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FAQs on Neotropical Cichlid Selection

Related Articles: Neotropical Cichlids, Central American Cichlids by Neale Monks, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General

Related FAQs: Neotropical Cichlids 1, Neotropical Cichlids 2, Neotropical Cichlids 3, Neotropical Cichlid Identification, Neotropical Cichlid Behavior, Neotropical Cichlid Compatibility, Neotropical Cichlid Systems, Neotropical Cichlid Feeding, Neotropical Cichlid Disease, Neotropical Cichlid Reproduction, Convicts, Oscars, Firemouths, Texas Cichlids, Severums, Triangle Cichlids, & Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease Cichlid Reproduction,

Geophagus Tapajos Red Heads; stkg. neotrop. cichlids, sys.     8/8/17
Hello Crew,
Firstly, thank you for such an informative site, and the time you take to help everyone, it's very much appreciated!
I have been researching Geophagus Red Head Tapajos and would like to dedicate my aquarium primarily to a group of 8, along with a small group of 4 Guianacara owroewefi cichlids in my 460gallon aquarium.
<Should be compatible; both peaceful species of smallish size ultimately>
I am still in the last part of the cycling process but as I have quite hard alkaline water I know I will have to change this to soft acidic water soon, well before I add any fish.
<Yes; these cichlids live in tannin-acidic, soft-water conditions; and have not been bred in captivity thus far in successive generations to be "more flexible" water quality wise>
My question for you was, what are the appropriate GH and KH ranges for these fish, primarily the Geophagus Red Heads?
<In one place hardness is listed as 18-179 ppm... so quite soft to somewhat hard. I would shy on the softer end of the scale here>
I keep finding very varied information online about this species and their water chemistry preferences.
<Considering the water, smallish location this Eartheater is endemic to, and its water chemistry, I consider the above to be accurate>
I have purchased a 4 stage RO unit as well as a triple stage dechlorinator, heavy metal and nitrate filter so am prepared to set the water to the necessary levels. Lastly, I just wanted to check, are Geophagus Red Head
Tapajos and Geophagus Orange Head Tapajos simply two variants of the same species or two different species?
<According to my references these are definitely two different species>
Many thanks,
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>
Geophagus /Neale       8/9/17

Hello Crew,
Firstly, thank you for such an informative site, and the time you take to help everyone, it's very much appreciated!
I have been researching Geophagus Red Head Tapajos and would like to dedicate my aquarium primarily to a group of 8, along with a small group of 4 Guianacara Owroewefi cichlids in my 460gallon aquarium. I am still in the last part of the cycling process but as I have quite hard alkaline water I know I will have to change this to soft acidic water soon, well before I add any fish. My question for you was, what are the appropriate GH and KH
ranges for these fish, primarily the Geophagus Red Heads? I keep finding very varied information online about this species and their water chemistry preferences. I have purchased a 4 stage RO unit as well as a triple stage
dechlorinator, heavy metal and nitrate filter so am prepared to set the water to the necessary levels. Lastly, I just wanted to check, are Geophagus Red Head Tapajos and Geophagus Orange Head Tapajos simply two variants of the same species or two different species? Many thanks,
<Hi Jake. Geophagus sp. Tapajos 'Red head' is one of the more widely traded Geophagines, and many if not most of the specimens on sale are farmed, and these are less finicky than their wild forebears. In fact most Geophagines are more bothered by water quality than water chemistry, even the soft water ones. Your real challenge is keeping nitrate as low as practical (I'd be aiming for less than 20 mg/l) and only secondarily worrying about water chemistry. Frequent water changes, light stocking, and high water turnover rates are all important, given the size, sensitivity, high oxygen, and high temperature requirements of the species. So provided you avoid really hard water, and keep water chemistry stable, anything up to, say, 12 degrees dH would probably be fine. Carbonate hardness should be lower simply to keep the pH down, but I'd still be aiming for a pH of about 7 simply to optimise biological filtration, in which case 2-3 degrees KH would probably be fine, or else appropriate use of a commercial pH buffer. There's simply no real advantage to faffing about with water chemistry if that's going to make water changes expensive or infrequent -- as I say, it's water quality that makes or brakes Geophagines rather than water chemistry. It may well be that a 50/50 mix of tap and RO water will produce something around 10 degrees dH, pH 7, that would be absolutely fine for your cichlids provided the nitrate was 20 mg/l or less. Finally, yes, so far as I know, Geophagus sp. Tapajos 'Red head' has been sold under a variety of names, including the ones you mention. Of course it could well turn out we're looking at a species flock of similar but geographically isolated populations of cichlids, but for the time being they're all assumed to be one, rather variable, species of cichlid. Cheers, Neale.>

Rainbow Cichlids... stkg., sex as a factor    2/2/15
Hello there, I have decided to put a pair of rainbow cichlids in my tank.
I do not want breeding so I need a pair of the same sex. Will 2 males or 2 females be less aggressive to each other and the other tank mates? Thank you very much. I could not find the answer to this while researching.
James Hall
<Yes. B>
Rainbow Cichlids      2/3/15

Hello there, I have decided to put a pair of rainbow cichlids in my tank.
I do not want breeding so I need a pair of the same sex.
<Indeed, or a singleton, which often works even better.>
Will 2 males or 2 females be less aggressive to each other and the other tank mates?
<Two females will be least aggressive, though occasionally pairs of female cichlids pair off and spawn. The downside with buying two females is that they're sometimes less colourful than the males (the prime exception being Pelvicachromis, where the females are much more strongly coloured). But Rainbows are pretty similar whether male or female, so this isn't a major issue.>
Thank you very much. I could not find the answer to this while researching. James
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Cichlids

Thanks Neale, and lastly, if I buy 2 males is there a danger of them fighting in a 36 inch long tank?
<Possibly. Hard to say. This is a very mellow species, but three square feet is a much more confined space than they'd share in the wild. So I wouldn't risk it.>
And will they be aggressive to other members of a community aquarium?
<Generally not. This is a reliable species, by cichlid standards. Have seen them with Angels, Brochis, larger Corydoras, Cardinals, Platies, Ancistrus, Blue Gouramis... all sorts, really. For sure the size of the tank makes a difference, but as far as you can trust any dwarf cichlid, these are good fish.>
I know I couldn't have cories (which I love) but I have to make a trade off.
<It's in small tanks, when breeding, Corydoras run into problems. They're not good at learning about the "no fly zones" that parent cichlids like to maintain. But non-breeding Rainbows aren't going to be that intolerant, so mixing them with all but the most delicate catfish is worth a shot.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Rainbow Cichlids      2/3/15

Thanks again Neale, is it OK to have a single male in tank or does this species need company? James
<Doesn't need, doesn't want. Yes, a bachelor cichlid will be just fine.
Stick a mirror by the side of the tank every now and again if you think he needs stimulating. Some react quite dramatically to this! Cheers, Neale.>

Central American Cichlids, stkg.     6/7/13
I have a 130 gallon tank. It isn't currently set up as it needs to be cleaned and supplies purchased. I'd like to do a peaceful (as possible) Central American cichlid tank.

