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  L# Cichlids or not
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SubscribeCichlids or not
Posts: 176
Kudos: 75
Votes: 99
Registered: 12-Dec-2005
female canada
Hello all!

I have a 42g hex tank and by all the research that I have been doing, it doesn't seem that my type of tank would be suitable for cichlids as they need a tank that is long rather than high. My tank is only 24" long and everything I've read suggest 36" minimum. I was particularly interested in the yellow labs or the johanni's. Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks!

Post InfoPosted 30-Dec-2011 01:17Profile PM Edit Report 
Posts: 176
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Votes: 99
Registered: 12-Dec-2005
female canada
Did more research and went ahead and set up my tank with yellows. Have lots of rocks with caves and hidey holes. They have settled in quite nice and are thriving.

Post InfoPosted 28-Mar-2012 02:51Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Small Fry with Ketchup
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female australia us-maryland
Glad they're doing good, not much of a chichlid keeper myself but sounds like you have them settled in nicely. Lots of rocks and caves should make them plenty happy. Don't let them breed too much, or sell the stock off to the LFS and you should be able to keep aggression down.


Post InfoPosted 30-Mar-2012 00:21Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
Small Fry
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Registered: 03-May-2013
male usa us-florida
That Size Tank Should be Fine Have 12 Cichlids in a 56 Gallon High Top Tank.

Fish are Friends not Food.
Post InfoPosted 03-May-2013 22:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
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male usa us-colorado

The latest rule of thumb to decide the nr of fish in a tank is to determine the surface area of the tank and go from there.

Here is the information you should use to determine the carrying capacity of your Hex tank:

With a tall rectangular tank, a simple Length x width formula works. The main site in the link above also has a link for rectangular tanks.

Run the numbers and see how many fully grown yellow labs would be appropriate for your tank. Then,If you arrange caves and nooks vertically in a "wall" instead of across the width of the tank, you might be more successful.


-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 04-May-2013 23:34Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
*Ultimate Fish Guru*
Panda Funster
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male uk
One of the good aspects of your choice, in going for Yellow Labs (whose scientific name, Labidochromis caeruleus, actually suggests that they should be blue!), is that they're amongst the least aggressive of the Mbuna (the term that's applied collectively to rock-dwelling Cichlids from lake Malawi). Even with this in mind, it's still wise to set up the aquarium defensively, and to bear in mind the famous epithet from what I refer to as "the venerable Innes book". For those unfamiliar with tis work, it's proper title is Exotic Aquarium Fishes, was written by Dr William T. Innes (after whom the Neon Tetra was named when its scientific name was chosen),and the first edition of this work dates back all the way to the 1930s. Which shows the moment you open a copy. However, one timeless piece of advice to aquarists contained in that book, relevant today as then, is this - the way to being a successful aquarist is to think like a fish.

Basically, learn what makes your choice of fish tick. Learn what motivates them to act in various ways. Learn what THEY want from life, then strive to provide it.

In the case of Mbuna, what they want is a certain water chemistry (hard and alkaline, within a specific range of pH and hardness values), a diet containing a considerable amount of vegetable matter (ideally, algae - the algal growths on the rock screes in Lake Malawi are referred to in various texts by the German word aufwuchs, and these growths have a specific structure), lots of rocky hiding places, and enough space to satisfy their territorial requirements. This latter point is especially important, because Mbuna of all species maintain a territory not just for breeding purposes, but on a permanent basis as a source of food and shelter too. Unlike some other Cichlids, which manifest territorial behaviour principally when breeding, Mbuna do so on a more or less constant basis, and learning this elementary fact allows you to plan ahead for keeping these fishes in a relatively harmonious manner.

Because Mbuna maintain a territory constantly, they are strongly motivated to secure the best such territory that they can, and the largest such territory that they can. Different Mbuna species have different requirements in this vein, ranging from Iodotropheus sprengerae, whose demands are modest and accompanied by relatively mellow behaviour, through to fishes such as the infamous Melanochromis chipokae, whose demands are expansive, and accompanied by an extreme willingness to launch into combat to secure those demands. However, even the relatively mellow species still possess a fairly powerful impulse to secure what they want, and if these fishes are placed in the wrong aquarium, all hell will break loose even amongst the relatively well-mannered species.

