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Setting up an african cichlid tank

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  • Setting up an african cichlid tank

    Currently have tetras gona move them to another tank i want to change my 55gal to an african cichlid tank, mixed species like maybe bumblebees and jewels and peacocks plus some others thought maybe 1 of several question is how many approx should i have the store is telling me to overstock to offset aggression they suggest 18 -20 because i know stores are out to sell i thought id ask you fine people. If you could fill me in on as much info as to what id need to do id really appreciate it i know nothing about cichlids. My ph right now is 7.8 im told i could just remove the tetras and put the cichlids straight in because the tank is established but i suspect theres more to it. Any advice would be much appreciated

  • #2
    Hi there!

    18-20 is a pretty good number for a 50 gallon as long as you are shooting for keeping smaller Lake Malawi species like the peacocks, but it's worth mentioning that bumblebees actually get pretty big (around 6 inches) and Jewel cichlids aren't from quite the same habitat as the others, so you might want to hold off on these two. For a "peaceful" setup, I'd recommend you toward Yellow Labs or possibly Cynotilapia Afra, which are pretty well suited to community Malawi tank setups and are very colorful.

    The pH of your water is just right for these fish, but your mineral content might be a little low (they prefer a high GH). If your tank is well stocked, you may also need to start adding buffers on the regular to keep the pH at it's current level. I'd recommend you toward Malawi Buffer for pH and Cichlid Lake Salt for GH. You can add the buffer directly to the tank as needed to keep your pH in its ideal range (don't worry - there are instructions on the bottle for replicating the Malawi environment) but it's generally best to just add the Cichlid Lake Salt to the water you are suing of water changes to ensure a gradual shift in GH and prevent it from "sneaking up" over time.

    ​Hope this helps!


    • #3
      Im seeing guys sucessfully usuing live java fern in their cichlid tanks if i were to do this do i have to introduce co2?? I have a 55gal with 13 malawi cichlids demosonis kennyi, peacock. Im just using fake plants right now but like the idea of live plants helping with oxygenation and using up nitrates but am really uncertain what seachem products id need for the plants would flourish tabs be enough. Also i currently have florite red as a substrate, any help would be appreciated thanks


      • #4
        The issue with having live plants in your cichlid tank would be the addition of the Cichlid Lake Salt. Plants do not tolerate high levels of sodium or chloride and cichlids require a good amount of salts/minerals for proper health and development. You could certainly try to put a small amount of Java Fern in the tank to see if it tolerates the salt, but you may find that it does not thrive long term.


        • #5
          In my experience with African Cichlids, the bumblebee is the most aggressive fish I’ve ever had. I will never buy them again. I love my yellow labs and my Cobalt Blue zebras. I also keep some pearl gouramis in with my cichlids and they do fine. Just make sure you have lots of rocks and plants so the fish can stake out their territories. It really helps cut down on the aggression.


          • #6
            Thanks for sharing your experience, Sweettea109! :)