Author Topic: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct  (Read 2801 times)

Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« on: March 05, 2014, 08:09:12 PM »
Looks like some great advice here if you're a Cichlid hobbyist.  Very interesting and just what I was looking for in regards to tank size and fish stock.  I ordered a couple hard to find fish from them too.. just a couple, and they sent me this back as well as telling me my fish have shipped.  But here... here some cool knowledge if you didn't know.

Now you know.

Quote
Live Fish Direct
To Me
Today at 2:53 PM

1. Stocking Levels vs. How Big the Tank is in Gallons:

  a. These notes explain how many fish African Cichlids can fit into an aquarium. For example, the first line is

  explaining that in a 30 gallon, 8 fish would be lightly stocked, 12 would be average

  stocked, and 15 would be densely stocked.

     i. 30 gallon = 8, 12, 15

     ii. 50 gallon = 15, 20, 25

     iii. 75 gallon = 25, 30, 35

     iv. 90 gallon = 30, 35, 40

     v. 125 gallon = 35 , 45, 50

     vi. 150 gallon = 40, 50, 60

     vii. 250 gallon = 60, 80, 100

     viii. 500 gallon = 100, 130, 175

  b. Stocking levels determine a balance between water quality and aggression.

    i. The lighter you stock, the less you will have to change the water, but the

     more the fish can damage each other due to aggression.

     ii. The heavier you stock the tank, the less likely your fish are to damage one

     another due to aggression. They will still chase each other around all day.  However, in a densly-stocked tank, there are enough distractions to prevent fish from doing any real damage to one another.  This method of dense stocking we have deemed “chaos theory”.


2. Water Chemistry:

  a. pH … We are at 7.8 here. It is easy on cichlids to be dropped into water as high as

  8.6, Tanganyikans can be as high as 9.2.

     i. A sudden pH adjustment is much easier on a fish

     dropped into a higher pH than if they are suddenly

     dropped into a lower pH.

  b. Temperature:

     i. 78 degrees is optimal.

     ii. 78-72 degrees will progressively lessen cichlid aggression, but it will dull the fish

        activity and metabolism leaving them a little more susceptible to

        parasites. If taken down slowly, the fish should be fine. Doing this will reduce fish

       waste as it will slow down their metabolism causing them to eat less, grow

        slower, live longer, reduce aggression and cause fish that ordinarily would

        not be compatible to live together. Also, a lower temperature can be effective

        in preventing bacterial blooms often caused by uneaten fish food. For example, if you

        are letting your children feed the fish and you don’t trust they will refrain

        from overfeeding, you may want to consider lowering the temperature.

     iii. 78-84 degrees will progressively increase their metabolism and cause the

        fish to be more active and colorful. They will breed with better results. They will be

        more aggressive. The increased feeding will cause quicker shifts in water

        quality and can only be balanced by bigger and more frequent water

        changes. 84 degree water can kill parasites quickly, but can cause quicker blooms

        of bacteria if they are overfed and if there is any leftover fish food that is

        uneaten.

3. Compatibility:

  a. Mbuna and Victorian Cichlids are more colorful at a small size. They are the

  heartiest, cheapest, and most colorful.  For this reason, They are some of our favorites.

  However, they are also the most aggressive. They can be kept with Peacocks and Haps

  with no problems as long as they are introduced at a size disadvantage to the less aggressive

  species.
A really nice look for a cichlid tank is having a bunch of smaller mbuna and Victorian cichlids      running around with some of the bigger, showier male Peacocks and Haps. Generally, Peacocks and

  Haps get along fine. Males will develop color, all females are brown or silver in color.

  b. Cichlids are more compatible if they are all added when young and raised

  together. If you have a larger tank, we recommend going in 6-packs of small fish

  to reduce costs and increase the chance of getting a nice cherry male of the group.


