heat so I added a bubble stone and made sure that my Eheim pro 2 and Cascade 1200 canister are both agitating the surface.  I have noticed no improvement with them.  I am on day three with the treatment and on the second day I added 5 drops per 10 gallons to increase the copper in the tank.  I also noticed an off white blotch on one of the Jurupari backs.  I am at a loss as what else to do.  Any advice you would give would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help! Michael J. Bukosky < Your South American jurupari have different water requirements that your African rift lake cichlids. The South American cichlids like soft acidic water while the Africans like hard alkaline water. The stress of the water chemistry may have caused an internal bacterial infection. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filters. Treat with Metronidazole. When they start to eat then they are getting better and need to be placed in a tank of their own.-Chuck>

Dither Fish For A Cichlid Tank   3/27/06 Would zebra danios work, or does it have to be the giant danios?  How  many danios or rainbows should I add to the 6 cichlids? (I read danios and  rainbows do better in schools) Thanks again for your  help! < Use the size of the cichlids as a guide. Giant danios can get up to 5 inches. Pretty big dither fish if your cichlids are only a couple inches long. What ever you choose get at least 8 to 10 of them. You may lose a few at first but then the rest will adjust and do fine.-Chuck>

Aggressive Firemouths  3/20/06 Hi Crew, I have a 100 litres aquarium, originally stocked with 2 male Firemouths and 1 gibbiceps. One of the males was growing steadily, harassing the other inhabitants of the tank. The gibbiceps had quite large bites on his fins, but got away with it, without any problems. Unfortunately two days ago, I found it dead. I examined it thoroughly and found no external signs of disease. The gibbiceps did not display behavioral changes, loss of appetite or anything else that would indicate a disease. I think that it probably died because of excessive stress. I returned the large aggressive male Firemouth to my LFS and got a small gibbi and another male Firemouth (3cm). Now I have the older male Firemouth (4cm) chasing the newcomer all around the tank. He probably didn't like the addition. I am thinking of two alternatives for handling this aggression problem. 1) I should keep the two male Firemouths, adding a third one, to keep the older male busy with the new addition? 2/ I should return both Firemouths to my LFS and then restock from the beginning with two male Firemouths? Which one of them is best? Thanks, Spyros < Try to cool the tank down to 75 F. Move all the rocks and plants around. Add dither fish like rainbows or giant danios. If these don't work then start with two small Firemouths and let them grow up together.-Chuck> Questions about 'inherited' tank ... Cichlid... beh., comp.  - 03/05/06 Good evening and I hope this finds you doing well! I have spent the past several days reading various articles from your site in an attempt to learn more about the tank that I have and the fish that are left in it, but still find myself with a few questions.  I will attempt to keep this as brief as possible, but would like to include some background. I recently purchased a house that contained a 75 gallon in-wall fish tank and I was appalled at how disgusting the tank was.  The previous owner had no idea what type of fish were in the tank, only had an under-gravel filter and stated that he had not cleaned the tank in almost 18 months!! (I was surprised that the fish were still alive).  The tank was essentially nothing but funk; the coral was almost black, the air tubes were half clogged with gunk, you could barely see the fish through the nasty water and it was smelling up the entire living room area!! So I decided that one of my first tasks was to clean this tank out thoroughly and get better equipment.  I still had no idea what type of fish were in the tank but at that time, I was only focused on getting the tank clean. (I should have thought about the fish but figured that they were fairly tough since they were still alive in the nasty tank).  I cleaned the tank, got an excellent filtration unit (Bio-Wheel of course) and did everything right (or so I think) prior to introducing the fish back into the tank.  I used 'Stress Coat' to take the chlorine out of the water, I ensured that the temperature was stabilized and at the same temp as the water they had been living in.  I expected the fish to be in a bit of shock upon being placed in the tank so I was not too surprised when they all just sort of went to the bottom of the tank and did not move much.  I put food in the tank and went off to bed.  Well, the next morning, all of the fish were dead except for 5 sucker fish and 4 fish that I was able to determine later on were convict cichlids.  I was devastated and blame myself but am not sure what I did wrong. I decided that having 5 sucker fish in the tank was too much, due to their size (each was about 6-7"), the size of the tank, the lack of fish in the tank and the fact that I have no live plants in the tank.  I found a local fish store and they were able to take 3 of the sucker fish and give them a great home in a pond. I also explained to them what had happened with all the other fish in the tank (they had no explanation either) and that I wanted to get new fish to repopulate my tank but was unsure what type of cichlids would fit in nicely with the convicts.  They recommended the jewel cichlid and so I bought 4 of them.  I was worried at first because many people on this (and other sites) have stated that they have had numerous aggression problems with their jewels.  However, I have had the jewels in my tank for 3 days now and there are no problems at all.  All of the fish seem to be getting along nicely and there has been no signs of aggression or fighting.  I hope it stays that way! Really, I do have questions! 1.  When I brought the jewels home, they were (for lack of a better description) a pale pink/peach color but today I noticed that one of them is turning a dark red color on his bottom side as well as on his tail. You can also see what appears to be little bright blue specks. He/She is eating well and swimming around and showing no signs of distress.  The coloring is beautiful but I am not sure if this is normal or not.  Is it??  And if so, will the colors come and go and if so, what causes the color changes? < As fish settle in and feel more comfortable they start to get a more normal coloration. The jewel fish is actually quite pretty and the red you are seeing is normal.> 2.  I have no idea what the sex of any of the fish are but I know that convicts and jewels become territorial and aggressive when they lay eggs/have fry.  Having said that, I do not want to keep any of the fry should that occur and I know that the local fish store would not want them either.  How should I go about removing the eggs (or fry) in the event that I do have male and females of the same species? < Leave them in the tank with the parents. After a couple of weeks they will stop caring for them and the other fish will eat them.> 3.  I would like to get a few more cichlids for my tank but I am not sure what other type of cichlid would go well with the convicts and jewels. The rainbow cichlid (beautiful yellow from what I saw on-line) is one that I am considering but again, have no idea how they would get along with my existing fish.  Any suggestions? < Jack Dempseys, firemouths, salvini, port acaras, blue acaras, rainbow cichlids, Texas cichlids are some of the more common fish found in pet shops.-Chuck> Thank you so very much for taking the time to read this and respond!!  I am new at this and am attempting to learn as much as I can as quick as I can to ensure that I take appropriate care of my tank!! Your advice is sincerely appreciated! Very Respectfully, Kathi Kell Cichlid Potpourri - 2/28/2006 I recently purchased a 30 gallon tank and the associate at the LFS (an established store which was highly recommended by many people) suggested I get these four fish to start my tank: 2 blue acaras, 1 peacock and 1 blood parrot. After getting them home and in the tank they didn't seem to be getting along all that well. And seeing as I am still pretty new to this hobby I returned to the place where I purchased them and asked what I should do. I was assisted by the same guy who recommended the fish in the first place and was assured by him that they would get along after a couple days. I thought he was just feeding me garbage so I wouldn't return the fish so I asked another associate there the same question (this guy was actually recommended by a few of my friends by name) he said the same, that they would get along in a couple of days and its about 2 days since I was there and they still don't seem to be getting along and I don't know what to do. < What a mess. The two blue acaras come from South America and get 4 to 6 inches long. If they turn out to be a breeding pair they will take over the tank and kill all the other fish to defend their eggs and fry. The peacock could be one of two things. A peacock bass comes from South America but gets two feet long. They are specialized feeders and usually require live food like feeder guppies or goldfish. A peacock cichlid from Lake Malawi in Africa gets about 4 inches long. It requires hard alkaline water and is usually fairly peaceful and will have troubles with the other fish. The parrot cichlid is a hybrid between three different species from Central America and can get up to a foot long. A thirty gallon tank is relatively small to keep any of these cichlids for a long term. For now they are setting up a pecking order over territories and things may calm down after a few days. I would recommend the book "Enjoying Cichlids" by Ad Konings at CichlidPress.com for lots of info on keeping and breeding cichlids.-Chuck.>