Although under normal circumstances, a 42 gallon aquarium would be more than adequate for a small group of Yellow Labs, that your aquarium is only 24 inches long suggests that it has, shall we say, an interesting geometry, and might possibly be a cube. This means that decor will require a little more care and attention than in a long, shallow aquarium, and you'll also have some aeration and filtration issues to address to keep fishes with well-developed appetites clean and healthy. In that setup, power filtration is practically a necessity in my view, and you'll need to be particularly scrupulous with respect to water changes.

As for decor, one of the rules that is helpful when planning the arrangement of aquarium furnishings for territorial fishes, is this. Breaking up lines of sight across the aquarium helps to ease tensions between the occupants. If the decor allows individuals some privacy, because the decor hides them from each other, this will help make for more harmonious existence, because the fishes won't be glowering at each other constantly and plotting various misdeeds. Whilst this isn't particularly critical with Yellow Labs in a typical setup, it might be a good idea to apply this idea to your decor, even if the end result offends your aesthetic sensibilities. Remember, the key to success with intelligent, motivated fishes like Cichlids, is to give them what they want, and toss your preferences into the bin when these clash with what the fishes want. It's also a good idea to plan the rockwork so that it can be easily dismantled, reassembled, and possibly rearranged as well, so that you have options available if the first attempt is less than ideally successful. A certain diligence in this matter will reap huge rewards later!

Apply these lessons to your Yellow Labs, and you'll be well equipped to take on more high-maintenance species later in your aquarium career, including species with a well-deserved reputation as hardcore aquarium terrorists. However, I cannot emphasise enough at this stage, that with the more feisty species, space is everything - give them the biggest aquarium you can afford. Spend lots of time planning for this, including planning where to site what will be a ton and a half of immovable object once it's up and running. For example, will your floor joists cope with a 6ft × 2ft × 2ft tank full of water and rock? Or are you going to have to engage in some structural reinforcing to enable such a setup? Is the path from your water supply to your proposed site relatively short? Remember, even partial water changes on a large aquarium will give your muscles a serious workout if you're lugging 5 gallon buckets from point A to point B! An exercise that will be all the more strenuous if you have to negotiate stairwells. Once you've sorted that out, then you have to research your feisty species, figure out which ones will be compatible even in a large setup, and plan for alternative stocking in case your dealer doesn't carry your favoured choices, and can't (or won't) obtain them by special order. Then, even in a large setup, you have to bear in mind that some species will still keep you on your toes, with respect to the outbreak of warfare. As well as the evil Melanochromis chipokae I've mentioned above, fishes such as Pseudotropheus elongatus and Petrotilapia tridentiger will do their utmost to keep you alert and watchful in anything smaller than a swimming pool. Basically, avoid these fishes unless you know what you're taking on, and you're prepared to dive in and separate the combatants.

The good news is that even the recidivist criminals amongst the Mbuna can be kept in an aquarium, and kept with relatively few headaches, if you plan ahead for their headbanging tendencies. The bad news is that if you don't plan accordingly, they'll make your fishkeeping life an unrelenting nightmare. Give them what they want, and they'll reward you with corresponding good behaviour. Fail to give them what they want, and they'll set about getting what they want, even if it means turning your aquarium into a nuclear war zone. Your Yellow Labs should only flip their lids under serious provocation, and if they do start beating each other up, that's a serious sign that something is very, very wrong in your tank, requiring action fast. On the other hand, the evil chipokae is still capable of letting off 50 megatons of fury, even in the sort of aquarium setup you see in a public aquarium, with 2,000 gallons of volume to play with, so if you ever take on this vicious little phencyclidine fuelled headcase, do so knowing that it IS a carpet chewing berserker on a grand scale. Indeed, this one will probably flash its "come on if you think you're hard enough" territorial displays at you, until it realises you provide the food!

And with that, I bid you happy fishkeeping.

Panda Catfish fan and keeper/breeder since Christmas 2002
Post InfoPosted 23-Jun-2013 03:44Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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