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To Dwarf or not to Dwarf

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well I have some cute little multis aka shellies in my collection of fish. very much small fish with big attitude. but my other half said to me the other day " I think you should get into dwarf cichlids. I like them better than the big ones an everyone has big cichlids, we haven't seen many around." so I was thinking... hmmmm not a bad idea for my massive tank. (4fx2f)

so what is there out there? I know about kribs, rams and multis as that's what I have. the big 4f tank will be the hard water tank as I have a 70L an 3f as my soft water. I also have plenty of time to look into fish as it won't be set up till June/July next year.

what can I put with my multis or is it safer to get other types that can go together an leave them in their own tank. or use the 3f as the hard water an 4f as soft? i know its a very big tank for such small fish but hey... its defiantly going to be something different.

let me know what ya think.. :)

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Most dwarf cichlids are soft water species from South America aka Apistrogramma, Checkerboards and Microgeophagus along with the really cool soft water West African species like the kribensis and Pelvicachromis taeniatus. So if I were you I would set the 4ft as soft water tank with SA/WA dwarfs and tetras etc. whilst moving the shellies into the 3ft as a hard water tank. Shellies aren't good room mates for most fish, they're punchy little pocket rockets so should be kept with other 'toughish' tanganyikan cichlids really, maybe leptos depending on the 3ft's dimensions, anyway I wish you luck sounds like the 4ft will be really cool.

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i've owed many different dwarf cichlids….soft water and hard water


Love kribs and their cousins…taeniatus

Love rams….german bred blues…..I see that in the wild pairs setup in close proximity

perhaps 4/5 pairs of rams +tetras as dither fish in a heavily planted tank?

lots of nice apistos available


i have many different variants of brevis

Multies are nice but similis are prettier

i see telmatochromis vittatus are on the Bayfish list….great line breeders

Personally….i'd go a pair of brevis lots of rocks and a group of julidichromis (ornatus or transcriptus)

and maybe Cryprichromis in open water?

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I have Pelvicachromis Subocellatus the come from moderately hard (10 Dh) nuetral water about Ph 7 . P.Pulcher (Kribensis) and P. taeniatus will live in any moderate conditions and thrive .

Thomasi have similar requirements Shell dwellers which I do keep should be kept in species tanks .

Brevis are wusses best in a 30" tank just a pair .

Occies are gram for gram one of the meanest bad tempered little fish there is best just a pair in a 30"

Multies - a colony in a 3 footer works fine they will sort it out you either remove the outcasts when they start getting beat up or remove the floating corpses later

Similis Similar to multies but a little more agro.

Apistos are a bit delicate water has to be Soft slightly acid and very-very clean make a mistake with these you WILL get losses .

Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor is an interesting little mouthbrooder if you can find them - easiest on the list to keep .

Although small "tangs are kind of my specialty I have kept at one time or another what is on the list.

I mostly have 3 foot tanks so not exacly going to keep peakock bass or the like . I like Dwarfs there are so many that are so different . Could keep you busy for 1/2 a lifetime .

Ah ! thats where the last 20 years went ! ;)

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Here is a pic of my Similis Tank - Multi tank bottom tier - 2 @ 36 x 18 x 18

Would clean the algae out but every time I do I have a killing spree . They use it as part of their territories .

Those led lights do not grow good plants but they grow pretty mean Algae .


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thanks guys. its a bit over wellming at this stage.. lol. I think I'll head to the library an look some of the fish up. it will give me a visual on the fishes as well as a bit more in depth info. I am lucky that I have plenty of time to sort this out.

at this stage I think I'll go 4f soft an 3f hard. even tho they arnt dwarfs I wouldn't mind getting a couple of disus in the 4f. I will be getting a few more rams but keeping the kribs to a minimum. ( I had my current breeding pair killed a female blue ram) I also have to think of the fish I have currently. (will do an updated list soon)

I'm really pleased with the multis. they are in a tank that is just shy of 2fx1f. there is only about 12-15 in there. ( from breeding adults to 1cm fry) as you can see with the photos they are doing really well. they will come out an look at you when you enter the garage. not disappear like when I first got them. (they where in a back room)

anyways if there are anymore ideas throw them this way. :) thanks heaps for your help. XD



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