Electric Jack Dempsey and Buffalo Head Cichlid   2/8/06 I have a 30 gallon fresh water tank with 7 assorted barbs that I used to cycle the tank.  Since then, I've added one electric blue JD.  He loves his home, however I'm very curious to know if he is compatible with a buffalo head cichlid?  Both fish are similar in size at about  2 inches a piece any help would be greatly appreciated. <As long as they stay the same size they will chase each other around but they will probably be OK. As they grow the jack will start to get big and eventually get too big for the Buffalo Head and they will need to be separated.-Chuck>   Cichlid Tank Questions   1/14/06 Hi WWM,  I am a new Cichlid Keeper and I have learned lessons with too many too fast.  I started my tank out as all African Cichlids and all was great for about a month and then the fish suffered from a bad case of Ich and ammonia problems.  I was using a large TetraTec filter which came with the tank,  I found out it was not the best filter.  I have since purchased a new Emperor 400 Filter, water quality and life has been great since.  I have a few questions to see if I will be over crowded once my new South American Cichlids mature.  After my prior problem with the African cichlids, only 2 male Chipokae cichlids survived.  At the time it was unknown to me what kind of fish they are. I have since slowly stocked my 75 Gallon with 2 Green Terrors (1-4" & 1-3"), 4 Convicts (2-3.5" & 2-2"), 2 Firemouths (both 2"), 1 Blue Acara (2.5") and a large standard pleco (about 8.5").  I have had no problems of aggression.  Do you think I will have an overcrowding problem? < The green terrors will get up to a foot long. The rest will get 6 inches or less. When the terrors are larger there will be a problem.> I do not want any more fish to suffer like all my African cichlids did. Could I get more fish, or stop now? < Get rid of the Green terrors while they are still small and get other fish that will stay in the same size range as the other fish.> Also, my larger convicts keep breeding and I separate the eggs, prior to hatching, into a 10 gallon I have set up just for them (since they lay them on a large rock it is easy to remove them).  I end up with at least 50 new Convicts a month, which I give to a LFS in town.  Any better suggestions as what to do with the fry once they mature enough to give away or is it possible to sell somewhere? Thanks for your help.  I appreciate it very much. Jason Stenger < Convicts are very easy to breed and your same problem is played out in every city with convicts. They are very prolific and demand for them is very low. I think your LFS will not want them after awhile.-Chuck>

Green terror Lost a Gill Plate  - 01/09/2006 Hi crew. Read the instructions on contacting you. About  4 weeks ago I lost my Texas, at the time he had some small red sores on his side. Hopped online and came across your site. Did the water change, scrubbed everything, ensured levels stable, temp was at 25C. I have African cichlids mostly so trying to find middle medium on pH at 8.0. Added salt to stimulate skin protection, treated with Melafix. Lost him anyway (he was 13cm so was pretty harsh to lose). Tank since seamed great. Went on holiday returned after 5 days from Sydney. Still tank was 100%, all levels right. Adjusted pH to 8.2 for the Texas is no longer in the tank. My Green terror has now just had his right gill detach at the base. I have removed him and placed in hospital tank. Separation of gill happened in 2 days 1 night. I have him in stable hospital tank but cannot find anything online that comes close to what has happened. I'll treat with Melafix until I get better advise on what I can use. Awaiting your response. Thanks Lisa < Your green terror probably got into a fight with one of you African cichlids and got it ripped off. African cichlids have incredibly strong mouths with lots of teeth to back it up. They eat by scraping algae off of rocks. These same teeth and mouths make pretty good weapons. In the wild obviously these fish never see each other so the green terror really didn't expect such an opponent. This is why I recommend never to mix rift lake cichlids with other cichlids. Keep the water clean and treat for infections if needed. The gill cover probably won't grow back.-Chuck>

Firemouth Cichlid With Pictus Cat  12/15/05 I just revisited the post below, from last summer, and saw the additional note by RMF. So my follow-up question is, if not an Oscar, is there another SA cichlid you'd recommend? What about a firemouth? Thanks MJ < The problem with adding any cichlid to this system is the fact that they will assume that the whiskers of the catfish are worms and have them bitten off in no time at all. A keyhole cichlid or festivum might work, but it would depend on the personality of the actual fish. I agree with RMF that an Oscar would be a bad idea.-Chuck> Oscar Mix 7.24.05 I'm setting up a new 135, and plan to stock it with 7 Metynnis hypsauchen and three Pimelodus pictus. Do you think a single Oscar would be a reasonable addition? If so, I'm assuming that I would want to add it 1) small and 2) last; is that right? If it spends 4 weeks in the Q-tank, is it still going to be small enough to add without undue problems? How big should the other guys be before I undertake this (if at all)? <I'd feel ok about an Oscar in this mix, 135gallons should be enough room.  Just make sure no one is small enough to fit in anyone else's mouth, mainly the Oscar's.  After 4 weeks of quarantine he will still be small enough to add to the mix.  Gage> <<RMF would not place a pictus catfish and Oscar in the same system>>

Blue Dolphin Cichlids With Rainbows  12/2/05 Hiya, Thanks for the quick reply.  I'm a bit concerned about putting "dither" fish in, apart from the fact that I'm not entirely sure what they are (although I've been reading a bit and I think that they're sort of like a distraction? Am I right?) < They provide movement in the tank and act as indicators for the cichlids to let them know when it is safe to come out.> Will they be all right with the moorii? < The rainbows can tolerate similar water conditions. What if the moorii eat them? (I hate to sound silly but these are the questions that spring to mind). < The rainbows are very fast and the moorii are actually very poor fish eaters. They actually rather sift through the sand than catch fish.> Also, what do you mean by the littler fish "not being too sure"? < A smaller fish is more likely to be eaten then a larger fish. Smaller fish are more suspicious of their surroundings. Chuck> Sorry to be a pain, Thanks Lyndsey 

South American Cichlid Compatibility/Stocking Density  Aloha WWM, <What's up Tara!> You guys are great and have helped me many times with my tank questions. I regularly scan your site for new info! <Thanks for the compliments.> I currently have a 110 gal tank that is doing well; 2 Oscars, 1 red zebra, 2 electric blue mbunas, 1 electric yellow cichlid, 1 shovelnose cat, 2 bushynose plecos, 2 clown loaches <These guys get pretty big, 12" range.>  and 2 yoyo loaches. <All sounds good for now.> <<Uhh, I notice there are some Tanganyika and Malawi cichlids listed with this predominantly soft water / low pH animals....  Not compatible....  -SCF>> I was given a 75 gal tank and set it up yesterday with a Penn Plax canister filter, gravel, heater, lights, assorted wood, rock and fake plant decorations. <Very Cool.> I had 2 biological sponges in my other tank's filter, so put one of them in the new filter to get the nitrifying bacteria jump started.  <I would still monitor levels could be a week or two until it stabilizes.> Here are my questions: 1. Today, the water is cloudy white, I am presuming it to be bacteria that will go away on its own, but please let me know if that is not the case. <That or an algae bloom, I would just monitor chemistry levels and perform water changes as needed.> 2. Since the necessary bacteria are already colonized on the sponge, how long do I need to wait to put fish in? Ammo, nitrite and nitrate are all 0 now. <I would wait at least a week or two to make sure everything is stabilized.> 3. My husband really wants an aggressive tank, and he loves Red Devils, Green Terrors and Jack Dempseys, all of which are available at the LFS.  Will these fish work together, how many of each would you recommend? <All get quite large and aggressive as you mentioned, as full length adults I would not do more than a pair or trio in total of the above mentioned specimens. All of these fish can get quite large in the 12" range.> 4. Are there any other non cichlids that could work with the aforementioned tough guys to add variety, such as some sort of an eel, <No eel most need brackish to marine environments.> cat, knifefish or shark? <I would look into some type of larger loaches or plecos.> <<I've seen redtail sharks in systems with just these fish swimming fat and happy!  Marina>> 5. How many fish should I start with and how long should I take to get the tank fully stocked? <The slower and more patient the better, but I would add the cichlids either simultaneously or around the same time-frame to avoid aggression.> 6. Is there anything I am overlooking in this set up? <Nothing obvious that I can see but as with all specimens I would quarantine before intro. Into display.> Your help is sincerely appreciated! <You are welcome.> Best regards, <You too.> Tara <Adam J?>

Mixing FW fishes, groups... cichlids 9/25/05 Sorry to bother you again <No bother at all.> but I have another question. I have a Green Terror, Pleco, a pair of Convicts, and three Gouramis. I've decided to leave the blue Gourami inside a 10-gallon tank and transfer them to my friends later on . <Good move those Gouramis would not have lasted long with the cichlids.> I have bought a 55-gallon tank. And I want to put the Green terror, convicts, and pleco in it. Should I put all of them in the tank at once? <I would add the Pleco. first and the cichlids simultaneously and please do keep in mind that your Common Pleco can get 12' in length. On another note please be sure to 'cycle' this tank before adding the livestock http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > And what kind of other fish can I put in the aquarium if I can. <Other South American cichlids, few other options.> A Pacu? <Definitely not a Pacu, these fish get around 30' in length, major tank busters.> I would like to keep intrusting fish. Could you please give me a list of what I can put in? <Interest is rather relative, as I mentioned above other cichlids of a South American origin would be a good bet. See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlidcompfaqs.htm > Thanks <No problem, AdamJ.>

Oscars Getting Banged Up  9/25/05 I have a pair of Oscars that are constantly showing up with scrapes all over their sides.  I'm wondering if this is normal and if it will heal without scaring.  Could it be they are fighting when I am not around or could my Plecostomus or tiger shovelnose catfish have any part in this.  One of my Oscars also recently smashed his head into the lip of the tank, when our power went out and there was no light or filtration for about a day, leaving a big gash in his head.  I'm wondering if this will leave a scar.  I have been using stress coat with my water changes and it says that it can heal wounds.  I have also been using Melafix to heal the wounds.  Any advice or information would be very helpful. Thanks a lot guys. < You need to find out what is going on. If the fish act normal while you are there then take a video camera and set it up on the tank while you are away. Video the fish for awhile and check it out when you get back. Chances are you will find the shovelnose picking on the Oscars. Then you can make a choice on to get rid of the tiger shovelnose or the Oscars. You are doing everything right to control the wounds. Make sure they don't get infected and fungus because they will scar for sure then.-Chuck>

