I had Africans 6 years ago. I just set up a new 50 gal long tank and would like to get back into them. In the past, I simply picked out the prettiest mix of fish and they did ok.
I would like to be sure to pick out the best mix possible this time around. I compiled a small list of the varieties that my local store has that i am interested in. I have been trying to figure out what to add, but the more I read, the more confused I get about the different varieties and their needs/compatibility. Could anyone offer advice on what you would add to a new 50 gallon long tank?
Here is what my store has, that I like:
1. Frontosa - I like these the best but too large?
3. Electric Blue
5. Damasoni (sp?)
6. Red banded Moori - The picture showed a black fish with a vivid red band but the tank appeared sold out. I never saw these before.
Ideally I would like to have a Frontosa if possible, or more than one, but would also like to add a few other varieties if possible for color.
Your list contains lake malawi mbuna's (bumblebee and demasoni), a lake malawi hap (the placidochromis milomo), a lake tanganyika piscavore (frontosa) and lake tanganyika herbivore (tropheus sp. moorii). The electric blue is a common name shared by two different types of african cichlids, the blue/black horizontally striped mbuna (melanochromis cyaneorhabdos) and the metallic blue hap (Sciaenochromis fryeri).
For the best shot at success you'll want to limit your african cichlids from one grouping of cichlids (mbunas, haps, frontosa's or tropheus). Keeping all four types in the same aquarium won't work in the long run.
A 50gal is too small for long term housing of frontosa's (12") milomo's (10-11") and probably the S. fryeri (7") if that was the "electric blue" you were thinking of.
The bumblebee (pseudotropheus crabro) is one of the largest mbuna species (maxing out at 8") and can be aggressive. May be suited more for a 75-90gal tank due to that temperament x size combo.
This leaves the demasoni's and tropheus. Both are highly conspecific aggressive (that is to say they are most aggressive against their own kind). They're both suited for the size tank you have but must be kept in colonies of at least a dozen (12+ demasoni's or 12+ tropheus).
You could also go with a mbuna set up (avoiding the larger and most aggressive species); a single demasoni can be included in this option.
Example: breeding group (~ 1 male: 3-4 females) of yellow labs and rusty cichlids, and a single demasoni, and perhaps a few others (you could probably go with 10-16 mbuna's in a 50gal).
African cichlid and saltwater aquariums
Kay-bee, thanks for the great info! I am still trying to wrap my mind around the scientific names, so that will give me something to chew on for a while.
OYIM, the store had so many varieties to choose from that I just wrote down my favorites by their common names. I will go back again as the new tank cycles and take a closer look at mbuna.
I also dont want to get a bad mix of fish with different feed requirements. The fishkeeper also showed me some smaller African species that she said could be compatible with the Cichlids, so I need to sort that out also. I forgot to write the names of those down, but I would assume it's a gamble on how well they will mix.