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Just restocked my tank (still a bit of a newbie)

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hey all,

I've got a 36x15x18 tank and I think I recently had a stress problem in my tank with my acei growing a bit too big (he was around 18-20cm) and got too sick. I've since removed him and a couple of haps and have focused on smaller dwarf mbuna's. Even though i've had my tank for 3 years i'm still a bit of a noob and keep to regular water changes and still don't know much about stocking levels and rely on community advice.

Since removing those 3 fish (only had 4) my E.yellow has actually come out and started to eat and be less shy, which I hope is a positive sign.

My LFS told me to reduce aggression in the tank I should put a few more smaller fish to spread the load. Here's what I have now:

Existing which I kept:

1 x (roughly) 12cm Labidochromis caeruleus

All new:

1 x Labidochromis sp. "Hongi"

3 x Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba"

3 x Iodotropheus sprengerae

1 x Pseudotropheus sp. "Kingsizei"

I think the hongi will probably grow a bit too big like the Acei but i'll monitor that. Do I have room for another few dwarf mbuna's? I really like the Cyno. afra's and would like a few (3).

Thanks in advance.

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Your hongi shouldn't grow much bigger than your electric yellow. Mbuna actually do better if you crowd them, it is much harder for one fish to try and hyperdominate the tank or persecute another individual fish in a crowded tank. The main thing is to keep your water quality up through effective biological filtration and regular water changes.

Cheers, Doug

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What type of filtration do you have?

Like Doug said, mbuna do alot better when they are crowded. depending on what type of filtration you have, id say you could easily have 20+ juvies in there. As they grow the amount of waste they produce increases which will cause ammonia spikes if your filter isnt big enough to handle the load. To be safe i would only keep around 12- 15 fish and make sure there is plenty of rock work for them to hide amongst.

the best thing you can do is to get a master test kit which does Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. then test your water before each waterchange then you can see where everything is at that way you will know if your filter is handling the load.

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Currently got a Fluval 205 which is a few years old now.. thinking about replacing it with an Eheim 2217 very soon (once I get all the stupid bills paid off).

But definitely will be looking at a test kit as the next priority and more rocks.

Thanks Mick! :)

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An Eheim Classic 2217 will do that tank very nicely.

If you do choose to overcrowd your tank to keep aggression low (and make an very visually dynamic tank), be prepared to spend time each week changing water. Testing for Nitrates on a regular basis (say every fortnight or month) while keeping a rigorous water change schedule will show whether or not your tank maintenance is keeping up with the load on the tank. If your Nitrate levels continue to rise, you will need to increase your water change schedule.

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