Oscars with Frontosas  9/20/05 I'd like to first say how much help your site has been toward the raising of my Oscars.  I have a pair of very young tiger Oscars who will soon be moving into a gorgeous 135 gallon tank.  Right now they are living very peacefully together with a Plecostomus and a small tiger shovelnose catfish.  I am very interested in buying a pair of Frontosa to go with them and I just want to know how compatible the whole set up will be.  I am not really interested in breeding the frontosa so I opted for getting a pair of males, but I was told by a local store that two males would fight and that it was not a good idea to house them with my Oscars.  I don't want to spend $500 on a whole breeding colony, which seems to be how everyone wants to sell them.  Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for your help guys. < As a general rule it is not a good idea to mix cichlids from different continents for a long time. I am sure it has been done by aquarists who want big fish and mix and match anything and everything. Big cichlids tend to get territorial and Frontosas and Oscars just don't speak the same body language. One will become dominant and bully the other around. The weaker fish will hide in the corner and become a poor display.-Chuck> Flag Cichlid Lost His Mate - 09/16/2005 Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Crewmember Sabrina with you today, in his stead....  he is at a conference.> One of our Cichlids (Ethyl - The female) passed away today and left the Fred, our male alone.  They are older fish and I read your comment that it is better to have tankmates grow up together. You may know this behavior, but Ethyl had gotten injured and we were medicating her and thought she might recover.  We knew it was going south when Fred started acting different.  He guarded her against the other fish, he nudged her and rubbed up against her. He would frequently run himself against the glass when we were there and swim erratically... Now that Ethyl has passed he is hiding in his cave and his color has darkened meaning his mood is bad.  With this behavior and with her passing, should we worry about his health? <He might just be hiding since he's lost his pal - or if she had anything catchy, he (and other tankmates) may be at risk.  Most important, though, is that you be maintaining optimal water quality.  Be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, and keep ammonia and nitrite at ZERO and nitrate less than 20ppm with water changes.> He has 4 angel fish and many other schools of fish including clown loaches that he gets along with, but Ethyl was his companion.... If he does get lonely, Is it possible to get an older Festivus Cichlid a younger new tankmate and have it be successful? <Yes.  Try to get a female that has achieved sexual maturity.> Tara Washburn <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Cichlids With Catfish  9/13/05 Hello Crew! I have a 75 gal tank (48"x18"x20") pH = 7.8-8, ammonia = 0ppm, nitrite = 0ppm, temp 75-80. Currently I am housing a Synodontis Eupterus Catfish of length 6-7 inches and a Clarias Batrachus, the infamous "walking catfish", of length 8-9 inches. the Synodontis got a little aggressive towards the Clarias upon first introduction, as it had been alone in the tank for quite some time, but the two seem to be getting along fine now and for the most part keep out of each other's way on opposite ends of the tank. I had been planning on using the tank for Electric Yellow Cichlids but now I'm thinking about Frontosa Cichlids. I'm wondering how many, if any at all, of these great fish I could keep in my current tank set-up assuming that I have adequate filtration. I am aware that they can get to be about 14" and I like to give my fish plenty of space so I am wondering about keeping anywhere from 1-3 of them. Also, I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on additional cichlids to keep. I am interested in bright active fish to go along with the possible Frontosa cichlids and my two current catfish. Thanks so much! Zack <The Clarias catfish will also get big and eat anything it can swallow. Two female frontosa would work. A male will dominate all others in the tank. Look at Neolamprologus tetracephalus or sexfasciatus for cichlids with similar markings but don't get as big. What ever you decide on make sure the cichlids are all about the same size. Malawi fish make a bite too busy for some Tanganyikan fish.-Chuck> Novice Cichlid Keeper Mistakes  9/3/05 I am new into the hobby, although, I have had an aquarium for 5 years that I didn't do too much with.  I added a bunch of new fish and it peaked my interest.  I own a 33 gallon community, which is doing fine. This new interested caused me to buy a 55 gallon at Wal-Mart.  I wanted to put big fish in it.  I think I have some compatibility issues now. I have 10 African Cichlids, 3 Jack Dempseys, 1 Oscar (small), 2 Iridescent Sharks, 3 Kribs, 3 Cory Catfish, 1 Plecostomus, 1 catfish (shark), and 1 convict. (55 Gallon) I know now that a lot of these are from various regions, and I should have done better home work. My community has tiger barbs, danios, mollies, neon tetras, black tetras, red tiger barb, green tiger barb, and golden algae eaters. (33 Gallon) I know the Oscar will get big and have to go.  Should I put Kribs in the community tank? Can the American Cichlids live with Africans? (Malawi) In the 55 Gallon the ph is 7.5, I raised it for the Africans. Thanks, Rodney < You question brings up the topic of buying inexpensive fish at a large department store vs. paying a little more but getting your fish at a local reliable fish store. Most dept. or large chain stores sell fish and aquarium items. You usually get very little advice on your selection of fish or anything else at these stores. If you had gone to the local fish store (LFS), the clerk would have probably asked you a few questions but direct in the right direction with advice on which fish would work best for your aquariums over time. To directly answer your questions, the Kribs and Cory's need to go into the community tank. The others will tear each other up over time. Keep the Africans or the others but not both. If you decide to keep the non-Africans then all the others ,except the convict, will get big over time and eventually need to be given away.-Chuck>

Mixing Cichlids 6/31/05 So you can mix and match African with south American? < The Malawian tank was the best alternative for your problem. I didn't say it was ideal. New world and Old World cichlids usually don't match up real well because they communicate using body coloration. What is dominant in Old World cichlids  may be submissive in a New World cichlid. So a fish that it trying to show he is not aggressive is really showing that he is aggressive and forcing a confrontation when he has no intention of fighting.> I was told no, they'll kill each other. < Mbuna usually leave other cichlids alone that don't look anything like them unless they begin to feed in their territory.> How aggressive is a Firemouth, mine seems pretty tame and it's doing fine with a pleco and a Pictus Catfish.  But then someone else told me that Firemouths are mean. < I have found that firemouths really aren't too bad as far as cichlids are concerned. In a community set up they could be considered men but by cichlid standards they really aren't hat bad.> I have tanks of: Tank 1:  2 small (less than an inch) African cichlids (orange).  I think they are store mutants cause they only cost 3.50 each.  (10 gallon) Tank 2:  2 Red eared slider turtles (babies still). Tank 3:  1  5-inch albino Oscar and 1 2 inch pink convict.  Both extremely aggressive.  and a large pleco.  (25 gallon) Tank 4:  6 assorted African cichlids (1-vivid purple and black, 1-fading purple and gray (not the same as first one, that one was expensive), 1- solid orange one - big, 4 inches, 1-smaller orangish yellow one with very faded grayish strips - like the store mutants, 1-white one, solaris something, 1 peacock something or other, 1 bumblebee, yellow and black stripes, and 1 grayish one with blackish stripes, very very fast.) Someone in that tank had babies a month ago cause we just found 4 survivors about 1/4" long the other day.  Must have been there a month or so.  A very large pleco, and 2-Lacy catfish (35 gal).  The 4 baby fry have been separated and live in a giant mayonnaise jar. Tank 5:  Community Tank - 1 angelfish, 3 albino barbs, 1 green barb, 1 molly, 1 male guppy, 2 baby Corys, 1 leopordis something (yellow and black stripes, thin and long), 1 pleco, 1 ice blue gourami, 1 blue and red striped gourami, 1 yellow gourami, 1 blue gourami with a big spot, 1 long finned zebra danio.  (35 gallon) Tank 6:  2 fancy goldfish  (5 gallon) Tank 7:  2 pink convicts (very mean and nasty, and these are the NICE ones!)  They are in the hospital tank #1 right now, got to get another tank or consolidate some of these guys. Tank 8:  1 mid-size Oscar about 4 inches.  Nothing else.  He needs company.  Aggressive company.  I'd love another cichlid of the smaller variety that can be mean right back at him.  He killed the small Oscar (3 inch). Tank 9, 10, 11, and 12:  4 male bettas in Betta bowls Tank 13:  1 itty bitty fish of some sort that my daughter caught at the river.  It's a fry of some sort, probably trout or salmon or something - American River in Sacramento, CA. Tank 14:  2 albino sharks, 2 dragon eels (30 gal) Tank 15:  1 Firemouth (2 inches), 1 pictus catfish (hey, how do you get the pieces of net off his fins without hurting him? < Very Carefully! Try using a net with different mesh size that won't get caught as easily.> I was cleaning the tank, used a net to remove him and he got stuck by his two lower front fins (like hands).  I cut the net to release him as he was getting very agitated but after one day, only one piece worked itself loose.  The other "hand" still has net attached to it.  Is that going to be a problem?) < Try and remove as much of the net as possible. eventually the net will get caught on something and cause a problem.> Tank 16:  2 pacu.  I need to find them a home, any suggestions other than "a fish store".  They are 6 months old and have grown from 1-1/2 inches each to 12 inches each.  My ole 55 gal turtle tank just isn't big enough.  I was going to dig a pond out back but was told it would not work and the heating would be astronomical.  I can't afford a $5000 250 gallon tank and I've never actually built a tank of my own so . . . bad first project.  These guys are so friendly and so pretty with bright vivid coloring.  Would look great in someone's restaurant or office- someone who can write-off the fish tank expense.  I figure I've got about a month before I'll just have to kill them.  I think they are already starting to starve cause there just is not enough room in the tank for them to properly feed like the shovel/pelican kinda feeding that they do.  Wish I could keep them but I can't afford the tank.  At the rate these guys are going, they just might make 36 inches each. Must be doing something right. Too bad, they are beautiful, gentle piranha fish cousins. yeah, I have a few more tanks of assorted fish too.  Can any other of these mentioned go with the Oscar? He is really mean.  Took on the Oscar twice his size and got a hole chewed in the side of his head for his trouble! < Based on where you live I would contact the members of the Sacramento Aquarium Society at www.sacramentoaquariumsociety.org and see if some of the members may be interested in your unwanted fish. I have spoken to their club a couple of times at there general meetings and I think that they may be able to help. -Chuck>