   By starting all the fish off

  young and raising them together, we have seen fish tanks thrive that would otherwise be considered incompatible.


  c. Cichlids will get along better in larger sizes if there are smaller more aggressive fish

  around to distract them from picking on one another. You can keep a batch of

  aggressive male Haps and Peacocks from hurting each other by adding some small and

  colorful, yet aggressive mbuna cichlids We call these “dither” cichlids

  as they help demonstrate the “chaos theory” mentioned earlier.


  d. Males that look similar to one another will quarrel the most. This will bring out their

  best color(s), but may be stressful to watch as they go at it. As long as you use the tricks

  mentioned earlier, such as stocking densely and using dither fish, similar males

  should not do any real damage to each other. However, the aspect of male

  dominance must be accepted when keeping African Cichlids.

  a. Mbuna cichlids in the green color-code category will have colorful males and females.

     i. Female mbuna can be mixed with more mild species. Larger female mbuna

        can help add color to a tank by enticing the males to show their breeding coloration and will technically keep the peace.

  b. For the best color, aim for an all male tank. There is nothing wrong with going for an

     all male tank if you have no desire to breed fish.

  c. If you want to breed fish, you will need at least two females for every one male.  There is nothing wrong with a 6 female to 1 male ratio. If you really want to breed

     fish, this has proven better results.

  d. We can tell the sex of some small fish even though the website may list them as

     unsexed. This is done by watching for the growth of fish that have all been born on

     the same day. Males will shoot ahead of the females in growth. If you want a

     specific ratio of males to females and the website lists them as unsexed write

     what you would like in the notes box at checkout and we will do our best to insure

     you get what you hoped for. We can’t guarantee anything but, after doing this for so

     long, we have gotten quite good at it.

5. Adding New Fish to Your Tank:

  a. Fish tend to do better when added in waves of larger groups.

     i. If you add fish one at a time to an aquarium, you will get “pick-on-the-new-guy

        syndrome”.

     ii. Adding cichlids in larger groups will reduce the chance of aggression

        between them. This will cause a two-week time period which will be critical

        to the water quality while your biological filter catches up that will be

        addressed below.  It is best to allow a two-week time period between groups.  This will allow your biological filter to catch up with the extra ammonia produced by the newer fish and preserve water quality.

  b. It is a good idea to add a dose of preventative medication to a tank

     when adding new fish from any source.

     i. Similar to humans, fish tend to contract sickness when they are stressed.

        Moving fish from one tank to another, whether by shipping them or simply

        picking them up from a local petstore, can cause stress on the fish.  This can in turn

        allow a disease that would normally not be able to pierce the

        immune system (e.g., Ich) to suddenly show up out of nowhere.

     ii. Anything that treats a tank for parasites will work when receiving large

        batches of fish. Even something very mild, like Melafix, is a great idea to

        treat for a few days after receiving new fish.

  c. Water changes help when adding a group of fish to an already established fish tank.

     i. Hopefully, you have decided to add fish in larger groups instead of one at a

        time. As it is good practice to do water changes shortly after adding new fish, an added benefit of introducing fish to your tank in a group is the reduction of these water changes.  With this practice, you will only have to perform this extra water change with the addition of each group instead of with every individual fish.

     ii. Whether you are adding fish to a brand new tank or a group of fish to an

        established tank, I recommend the following water change schedule.  Your

        fish will love you for it!

           1. Change 40% of the water 3 days after adding the new wave of fish

           2. Change 40% of the water 7 days after adding the new wave of fish

           3. Change 40% of the water 14 days after adding the new wave of fish

           4. Change 40% of the water in two week intervals after that.

     iii. That is a lot of water, but this step will truly insure you have a healthy fish

          tank forever. No amount of technology I feel is adequate to the effectiveness

          of a good, old-fashion water change. 

           1. Ways you can become more efficient at this process:

                 a.   Consider using sterile garbage cans, hoses, and pumps. I will

                       usually siphon the water out of the tank into a large,

                       plastic garbage can placed next to it. I will then drop a power head

                       connected to a hose into the garbage can to pump it to a drain or

                       outside (great for your garden). After I have removed as much water as

                       I want from the tank, I will hook the hose up to my faucet to get

                       warmer tap water to fill the garbage can and pump

                       warm water from the garbage can back into the

                       tank.  The benefit of this process is you don’t have to carry

                       buckets of water to and from your tank, and the chance of a major spill is lessened.

                 b. Python Water Changers are nice as they hook right to your

                     sink. However, they can be slower than the method above.

    d. Acclimating your fish purchase from LiveFishDirect:

        i. First, float the bags in the tank until the temperature stabilizes, this normally takes around 15 minutes.

        ii. Don’t release the fish until the temperature is stable.

        iii. Cut open the bags and strain the fish water in the bag through a net into a

            bucket or bowl.

        iv. Place the fish right in the tank.

