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Looking to Africanize
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2010.11.28(Sun)18:18    Post subject: Looking to Africanize Reply with quote

Because I've found that plenty of planning ahead helped out a ton in my big tank, I thought I'd start now with re-doing my 46 gallon.

It is currently a rag-tag mix of fish; 3-spot gourami, guppies, neon dwarf rainbows, cardinal tetras, a b/n pleco, and a syno cat. Last time we were at the pet store, the African cichlids caught my husband's eye, and he wanted me to buy some. I definitely said no, but it got me thinking.

I would like to change this random community tank into a well-planned African tank. My tap water is a pH of 8.2, and is relatively hard, though I'm not sure just how hard, as I don't have that test kit yet. Smile

Its a 46g bowfront, which I imagine limits what I can put in there.

Now, because every time I try to look up potential fish for such a tank, I get overwhelmed by the extensive lists of fish avialable for each lake, I was hoping somebody here could help me. Smile

What kind of African cichlid set up would you say I can do with this size of tank, and are there any details I need to be aware of? Such as sand vs. gravel, and the extensive amount of caves that I always see in African set up pictures?
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- Rachel
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Caton
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Location: Washington State, USA

PostPosted: 2010.11.29(Mon)0:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would reccomend looking at cichlid-forum, they have lots of knowledge but they tend to try to overstock so just add a few fish less than they reccomend. I would get sand for your tank. Just play sand would do. Can't stand gravel now, but its all opinion. As for stocking it really depends. Do you want shell dwellers with there personailty to make up for their color? Or bright colorful mbuna?

Here is a quick list of what I would have:

Metriaclima sp. "Msobo" - 5
Cynotilapia afra - 5
And your syno,

That will give you blue and yellow (if you get female Metriaclima sp. "Msobo" ) Just throw out ideas, thats what I do...
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2010.11.29(Mon)11:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking more along the colorful kinds, mostly to please my husband. He thinks that all but one angel in my big tank are "boring" because of their lack of color, so filling this one with colorful fish should stop the complaining. Smile

What I'd really love to do is find some underwater pictures of the rift lakes and where these fish come from so I can model my tank as closely after their natural habitat as possible. Haven't had any luck finding any such pictures of videos, but maybe I'm just looking in all the wrong spots?
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Caton
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Location: Washington State, USA

PostPosted: 2010.11.29(Mon)13:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

This video pretty much shows what most of the lakes look like. Very open with lots of rocks on the bottom with some sandy open spots.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlH4oDClKuA


Just search "lake malawi diving", or "lake tanganyika diving" on youtube.
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2010.11.30(Tue)9:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

Super cool! Thanks Caton... I was just using the wrong search words! Laughing This is an awesome place to start, actually... I'll peruse through some of the videos for each lake and go from there!
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Caton
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Location: Washington State, USA

PostPosted: 2010.12.01(Wed)17:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

rales12 wrote:
Super cool! Thanks Caton... I was just using the wrong search words! Laughing This is an awesome place to start, actually... I'll peruse through some of the videos for each lake and go from there!


No problem...now if I can just conveince my parents to let me go to africa for research...and collection...I could easily pay for my trip over if I get good front's in lake tanganyika or show quaility mbuna in malawi.
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kaybee
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Location: Tampa, FL

PostPosted: 2010.12.01(Wed)21:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the length of your 46gal bow front?

When it comes to most mbuna's I would recommend tanks that are at least 48" in length (though slightly smaller tanks may work with the less aggressive species).
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rales12
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Joined: 03 Nov 2009
Location: Wyoming

PostPosted: 2010.12.02(Thu)10:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its 36" long. I was just reading that most species are recommended for 48" tanks... Any suggestions for a 36" tank?
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2010.12.07(Tue)15:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend a colony of Pseudotropheus saulosi. The females are bright yellow, and the males are blue with black barring. They are a great choice for smaller tanks because they stay relatively small, compared to some other mbuna species, and because you can have two different bright colors with a single species. If you click on the Mbuna Tank link in my signature, you can see pics of my Ps. saulosi.

Set up the tank with plenty of rockwork, creating lots of hidey holes and caves. I like to use fake plants from Michael's Crafts to decorate rather than the fake plants you can buy in a fish store to save $$$. (Live plants will be quickly devoured). You should have a sand substrate, as mbuna love to dig and rearrange. Definitely go with a canister filter for current and better filtration. Mbuna are messy fish.

Do a fishless cycle so you can add all of your mbuna at once. When they are juveniles, they all will be yellow, with the males gradually turning blue. You can weed out excess males as they mature and sell them to your local fish store (usually for store credit).
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zugzwang
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Joined: 22 Mar 2003
Location: New Hampshire,USA

PostPosted: 2011.01.03(Mon)19:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rachel,
Just a quick caveat- I converted a 72 gal freshwater to Africans to please my hubby, and although I enjoyed seeing them immensely, after a year I decided the extra upkeep was not worth it. They move stuff around, get really huge, tear up plants or eat them, and are constantly bickering or breeding; in contrast to my Amazon tank that is a calming, relaxing and colorful PLANTED show.
If he does the water changes or if you like doing them Laughing then go for it!

All that being said, I love them and will have more when I get my next larger tank Wink love those peacocks!
Cheryl
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