Cichlid Compatibility Thanks for answering my last question so quickly! Right now I have two questions, one concerning the answer you gave to my last question. I asked my father if the fish you suggested I have with my other cichlids/ fish (*1* 3.5" Red Tiger Oscar, *1* 2.75" Jack Dempsey, and *1* 4" Pleco) which were to put in some rainbows, or giant danios or medium sized barbs, and he said that they would get eaten if put with my fish. Is this true and if so, what other fish could I put in that would absolutely work with my other fish? <The fish that I recommended are referred to as dither fish. They can be any fast moving fish that will not be eaten by the larger and slower cichlids. When the cichlids are full grown then many of these fish will be too small and may be eaten. If you want fish as large as the cichlids then look at tinfoil barbs and silver dollars.> My other question is if I got a mating pair of cichlids, such as Convicts, Jacks or maybe Oscars would they fit in my 55 gallon tank that I will set up soon? < The convicts and jacks would work. The Oscars would too but they might be crowded, need very good filtration and lots of water changes.> I mean I have a show tank that is 4' by 1' and I will be putting an undergravel filter in it connected to a power filter, though I don't know what decorations I will have (advice please) and I am also thinking of getting a Pictus catfish. I would enjoy a quick reply, and THANKS again!!!-Christine <As soon as the cichlids decide to breed, they will dig a pit down to the top of the filter plate and then the UG filter will be useless. The water will go through the plate and not through the gravel into the canister. The cichlids would pick the whiskers off the Pictus cat.-Chuck> 

Cichlid Community Tank I plan on setting up a 55 gallon show tank soon with undergravel filter connected to a hanging filter, like the set-up of my 10 gallon tank that has worked well so far. I have (1) 3.5" Red Tiger Oscar, (1) 2.75" Jack Dempsey, and a 4" common Pleco. So far these guys have been friendly to one another in the 10 gallon tank as I waited for them to get a little bigger, and I was wondering if I could put them in a 55 gallon tank with two Convicts and maybe some other smaller and faster fish. Though I don't know what type of fish those would be, so if is all right to do this, what type of fish should I put in my 55 gallon tank with my Red Tiger Oscar, Jack Dempsey, Plecostomus, and maybe with two new convicts. If the convicts become a mated pair, by accident, would this be an OK set-up? Or what other options do I have? -Christine <I would put them in the bigger tank as soon as possible. That way they can establish territories without tearing each other up. Look for fast moving easy to care for fish like rainbows , medium sized barbs or giant danios.-Chuck> 

Large Cichlid Tank Set -Up Hey guys! I am about to purchase a large acrylic aquarium to be installed into the wall of my basement in the house that is currently being built. The dimensions are as follows: 120" X 48" 30" 750 gallons. <That's a big tank!> I have a list of hopeful occupants and was wondering if you guys could take a look and give me any input: overstocked, understocked, Compatibility issues, etc... I am planning on purchasing the fish as juveniles and allowing this to be their permanent home, so I would like to get a list of fish that would work together. My only concern is that I really don't want any breeding going on (in other words fighting) but I don't think that I could control it, since I can't really sex the fish being so small. Please any input on this combination would be greatly appreciated. I love your site and enjoy reading your responses to the various questions. There is not enough information on Large Freshwater Cichlid Set-Ups!  < We are working on it.> Thanks for your time. The list is as follows: Vieja synspilum, <Comes from Mexico. Like fresh to brackish water. Needs some vegetable matter in its diet. Will get up to 14 inches but will breed at about half that size.> Vieja ufermann,< Don't know this one. Check out fishbase.org. If you mean C. umbrifurum, then this guy gets up to 2 feet long and will eat smaller fish.> Green Terror < Have seen these up to 18 inches depending on which kind you get.> Herichthys bocourti,  <Gets up to 14 inches but very similar to the synspilum.>, Firemouths  < Pairs would hold up ok but individuals would get picked on by the bigger fish. Only gets to 6 inches.> Synodontis Decorus. < Nice fish gets big. Cichlids may bite off the tassel on the dorsal fin.> Large Shoal Clown Loaches (don't know # yet) < Make sure that you do everything possible to prevent ich. Treating a large tank can be costly.> Other Fishes that I would like to add but don't want to overcrowd tank: Amphilophus lyonsi, < Very rare and hard to find.> Blue Jack Dempsey < A hybrid not found in nature. May not do well competing with other fish.> Regular Jack Dempsey <Gets up to 10 inches. Females have lots of blue on the lower jaw.>  Salvini <Aggressive but would work.> Convicts <With females remaining relatively small they might be in trouble if not paired up.> The fish in bold are a must to keep because they are my favorites. The others I would like to add but I don't want to overcrowd the fish. I want this to be their permanent home and be comfortable with their surroundings. Am I headed for disaster with this particular fish list? Do I need to start looking at 900 gallon tanks? Any information on this would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks again. <The Theraps types are fine. Stay away from the piscivores and you can probably keep the smaller species. Look at Cichlidae.com for additional species and check out the American Cichlid Association at cichlid.org to hook up with other cichlid fanatics across the country. Some have even bigger tanks than yours!!!-Chuck>

Synodontis Catfish Bullying Cichlids I have had a four inch Synodontis petricola for about month now, this morning when I turned on the light she did something new. She chased all the Cichlids out of her cave, very aggressively. Normally she would basically ignore all the other fish in the tank. Then this evening when I fed her I noticed that her stomach was very bloated. I usually attempt to feed her with the other fish and then feed her specifically when I turn lamp out, it was after I turned the lamp out and fed her that I noticed her belly. She is still swimming around and she did seem to eat a little. Is she sick, what can I do? As for tank, it is a 30 gallon, 36 inch tank with an Emperor 400 filter. There are 8 small cichlids I believe they are all originally Malawian (4 of them came from my brother-in-laws tank--he has a fry problem,) they are all young the largest is maybe 1.5 inches. Then there is 1 common Pleco and the Petricola. The substrate is mixed coral and black pebbles. There are 3 Anubias plants, 3 Java ferns and a small piece of Amazon Sword. I keep the water at about 79 degrees, PH is 8, Nitrite and Ammonia are trace. I do weekly 7-10 gallon water changes. The tank finished cycling about a month ago and the fish were added a few at a time over a 10 day period. Until today everything seemed perfect. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks, Tony < In the wild, this catfish deals with cichlids all day long and doesn't back down very easily. I think what is going on here is the much larger catfish is pushing the smaller cichlids out of the way at dinner time. She is probably eating both during the day and at night. I would recommend just one feeding a day during the daylight hours. Fed only enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. If your fish is not eating then it could be an internal bacterial infection that needs to be treated with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Aggressive Firemouth Hi, I have a 90 litres aquarium with 2 Firemouths and a T. gibbiceps. From the moment I introduced the Firemouths, one of them started to claim not a specific territory but the whole aquarium! The other fish is very shy, not trying to compete with the dominant over a territory and doesn't grow so fast as the dominant fish (although the 2 fishes have a very small difference in size). The dominant fish still after 1 month chases the other all around the tank. Recently, I have noticed that the weaker fish suffered an injury (a small cut) on its left gill, apparently from a bite. Yesterday, I saw another cut (not a very big one) on its head! What should I do? Should I return the weaker fish to the retailer and get another, more robust? Or should I return the dominant one and try to find a subtle companion, like a peaceful Blue Acara? What would you recommend? Thanks a lot for your help Spyros < Cichlids are territorial. If they are establishing a territory then they will pick on all the other fish and especially other cichlids. Blue Acaras will be the same. You need to add lots of rock work and more the decorations around every time you add a fish. No matter what kind of cichlids you get you are going to have to deal with some level of aggression. I would recommend that maybe you swap the fish for some barbs, tetras or livebearers. These fish may be somewhat temperamental but they will not inflict the damage that cichlids can.-Chuck>