  I'm not looking into breeding so I was thinking of singles instead of pairs. I really want to have 6 spotted pictus
<Very active in this setting during the day/light hours. A good choice; though this Pimelodelid is Ich prone and doesn't "like" medications>
on the bottom and some sort of dither fish. As far as dithers I was thinking of one of the following: Denison barbs, giant danios or rainbow fish. 
<Good choices; though these do prefer harder, more alkaline water than the Pictus, and likely the Cichlids>

Can you suggest what species of peaceful C.A. cichlids will work together in a 130 gallon tank with spotted pictus cats and one of the dithers above?
<Ah yes; my fave, the Eartheaters, Geophagines would be my first choice here>
  Can you recommend the size/number of canister filter(s) I'll need? 
<Two, over-sized per the manufacturers recommendation. My first choice would be/is Eheim...
A few choices in terms of feature/s, price:
I use the "classic" and Professionel II series. I'd place the intakes near the bottom in either back corner, and the discharges near the top left and right sides...>
I have hard water and am experienced in maintaining water quality.  I plan on using Black Beauty Blasting Sand as a substrate.
<Ahh; thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Re: Central American Cichlids     6/7/13

Thank you for your replies. You mentioned Geophagines. These guys are S.A. cichlids who need softer water than what I have. Do you know of any peaceful C.A. cichlids?
<Mmm, the Blue Acara, perhaps some other Acaras... the smaller species. BobF>

Nicaragua Cichlid compatibility
Nicaraguense Cichlid Tankmates – 04/13/13

Hello Crew, I have a 150cm*50cm*60cm fish tank, about 100 gallon, filtered by a Fluval FX5 and an Eheim 2078. There is quite a bit of flow in the tank. I would like to keep a pair of Nicaragua Cichlids, and was wondering which other Central American cichlids would make good tankmates. I am mainly considering Cryptoheros Sajica (not sure if best a pair or a small group), other Cryptoheros species or Firemouth cichlids. I haven't been able to locate any Rainbow Cichlids (Archocentrus multispinosus) or other Thorichthys species so those are currently not really an option. I also like the look of Jack Dempsey cichlids and Salvini cichlids, but I don't want a tank with a high level of aggression, so I assume with my relatively limited space these are out. Of the species mentioned above (or other more suitable cichlids I may have overlooked), not sure if some are more compatible than others to go with the Nicaragua Cichlids in this setting? Thanks, I highly valuate your expert opinion. Henk
< Stay away from the Jack Dempsey or Salvini. The others are fine as long as the sizes are pretty close. Remember that cichlids are pretty good parents, so if the other cichlids pair up the aggression level will be kicked up too. The Nicaraguense are very easy to sex. Males have spots in the unpaired fins.-Chuck>

Re: Macaw cichlid, Neotrop. cichlid f'     10/31/12
Well, a few additions to the cichlid fish family since last I posted on WetWebMedia. The 2 Firemouth cichlids are doing well enough in the 50g. along with their Swordtail and dwarf neon rainbowfish pals, which for the most part are just ignored. I also have a soft spot for Rummynose tetras so I added 1/2 dozen as well.
<Nice fish, but can be difficult to keep without soft water. Given Swordtails and Firemouths prefer hard water, and the Swordtails cooler water than the Rummynose Tetras, I'm not really clear that this tank will work in the long term. Might do if water isn't too hard or too soft, and the water isn't too hot or too cold… but oftentimes these "happy medium" tanks don't ever really thrive. In other words, see what happens, but don't be surprised if you have to change things around.>
I have acquired another aquarium from classified listings since my last posting, this time ~ 75 gallon (much less $ than retail). I have 3 Hypsophrys nicaraguensis (Macaw, Moogi): 3.5", 3", 1 3/4". Boy, are they ever nifty fish. What a load of personality. One is definitely male, another female and the 3rd one is juvenile so could go either way. Just got them 4 days ago from 2 different pet stores. The lights just went out on the aquarium and for the first time, I noticed the female following the male, rather than the male harassing her into the foliage during the day. The smallest is still just staying put in the plastic floating foliage for now, sneaking a pellet or 2 during feeding time. Substrate is sand, rock caves, driftwood pile and a couple of pvc pipes as well.
<Now, Hypsophrys nicaraguensis is a stunning fish, especially when fully-grown, but it does have many of the usual Central American cichlid traits. It's a biggish fish (expect at least 20 cm/8 inches) and though not aggressive, it's still territorial. Like most Central American fish it prefers hard water rather than soft, but it is also fairly sensitive to low oxygen levels, and does best in a tank with a brisk current and perhaps even a little extra oxygenation during summer.>
Question: From your experience, would you recommend adding more females? Providing I can find another mature one to properly sex.
<Actually, no, this species does best as pairs. The two fish are generally quite loyal to each other, and because they're fairly easy to sex (at least as adults) that's the way most people keep them. Females are smaller than males, less robust in shape, and oddly enough, often the ones with the best colours. Like many other cichlids, males tend to have longer tips to their fins, but this isn't always obvious. In a large tank surplus females will be tolerated fairly well, but there's no real reason to add an extra female. If the third fish is a male though, you will probably end up removing it, but a lot depends on your aquarium and your particular pair of fish. Hypsophrys nicaraguensis is quite tolerant of conspecifics given adequate space.>
Note: I also bought a fish without researching it first. Caquetaia myersi. He or she is ~ 2.5", yet I'm starting to wonder if it's basket mouth may find it's way over to the Macaws. Besides, I believe it's total length will eventually be a problem.
<For sure. On the other hand, these big predatory cichlids aren't especially aggressive, and singletons can work find in jumbo communities with tankmates too large to swallow. Anything deep bodies and bigger than, say, two-thirds its size should be fine.>
<Glad to help, Neale.>

South American Cichlids that Form Colonies     7/9/12

Hi guys. How are you all?
< So far so good.>
 Doing well here. Starting my 40 breeder planted tank.
This question will be brief. Are there any south American cichlids that will form breeding colonies? And if so how many would be suitable in a 40 breeder? Information is plentiful for African Cichlid colonies but not s. Americans. Thanks guys. Phill
< Many rift lake cichlids in Africa form colonies. This is probably a defense behavior against the many predators that are in the lake. Riverine cichlids usually form pair bonds but many males will cheat if other females are available. Apistogrammas form fairly loose pair bonds. I would recommend a single male with four or five females. The females will pick out territories and the male will roam around and breed with all the females. Make sure you have numerous little caves for them to breed in.-Chuck>

Thorichthys ellioti aggression 4/16/12+
Hey WWM crew,
I've always wanted to keep Elliot cichlids in my 200 l tank. I initially bought Chico and Rita. Chico grew well and died after about a year, I think from bloat. Then I bought Ruby to keep Rita company. They never got along, Rita chased Ruby tirelessly around the tank. Late Jan 2012 Rita died from bloat.
Now Ruby has been the only Ellioti in the tank for three months, healthy but sad/shy, so I bought two medium-small Elliotis (in a bid to distribute any aggression).
I took Ruby out of the tank, rearranged all decorations, introduced Pepe and Lola for a few hours, then let Ruby back in the tank. First it all seemed peaceful enough but soon Ruby slipped into her new role as a bully, seeking the youngsters out and chasing them, spreading bad vibes.
I have a feeling they'll never get along. Pepe and Lola seem totally cool with each other. What's your advice? Is it even possible to restock one out of an Ellioti pair or will they always harass newcomers? Would it help to buy even more Elliotis? Or shall I re-house Ruby, give her back to my LFS?
<Do you have much decor here? Sturdy plants (real or not), clay pots laid on their side... More is definitely better... I'd try placing Ruby in a floating plastic colander (spaghetti strainer...) for a few days to see if this gives the two new cichlids time to settle in...>
Water parameters 25ºC, pH 8, GH 180, KH 240, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 40,
<Twice as high as I'd allow it... see WWM re NO3 control>

weekly 30% water changes.
Stock (200 l): 8 x Odessa barb, 4 x Swordtail, 3 x Ellioti, 2 x Bumblebee goby, 1 x SAE, 1 x Bristlenose Pleco, 1 x Apple snail
Many thanks again!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Thorichthys ellioti aggression    4/16/12

