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Old 01-03-2008, 07:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

Hi All,
I currently have a 75 gal mbuna set up with 6 fish, mostly Psuedos, that are 5 years old and rather large. Unfortunately, the tank is rather stagnant as each fish stays in its corner except for the alpha male. Recently, a breeding Demasoni female has started chasing the P. Acei and P. cobalt blue around the tank. In the past, some folks suggested placing a school of rainbows in the tank to act as a dither fish. Anyone have any experience with this? Would you suggest it and if so is there a particular species of rainbow I should use?? Thanks!!
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

Rainbows do hail from harder water, so it could work. IMO once your stuck with mbuna, well, you're stuck. That's why I'm not much of a fan.

If you want to do the rainbows, make sure they are a larger species like the Australian Rainbows- which are common and cheap. Stay away from blue eyes (I figured you would.)

GL!
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

Yes, Rainbows are commonly used as dithers, so it's possible.

You also have very few fish in the tank, so the aggression isn't going to be spread around enough. Many people stock the Mbuna tanks fairly heavy just for that reason.
I've also heard that the Demasoni really should have a tank of their own because of the aggression, even though they are small.

So, you do have a few options, whether it's adding more of your existing types of fish or going with some larger Rainbow's as dithers, or giving the Demasoni's a tank of their own, etc.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

As you've got so few mbuna in there you could probably add some Tangyikan Cyprichromis. I'd go for Cyprichromis sp. Jumbo as they are the largest. They will basically fill the same role as Rainbows as they are pelagic sardine cichlids that live in open water. As mouthbrooding cichlids they'll even have little babies too! Coming from Lake Tanganyika they'll also love the hard water. The males have some amazing colours...
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

Thanks Six, JanS and Ed!! Very helpful info. I have tried adding more cichlids to help spread the aggresion around but the newbies never make it, they are harrassed for several months and die. That is the most difficult part, you can't really add any new fish. I started the tank about 6 years ago with about 15 fish and now down to 6. Luckily, most of them have died from old age. I feel it is my responsibility to keep these fish until they die naturally but then I am converting this to a more community type tank thus I was considering the rainbows.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

That's a great attitude to be committed for the life of the fish. That's my way of thinking too.

If you have another tank sitting around, you could always try to move the existing fish into that for a while, then put the new fish in your current tank to let them get used to it before adding the harassers back in. That would also throw the old fish off guard so they might settle down. It also sometimes helps to rearrange the decor so the old fish aren't quite as at home when the new ones come.
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Malawi Cichlids and Dither fish

I have used Giant Danios successfully as dithers for Mbuna.
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