Cichlid Survival Plan Hi I have 3 red devils, a blood parrot, and an albino Oscar in a 55 gallon tank. They are all about 3 inches or smaller, but I was wondering who will be the last fish alive, and if they are raised together if they will end up eating each other. I also was thinking about taking out my Oscar and getting a Flowerhorn instead would this be wise, would it be able to live with the rest of the fish.. Sincerely Nick < One of the red devils will surely be a male and eventually take out all of the rest of the fish. A Flowerhorn would last longer than the Oscar and give the red devil a run for its money.-Chuck>

Large Cichlid Community Tank I established a 45 gallon tank about 3 months ago, thinking I would purchase a larger tank within enough time to have it ready for the cichlids I have been raising. Current stock is (1) 5 inch Managuense,(1) 4 inch jack Dempsey, (1) 3 1/2 inch Firemouth, (1) 3 inch clown Pleco. The Managuense has doubled in size in the three months, and will probably outgrow the tank within a couple more. I also have a (1) 3 1/2 inch green terror that was getting beat up by everyone in the 45 so I put him in my 20 gallon long community tank to heal up which worked (and did not result in any harm to the community inhabitants), but I need to get him back in the 45..... My guess is that there is no way to keep the Managuense in the tank very long, Since he would need at least 75 gallons on his own from what I have read. Up to what size do you think the Dempsey, gt, and Firemouth can co-exist in this setting? <Depends if the fish are male or female. A male Managuense can get up to a foot long while a female will get about 8 inches. The Jack Dempsey male will get 8 inches plus while a female will stay between 4 and 6 inches. I would go at least 100 gallons to play it safe.> If I can get them through this for up to six months, I should be able to get the larger tank in place by then. It will be painful enough to part with the Managuense (really healthy, gorgeous when showing his colors), so anything I can do to avoid having to find the others a new home will be worth it to me, not matter how much extra attention I may need to provide. If it helps to know, the Dempsey seems pretty timid, even with the Firemouth who is a lot smaller, and the gt is so docile that he gets spooked even by the rainbowfish in the community tank. I am actually hoping that the Firemouth will stay dominant if I take out the Managuense, seems he seems all bark and no bite. Any tips on a good place to donate my fish in NYC? I really hate to consider giving it to the LFS, since they aren't very helpful, and give no store credit around here. Maybe list it on Aquabid? Thanks in advance for your help! < Go to the local hardware store and get some egg crate light panels. They come in sheets and can usually be cut down to fit any tank. Separate the bully from the rest of the fish until you can get your big tank set up. Big fish are expensive to ship so Aquabid may not be such a good idea.-Chuck> CONVICTS WITH RED DEVILS Hi, I am a big fan now. You guys answered a question in record time for me about a year ago, and, are the only people who were able to answer it at all! But, anyway, I recently lost a female parrot who I have had for years and who had been paired up with my red devil . They were inseparable, and spawned many, many times. He has been depressed and hides now. (about 2 mos.) I bought a pair if convicts today in hopes of arousing his interest. He seems interested but not aggressive...yet. I hope to add to the convicts soon, But only if there is still peace., What is your advice? Are these two kinds of cichlids going to be able to co-exist? They are in a 200 gal. thanks, Lori C. < If your pair of convicts decide to breed then they will not let any other fish close to their eggs and fry . The tank seems big enough so they should get along. Sometimes when the fry become free swimming the wander all over the tank regardless what the size. At this point the fry are very hard to catch and the parents will not tolerate any other fish in the tank.-Chuck> 

Convict with an Oscar? Hey, About a year ago, my hubby and I bought a breeding pair of convict cichlids.  They were very shy and would wait until I left the area near the tank to eat.  About three weeks ago, the female died (no known cause) and the male seemed rather depressed.  (By the way, the female was 1.5in and the male is 3.5in) I decided it was time to get him a tank buddy and picked out a 2in long Oscar.  I removed my convict, all the plants, did a 15% water change, cleaned the rocks and moved all the plants and rocks around the tank.  I placed the Oscar (in his pet store bag) in the tank and let him get used to everything for about an hour before releasing him.  Then about 30min later, I put my convict back in the tank.  I forgot to mention that this is a 55 gal tank with the works on filters.  The convict has totally taken over, but hasn't bitten, rammed or tried to kill the Oscar.  Was it a good idea to mix these two? Thanks, Becca >>>Hi Becca, Not only is a 2 inch Oscar an unsuitable tankmate for a convict, but I've seen 14" Oscars victimized by convicts no larger than 2"! The Oscar will sulk on the bottom of the tank, pale - and will not eat. This is a LARGE Oscar mind you, a smaller Oscar like yours will often be killed. Remove the Oscar and look to other medium sized, more aggressive Central American Cichlids. Regards Jim<<<

Convict compatibility Hi, I have a question about compatibility and would like some advice.  I currently have a 75 gallon tank and a 29 gallon tank.  The fish I currently have are :  a 6" Texas cichlid, a tiretrack eel, a 5" Leporinis, a 4" Iridescent shark, a 3" pike cichlid, a 2" convict cichlid, and two good sized Plecos.  All of these seem to get along fine but because they are growing so quickly, I am moving them to the 75 gallon tank which I just purchased.  The 75 has two AquaClear 500 filters.  What I am asking is where to put them.  I would also like to get one tiger Oscar and am aware of their size, however I tried to get a baby Oscar and it was killed by the convict.  I would like to have an Oscar in the big tank with the Texas and  all of the other fish, other than maybe the convict.  I was wondering if I could put the convict with some Africans of similar size in the 29 gallon? < No, sorry . The African cichlids have teeth and would tear up your convict in no time at all.> What do you think I should do with the two tanks and the fish I have.  Please help...I want to get these guys out of the cramped position they are in now. < The Texas cichlid may get a couple of inches bigger. The tiretrack eel will max out at about 8 inches or so. The Leporinus will get up to a foot and maybe even larger. The iridescent shark will get huge and outgrow your 75 gallon tank over time. Depending on the species of pike cichlid it would get somewhere between 9 and 24 inches long. If your convict is a female then it may get up to three inches . If it is a male then it could get up to 6 inches. You can sort your fish according to size but you have to realize that as the larger fish grow the smaller ones need to be separated from them because they will hide and may not come out to eat and the differences in sizes will become more prominent. If you want to add an Oscar then I would recommend trying one at least three inches long.-Chuck> Thanks, Bridget Stocking help and Dither question Hi guys, Sorry to send you this direct, but I can't seem to find exactly what I need, and the staff at my LFS seem to just answer my questions the way they think I'd like them to. I could really use some expert advice! I just set up a 75 gallon (coming from a 29) and have transferred my Gold Severum (4-5") and Blood Parrot (4-5" not dyed), and 4 Penguin Tetras over. I have two questions: 1) Dithers - <A dither fish is usually any fish that is an open water swimmer and generally not too skittish when someone approaches the tank. The activity makes the larger fish more secure and comfortable so it looks better is more likely to come out> I keep reading that they must be kept in groups of 6 or more. But my LFS said 4 was okay, and convinced me against all I keep reading on the net. What's your take? Should I get 2 more penguins? < More is better but you can get some other types tetras too and mix them together to add some interest to your tank.> 2) Does the following look okay for compatibility in my new 75(48x18x20) once it cycles?: < Your choices of fish look fine.> (My PH is 7.4, and I can't recall my hardness right now - I keep the temp. at 78F, and have been doing weekly 25% changes that I will continue with the new setup) < I would recommend you do get a nitrate test kit . When the nitrate levels reach 25 ppm or more you will need to do a water change to reduce the nitrate levels and service the filter. You did not mention the filtration. Make sure it pumps at least 3 times the volume of the tank each hour. More is better. When the filters become full the flow rate diminishes quickly.> Blood Parrot - 8" Gold Severum - 8" Green Severum - 8" Blue Acara - 6" 4 Penguin tetras - 12" 4 Giant Danios - 16" Bristlenose Cat -6" Red-Tail Shark - 6" I'd roughly be at 70", which is under the 1"/gal rule. <Don't worry about the rule check on the nitrates . These rules went out years ago.> And I have lots of rock and wood that form territories. Please give me your feedback if you have time. And if the shark is a bad choice, < The shark is fine. The larger South American cichlids are relatively slow so the smaller faster fish will be fine. I would watch the smaller penguin tetras though. As they age they make start to slow down and become fish food to the larger fish.> what I'm really looking for is a unique medium-sized fish that can do well alone. < There are many fish that fit this category. I recommend you go to your library and review the tropical fish books there or drop us a line if something at your local store looks interesting.-Chuck> Thank you very much for your time. Corey Cormier.