Hi Bob,
Thank you for quick reply!
<Welcome Fredrik>
Yes got many plants, three proper root hideaways with forecourts and everything, and three terracotta tubes...
<Ah good>
I'll separate Ruby tonight and keep her away for a few days.
Re Nitrate: I checked with my local water supplier and my tap water already contains at least 25 mg NO3 per liter, can't get it much below 40 in the tank, perhaps 35 just after a change...  Is this really bad for my fish?
<It is, and can be easily modified in a few ways... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwnitrates.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>
Thank you,

Thorichthys in community tank   11/5/11
Hi WWM crew,
thank you for an ace and very informative resource!
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I've got what I believe to be two Thorichthys maculipinnis, attaching a photo of them.
<Better known/traded as Thorichthys ellioti, though there is debate over whether they're precisely the same thing. In any event, nice looking fish.>
The big one is about a year old and the little one perhaps 5 months. Can you assist in sexing them?
<Difficult to sex, but generally, the male has longer extensions to his dorsal and anal fin. That appears to be the case for one of the specimens in your photo
. As with other Thorichthys, males tend to be slightly larger and may be more colourful. But Thorichthys generally are difficult to sex, and a lot is down to luck and examination of the genital papillae.>
If they are indeed a couple, I'd love to experience them breeding. What can I do to "help them along"?
<Not much. Thorichthys are not difficult to breed, but they're quite peaceful, shy, even secretive cichlids so a quiet tank with dither fish species and lots of hiding places will help. Warmish, moderately hard, slightly basic water is best.>
The big one is chasing the little one an awful lot, flaring fins and gills, they kind of show each other their backs in a funny dance. The little one has got noticeably stripier over the back the last few weeks.
<Black stripes on Neotropical cichlids tend to mean stress or a desire not to be a target of another fish's aggression. Do observe carefully. An female that doesn't want to mate or can't mate may display these stripes, as will a male smaller and weaker than the dominant male.>
My numbers are: 180 litre tank, 1 metre width, 1350 litre per hour filtration using two internal filters, temp 26ºC, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate typical 10ppm, pH 8.0, Total hardness as CaCO3 = 268 mg/l (dH = 15) hard London water.
<Which happens to be ideal for Central Americans!>
Tankmates 9 x Odessa barbs, 2 x bumblebee gobies, a single Glowlight Danio and a Bushynose Pleco.
The lonely Danio is a survivor from an old tank, he's shoaling with the Odessas but also chasing them a fair bit. Best to get rid of him?
<Danios do tend to be bullies in groups smaller than six. If he isn't harming the Odessa Barbs, I'd leave him where he is, perhaps even add a couple more Odessa Barbs.>
I would love to introduce 5 x juvenile Clown loaches to the tank, am getting very disparate advice as to the wisdom of this. My LFS are happy to take them back in a few years in the event I can't negotiate my way to a huge tank in our house. How many years until they outgrow the tank?
<Would not add Clown Loaches to this system at all. They will prevent breeding, for one thing, and will grow much to big, much too quickly.>
Loach plan B is to go for 6 x Botia Histrionica instead of clowns but I worry they won't be as much fun, quirky fish, showing the
same interesting social behaviour as the clowns?
<They are a good species, but soft rather than hard water, so not an obvious choice. Yo-Yo Loaches perhaps a bit more adaptable with regard to water chemistry, but there's not much in it. Your real problem is that cichlids can't breed in tanks with night-time egg-eaters, which is what loaches are.>
Again would appreciate your experience and opinion.
many thanks,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Thorichthys in community tank, stkg./sel., sys.     11/7/11
Hi WWM, thank you so much for your advice!
<Glad to help.>
The larger Ellioti is giving the smaller one a pretty hard time, she/he is in hiding most of the time. What would be your recommended course of action if things don't improve?
<Well, if you have two males, it's unlikely they'll ever get along. A female may be tolerated in a large enough tank, but it's hard to be sure in 180 litres. You might try using a tank divider you've bought or made (e.g., from egg crate). Alternatively, take the bigger one out, rearrange the rocks and plants, and then reintroduce the bigger cichlid and see what happens.>
Keeping some form of loaches is above breeding Elliotis on my wish list, so I have a few follow-up questions:
<But most loaches dislike hard water. The obvious exception is the Horseface Loach, a tolerant species from a variety of environments including slightly brackish water. It moves like greased lightning, especially in tanks with a sandy substrate, which is what you want for Thorichthys species anyway. Thorichthys are "earth eaters" and do best in tanks with silica sand rather than gravel, so they can sift the sand and find food that way.>
-- Would adding peat to the filtration system be a good idea to lower the pH slightly and suit loaches' needs better? Would it then be easy to maintain a stable pH at, say, 7? My tap water is pH 8.
<Two things here. If you are thinking you adjust water chemistry by lowering pH, then you clearly don't have enough understanding to adjust water chemistry safely. You must always reduce hardness first, and then stabilise the pH where required. There's soft water and there's hard water. Thinking in terms of pH 6 or pH 8 is an EXTREMELY dangerous way to think about water. Secondly, Thorichthys spp. are adaptable, yes, but they're basically hard water fish when all is said and done; kept below pH 7, they'll probably become sickly.>
-- Alternatively, would setting up a CO2 injection system lower my pH in a stable, controllable way?
<Again, DON'T adjust pH directly. If you have hard water, then mix 50/50 with rainwater or RO water to get soft water, and then stabilise the pH at around 7-7.5 for a mix of community species. If you're keeping hard water fish like these Thorichthys, then there's likely no need to alter your tap water, unless your nitrate levels are very high (cichlids rarely do well for long when nitrate is much above 20 mg/l).>
-- I like the look and personality of Botia Histrionica. What other loaches are similar in look and behaviour, and would perhaps suit my system particulars better? What about Dario, Striata, Almorhae, Kubotai? Would like to keep a group of one of these species, at least six specimens.
<Do see above re: Horseface Loach, an excellent companion for non-aggressive Central American cichlids.>
-- If not loaches, what other tankmates can you recommend for my water chemistry and current inhabitants?
<Depends if you want your cichlids to breed or not. If you do, then catfish and loaches are a bad idea. Surface-swimming schooling fish are very useful though. Obvious choices would include virtually any Australian Rainbowfish as well as Giant Danios and the like, if kept in sufficient numbers.>
-- One of my young Odessa barbs just died. She had a bite nipped out of her caudal fin and was hiding in tall grass during her last two days, not eating and just kind of twitch-swimming on the spot most of the time. Can my Danio have nipped/stressed her to death?
<Yes. Zebra Danios are particularly "nippy" when kept in too-small a group.>
many thanks again,
<You're welcome, Neale.>

T-Bar or Convict?
Breeding Medium Sized Central American Cichlids   4/23/2011

Hi there, I currently have a 35 gallon tank which is home to one Bristlenose Pleco. I am looking to place either T-Bar or Convict cichlids in the tank and I want to breed them. What would you suggest is the better option in terms of breeding? I am only looking at having a single species tank. Thank you
< Of the two choices the T-Bars are less aggressive but slightly more difficult to spawn. Keep in mind, that cichlids are excellent parents and the brittle nose Pleco may still not be safe when any cichlids that are
guarding eggs or fry.-Chuck>

