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I've decided I'd finally like to jump in and try cichlids. I've been browsing google a lot but it's a lot of info to take in, takes a while to find (I should be studying, not reading about fish :P) and I figured you guys were the best to ask anyway.

SO! Details. I have a new 3ft tank that I'd be looking to put them in. I'm new-ish to keeping fish.... I feel confident enough generally but I wouldn't like anything especially finicky. I think I read something about Africans being better for my scenario but feel free to correct me. Being a student I can't afford super expensive fish, and I'd like to get more experience before splashing out anyway. I also don't have the space for breeding or a bigger set up.

I'd prefer interesting-looking fish or fish with great personalities (who doesn't?), and if possible a mix would be way more preferable than a species tank. I think that about covers it. Please give me some suggestions for stocking!

Thanks :)

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there are some good cookie cutter setups suitable for the the not-so-experienced here:

Aquarium Quick Reference Resources - Cichlid Keeping

they are a good starting point and help to avoid issues such as agression, overstocking etc.

there also is some fairly good general reading about setups and species to be found there

most important thing make sure you have sufficient filtration and do your water changes - but you probably have been told that multiple times already, and if not you will be :D

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yep africans are cheap and theres heaps around. good to start with.

my advice would be to get some Saulosi and Maingano. Or have a species tank of Neo. Brichardi if you want some tangs.

You'll pay approx $4 for 4cm fry from members on here.

You should overstock to control aggression with the mbuna so as regani said you'll need good filtration (something high flow with a good volume of media) to counter balance this.

good luck :) and have fun.

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Thanks for the great advice guys! I read that cichlids need their water filtered 8-10 times/hour. Is this what you'd recommend? I tend to overfilter my tanks as a precaution anyway but it would be handy to know a baseline for cichlids.

I also read something about some preferring sand and some being rock-dwellers. Most setups seem to have a sand/crushed shell substrate with caves made from rocks etc. Is this ok for most cichlids? I am leaning towards having sand as a substrate (Pet City seemed to have some decent stuff) and then yeah, making a bunch of caves. It's a lot of questions from me but I want to make sure I do it properly :P

Also thanks kasman for the species names, I have liked the look of those but didn't know what they were called!

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I've just started a 5ft tank which is approx. 10 weeks old with Malawi cichlids. My filtration is 10 per hour with a sand and crushed marble substrate and plenty of hidy holes. Wanting to get more rocks to finish it off.

Just make sure you get good quality food and weekly to fortnightly water changes( i do 30% weekly cause im fussy) and your fishee will love you for it and they'll show plenty of colour in return.

Heres a pic of mine.

http://i923.photobucket.com/albums/ad75/richierichhsv/IMG_7689.jpg

http://i923.photobucket.com/albums/ad75/richierichhsv/IMG_7858.jpg

Richard

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I've just started a 5ft tank which is approx. 10 weeks old with Malawi cichlids. My filtration is 10 per hour with a sand and crushed marble substrate and plenty of hidy holes. Wanting to get more rocks to finish it off.

Just make sure you get good quality food and weekly to fortnightly water changes( i do 30% weekly cause im fussy) and your fishee will love you for it and they'll show plenty of colour in return.

Heres a pic of mine.

http://i923.photobucket.com/albums/ad75/richierichhsv/IMG_7689.jpg

http://i923.photobucket.com/albums/ad75/richierichhsv/IMG_7858.jpg

Richard

What types have you got Richard? You have some wonderful colors in that tank...

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Get tanganyikans... its simple.:P

Shelldwellers are your best bet for a 3 fter. Gold occies (lamprologus ocellatus gold, in 1st vid) and cyprichromis leptosoma mplungu or utinta (second vid) is a good combination.

never mix sheldweller species.

good filtration, good water, 2 inch of sand to play in (this will amuse you) and plenty of shells and you will have happy shellies. I reccomend a filter that can pump the volume of your tank atleast 4 times an hour. more is better tho. (remember that the bigger the filter the larger the surface area the bacteria can to grow on which = better filtration)

ph 8.5 0 tolerance of nitrites, all shellies are carnivores... aaah whatelse can i tell you?

Hope this helps...

Cooder

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What types have you got Richard? You have some wonderful colors in that tank...

Thanks. I have Acei yellow fin, dolphin, pink aulonocara, electric yellow and blue, venestus, hongi, yellow peacock, albino peacock and a couple of others i cant think of at the moment.

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Get some peacocks like dragon blood peacock, tangerine peacock, sunshine peacock, blue peacock, albino peacock and flametail peacock.

1 of each species and get 2 electric blue 2-3 electric yellow, that all you can house them in 3ft but depend of big is your 3ft lol.

If 3x2x2 then you can stock abit more but if 3x18x18 then maybe up to 10 fish. Good luck

Ryan

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I had a 3 foot with africans in it for a couple of years. Unfortunately I found it really hard to keep them alive until at least a year and a half into it.

Everyone goes on about overstocking to reduce aggression.

But you HAVE to make sure you have an amazing filter to deal with it. Definitely a canister. This was the biggest thing that helped me.

The next thing is that people at pet shops kept lying to me and telling me that "this fish would be fine for a three foot".

Then I got home and they were too aggressive and needed more space or they would have grown to 20cm.

So always go look it up first (naughty me)

I reckon you should try go with mainly dwarf mbuna (malawi) They will be more comfortable in that size tank in the long run.

And african tanks with sand, rocks and a dark background look amazing! I'd love to do it one day.

This is all just my opinion, I'm no expert at all. But I went through a lot of money and crap with mine.

But that was because I was listening to pet shop people and not the clever people on this forum :)

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Ah yes but how many of the people on the forum are pet shop people?

lol

Africans are tricky.

These days the best thing you can do to help a pet shop person is show them a picture of your fish on your phone.

Really helps us know the species/sizes/filters/tank that you already have.

I find Africans the easiest of all fish to keep/breed/raise

that they are very colourful is just an added +

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Ah yes but how many of the people on the forum are pet shop people?

Haha yeah, but I was definitely going to the wrong places (the big bad ones) haha.

Since then I've found a little place here (they helped me get everything back on track and they stopped dying)

And I would always take any advice they have.

So I guess not ALL pet shops are bad :) haha

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