Severum, Oscar, trouble hi there I have a question to ask, I have a male Severum and we bought a albino Oscar around the same size as the Severum and my Severum attacked it to the point where the Oscar's fins were almost gone, I was wondering why he acted so aggressively towards the Oscar or any other fish I place in our tank. there is a lot of hiding space and what not I was told that they r tankmates but I found out differently. What shall I do? we would like to place at least another fish in the tank. < Large cichlids can become territorial as they grow. Severums are usually not too aggressive but yours has obviously established his territory as the entire aquarium. I would add a group of smaller and faster dither fish to the tank. These would be like a group of Mexican tetras, Congo tetras or medium sized barbs. As the Severum chases them around for awhile he will eventually get bored and give up. It may be tougher trying to add additional cichlids to the tank. Add the dither fish and let them get established. When the Severum gives up I would then try to add another cichlid but try something a little different. Before adding the fish I would remove all the decorations and vacuum the gravel while I do a 30% or so water change. Rearrange the decorations and add newly treated water to the tank. Add the new fish and turn off the lights for the night. In the morning both fish will each be busy establishing their  territory. Good Luck -Chuck> Chantal

Cichlid troubles I've had my 90 gallon cichlid tank up and running for about 3 months now.  I currently have 12 assorted cichlids < What kind and how big? This really makes a difference.> and one pleco.  I made sure that the water was perfect by bringing a sample of the water to my local aquarium store to be tested before adding fish to the tank.  I've slowly started adding fish into the tank 2 or 3 every 2 weeks or so.  They have plenty of rocks and fake plants to hide in.  As far as I can tell, the conditions are perfect.  The temperature seems to range from 77 to 80.  Everything has been great until a few days ago, I noticed one of the cichlids hiding behind the heater.  He spent all his time there, even when I fed them.  Two days after that, he moved to a spot where he hid in between the leaves on a fake plant.  He has not moved from this spot for about 5 days now.  He has not eaten at all.  I don't notice any sizes of diseases but he looks really skinny and his colour has gotten very pale.  I would greatly appreciate any advice as to what could be the problem.  Now one of my other cichlids has been found hanging out in the same area.  He stays there a lot but still moves to other areas of the tank.  I've noticed he is not eating that much right now either.  It almost seems like he's consoling the fish that is sick (even though that sounds a little ridiculous).  Maybe he's getting sick too....although I really hope not.  Help!!!????< < Service the filter and check the nitrates. If they are higher than 25 ppm then I would change enough water to bring them down to this level. Make sure the food you are feeding them is appropriate. Some cichlids are herbivores and require vegetable matter in their diet. Food with too much animal protein may make them sick. Are bigger fish casing the smaller ones? Are the males chasing the females around trying to breed? More details please -Chuck>/P> Michelle

Blood Parrot Cichlid, tankmates? Dear WWM Crew, <Sabrina here, this evening> Some background: I have a new tank which has been setup and had a Blood Parrot introduced last week (only fish in tank). I don't know how to measure her, but she is 5" including the tail fin, 3" without, approx. The tank is 20 gal. with a "Whisper" filter, a heater and an air-stone The tank has yet to start its nitrate cycle (ammonia started climbing slowly, nitrites just above 0, pH 7.0. Doing 20% water changes (only 1 so far, but plan to keep them regular) and gravel vacuuming of 33% of the gravel bed, weekly. <Sounds good, so far, just keep that ammonia and nitrite in check during this critical period> After another 2-3 weeks, once the cycle is steady and ammonia and nitrites go to 0, I'd like to get some more fish. I am at a conundrum as to what to do. I've read that I will need to get similar size fish to avoid bullying. Also, I read that they do best in "large groups" so that there is no aggression focused on one weaker fish. At the same time, they grow big and need a bigger tank than the one I have. So adding 1-2 fish would create a small group leading to aggression, yet adding more would overwhelm them because of the small tank. <To be quite honest, I wouldn't add *any* fish.  You *might* be able to get by quite well with one more blood parrot of the opposite gender, and hope they pair up.  Other than that, I would expect just about anything else to be harassed unmercifully.> Do I not add any and just have 1 fish? <That is exactly what I would do, for the time being.> Are there any smaller species that will be compatible with a parrot, so that I can add a few of them? Or should I wait a year with one lonely fish and then just get a much bigger tank before adding fish? <That'd be the plan, in my opinion.  Don't worry too much about your fish being lonely; give him some 'quality time' every day during feeding, and he should develop quite a personality for you.  I'm sure he'll find a way to keep you entertained until you can do a bigger tank for him and some pals, no worries.> I want more fish, but  my fish's happiness is more important. <Oh my, I wish everyone had that attitude!> PS. My blood parrot has a slight white discoloration above one eye. I believe it appeared after the first day in the tank. Could it just be adjusting to the new (uncycled) tank, or is there something wrong? <Hmm, could be stress, but it might be a developing bacterial or fungal problem; keep a very close eye on this, and see how it progresses over the next few days, treat if necessary.> Please advise! <Hope all goes well with you and your new pal!  -Sabrina>

Angelfish 'n Platies Crew, I read the post & Sabrina's reply to the reader with an impressive collection of FW fish in a 58G tank. <Say my name, and magically I appear!  Sabrina with you, today> Among the multitude of fish in the tank were angels and platies and swordfish. Over the years, I have never had much luck keeping angels and platies/swordtails thriving in the same tank. My daughters have taken over the FW in our house now that I have moved to SW. My 10 y/o wants an angel and a swordfish, but I have resisted so far. <One swordtail wouldn't be a very happy fish - they really like/need to school.  Two females (or more) per every one male.  At that, one angel wouldn't make for a very happy critter, either, I'm afraid - and angels will eat baby swordtails, so don't plan on raising many.  On top of that, two angels in a tank will likely try to breed, and will turn aggressive to their tankmates.  I prefer to see angels in larger tanks where they can have space needed to establish territory if they do breed (at the least, a 55 gallon tank, IMO, to try to have other fish with them).> Am I correct in my understanding that their optimal pH and hardness ranges are different enough that it is difficult to keep them together? <I wouldn't think so; platies, swords, and angels have been bred in captivity long enough that they can tolerate a very wide range of pH and hardness.  Angels will tolerate pH much lower than the platies and swords, and the platies and swords can go with a much harder, alkaline water than the angels.  Platies and swords can even go brackish.  But I definitely think there's enough neutral ground to keep them together (as long as you're not dealing with wild stock).> Also, the fish guy at the local Petco tells me that the hardiness and general health of the swords and platies available at retail had been going down in the past few years, probably from genetic problems. <Likely true.  The same can be said for guppies and mollies, as well, I would think.  Too much selective inbreeding without taking care to add in fresh genes.> I've been hearing similar concerns about angels recently - too much inbreeding for certain desirable traits leading to problems with other genes. <Exactly.  I've even seen in stores in the last couple of years angels with very significant deformities - missing or malformed fins, malformed heads, etc.  If possible, try to get angels from good, reputable breeders instead of from stores where some of the angels exhibit deformities.> Thanks, Steve

Firemouths and Red Devil Cichlid I have a 29 gallon tank with a temperature of 80 degrees that has one firemouth and two red devils in it. Unfortunately I was not planning on firemouths or Red Devils. It seems the pet shop gave me some misinformation. <Unfortunately, that's an extremely common occurrence.> Anyway, is there anyway these fish can co-exist in this tank? Should I return the red devils or firemouth? <Personally, I'd get the future-foot-long red devils out of there - too small of a tank for them to be in, anyway.> Can I buy another firemouth if I return the red devils? <Only if you can be rather certain that you're getting one of the opposite gender of what you've got now - and even then, do expect the female to get harassed some.  Firemouths get about seven inches long, tops, I think - and will probably be relatively simple to breed in a 29g.> I will probably keep the firemouth if possible. What other fish can happily co-exist and how many? <Not much at all, if you plan on breeding/keeping two firemouths.  Perhaps a plec of some sort would be ignored by breeding cichlids.> How long will it take them to reach full size? <Oh, not a terribly long time; it's been forever since I've had firemouths, but as I recall, they sprang from a meager two inches into 6 inch beasts in significantly less than a year.> They seem to be scared. Do you know why they never come out of their caves? Half the time its like I have no fish. <Likely these very territorial fish are fighting - if not when you see, then behind your back - to the point that they need their own little spaces, and will protect them with their lives.  Also please do check your water parameters (ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate), see if any of those are outta whack, fix with water changes if necessary.> Do you know any websites that have information on many species of fish besides this one? I can't seem to find something reliable. <www.fishbase.org is most certainly a wonderful site to go check out.  Get familiar with this invaluable tool, you'll love it.> Thank you very much for any answers you can provide. <Sure thing!  -Sabrina> I think I need help!!!