My Cichlid tank, stkg. neotrop.s   3/22/11
Good evening/morning everyone,
<Howdy Josh>
I tried doing my research but it is quite frustrating so many contradicting theories out there.
<We have some of these ourselves... but/however also each of us here can and will relate the underlying reasons/science for their beliefs>
I feel no matter what your stock or tank there is always someone going to say that tank is too small or those fish wont mix and someone else will say you will be fine. So after reading this site I feel y'all have the best and most reasonable information. So what I need to know is what I'm doing right and what I need to change. I recently set up my 55 (US gal) aquarium and I know I made some rookie mistakes. I have set up this tank before with success without researching (before I had internet) but never long term do <due> to frequent moves. First mistake I don't believe I let my tank cycle enough. I'm still getting nitrite readings
so I am currently doing 50-60% twice week water changes and postponed feedings. I treat for chlorine after each WC and I no longer use Cycle after hearing their is no benefit to it.
<Often doesn't "work"; but there are other products in the category that indeed do>
Second mistake was stocking I purchased a Jack Dempsey 2 Blood Parrots but the mistake came a week later with a Bumblebee Cichlid.
Had no initial issues until I bought 2 Clown Loaches,
1 did not last, the Bumblebee (smaller than the loach) killed one before I even knew what was going one. So I immediately returned the Bumblebee. The other Clown Loach was doing well, the other fish were pretty much ignoring him. Then I noticed him flashing frequently. So fear of Ich I returned the CL instead of treating him, knowing he would out grow my tank anyway. So my current stock is one 3" Jack Dempsey two 2" Blood Parrots and a 1" Firemouth. So far things are going well aggression wise. The JD will do some bullying but no violent attacks just showing who is boss every once in awhile. I upgraded my HOB filter from a (Wal-mart) Whisper to a Penguin 30-60 BioWheel. I also have a UG filter with two power head. The UG filter came with initial set up 10 years ago and I always replaced it believing it was a necessity. Once I have water quality under control I hope to add 2 Spotted Pictus and 7 Tiger Barbs as dither fish.
<Mmm, I wouldn't make these additions... the Pimelodid cats are too likely to be beaten, the Barbs eaten. IF you had room (you don't), you might consider some other/larger barb species>
If you need anymore information please let me know and will provide best I can. Now that I found so many sites and information out there I'm constantly reading (my wife believes too much) every slightness change I think is symptom so I guess you can say I'm paranoid now after reading so many issues others had. And today I noticed my JD flashing but no signs of Ich and I don't want to over react so I just did a 60% WC.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Many Thanks in advance
<I would read re finishing the cycle here:
and not add any more cichlids... As this tank will be too full with growth of what you have. You might consider adding a catfish of a few different species... Do read on WWM re the compatibility of the Neotropicals and cross you're currently housing, and take care to not over-feed while there is any ammonia or nitrite presence. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Cichlid tank   3/23/11

Thank you for the quick reply. And thank you for the job y'all do. I find this much better than a forum because you don't have 20 different people telling you 20 different things confusing new people to the hobby. And I enjoy the manner in which the e-mails are answered almost like a conversation is happening. Keep up the excellent work.
Good news my nitrites are coming down so a few more water changes I should be at 0. And I will not add the dither and Spotted Pictus (until a 100+ gal upgrade). Instead I will add a Synodontis or 4 line Pictus and call it a day.
Thanks Again
<Welcome. BobF>

Random selection of cichlids; compatibility   9/19/10
Hello, I am purchasing a 123 gallon aquarium soon. I am trying to pick suitable cichlids for it.
<Fortunately there are a great many cichlids books available. Anything by Loiselle is a good place to start. The recent book by David Boruchowitz has also been well received.>
I would like a pair of Convict cichlids,
<Why? What possible reason? These are aggressive fish that breed without fail, producing gazillions of fry you WILL NOT be able to rehome.>
1 Plecostomus, 1 pair of Firemouth cichlids,
<These are not compatible with Convicts; they rely on bluff, and when forced to live with aggressive cichlids tend to get damaged, in particular, their jaws are dislocated.>
1 pair of Salvini cichlids.
<These are fine with Convicts, but a poor choice for use with Firemouths.>
I was also hoping to throw an Oscar into the mix.
<Requires soft, slightly acidic water conditions. Should not be kept with Central American cichlids, since those required moderately hard to hard, slightly basic to basic water chemistry. Do please read up on the needs of your fish BEFORE purchase.>
Do you think this is too many fish for this size aquarium.
<Not the problem here. Water chemistry issues, plus non-compatible behaviours will cause problems long before the size of the fish.>
Obviously I will have suitable filtration, hiding areas, and the aquarium properly cycled before I add fish. Is it possible to keep these fish together is what I'm asking I guess.
<Wouldn't recommend it.>
The aquarium is 5' long x 3' high x 2' deep.
<Firemouths are good fish for cichlid communities, so let's start with them. They'd get along fine with Rainbow Cichlids (Archocentrus multispinosus) and, if you have a decent water current, the Nicaragua
Cichlid (Hypsophrys nicaraguensis). The Honduran Red Point (Amatitlania siquia) is a great alternative to the Convict, and remains smaller and milder, as well as being more colourful. Throw in some Swordtails as dither fish, and you'll have a nice little system. Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlids, Neotrop., stkg.  - 9/10/10
I have upgraded to a 155 Gallon tank for my cichlids and I was wondering what fish could I have that like to stay around the top of the tank?
Here is what cichlids I have:
Oscar cichlid
Texas Cichlid
Jack Dempsey
Convicts (male and female)
Gold Severum
Thanks for your time.
<Hi Joe. The short answer is "not much". Putting aside the fact you have fish requiring completely different water chemistry, and assuming you're keeping them all in moderately hard, and at an around neutral to slightly basic pH, you have a mixture of fish including herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores. Severums feed primarily on plants, so they will mix with anything that isn't too small, Silver Dollars, Rainbowfish and Congo Tetras being particularly good companions. Provided you're giving your Severums plenty of plant matter to eat every day, it won't have much of a hunting instinct, so should ignore tankmates completely, outside of spawning of course. But Jack Dempseys and Oscars are opportunistic carnivores, and on top of that Jack Dempseys, Convicts, and Texas cichlids are notoriously aggressive. So unlike the Severums, these fish will at best chase tankmates and at worst kill them. Oscars usually mix okay with large midwater characins and barbs, for example Flagtail Characins, Spanner Barbs and Tinfoil Barbs. Although it's a bit riskier, Leporinus have been kept with them too, though I'd warn you that there are many cases of Leporinus treat large cichlids as all-you-can-eat buffets, snapping away at fin membranes and scales. Your Central American cichlids are, unfortunately, too aggressive to keep with hard water schooling fish like Swordtails and Rainbowfish. If the fish are all juveniles, and provided you don't have any pairs, you can sometimes keep Mexican Tetras, Ameca splendens or Swordtails with Convicts, Texas cichlids and JDs, but only in very large tanks and only assuming the tank is spacious enough the schooling fish can avoid
trouble, i.e., they're swimming above the cichlids' territories. Years ago I kept various (unpaired) Central American cichlids with a Florida Gar and a Spotted Channel Catfish, but both of these were *bigger* than the
cichlids, and the tank was 200 gallons in size, so together these factors probably made the combination viable. But once cichlids pair, then all bets are off because they will usually kill anything in range, and schooling fish simply don't last long under such conditions. If your cichlids are aggressive already, then adding anything else to the tank won't work at all, period. Cheers, Neale.>

