Lake Malawi Species • New 55 Gallon Tank

Discussion regarding only Lake Malawi species.

Moderators: Chester B, DJRansome

New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:31 am

I recently set up a small N. Multifasciatus tank and became hooked on cichlids. My wife and kids also have been captivated by these little guys, but they want some COLOR! I told them that to get cichlids with good color, we need a much bigger tank... so I found a steal of a deal of a 55 (48") on Craigslist. It came with everything, including fish (misc tropicals) and is fully cycled. I'm in the process of locating some rocks to re-decorate and then I'll be off the to the LFS to trade in the tropicals and get some mbuna. I have a great LFS who has a wide selection of mbuna at very reasonable prices, and they take all fish in for credit, so I'm going to get all my mbuna there.

I've done some extensive research on this site, so I think I'm on the right track for stocking... I just want to get some opinions to make sure I'll be fine. My wife's requirement is "no silver or plain colored fishes" and we want breeding groups, so that leaves me with mbuna that have colorful females. I also hate seeing fish that are too large for their tanks, so I want to stick to the smaller mbuna. All that being said, here is what I am considering:

1M/5F Cynotilapia Hara (Fish at the LFS are about 2 inches now and I think can differentiate M/F)
8-10 Rusties (Cannot sex them, they are about 1 to 1.5 inches)
10-12 Msobo Deep (May get fewer if can be sexed, need to go back and look closer, but I want a LOT of females, love the color)
1 ALbino BN Pleco (Came with the tank, its about 2 inches)

I think this follows the rules of 3 breeding groups, different genus, and no look-alike males. I understand that as they get older I'll have to trade in some of the extra males (and hopefully fry).

One of my concerns is aggression from the Msobo. My first choice was Saulosi, but he doesn't currently stock them, so Msobo seems like the closest substitution (I want at least 1 VERY dimorphic species). My other concern is size. I've seen different info for all these species in regards to size - I don't want anything more than 5 inches, preferably 4 inches. Any suggested substitutes are welcome, just keep in mind my requirements - small mbuna with colorful females.

Wow, this turned into a long post - thanks for reading if you made it all the way to here. Thanks for any advice / suggestions...
-Dan
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Share On:

Share on Facebook Facebook Share on Twitter Twitter

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby NJmomie » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:45 pm

Hi Dan, I know the Pseudotropheus saulosi are dimorphic and the female are beautiful yellow. I think the Msobo deep and hara are both blue right? So maybe you can swap one of them with the saulosi for a yellow color. Btw, do you have a picture of your shellie tank? Would love to see it.
NJmomie
 
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:52 pm
Location: Central NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:24 pm

Yeah Saulosi were actually my first choice, but the LFS doesn't stock them - so I substituted Msobo. I think they should be fine with Hara. The females are brilliant yellow/orange and the male is blue with black belly / blotches. The Haras are light blue with a few black vertical bands, quite different looking from the Msobo male.

The only pics I have of the Multi tank (10 gallon) were taken with my cell phone:
Image
Image
I (and the multis) have re-arranged things a little, but these are close to what it looks like now.

And here is the new 55 gallon (many changes coming to this tank):
Image
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby DJRansome » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:52 pm

I think both the hara and the msobo can hit 6 inches when mature.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
User avatar
DJRansome
Global Moderator
 
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:30 am
Location: Boonton Township, NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:23 am

Really? The profiles on this site list max size of 5" for Hara and 5.5" for Msobo. I've looked around on other sites and seen anywhere from 4"-5" for Hara and 4.5" to 5.5" for Msobo. Those of you that have these species, how big are yours? Are the females typically smaller than the males? I'd only keep 1 male of each species, so I guess 1 5.5" to 6" fish of each might be ok.