Help with Cichlids.. Please? Good evening Crew,<hi> Thanks so much for all the helpful information you folks provide. Especially for us 'newbies' out here!! I rarely need to ask for help because I usually can find answers to all my questions by searching your site.<yes, many questions have already been answered> However, I really could use your assistance this time. Not sure if you need all this to answer my question but here are the details. I have a 125-gallon freshwater cichlid tank that I set up on June 1. It has two corner overflows, Amiracle SR-200 wet/dry filter with bio balls, and two mag drive 700 GPH pumps. The ammonia and nitrites are both zero, nitrates are 20, PH is 8.2 and temp is 78.  I have been performing weekly 20 -- 30% water changes and vacuuming the gravel.<sounds ok> Due to the many cave/shelter structures spread out along the 6 feet of tank I rotate through the structures each week breaking down a section for cleaning/vacuuming. That way I eventually clean each area once every 5 to 6 weeks.<good> I always 'hit' the common open areas every week.  I also clean all the pre-filters about every four days. I use Seachem cichlid salt and Seachem Malawi Victoria buffer. Most of the fish have been together for nearly two years (graduated from a smaller tank) and we added a few new Africans after the new tank cycled. I know that American and Africans have very different needs but all the fish (up 'till now) have been thriving in their new home. I just keep the tank adjusted for the Africans and our little 'mixed family' is happy. Beautiful 10' Midas 5' Parrot (given to my stepson as a gift so we're stuck with him) 5' Green Terror (actually, pretty laid back as long as we don't introduce any New American cichlids) 4' Jewel 4' Cobalt zebra 2' yellow lab (2) 3' Kenyi Plecostomus (9') Electric catfish (9') keeps the Midas in line <please do not mix African cichlids with American cichlids. both are from totally different environments and environmental conditions..pH..etc> Question #1.  The Green Terror appears to have fin rot.<bacterial infection> I think it started with an old tail injury that seemed to heal but in the last few weeks the rest of his tail and his left fin frayed and now part of them have dissolved.<could be a water quality issue. would the water again> His dorsal fin is also beginning to show signs of damage.<maybe he's getting picked on?> Four days ago I placed him in a hospital tank. Actually I just used 10 gallons of water in a twenty-gallon plastic container with a heater and air stone. I elected to do 50% daily water changes and clean up his mess several times daily rather than add a filter since whatever medicine I use would probably wipe out the good bacteria anyway.<true> I tried to create the same water conditions of the 125 gallon tank with the salts, buffer, temp., etc. and treated the water with Seachem Prime before adding the fish.<okay. first of all a green terror is an African cichlid. and does not like hard alkaline water, and second of all he should not be living with African cichlids> We are on well water so no chlorine'¦but you never know. After performing a saltwater dip I added the fish to the tank and started treatment with Maracyn.<salt water dip??> I have been treating him for four days (1 tablet every 24 hours immediately after I change the water) and most of the necrotic tissue has fallen off. He is eating and otherwise appears fine except he does glance off the bottom of the tank once in a while like he is trying to remove something. Since it is sort of hard to scratch anything on a bare plastic container I put a rock in with him and he seems to like that much better. I don't know if the medicine is making him itch or if he is trying to remove the dead tissue or if he has another problem.<it could possibly be a parasitic infection> In your opinion is the Maracyn indicated for Fin Rot or should I be using a different medication or perhaps adding Furan or something along with the antibiotic?<from what I have witnessed fin-rot is caused due to environmental conditions. and normally goes away itself, the Maracyn should work though> Any advice you can provide would be helpful. Question #2. The 10' Midas has always been a beautiful orange with no other coloration. During the past few weeks I have observed that some of the scales along his sides have begun to change from orange to white (random). Today, while cleaning the tank I found a few orange scales in the water that were clearly his. I have also noticed three or four black dots (like pencil marks) on him that look like black spot disease seen on Tangs and the very end of his caudal fin is slightly frayed. Any ideas about what I should be doing with him?<you need to choose. between the Africans or s. American cichlids. or your problems will only get worse> The coloration change makes me worry. FYI'¦I switched foods to New Life Spectrum about four weeks ago. It has really brightened the African's color but the Midas has never looked this way before. Any thoughts? Don't know if this is related but I noticed one black spot (pencil mark) on my Cobalt. Do you think these are worms? And lastly, the Parrot also looks pretty bad; frayed fins, white around his mouth and his scales look pretty rough. However, he is the primary target of the Midas and he and the Cobalt do a little sparring with their mouths. Just can't tell if his problems are from physical abuse or if they are disease related.<again seperate these fish immediately and house them in appropriate quarters...NO AFRICANS AND S. AMERICAN CICHLIDS IN THE SAME AQUARIUM!!!!> So, to sum everything up; I simply can't tell if all of this is related, or if I am dealing with several different problems in the tank or perhaps it is 'operator error'. LOL <I would say operator error. because these fish should not be mixed in the first place. do read more about these and other fish. and their natural habitats. eating habits. environments, etc> Thank you so much for any insight you can provide. I appreciate you taking the time to help!  Susan <your welcome, IanB>

Help with Cichlids...II Please? Thank you for your quick response, I guess this means that everything that is going on: fin rot, black spots, color pigmentation is the result of mixing the American and Africans together.<for the most part yes> Since we have been treating the water the same for over two years (old and new tank) it must have finally caught up with us.<agreed> The old tank, along with the inhabitants, were given to us two years ago when a neighbor moved out of the country and we followed what they were doing. Didn't want to make major changes on the fish. As for the green terror, I am assuming that you meant to say he is NOT an African.<yes> Yes...I realize that. And No...he's not being picked on as I spend hours watching and taking care of them and I think I would have noticed that.<ok> Sorry to have troubled you with my questions.  Susan <no trouble at all, I just appreciate when people research the fish that they purchase/attain. Good luck, IanB>

South American Cichlids and compatibility Hello, First, I would like to thank you for all of your efforts in making WWM such an excellent site.  Here is my dilemma.  About a year ago we purchased a 150 gallon aquarium with a pre-filter and wet/dry sump and stocked it with South American Cichlids.  We added two 1.5 inch Oscars, two 1.5 inch Green Terrors, one 1.5 inch Jack Dempsey and a 3 inch pleco.  All was well for about six months, then the larger Green Terror which is now about 3 inches long was pushing around smaller Terror which is only slightly larger then when we first got it, and the Jack Dempsey, now a little larger than 4 inches was aggressive towards the Oscar's, which were already about five inches long, but for some reason neither of the Terrors.  Not wanting to see any of the fish harmed we set up two separate thirty gallon tanks, medicated the slight wounds on the Oscar's and the smaller Terror and ordered another tank.  The new tank is 240 gallons and we thought all would be well as we would put the less aggressive Oscars and the small Terror in the new tank and add a few non aggressive friends, such as a few large clown loaches, a 5 inch Bala Shark and a 5 inch Royal Pleco.  As you probably guessed since I am typing this e-mail, all is not well.  The Oscars which seemingly got along well before, started to get pushy with one another and the smaller Terror now thinks it owns the new setup.  None of the Cichlids are bother the Bala, Loach or Pleco, but they seem to have an issue with one another.  I removed the least aggressive Oscar and things have calmed a bit.  My questions are this, the 240 gallon tank has large rock caves, and plenty of hiding spaces, could I move the Jack Dempsey and larger Terror to the 240 gallon tank and place the sissy Oscar in the 150 gallon setup with just non aggressive fish?  Since the Oscar has been in the larger tank for a little while, might the Jack Dempsey be less aggressive and find his own area such as a cave, etc?  I thought the 8 foot long tank would be big enough to have a few cichlids, am I incorrect? Any thoughts about placing these fish in groups that would exist well would be appreciated.  Otherwise, I guess I could get a 90 gallon tank for the Oscar.  Thank you very much, Joe <Hi Joe, I would try putting the less aggressive Oscar in the 150 like you suggested and move the Jack into the 240.  Your more aggressive Oscar may be able to hold his own, but I would be prepared to move him back into the 150 as well.  There is going to be aggression no matter what you do, as long as it does not get too bad I would not worry.  They are going to fight like crazy when first introduced, then they will calm down a little.  Keep an eye on them to make sure no one is getting beat too badly.  My roommates Oscar got whooped on by his Green Terror, and had to be separated, I think he was mentally scarred, took him months to return to his big aggressive self.  Oscars are a lot more sensitive than people think.  Let us know how it turns out.  Bob just posted a good article on Oscars.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/oscars.htm  > Nimbochromis venustus and pleco Hi! Sorry to bother you, but I have looked and looked and can't find the answer to my question. <No bother at all!> Can a pleco and a Nimbochromis venustus live together? My venustus is just a baby - approx. 2 1/2 inches long. <This should be a fine mix as long as you introduce the pleco correctly. Remove the Nimbochromis from the tank and rearrange the decorations/plants. Add the pleco to the tank and leave him for about an hour and then add the Nimbochromis back to the tank. By doing this, you disrupt the territory of the nimbo and it will cut back on aggression so he will most likely leave the pleco alone.> Great site you have - my eyes have just about fallen out of my head from all the reading!! LOL! <Teehee! Thanks for the compliment and I know the feeling, I still sit here for hours and read it!> Thanks for your help, Sharron <You're welcome! Ronni>

New Cichlid Tank, Aquarist Hi, my name is Lee and I am just starting up a fish tank, and I want to have cichlids in it. I don't really know much but I do know that there are some cichlids that you can't mix together or they will kill each other.  <Indeed... you are right... this is one of the largest families of fishes... hundreds of species... some only an inch or so in length... others feet...> What is your suggestion for what kind of cichlids I should start with and what I should mix and not mix? <Do take your time here. Use your computers search engines... the family has many user groups, clubs, websites. My current scant coverage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cichlids.htm Study my friend. What you learn, know will be commensurate with your enjoyment, success here. Bob Fenner> I am going to be using a 46 gal tank. Thanks for your help. Thanks, Lee