100g Central American cichlid tank  6/5/10
Hello, I've been researching on several sites on what to put in my new setup (still in research phase). I can find plenty of what not to do in 29, 30 and 55g setups, but can't find a lot of info on 100g and larger.
<I'm surprised. 100 gallons is a middle-size aquarium for Central Americans. As you probably realise, these fish tend to be much larger than Malawian cichlids but about as aggressive, so you need a very large aquarium. Back when I was at university I kept a 200 gallon CA cichlid aquarium, and I think you'd be surprised how easily the two biggest specimens in the tank -- an Amphilophus citrinellus and a Parachromis managuense -- monopolised the community. The Convicts more or less held their own, but the Firemouths did not do well and eventually had to be
Basically, I'm pretty sure I want to get the "green Texas" cichlid and want to know what, if anything, can co-exist with it.
<Herichthys carpintis is mostly aggressive when spawning, and the rest of the time is, by CA standards, a fairly tolerant species that works okay in large CA communities. It will bully Thorichthys and some Cryptoheros, though not usually Cryptoheros spilurus, but gets along well with Amatitlania, Cichlasoma, Neetroplus nematopus and Rocio. It will in turn be bullied itself by Amphilophus and Parachromis. Hypsophrys can make reasonably good tankmates for Herichthys, though do note that Hypsophrys nicaraguensis comes from a very different biotope.>
I plan on getting all my fish as small juvies
and I'm planning on introducing them at the same time -- once tank is properly setup and cycled, that is.
And, can you verify this theory for me? In my case, it would be better to go with several single species as opposed to schools or several of the same type?
<I'm not aware of any Central Americans that are "schooling" fish as such, though Chuck my know better. For the most part they're only gregarious when young, becoming territorial once sexually mature. Pairs tend to be more
aggressive than singletons, so one way to moderate aggression is to keep just one specimen, ideally a female.>
I'm not looking to breed fish, but I also want to stay away from a "wet pet."
<Not sure what this term means? You don't want just one, big cichlid, right?>
Also don't want convicts.
<Don't strike Amatitlania siquia off your list though; it's a lovely species, and somewhat less aggressive that the Common Convict, so gets along okay with Firemouths, Archocentrus multispinosus and the other low-to-mid aggression CAs.>
Here is what I'm thinking so far:
1- Green Texas
1- Jack Dempsey???
<Viable, though JDs have somewhat different water chemistry requirements.>
<Will usually be bullied by Herichthys spp.>
Red Terror????
<Amphilophus is far too aggressive for a 100 gallon community.>
Green Terror?
<Certainly do-able, though I'd consider it a waste; it's far too similar in shape and colour to both the Herichthys and the Rocio.>
What else?
<See above.>
Any kind of "dither" fish, or would they just turn into popcorn?
<Depends very much on which CAs you go for. With the smaller, non-piscivorous species, Swordtails and Mexican Tetras (Astyanax spp.) can work great, and if the water isn't too hard, Silver Dollars and some Rainbowfish are viable too. All this assumes there's enough swimming space for the dither fish, and that the cichlid population is relatively low, maybe 4 adults in a tank this size.>
I would prefer keeping fish that do well in hard water conditions and ones that are omni- or herbivores.
<There are some good CA cichlid books out there; you might want to take a look at one or other of them. 'A Fishkeeper's Guide to Central American Cichlids' is a good place to start, if a bit old. 'The Cichlid Aquarium' is
another essential read, though again, somewhat old, so the Latin names therein don't always match those used today. 'Pocket Professional Guide to Cichlids' has had some good reviews, though I confess I've not read it.>
Thanks for your input and thanks for this site!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 100g Central American cichlid tank [Chuck, anything to add?]
100g Central American cichlid tank [Chucks Cents]  6/8/10

<Check out Monsterfish.com. It deals with keeping fish in larger tanks.
Also the American Cichlid Association has a website (Cichlid.org). It has lots of discussions with cichlid enthusiasts from around the world that are constantly providing information on setting up very large cichlid tanks and
indoor ponds in their basements.-Chuck>
Hello, I've been researching on several sites on what to put in my new setup (still in research phase). I can find plenty of what not to do in 29, 30 and 55g setups, but can't find a lot of info on 100g and larger.
Basically, I'm pretty sure I want to get the "green Texas" cichlid and want to know what, if anything, can co-exist with it. I plan on getting all my fish as small juvies and I'm planning on introducing them at the same time -- once tank is properly setup and cycled, that is. And, can you verify this theory for me?
In my case, it would be better to go with several single species as opposed to schools or several of the same type? I'm not looking to breed fish, but I also want to stay away from a "wet pet." Also don't want convicts. Here is
what I'm thinking so far: 1- Green Texas 1- Jack Dempsey??? Firemouth????
Red Terror???? Green Terror? What else? Any kind of "dither" fish, or would they just turn into popcorn? I would prefer keeping fish that do well in hard water conditions and ones that are omni- or herbivores. Thanks for your input and thanks for this site! Nate

Fish... ongoing blather re cichlid stkg.   5/8/10
Okay, so there will be 2 red head Severums, 2 Firemouths, and either a Texas or maybe a green terror?
<Not in a small aquarium. For this lot to work, you'd need 200 gallons, and Severums really aren't good companions for Central American cichlids, especially something as aggressive as a Texas cichlid. Green Terrors are precisely what they say, and hardly worth keeping.>
And what about a few different kinds of Geos and an Oscar?
<Geophagine cichlids are extremely difficult to keep. They need a soft substrate, soft/acidic water, and near-zero levels of nitrate. They are often gregarious but aggressive, so you need a big tank if you want to keep them successfully. They aren't compatible with Oscars really, because Oscars are too big and messy, and providing the right conditions for the Geophagines in terms of nitrate will be difficult. Even a single Oscar needs 75 gallons, and if you're planning on other cichlids to go with that Oscar, you will need to increase that accordingly.>
These are all fish I'm really interested in and want for my Severum and Firemouth tank, so what of those would coexists nicely?
<You need to read a book before you buy another fish. Anything by Paul Loiselle would be good, or perhaps the Guide to Cichlids by David Boruchowitz. You seem to have little understanding of the important of social behaviour, water chemistry, water quality and aquarium size when choosing cichlids. If you have a 50 gallon tank, your choices for cichlids are severely limited, and you'd do far better keeping just a pair alongside an armoured catfish of some type.>
<Cheers, Neale.> 

new cichlid owner, Neotrop. sel.   9/17/09
I am going to buy 2 convicts in a couple weeks,
<Think very carefully about this. Convict cichlids, Amatitlania nigrofasciata, are much better lab fish than they are aquarium fish. They are super-aggressive, not especially pretty, and when they breed, they'll
produce a gazillion fry you won't be able to give away, let alone sell.
Would I ban them from the hobby? No, but I'd certainly make them prescription-only! Yes, they are this challenging.>
I am waiting for my tank to cycle.
<Using a fishless method? Do remember that having a tank filled with water but no ammonia source isn't cycling, it's just wet. The easiest way is to keep adding a pinch of flake food into the empty tank just as if there were some fish there. Every other day should be fine. The flake rots, it produces ammonia, and that cycles the filter. Takes about 3-6 weeks, to complete; use your nitrite test kit to tell when nitrite has spiked and then dropped to zero.>
I was wondering if you can give me any advise on how to set up my tank.
<Lots of rocks! Convicts are territorial and will defend a rocky crevice against all comers. Do see here:
Also i have read some pretty crazy stories on your site about convicts not getting along.
<Not crazy, honest. Males are extremely intolerant of one another, and they can be very hard on the females too.>
if i were to but two babies from the pet store, will they have a better chance of getting along?
<Only until such time as they became sexually mature, at about a year in age. At that point males would get nasty.>
any other advise?
<Honestly Riana, there are so many, more interesting Central American cichlids out there, I'd think very carefully before buying this species. Amatitlania siquia is quite a bit more docile, as well as prettier, and
being rather rarely traded, you'd at least be able to sell some of the fry.
Cheers, Neale.>

Adding another Blue Acara or other cichlid to my existing setup South American Cichlid Tank Recommendations  2/25/09 Hi Crew I currently have a Geophagus Araguaia "Orange Head", Angelfish and a Blue Acara housed together in a 200L tank. They seem to get on ok so far, sharing power (i.e. the geo likes to chase the blue Acara who likes to chase the angelfish who likes to chase the geo). I have a lot of driftwood plus flowerpot to give them some private time. I was wondering if it would be ok from an aggression perspective to either add: 1) a male Blue Acara to pair up with the female, OR 2) another cichlid to give it more colour. If so, what would you suggest? Cheers Tim < If the Acaras paired up they would take over half the tank and would be very aggressive to the other fish. They are very pretty when they spawn. Any type of Eartheater like Satanoperca are non aggressive and very pretty. They are usually available from pet shops too. Chuck>