6. Troubleshooting Fish Disease:

  a. Fish disease can be complicated. In fact, they can be just as complicated as the

     diseases that affect us.

  b. Look for excessive scratching, this may mean you have a parasite.

     i. A fish scraping its side on the bottom might just be a way for it to stir up

        some fish food. However, if they are doing it excessively or many of them are

        doing it, you have may have an outbreak of parasites. The good news is if you treat it

        early, it is easy to fix. The bad news is if you wait until everything is covered

        in white spots (sores), it will be tricky to cure.

        1. To treat cichlids with parasites, we recommend: salt, copper,

              malachite green, Quinine sulfate, or any special combination of those.

  c. Open sores, wounds or bloody veining can be a sign of a bacterial infection. If they

     will eat, consider medicated fish food. If they won’t eat and the situation is

     looking bad, then you need some more serious bacterial meds. We recommend

     http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/ as they are very knowledgeable. Give them a call if you if you feel your fish would benefit from stronger medication.

This guide is a work in progress. Thank you for your time and consideration of some of these tips and tricks we have discovered while keeping African Cichlids. Please let us know if you feel we have missed the mark on any of these generalizations, or if you just want to help with grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Thanks – Live Fish Direct Crew



Offline Szabada

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Re: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 10:34:47 PM »
Hmm, I wonder if the "chaos theory" works for Damsels in salt water as well. 

OMEGA BOMBS

  • Guest
Re: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 01:56:44 AM »
Looks like some great advice here if you're a Cichlid hobbyist.  Very interesting and just what I was looking for in regards to tank size and fish stock.  I ordered a couple hard to find fish from them too.. just a couple, and they sent me this back as well as telling me my fish have shipped.  But here... here some cool knowledge if you didn't know.

Now you know.

Quote
Live Fish Direct
To Me
Today at 2:53 PM

1. Stocking Levels vs. How Big the Tank is in Gallons:

  a. These notes explain how many fish African Cichlids can fit into an aquarium. For example, the first line is

  explaining that in a 30 gallon, 8 fish would be lightly stocked, 12 would be average

  stocked, and 15 would be densely stocked.

     i. 30 gallon = 8, 12, 15

     ii. 50 gallon = 15, 20, 25

     iii. 75 gallon = 25, 30, 35

     iv. 90 gallon = 30, 35, 40

     v. 125 gallon = 35 , 45, 50

     vi. 150 gallon = 40, 50, 60

     vii. 250 gallon = 60, 80, 100

     viii. 500 gallon = 100, 130, 175

  b. Stocking levels determine a balance between water quality and aggression.

    i. The lighter you stock, the less you will have to change the water, but the

     more the fish can damage each other due to aggression.

     ii. The heavier you stock the tank, the less likely your fish are to damage one

     another due to aggression. They will still chase each other around all day.  However, in a densly-stocked tank, there are enough distractions to prevent fish from doing any real damage to one another.  This method of dense stocking we have deemed “chaos theory”.


2. Water Chemistry:

  a. pH … We are at 7.8 here. It is easy on cichlids to be dropped into water as high as

  8.6, Tanganyikans can be as high as 9.2.

     i. A sudden pH adjustment is much easier on a fish

     dropped into a higher pH than if they are suddenly

     dropped into a lower pH.

  b. Temperature:

     i. 78 degrees is optimal.

     ii. 78-72 degrees will progressively lessen cichlid aggression, but it will dull the fish

        activity and metabolism leaving them a little more susceptible to

        parasites. If taken down slowly, the fish should be fine. Doing this will reduce fish

       waste as it will slow down their metabolism causing them to eat less, grow

        slower, live longer, reduce aggression and cause fish that ordinarily would

        not be compatible to live together. Also, a lower temperature can be effective

        in preventing bacterial blooms often caused by uneaten fish food. For example, if you

        are letting your children feed the fish and you don’t trust they will refrain

        from overfeeding, you may want to consider lowering the temperature.

     iii. 78-84 degrees will progressively increase their metabolism and cause the

        fish to be more active and colorful. They will breed with better results. They will be

        more aggressive. The increased feeding will cause quicker shifts in water

        quality and can only be balanced by bigger and more frequent water

        changes. 84 degree water can kill parasites quickly, but can cause quicker blooms

        of bacteria if they are overfed and if there is any leftover fish food that is

        uneaten.

3. Compatibility:

  a. Mbuna and Victorian Cichlids are more colorful at a small size. They are the

  heartiest, cheapest, and most colorful.  For this reason, They are some of our favorites.

  However, they are also the most aggressive. They can be kept with Peacocks and Haps

  with no problems as long as they are introduced at a size disadvantage to the less aggressive

  species.
A really nice look for a cichlid tank is having a bunch of smaller mbuna and Victorian cichlids      running around with some of the bigger, showier male Peacocks and Haps. Generally, Peacocks and

  Haps get along fine. Males will develop color, all females are brown or silver in color.

  b. Cichlids are more compatible if they are all added when young and raised

  together. If you have a larger tank, we recommend going in 6-packs of small fish

  to reduce costs and increase the chance of getting a nice cherry male of the group.


   By starting all the fish off

  young and raising them together, we have seen fish tanks thrive that would otherwise be considered incompatible.


  c. Cichlids will get along better in larger sizes if there are smaller more aggressive fish

  around to distract them from picking on one another. You can keep a batch of

  aggressive male Haps and Peacocks from hurting each other by adding some small and

  colorful, yet aggressive mbuna cichlids We call these “dither” cichlids

  as they help demonstrate the “chaos theory” mentioned earlier.


  d. Males that look similar to one another will quarrel the most. This will bring out their

  best color(s), but may be stressful to watch as they go at it. As long as you use the tricks

  mentioned earlier, such as stocking densely and using dither fish, similar males

  should not do any real damage to each other. However, the aspect of male

  dominance must be accepted when keeping African Cichlids.

  a. Mbuna cichlids in the green color-code category will have colorful males and females.

     i. Female mbuna can be mixed with more mild species. Larger female mbuna

        can help add color to a tank by enticing the males to show their breeding coloration and will technically keep the peace.

  b. For the best color, aim for an all male tank. There is nothing wrong with going for an

     all male tank if you have no desire to breed fish.

  c. If you want to breed fish, you will need at least two females for every one male.  There is nothing wrong with a 6 female to 1 male ratio. If you really want to breed

     fish, this has proven better results.

  d. We can tell the sex of some small fish even though the website may list them as

     unsexed. This is done by watching for the growth of fish that have all been born on

     the same day. Males will shoot ahead of the females in growth. If you want a

     specific ratio of males to females and the website lists them as unsexed write

     what you would like in the notes box at checkout and we will do our best to insure

     you get what you hoped for. We can’t guarantee anything but, after doing this for so

     long, we have gotten quite good at it.

5. Adding New Fish to Your Tank:

  a. Fish tend to do better when added in waves of larger groups.

     i. If you add fish one at a time to an aquarium, you will get “pick-on-the-new-guy

        syndrome”.

     ii. Adding cichlids in larger groups will reduce the chance of aggression

        between them. This will cause a two-week time period which will be critical

        to the water quality while your biological filter catches up that will be

        addressed below.  It is best to allow a two-week time period between groups.  This will allow your biological filter to catch up with the extra ammonia produced by the newer fish and preserve water quality.

  b. It is a good idea to add a dose of preventative medication to a tank

     when adding new fish from any source.

     i. Similar to humans, fish tend to contract sickness when they are stressed.

        Moving fish from one tank to another, whether by shipping them or simply

        picking them up from a local petstore, can cause stress on the fish.  This can in turn

        allow a disease that would normally not be able to pierce the

        immune system (e.g., Ich) to suddenly show up out of nowhere.

     ii. Anything that treats a tank for parasites will work when receiving large

        batches of fish. Even something very mild, like Melafix, is a great idea to

        treat for a few days after receiving new fish.

  c. Water changes help when adding a group of fish to an already established fish tank.

     i. Hopefully, you have decided to add fish in larger groups instead of one at a

        time. As it is good practice to do water changes shortly after adding new fish, an added benefit of introducing fish to your tank in a group is the reduction of these water changes.  With this practice, you will only have to perform this extra water change with the addition of each group instead of with every individual fish.

     ii. Whether you are adding fish to a brand new tank or a group of fish to an

        established tank, I recommend the following water change schedule.  Your

        fish will love you for it!