Cichlids Dear Mr. Fenner; My husband and I started a 29 gallon community tank about 6 months ago. It didn't take us long to get hooked - leading us to set up a small 10 gallon in our bedroom. We bought a pretty little fish in a petstore labeled as a semi-aggressive cichlid. OK. Well, we bought 2 of them and an algae-eater to start the 10 gallon tank. Needless to say, we quickly realized there is no "semi" in front of the aggressive - <Well-stated> only one cichlid remained after about 2 days of terror and the algae-eater spent more time hiding than anything else. I've spent a good deal of time on various fish web sites and have established that "Sam" (named after "Son of Sam") is a Melanochromis auratus. <Yikes... a mean fish from Malawi...> We have taken the algae-eater out of the tank and rearranged it with many caves and such. We considered seeing if our local fish store (not the petstore) would be interested in taking him because we aren't sure he'll be happy all by himself in a small 10 gallon tank. Requesting any advice/input you may have. <Well, this Mbuna could live okay by itself... but not a very exciting display for you... To place it with other livestock really calls for much larger surroundings... I would either trade "Sam" in and start again with smaller, more easygoing species, or seek out a fifty or so gallon system to mix that bad boy and other similar temperament animals in. Bob Fenner> Amy

Re: cichlids Dear Bob; Thanks so much for the speedy reply! I appreciate your input. I hesitated to write because hey, who wants to admit they made such a naive mistake? <Mmm, I make them... daily...> All future fish purchases will be made after a bit of research if we aren't entirely familiar with the species! <A reasoned approach> Sam is a really cool fish but my goodness, he is a feisty one! We just want to make sure he is happy while not killing and/or terrorizing anyone else. Doesn't seem like it should be too much to ask for. <Agreed> Thanks again for your reply. Amy <You are welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: ALL CAP'S and stocking cichlids and eels what's wrong with all capitol letters? is this better?  <Yes, thank you. Much easier to read... an aspect of "netiquette"... rules of polite society> im not shouting. ok. (lol) can I put a freshwater eel in a 55 gallon tank with a red devil and a green terror.? <Mmm, not really a good idea... "the" freshwater eels are too slow, blind to compete with such "go-getter" cichlids. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Gregg

Texas Cichlid Good Evening sir , <Good afternoon to you. Steven Pro here, part of the WWM question crew.> I have a Texas Cichlid and recently put him in a 39 gallon tank by himself. He was in a 50 gallon Community tank which he done well with the community fish. <I am guessing he killed or tormented the fish.> My questions are what would you suggest that I put in the tank with him as far as fish? <That is going to be hard. Perhaps some larger dither fish. Fish that are non-territorial, like Silver Dollars and Giant Danios, but a bit risky either way.> Secondly does the Texas Cichlid eat live plants. <Not sure if it will actually eat them, possibly, but will surely dig them up and otherwise destroy them.> These are cool fish they have an attitude all of their own and they seem like they know everything that is going on around them. <Agreed, many Cichlids are very personable.> Thank you very much and will be waiting for your reply. Scott in Okinawa Japan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro in Pittsburgh>

Tankmates for Red Empress What are the best species of cichlids to keep as tank mates with a red empress? Thanks.......... <its best not to mix many species of cichlids for their severe territorial nature. Many other fishes are much better... do browse the archives to find some large loaches, catfishes and fast shoaling fishes (Metynnis and the like) that will satisfy you. Best regards, Anthony>

Cichlids I have two cichlids. I asked somebody a couple days ago about one's aggression, and they said to separate them. <I remember.> If I put a divider in there, would the aggressive one try to attack through the divider <Maybe> and maybe injure himself <Not too likely> or should I just separate them period? <That would be the best. I find those dividers to be rather unsightly. -Steven Pro>

Fighting Cichlids Hey. I have two cichlids and the one that's been in there the longest is attacking the one I just put in there. Is it just territorial or should I separate them? <Both. It is territoriality and you may need to separate them. It all depends on how big your tank is and what species you have. Do look through the information we have on www.WetWebMedia.com regarding stocking, adult sizes, etc. of the various Cichlids.> I don't want to have a dead fish. <Perhaps you may want to consider less aggressive fish if coexisting peacefully is important to you.> Please help. <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Puffers & Cichlids My wife prefers African Cichlids, but I can't get away from puffers. Currently we have two figure eight puffers in a 55 gallon tank with 8 Cichlids, <Lets get ready to rumble! Quite a little battle royal you have got going there. A bunch of aggressive fish, but a reasonable mix.> and we've had no problems. But I'm wondering if there's a happy medium we might strike on salinity levels. <Sure, I would use about 1 well rounded tablespoon per 5 gallon of water.> Additionally, I have two very small green spotted puffers (if I can trust the dealer). I've heard and read that it's ok to make these into saltwater fish, but is it ever too early in their life to do it? <I do not know if that is the case. Do see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm for additional info.> Thanks, Andy B <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Cichlid Compatibility Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I recently set up a 40 gallon aquarium. I currently have two 1 1/2" South American cichlids, one 1" Jack Dempsey, and two 3" Blood Parrot fish. I was told by a pet store that I could not mix South American Cichlids with African Cichlids. Is this true? <For the most part, yes. African like their water significantly different than that of most Central and South American Cichlids. Also, African Cichlids tend to me much more aggressive, pound for pound, than other Cichlids.> If no, do you recommend any African Cichlids that I can add that will not kill the fish I currently have. <I would really not recommend adding any more fish to your tank. The fish you currently have will grow large enough to overcrowd your current tank in no time at all. -Steven Pro>

Re: Cycling and Compatibility I have a 15 gal freshwater tank that is in the process of being cycled but it seems to be taking a long time. It's been about six weeks (weekly additions of cycle, no fish in the tank, but heavily planted) and my pH is still about 7.6 and my nitrites are at zero. When can I expect the nitrites to peak and then level out? Do I have to have fish in the tank in order for this to happen? <Since the nitrites are 0, you can try adding just one or two small fish to start with. Closely monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels after adding them but I think you'll be fine if you go slowly.> In my second tank, a 25 gal tall hex tank, I would like to get a pair of angels. I also have a nice, deep cave and would like a peaceful, cave-dwelling cichlid to live there. Are firemouth cichlids peaceful and shy? Or is there a better cichlid you can recommend to mix with Angels that would like the cave and not make trouble? <Firemouth Cichlids are considered mildly aggressive but really they are going to get too large for this tank with a couple of Angels in it. If you have your heart set on Cichlids, check into some of the dwarf species such as the Rams. They are rumored to be a hard species to keep because of their touchiness on water quality but the parameters they require are very similar to Angels and they are recommended as tank mates for Angels. They are also cave dwellers so your set-up should work good for them as long as you stay on top of the water quality.> I really appreciate your informative website. Thanks! Lindy <And we really appreciate all of you who make it possible! Ronni>

Cichlids To all great and knowledgeable aquarist of Oz, I have a few questions. I need a brain a heart... <<Craig here, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....I am the Great and Powerful....Oh dear...>> Anyways I have a forty gallon planted aquarium with two keyhole cichlids, a green Severum, a Curviceps, and a Festivum. There really is no fighting in the tank between species and they are all still quiet immature, but growing very fast. I love the Severum and the keyholes, is there anything in particular that would be compatible with them and not destroy my plants? Would another Severum cause pandemonium in the tank? Is my tank large enough to house these fish full grown? <<This is my concern. Cichlids tend to be messy compared to some other families requiring more volume, space, better filtration, etc. Proceed with caution. Check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm>> I am unable to find much information on these guys and we all know that pet stores would have you stock a tank overflowing with fish. I would be willing to sacrifice the Curviceps and the Festivum for something different, or if I am at my limit I could let them go. Now to my twenty gallon reef tank, I am having a lot of green algae growing on the glass. About two weeks ago I bought another power compact light, so I know have two with a combined wattage of 88 watts. I know that my protein skimmer is not sufficient, it is a lee's counter current. I had my nitrates and phosphates tested at the LFS, and the nitrates are not to be a worry I forgot to ask him precisely what the levels were) and my phosphates read zero. I do not have a low range nitrate test kit, but a common nitrate kit. I change ten to twenty percent of the water weekly, but the algae is growing so fast that I have to wipe the glass daily. The algae is not growing on any of the live stock, and they seem just fine. Is my protein skimmer just not doing the job or is it just going to eventually catch up and eliminate the majority of the algae. After a week with the new light I replaced the old air stone in the skimmer and that has greatly improved the amount of skimmate. If I bought a CPR back pack would that keep up with this small tank, or are there better ones? Thanks a million Dave <<Well there is nutrient driving your algae growth. The Lee skimmers are not all that efficient and being a small in-tank model they draw water from below the nutrient rich surface. The CPR with the skimmer box or an Aqua-C remora would surely help. I would also advise getting some good quality test kits to monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, alkalinity, etc. What type of top off water are you using? This could be introducing nutrient on a constant basis. I recommend RO/DI to eliminate this problem.>> <<Hope this helps, Craig>>

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