To do or not to do? 11/09/08 My 53 gallon tank 3 feet long by 15 inches wide by 20 inches high, has a layer of river sand, an overturned clay pot and some plastic plants, in our basement and I figured on researching fish to put into it, during the long MN winter which is coming, then in spring I was going to cycle it after I fill it and get the filter and heater running. I was wondering if a lone blood parrot cichlid better or a lone pair of discus. <I can't bear Blood Parrot cichlids, in part because they're deformed animals prone to swim bladder and other complications. I'd encourage you to cast your net a bit wider: Mother Nature has had 50+ million years to come up with a couple thousand wonderful cichlids, many of which are far nicer than these deliberately deformed, garishly colour man-made freaks. Red-neck Severums (Heros sp. "rotkeil") for example are similar in size and temperament, but much more subtly coloured combining bright colours with interesting patterns. Then there's the wonderful Cichlasoma Salvini, a much under-appreciated predatory cichlid from Central America. Good quality stock a canary yellow with red and black markings: unbelievably handsome! And then there are the Jewel cichlids such as the amazing Hemichromis lifalili: bright red, covered with brilliant blue spots. Then there's Para tilapia polleni... Etroplus canarensis... Pelvicachromis subocellatus... the list goes on. Hmm... personal bias slipping out there I suspect, but my point is why confine your choices to a uniformly coloured, disease-prone hybrid when there are so many better alternatives? Sure, you might need to spend some time tracking them down, but since you're not in a rush, get your dealer to order them in (something any decent store can do).> Do discus do well as pairs, and how big will they get in a 53? <Discus are best in groups of 6+; in small groups there's no guarantee you'll get compatible fish, and much bullying can occur. Unquestionably the magic number is "six".> I know the Blood parrot might get 10, How big would the discus get, would they spawn? How often do you have to change water with discus/or blood parrots? <This is all pretty basic stuff. I suggest you do some reading. If you're even halfway interested in Symphysodon sp., then you MUST do some research. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/discusfish.htm Discus aren't "easy" by any definition, hence their mystique. If you're asking me questions about water changes, then you're not (yet, at least) prepared to keep them. For what it's worth, experienced Discus keepers tend to go down the "little but often" road to water changes, in part to avoid pH instability because of the low hardness (particularly carbonate hardness) required for Discus. Doing 10-20% water changes DAILY is not out of line where wild-caught Discus are concerned. Less can work with captive-bred stock, but we're still talking generous water changes using low-nitrate, low-hardness water (likely from an RO filter).> I know discus don't like light much and it is in a basement. <They aren't all that fussed provided the tank is shaded with floating plants. An authentic habitat would be no plants, lots of bogwood, dark substrate, and peaty water. But realistically, tank-bred fish are just fine in shady planted aquaria.> I have heard carbon is bad for discus, is it bad for blood parrots also? <The relationship between Carbon and Hole-in-the-Head is very likely rubbish, with the protozoan Hexamita and/or vitamin deficiencies likely the keys to the problem. Carbon serves very specific roles in freshwater tanks, and by default, I recommend against using it simply because it's a waste of money and a waste of space in the filter.> what filter would you recommend for the parrot, if I go that route or if I go discus. most power filters, (I used tetra,) have carbon in them <Canister filters are what you need with cichlids: forget those crummy hang-on-the-back filters because they just don't have the "punch" to keep cichlid tanks silt-free and the water quality high. For example, the inlet and outlet pipes are close together, limiting circulation. They are designed to use filter "modules" created, I guess, to make them easy to service but also limiting your options in terms of filter media.> Are discus easy to keep or would a blood parrot be better, more hardy? <Both species need very specific (and different) water conditions. If you provide those conditions, tank-bred Discus are not difficult to maintain if you're an experienced aquarist who's already kept and bred semi-delicate cichlids, such as Tanganyikans or South American dwarfs. Blood Parrots are essentially hard water fish than need a basic pH; in soft water they are prone to disease.> I'm kinda new to cichlids and I don't want to replay the Oscar experience, over again ( too many fish, started with 3 in a 55, big mistake but back then I didn't know how monstrous Oscar can get, they outgrow tank, resulting in the end one surviving giant 15+ inch fish later, who died of HITH in a 125 gallon a few years ago. ( the other surviving Oscar lived awhile in the old 55 before dying as well from HITH/ the fish downstairs lived longer / the smaller weaker fish I left alone in the tank, while moving the larger fish to the 125, Anyway that was the past, I want to start fresh Do discus get HITH as easily as Oscars do?/What about blood parrots? <All cichlids, REPEAT, all cichlids are prone to Hole-in-the-Head when kept in poor conditions and fed the wrong diet. Nitrate is almost certainly the most common triggering factor, and if your nitrate is above 20 mg/l, it doesn't matter whether you're keeping Discus or Kribensis, Hole-in-the-Head is on the cards! Diet is another issue, with the majority of cichlids being herbivores to some degree, even Oscars, and without plants in their diet vitamin deficiency is possible and that reduced immune system effectiveness. Since Hole-in-the-Head is very likely caused by Hexamita, which most (all?) cichlids carry in their guts, your job is to ensure the immune system isn't stressed by poor water quality or the wrong diet.> Also how can you log on and become a member, I see people writing and getting feedback on your site, but I've looked around and cannot see how to do the same. <Are you talking about the Forum? http://bb.wetwebmedia.com/ Instructions are given on the Register page.> Thank you so much. Alex <Good luck, Neale.>

Re: To do or not to do? (Symphysodon; Blood Parrots; maintenance, selection) 11/09/08 What about one green terror- will one of those do okay in the tank I have mentioned? Green Terrors look beautiful IMO. <Aequidens rivulatus, the Green Terror. Lovely fish. The "Gold Saum" variety is especially nice. Very territorial and aggressive, so choose tankmates (if any) with care. Many aquarists have bought this fish by accident, thinking it a Blue Acara (Aequidens pulcher), only to watch it hammer the other fish in the tank. Do try and track down any one of the many good cichlid books out there before spending any money. Cichlid maintenance is an art form, and the more you've read beforehand, the easier things will be. WWM authors have suggested some of their favorite books here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bookswwmsugg.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Re: To do or not to do? (Symphysodon; Blood Parrots; maintenance, selection) 11/09/08 Would it outgrow the tank? - Tank is 3 feet long 15 inches wide and 20 inches high. <Is this about Aequidens rivulatus? It's a big fish. Anything much below 200 litres will be inadequate, and as soon as you start adding additional specimens/species to the equation, space becomes even more important. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Aequidens rivulatus (was: To do or not to do?) 11/09/08 How many gallons, is 200 litres? <I'm sure you can get the litre/gallon conversion on Google! You don't need WWM for this! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: To do or not to do? (Symphysodon; Blood Parrots; maintenance, selection), Now Green Terror sel.  12/07/08 What about one green terror- will one of those do okay in the tank I have mentioned? Green Terrors look beautiful IMO. <Aequidens rivulatus is a very aggressive species that either ends up being kept on its own or with similarly aggressive (often Central American) cichlids in a big (150-200 gallon) system. They are not called "Green Terrors" for nothing! They cannot be kept with Symphysodon, Severums, Blood Parrots, etc. Do consider Aequidens pulcher, a similar but much less aggressive Acara-type cichlid that does well in robust community tanks. Tank-bred stock is often of very poor quality, but wild-caught (or at least carefully bred F1 stock) are extremely beautiful fish, the "pulcher" part of their Latin name actually meaning "pretty", as you may recall from school. This actually holds true for cichlids generally -- the stuff in generic pet stores is intensively reared and often "juiced" with hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals to enhance colouration; if you're serious about cichlids and want something guaranteed to look good, you have to be prepared to spend some time and money. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: To do or not to do? (Symphysodon; Blood Parrots; maintenance, selection)  12/8/08 Would it outgrow the tank? - Tank is 3 feet long 15 inches wide and 20 inches high. How big of a tank would a red terror need?. <Alex, tell me you say "please" and "thank you" in your regular life. Most folks who send successions of questions do at least exhibit a modicum of courtesy, and being English, I do appreciate such things! In any case, your tank is far too small for anything other than dwarf cichlids (species less than, say, 10 cm/4"). Not a chance of keeping any of the large Aequidens or 'Cichlasoma'-type species. Certainly not well, and definitely not with anything else. Review some of the smaller cichlids: dwarf Aequidens, Tanganyikan shell-dwellers, or West African dwarfs such as Pelvicachromis for example. Cheers, Neale.>