I really love the Hara, I sat at the LFS for quite a long time watching them flash their bars and change color right before my eyes - incredible... I'm pretty sure I'm going to get those. Msobo are beautiful fish, but I'm not set on them. If they get too big or are too agressive, I'm open to getting something else... I really wish they stocked saulosi. Are there any other "smallish" mbuna that would fill in that yellow/orange color to compliment the Hara and Rusties?
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby NJmomie » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:06 am

Hi Dan, the only Cynotilapia hara I see in this site's species profile section has both the male and female to be blue. "Since it's introduction into the hobby a few years ago, this fish has undergone a number of different trade names, from Zebra Hara, to Cyno. afra White Top. This fish is unusual for a Cynotilapia in that the females are an attractive blue colour as well as the males, and the unusually long pelvic fins of the males. This fish is collected at Gallireya Reef". Am I looking at the wrong one? As for the saulosi, did you ask your LFS to order them for you? I think they are pretty popular fish so I don't see why they wouldn't.
NJmomie
 
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:52 pm
Location: Central NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:23 pm

Yep that's the one... absolutely gorgeous fish. :thumb:
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:19 pm

Another thought I had was to get some M. estherae (Red Zebras) instead of the msobo. How do they compare size wise? Is it really hard to find the variant with blue males (which I would prefer)? I'll have to go back to the LFS and see which he has. So what do you think of the combination of hara, rusties, and estherae? Is the orange of the rusties and zebras too much orange? I've never seen an adult rusty, so I'm not sure if they are more orange, purple, or brown. I think if I went this route I'd get a couple more hara females and fewer rusties.

Then again, I'm not really set on rusties... I could do hara, estherae, and another smaller mbuna, but I don't know which. Rusties are an easy choice because they are different color than everything and are small. Any suggestions for a 3rd mbuna with hara and estherae?

Thanks. :fish:
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby NJmomie » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:21 pm

All the rusties I have seen are a brownish purple depending on the light. I think they are very pretty but not many feel that same way about them. Poor rusties...
NJmomie
 
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:52 pm
Location: Central NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:59 pm

Having 6" fish in your tank really isn't a problem unless it bothers you. When we first did the profile for the hara, 5" was the best info we could gather at the time. I have some that are still young and are 5" I think. We will review.

I was surprised to see the msobo listed at 5.5".
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
User avatar
DJRansome
Global Moderator
 
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:30 am
Location: Boonton Township, NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:37 am

Thanks DJ... I just hate seeing fish in tanks that look too big / don't have enough room to swim. I've never had a 55g before or any 6-inch fish, so maybe you are right. I just think my preference would be to have more smaller fish. The tank I bought has a large (maybe 9 inch) tinfoil barb in it that's WAY too big, I feel so sorry for that guy and I'm going to trade him in ASAP. I guess since the majority of my tank will be females (which are typically smaller), I should be ok with 2 males that exceed 5 inches (since rusty males should stay under 5 inches).

After reading more about the msobo, I'm now leaning toward estherae in its place. So I'll probably go with the hara / rusty / estherae combo... Do you see any issues with this? Sound good?
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby DJRansome » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:45 pm

I think the estherae would work, but I see they are listed at 5". Again surprised. I think my estherae is the largest fish in my tank, LOL.

I would not choose estherae over msobo for size (since fish vary anyway)...go with the one you like.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
User avatar
DJRansome
Global Moderator
 
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:30 am
Location: Boonton Township, NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:28 am

Well, I went to a rock quarry this weekend and bought 200lbs of rock. I think it turned out pretty good (fake plants temporary):
Image

I tried to make caves and cracks for the fish to claim as territory, but there is no way I can make enough for all of the fish I'm going to get... is it important that they all have a cave? How does that work? Do I need to pull out the big rock on the left and add more small rocks to form more caves? Also, if the fish get 5-6 inches long there aren't many places they could fit...
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby DJRansome » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:49 pm

You would be surprised where they can fit, LOL. Every male will want to claim a territory on the substrate surrounded by rocks (not a cave so much). You probably want to have 2X as many territories as you have males.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
User avatar
DJRansome
Global Moderator
 
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:30 am
Location: Boonton Township, NJ

Re: New 55 Gallon Tank

Postby shelbynjakesdad » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:20 pm

DJ, thanks for continuing to answer my quesitons - very helpful for a newb. I didn't know that the territories are on the substrate... I thought the caves were the territories. The females don't claim territories? Do they just use the caves to escape aggression? So do I need to have more depth of the rocks (from to back) along the substrate? Right now it is mostly a rock wall, with caves/cracks.

Thanks.
User avatar
shelbynjakesdad
 
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Location: Boise, ID

Next

Return to Lake Malawi Species

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests