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Cichlids Discuss the keeping of Cichlids

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Old 11-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
EricaD
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Default Blood Parrot Cichlid Pair for 46 Gallon Bowfront?

Hi there,

I have a few threads going here, about stocking my new 46 gallon bowfront once it's cycled.

I've fallen for Cichlids, and while I originally wanted a tank filled with a larger number of smaller fish (was thinking about assembling a community of smaller Africans but the aggression issue is intimidating me), I'm coming around to a different way of thinking and am now considering a tank with a primary pair, and maybe some additional tank mates.

Why? Because I saw some Blood Parrots yesterday and now I can't get their cute faces out of my head! I love the idea of a key pair of larger fish with great personalities (but on the less aggressive side, which seems to be the case with these fish) but I'd also like to add in a few additional smaller community fish.

Using the AQ advisor, a Blood Parrot pair gets me at 80% stocked for my 46 gallon bowfront. What tank mates would get along with these fish?

Mid-size tetras? Cory Cats?

Using AQ Advisor, says I should get 4 Albino or Sterbai Cory in a group, but that really eats up my remaining space. Is it really necessary to get this many cory? I want them to be happy, but I was thinking more like 2...

Any other suggestions, if I'm to go with 2 BP's? Is the tank too small to support my idea?

What about something like:

2 BP's
2 Sterbai Cory
5 Bleeding Heart Tetras

Other ideas???

Last edited by EricaD; 11-08-2010 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
EricaD
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PS - On the advice of the store clerk, who seemed somewhat knowledgeable about aquatics, I purchased the Marineland Penguin 350 Bio-wheel for my 46 gallon, which is rated up to 70 gallons so I thought it would be on the high end for filtration, but wondering if I need to go bigger and exchange for the Emperor 400? Is that overkill? Is that not enough?

I'm now learning that 10x is the recommended rate, and this only gives me 7-8x at 350GPH. Even the 400 gives a hair under 10x at 400GPH.

I know it depends on stocking levels and types of fish, too.

I originally grabbed the Emperor 400 because the tank label/packaging recommended that one for the 46 gallon (my tank and hood are also Marineland) but the clerk actually laughed at me and said that I'd kill my fish by over-cleaning the water. WTH? LOL, I was sort of overwhelmed, so when she said to get a filter rated for a 50 gallon, I followed my instinct and went with a higher rated 350. But that's not enough either...I think?

I be confused.

I want to choose one that will suit whatever community I wind up with, erring on the side of more aggressive filtration because that seems better to me than the alternative.

So....400?
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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1 small pleco.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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My blood parrot is very aggresive. She attacks the oscar who is twice her size. She ignores the unknown species female African cichlid who is much smaller. The tank started out with a bunch of neon tetras. She didn't chase them at all. They were much too fast anyway. Blood parrots are pretty slow fish.

Might I suggest sand as substrate. Mine seems to enjoy digging.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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I've seen a BP that was the size of a football at my LFS. No joke. These guys get HUGE. The poor thing was crammed in a VERY small tank all by itself. Since all the tanks are divided by glass walls, that particular section it was in looked like... 5-6 gallons of water. (There were also two common pleco's in a small tank section, too) My LFS doesn't take great care of their fish. I wanted to rescue the bugger, but the bf and I have no room (and not a large enough tank).

For a 46g bowfront, adding two of these guys will quickly take up a lot of space. I guess it depends on how big they are when you first get them, and if you plan to get a bigger aquarium once they grow larger in size.

For two BP's, I agree with emc7 -- a small pleco. I wouldn't go with a common plec, since they grow well over a foot.

Also, when BP's get to be around the size of the one that I saw, cory-cats would be snack... this BP at my LFS really was just that huge.
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55g FW/BK
(plenty filtration, frequent water changes)

x2 Zebra Danio
x2 Silver-Tip Tetra
x3 Bolivian Ram
x2 Yo-Yo Loach (Lochahata)
x3 Clown Loach (small)
x1 Dragon Goby (small)
x2 Striped Raphael Catfish
x1 Otocinlcus
x5 Fancy Guppy
x5 Swordtail
x2 Platy
x5 Swordtail Variatus


2.5g FW

x3 Pygmy Cory
Ramshorn Snails


29g BK

x10 Molly
(5 adult, 5 juvies)
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:21 PM   #6
EricaD
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The BP's I saw at Petsmart (I know, not the best source, but honestly their fish looked healthier and happier than the LFS I visited, which was kind of a depressing place and really really really far away from my house) were about 3". I've read that they get up to 8", though some crosses max out at 6". I wonder how many variations there are of these guys!?

I get very attached to my pets, and would absolutely be happy to upgrade these guys to a larger tank if they get that large. I would do that before I'd re-home them. That's why I'm kind of stuck on BP's right now - I saw them at the store and just felt instantly enamored with them. There were also some other types of Cichlids that caught my eye too. When I go tonight (am exchanging my filter for the Emperor 400) I'll write down the names of the ones that interest me, so I can research.

I've already purchased 50lbs of beautiful smooth polished pebble/river rock gravel, and have put it in the tank. Each stone is perfectly smooth, and I would think a large fish could dig around in it easily with no risk of injury. I wonder if a gravel/sand split would be feasible? With diggers, I would think the two will eventually get mixed up together. Unless I devise some type of divider.