Aequidens rivulatus; selection, compatibly (Was: To do or not to do?), Neotrop. cichlid sel.   1/11/09 What about one green terror- will one of those do okay in the tank I have mentioned? Green Terrors look beautiful IMO. <Aequidens rivulatus is a superb fish, and as you observe, extremely attractive. Adult males are solidly built, impressive fish with lovely fins and colours, as well as a small nuchal hump. They do live up to their name though, and male fish in particular, but even the females to some degree, are aggressive. Despite their relatively modest size, around 8 inches (20 cm) at most, these fish are infamous for "throwing their weight around", and even though they are South American cichlids they are routinely maintained with Central American cichlids. They also mix well with Oscars and armoured catfish, provided the tank is big enough for them all to maintain their territories. In a ~50 gallon system, it's doubtful a territorial Green Terror would tolerate any other fish. So while you could certainly keep a singleton in such a tank, or a matched pair, possibly with a large Suckermouth catfish, it would be unwise to combine Green Terrors with any other cichlids. By the way, do take care to research the needs of this species. For example, like many other Aequidens, it actually doesn't like particularly warm water, with 20-24 degrees C (68-75 F) being optimal. Overheating them will shorten their lives and do nothing to improve either their personality or overall healthiness. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: To do or not to do? (Symphysodon; Blood Parrots; maintenance, selection) Re: To do or not to do? (Aequidens rivulatus)  ~ 01/12/09 Would it outgrow the tank? - Tank is 3 feet long 15 inches wide and 20 inches high. <That's about 46 US gallons, which would be fine for a single Aequidens rivulatus. Don't forget to tip your waitress! Neale.>

Re: One blood parrot in 53 gallon basement tank. 11/09/08 Thank you, what about a Green Terror? Would one of these outgrow the tank- again 3 feet long 15 inches wide and 20 inches high. I do have another tank 5 feet long 18 inches wide and 18 inches high, its not set up now, but right now both of them are not set up. Thanks. <Aequidens rivulatus gets to at least 20 cm in length; I wouldn't keep a singleton in a tank below 180 litres, and to keep with any other fish you'd need at least upwards of 250-300 litres. With any cichlid as aggressive as this, review aquarium size and filtration capacity carefully. For small tanks (180 litres or less) you're much better off with dwarf cichlids. Cheers, Neale.>

Central American Cichlid community   8/6/07 I am sending this in order to get advise about a community of fish I would like to put in a tank. I am considering buying at the most seven fish. 3 parrots, 2 spotted puffers, 1 flower horn, an a Pleco and maybe a jack Dempsey (if possible) and a few silver dollars. I plan to put them in maybe a 75 gallon tank or 100. Could you please send me something in return about advise on this community, tank size or maybe another setup of fish. Thank you. >>>Greetings, Jim here. You need at least a 135 gallon tank to keep the fish you've named long term, and I'd forget the puffers, they don't mix well with large, aggressive cichlids. I'm not a fan of hybridized cichlids, and your advice will reflect this...if I were you I'd select a few of the myriad legitimate species out there and build yourself I nice, medium sized Central American cichlid community. Too many to start naming species, but you want some specific advice in this regard, I'd be happy to help you when you've decided on tank size. Regards Jim<<<

29 gallon American cichlid setup?   3/7/07 Hello, I got a 29gal with heater, filter, hood, and stand. I was going to set up a mainly Central American cichlid tank. I know I can't do a lot but will this work? > this list of cichlids I could think of I will pick 2 different ones: -Firemouth -rainbow cichlid -sajica -port Acara -Salvini -jewel cichlid (African) -Krib -convict So I would have 2 or 3 cichlids. Plus I would add a few tetras, barbs, or danios for dithers/targets. Will thus work, I need advice on what combinations you think would work, or any other smaller Central American cichlids that would. I do not want pairs for some diversity. Thanks <If you really want the tetras and barbs you need to go with dwarf cichlids like the Krib with a ram or curviceps cichlid. All the others will eventually catch and kill the others. If the dither fish are not important then go with the rainbow cichlid and the sajica.-Chuck>

Central America cichlid Tank set Up  2/28/07 Hi my name is frank In the future I plan on getting a 125 gal tank for Central American cichlids. I have 2 questions. 1:- My future 125 gal tank I was thinking: 1 jack Dempsey the main fish I want) 1 convict 1 Salvini 1 fire mouth 1 fish that is about the same size and aggression level as the jack Dempsey. I was thinking like a Green terror, a Texas or some thing. Can you help me figure out what fish similar to the jack Dempsey would be compatible also can I add another smaller cichlid to this setup? <A male Texas cichlid or Green terror would work.> I can not get this tank for a little while. I have an old 29 gal tank that I use to keep some Africans in. I was wondering if I could keep a couple smaller Central Americans in it so I can get use to them. water conditions, personality. etc..) I don't want a lot in the 29 gal just something I could practice with before I go bigger so I know what to expect. I was just wondering which ones would work and how many? ps I don't want breeding in either of my tanks....Thanks < Get a Firemouth. He will be the least aggressive of all the fish on your list.-Chuck>

Cichlid selection help. Central American Cichlid Recommendations   2/20/07 I am going to buy a 100gal maybe a 125gal tank and I don't know what I can do with it. I have an idea I don't know if it will work or if I will have enough room. I would like: 1 jack Dempsey 1 fish of similar size to the jack (red/green terror)? 1 convict 1 fire mouth a few smaller fish of the same species When it comes to the fish of similar size to the jack i am not sure what would work. Your advice would be appreciated thanks.. <Go with the convict, Firemouth, female jack Dempsey, jewelfish( I know this comes from Africa but will still go along well with these fish), Salvini, rainbow cichlid, or a combination of any of the above. Keep in mind if these fish pair up and spawn then they will take over a large portion of the tank to raise their fry.-Chuck>

Setting Up A Cichlid Tank 9/25/06 Hello, I have a few things that I would like to get your advice on.  I was given a 55 gallon tank and had been planning on putting some goldfish, dojo loaches and zebra danios in it, but after keeping fish for a while these seem somewhat mundane. <I agree.> I was wondering if a 55 gallon would be too small for keeping some cichlids in.  I know something like an Oscar would be too big, but what about Green Terrors < Too big.> , Firemouths <Ok> or Jack Dempseys? < Males get big.> I don't really want to breed any of these fish, because I wouldn't know what to do with the fry, but I know they are beautiful and have interesting personalities when compared to most other fish.  How many of these fish would be okay in a 55 gallon tank?  And what sort of tank mates would be compatible with these cichlids (keeping in mind not to overcrowd).  Thank you for your help. Matt < As long as the fish are not paired up then you could have quite a few potential candidates. One Firemouth, convict, jewelfish, blue Acara, black Acara would go together just to get started. There are many convict and Firemouth like cichlids from Central America. Do a Google search on Archocentrus and Thorichthys to see some of these other species. Keep in mind that I think almost all of these fish will cross with each other so try and get all the same sex. You could probably keep six or seven of these in a 55 gallon with good filtration and regular water changes.-Chuck>