           1. Change 40% of the water 3 days after adding the new wave of fish

           2. Change 40% of the water 7 days after adding the new wave of fish

           3. Change 40% of the water 14 days after adding the new wave of fish

           4. Change 40% of the water in two week intervals after that.

     iii. That is a lot of water, but this step will truly insure you have a healthy fish

          tank forever. No amount of technology I feel is adequate to the effectiveness

          of a good, old-fashion water change. 

           1. Ways you can become more efficient at this process:

                 a.   Consider using sterile garbage cans, hoses, and pumps. I will

                       usually siphon the water out of the tank into a large,

                       plastic garbage can placed next to it. I will then drop a power head

                       connected to a hose into the garbage can to pump it to a drain or

                       outside (great for your garden). After I have removed as much water as

                       I want from the tank, I will hook the hose up to my faucet to get

                       warmer tap water to fill the garbage can and pump

                       warm water from the garbage can back into the

                       tank.  The benefit of this process is you don’t have to carry

                       buckets of water to and from your tank, and the chance of a major spill is lessened.

                 b. Python Water Changers are nice as they hook right to your

                     sink. However, they can be slower than the method above.

    d. Acclimating your fish purchase from LiveFishDirect:

        i. First, float the bags in the tank until the temperature stabilizes, this normally takes around 15 minutes.

        ii. Don’t release the fish until the temperature is stable.

        iii. Cut open the bags and strain the fish water in the bag through a net into a

            bucket or bowl.

        iv. Place the fish right in the tank.

6. Troubleshooting Fish Disease:

  a. Fish disease can be complicated. In fact, they can be just as complicated as the

     diseases that affect us.

  b. Look for excessive scratching, this may mean you have a parasite.

     i. A fish scraping its side on the bottom might just be a way for it to stir up

        some fish food. However, if they are doing it excessively or many of them are

        doing it, you have may have an outbreak of parasites. The good news is if you treat it

        early, it is easy to fix. The bad news is if you wait until everything is covered

        in white spots (sores), it will be tricky to cure.

        1. To treat cichlids with parasites, we recommend: salt, copper,

              malachite green, Quinine sulfate, or any special combination of those.

  c. Open sores, wounds or bloody veining can be a sign of a bacterial infection. If they

     will eat, consider medicated fish food. If they won’t eat and the situation is

     looking bad, then you need some more serious bacterial meds. We recommend

     http://www.nationalfishpharm.com/ as they are very knowledgeable. Give them a call if you if you feel your fish would benefit from stronger medication.

This guide is a work in progress. Thank you for your time and consideration of some of these tips and tricks we have discovered while keeping African Cichlids. Please let us know if you feel we have missed the mark on any of these generalizations, or if you just want to help with grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Thanks – Live Fish Direct Crew

Redrain....if you go cichlids, this is literaly years of trial and error expierance.  Great and accurate advice.

Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Re: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 06:05:00 AM »
He's going tetras.  Loaches and stuff.  We shall find him some good stuff.

Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Re: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 08:26:17 AM »
Hmm, I wonder if the "chaos theory" works for Damsels in salt water as well. 
Hmmm...  you're right.   I bet it does.   Or at least helps.  Probably why we see them in the bigger tanks together at the fish stores.   And then other fish in smaller tanks.   Or maybe that's just because there is a lot of them to be sold, but I wonder.

Offline miDnIghtEr20C

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Re: Cichlid advice from Live Fish Direct
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 08:14:40 PM »
Hello @Thorium C ... I saw your post in the other thread.. if you're going africans in a 50/55... let this be your guide.. from the first post.. '


Quote
     ii. 50 gallon = 15, 20, 25

meaning at the least for lightly stocked... 15 fish will do... i'd get around 20 total.     Thanks for signing up.