Something like this (hope the pic works, not mine, saw this pic online somewhere and saved it), but with plants, caves and hiding places, etc.
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Last edited by EricaD; 11-08-2010 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:43 PM   #7
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I bought a complete 75 gallon setup with filter and all that cool stuff for a grand total of $450 at one of the national chains. I've seen videos of many blood parrots crammed into tanks smaller. You could easily house a couple blood parrots and a common pleco in a 75 gallon, just lots of water changes. You could get a 150 gallon for maybe $650 total and get a couple blood parrots and one or two other footlong fish. African cichlids are probably the most colorful of all the freshwater fish.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #8
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Hmmm...not trying to talk you out of it, but BPC's can be difficult to keep. They are a Taiwanese hybrid with sort of a deformed mouth (it's vertical, not horizontal). With this attribute, they tend to be messy eaters and may not always ingest as much as they should, plus your water may be hard to maintain with a lot of wasted food floating around.

(By the way, there is a lot of controversy in regards to BPCs. Many enthusiasts are trying to get them banned due to the nature of their "creation". But I agree with you...they are pretty! )

One basic rule of thumb with Cichlids to help minimize aggression is to always stay within a species or more specifically, region. In other words, don't mix a South American Cichlid with an African species...or even as specific as don't mix a Lake Malawi breed with a Lake Victoria breed (for example). As with all things in life, there are always exceptions...I have a pretty mixed up group in my 150 gallon tank and everyone gets along fine, but there is plenty of room for everyone to establish a territory.

I have had the best luck with Labs (Lake Malawi) so far...they are brightly colored, don't get too big, are pretty reasonably priced and all seem to get along very well.

As far as the filter, I would check into cartridge costs, etc. Both filters seem fine for your size tank, so maybe take a quick look on what future replacement filters are going to run you. Most every aquarium in the world is "over stocked" based on the published guidelines. All of mine are But, I keep the filters clean and do my water changes as required. I haven't had any trouble in any tank. By the way...you can't "over clean" your water (well, you can over clean your filters)...but "too much" filtration equates to too much flow. In other words, if you go with excessive filtration, you can create so much turbulance that the fish are always having to work hard just to stay still. But don't worry, you would have to go pretty extreme for this to be a worry. I have nearly double the recommended filters in all my tanks (two 60 gallon filters in my 55 for example).

You are asking some good questions, but trust in yourself. You seem to have the right instinct for the hobby

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:38 PM   #9
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IMO, that tank is just a little too small for full-grown Mbuna.

You could manage a small fish like C. afra if you have only one male, 6 females and lots of rocks and caves. Mine make 2 (male) territories in a 55, if a third one "colors up", it gets chewed. You'd want to get 12 fry and move chewed fish to hospital, heal them, then rehome extra males.
If you have the money "cichlid stones" are pretty neat, but PVC and river rock are cheaper.

A pair of small new world cichlids could work for a while. Convict and Firemouths may eventually outgrow the tank, but could start in it.

Kribs are nice, and you can keep them with plants.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:24 AM   #10
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Well, I went by the store last night to pick up the Emperor 400 filter (will return my unopened Penguin 350) and spent some time with the BP's

They had 2 varieties: one labeled "Blood Parrot Cichlid" and the other labeled "Blood Red Parrot Cichlid".

The first type was labeled at a max size of 8" and was more golden brown colored (not red or orange, but more yellowish), with black splotches. Very active and curious, engaged with the activity outside the tank, some mild looking aggression happening (chasing) and when I gently dragged my finger along the glass they all crowded together and followed me, and I could literally see their tails wagging, lol. They were cute!

The others were bright red-orange, labeled at a max size of 6", but these guys were...what's the word...pretty lethargic and glazed looking. They just hovered, with blank stares, got scared when I approached the glass, and their mouths were totally creeping me out - bigger vertical mouth that didn't move at all! Just hanging open, expressionless. I got a totally different vibe from these guys. Could they be cruelly dyed? Perhaps their tank conditions were not as good? Illness?

Wonder what the differences were between them?

I also spent some time with the yellow labs. They were really cool! I could totally imagine a setup with these guys and a ton of great rocky caves. If I understand correctly, they only get to a max size of about 4".

Also, seems the consensus is that my tank isn't large enough for a BP pair, but the stocking advisor says I can do 2 BP's and even additional fish before getting to a 100% level, and I know the advisor is conservative with stocking levels. It also says I can do a group of yellow labs, and recommends overstocking these? What other types of Cichlids can be in with the yellow labs? Or do I stick with the same species and leave it at that?

Gosh, Cichlids are confusing.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #11
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I had many yellow labs at 6"+ and one that was nearly 8" not counting tail and getting too aggressive for a 55. In that size tank, only one species, only one male, and start saving for a 70 gallon or larger tank.

The bright red thing with the deformed mouth is the original "blood parrot" hybrid. Crossing that with convicts brings more normal, healthy fish. But I really don't see the point. There are lots of nice S.A. and C.A. cichlids without the health issues and deformities of the hybrid. People buy fish that look "cool", but fish that don't look like normal fish have a harder life.

Get a nice pair of blue acara or nanocara anomola or one of the laetacara sp. Even green terrors or Jack Dempseys .
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:43 PM   #12
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I think my BP was labeled as a "Blood Red Parrot Cichlid" even though she is very orange like a gold fish. They do have small mouths compared to body size, and a lot of food does escape their mouths, but if they eventually eat it. Mine is about 4" right now and Cichlid Gold mini pellets are perfect for her for now. She also eats flake food and algae discs.
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