Big Cichlid tank stkg. Hello, I am trying to come up with a possible stock list to fill a 96x48x36 (720gallon) aquarium in my basement. The tank is up and running and currently being cycled.  I have had experience with cichlid keeping but nothing on this scale. I will be purchasing all of these fish as juveniles hoping it to be their permanent home.  Please review this list and let me know what you think.   I had the company install a very efficient filtration system.  It is a completely automated system rated up to 2000 gallon aquaria. (DialySeas Model 1 and CADS)  So I hope filtration won't be an issue.  Will this tank be adequate for such a list?  Will these fish co-exist together?  Thank you for your time and your expertise.  I'm sure I will be reviewing your FAQ's frequently in the future, as I am installing two more 300 gallon aquariums on the side walls of this room.  The 720 will be the centerpiece.  I guess the only trouble then will be leaving this room.  Any help is appreciated.  Pictures are coming soon, but after inhabitants are introduced.  The list is as follows: Main Cichlid Inhabitants:  Convict (1), Firemouths (5), Salvini (1), Nicaraguan (1),Texas (1), Grammode (1), Red Terror (female) (1), Friedrichstahlii (1), Cuban (1),Vieja Synspilum (1), Vieja Zonatus (1), Vieja Argentea (1), Vieja maculicauda (1), Green Terror (1),  Snook (1)Schooling Fish:  Red Hook Silver $$$ school (12-15),Others<  L-18 Gold Nugget Pleco (1), L025 Scarlet Pleco (1), Jello Band Catfish [Aguarunichthys torosus] (1), Merodontotus Tigrinus (1),Thanks, Tristan Johnson, < Your fish selection basically have all the same water requirements. The smaller cichlids, convicts, Firemouths and Salvini will do OK until the others begin to outgrow them. The catfish and snook will eat the smaller fish as soon as they are able to fit them into their mouths. Aggressive fish like the grammodes, red terror, Cuban and Friedrichstahlii will eventually beat up the other fish and then each other. Getting enough food to all the fish, especially the catfish will be a challenge because all the silver dollars will not allow too much to reach the bottom.-Chuck>

Jellybean Cichlid 11/01/03 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I'd like to get information as to the longevity, hardiness, etc. on Jelly Bean Cichlids.  I'm getting ready to put a tank in my house and was considering using several of these fish to stock it.  The only info I could find about them states that they have stunted growth and short life spans due to the "dying" process they go through.  Can you help? <You're info is correct.  These are parrot cichlids that are injected w/dye.  Most serious fishkeepers would never consider buying one of these fish.  It is cruel & definitely shortens the lifespan of the fish.  Also the dye wears off anyway.  I have a gorgeous parrot cichlid.  She is about 5".  She is very aggressive & chases the frontosa that lives w/her.  (Can't really sex them, but I call it a her.)  She lives in a 50g tank.  I wouldn't keep one (adult) in less than a 30g. Although they have seemingly deformed mouths & can't really bite, they still need to be w/equally aggressive fish.  Also due the fact that they can't really open their mouth, you need to make sure it gets enough food.> Thanks, Linda <You're welcome!--Pufferpunk>

Schooling Texas cichlids? Hello, I'm trying to learn if my stocking idea is feasible... I have 125 gal (6 foot long) tank currently inhabited by an 18" gibbiceps, 7" Raphael catfish, 3" green terror juvie, 2" female convict, about 20 green Corys and 4 Barbus filamentosus. Somewhere I've heard the Texas cichlid is a schooling fish, and I'm wondering if adding 3-4 would possibly work in my tank? < All cichlid fry are somewhat of a schooling fish until they mature and get ready to breed. At about two or three inches they will start to pair off and no longer school.> While I wouldn't like to, I could possibly remove the convict to another tank, and again, if I had to I suppose I could give the green terror to the LFS as it's still quite small I'm sure they'd happily take him/her back. I'd rather keep everyone, though.  What do you think? If Texas cichlid isn't a good option, could you recommend another CA/SA cichlid of good size, 8-10" and colorful that could cohabitate somewhat peacefully with conspecifics? I don't mind a little natural aggression, I just don't want my fish living in a constant war zone!  Thanks, Jennifer  < When dealing with central and South American cichlids it is possible to get some fairly non-aggressive cichlids to get along in a big tank. Look at the chocolate cichlid, Heros Severum, festivum and all of the Geophagus types.-Chuck>

Big cichlids (mixed neotropicals) I have a new tank set up and it has well water in it. I measured the hardness and it is ~28 DH. I know this is very hard and I also have the tank filled with large pieces of limestone rock to make crevices and caves. I currently have a med/lg Firemouth cichlid and some Gouramis but I want to add more central American cichlids to the mix. The tank is a 110 high and definitely has adequate filtration. 2 power filters rated to clean tanks up to 100 gallons each and a canister filter rated to clean tanks up to 150 gallons keep the water very clean. DO you have any suggestions?  <Maybe to blend in a bit of not-so-hard water... the Firemouths (Thorichthys meeki) are better in water of about 10 dH... and likely a lower pH (6.5-7.5) than you have> I was thinking about a pair of Jaguar cichlids, and some more Firemouths. Also some Salvini cichlids. Would these all work?  <Mmm, actually... the "Jaguar Guapote" species, Parachromis managuensis, though a real beauty is much too much larger, more aggressive for keeping with Firemouths, Salvinis... Do check out the maximum sizes (63 cm. for the Jaguar) on fishbase.org among other references... I would settle on one or the other... easier going or not species here> Thanks so much for all your help and hard work over the years!! <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Hybridized, modified Cichlids Hi Bob <Hey Perry> Yes it is weird. I think Flowerhorn enthusiasts in Asia keep wanting to see something new. Here is a link to a really brilliant red FH http://arofanatics.com/members/buggy/mycollectionofluohans/ It kind of reminds me of what we have done to the Discus. <Good comparison. At least Symphysodon have all their fins (at this point). Bob Fenner> Perry

Weird Cichlid Wins Kewpie Prize, News at 11:00 Hi Bob There was a Flowerhorn show in Singapore last week. Remember the picture of the Flowerhorn that suffered from a genetic defect and did not have a fully developed caudal fin? Well, somehow it made its way to the final round and won a consolation prize!! <Bizarre... maybe if I cut my legs off I'll get the babes? Bob F> Perry

News on aquarium trade in the east. Better Cichlid Crosses than Parrots! Hi Bob <Hey Perry> Here is a link to an article in a local paper http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/life/story/0,1870,122497,00.html? Its about the latest craze in town - Flowerhorns. Are they well received in the States? I was told there are already some shops in the LA area that are selling them. I am also aware that there are some quarters who call these hybrids monsters. At US$1000 for some beautifully colored ones very few people can resist the temptation to breed them. <Amazing. Did see a bunch of these last year at Aquarama when we were visiting with you in Singapore. And did solicit about for what this cichlid cross actually was/is: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/neotropcichlids.htm Be seeing, hopefully diving, photographing underwater with you soon. Bob Fenner> Regards Perry

The most unethical and most disgusting LH breed (Neotropical Cichlid Genetic drift) Hi Bob U really need to take a look at this fish. What do u think happened? <This is not an uncommon genetic defect... but bizarre that people might exploit same for commercial gain. Bob Fenner> Perry > Reply-to: flowerhorn@yahoogroups.com  http://hualorhan.tripod.com/ > I urge, even if you like LH/FH, this breed is to be avoided. > This fish is very pitiful, cannot even swim properly. > These are the kind of breeders I personally feel should be prosecuted for being so cruel. > This fish is so hideous that it is not funny anymore. > It is worst than other LH which look more like real fishes. > It's like having children without legs.

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