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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry in advance for the longish post, but aquariums are complicated!

After 10 years of having small (2.5 and 7 gal) desk-top tanks, I'm finally setting up a 36 gal. bowfront at home. Since my tanks have previously been small, I've stuck with very peaceful tetras, guppies and cory cats for them. For the new 36, my husband really wants an angelfish, and in researching them I ran across dwarf cichlids. They're beautiful and I'd love to get a few, but I want to make absolutely sure they'll fit with what I'm trying to achieve.
1. I want the aquarium to be relaxing: I don't mind the aggression that goes along with sorting of territory, but I don't want "bully" fish that keep some inhabitants cowering in the corner. And I don't have room to set up separate spawning and/or fry tanks.
2. I don't want to spend all my spare time doing water changes for "delicate" fish.

My current (albeit small) tanks have been very stable over the years, with
pH around 6.4 to 6.6
kH 90-100 (dH ~5.5-6) = moderately hard
GH 100-120 = moderately hard
temp very stable at 81 degrees (but both these tanks get sun for 6-8 hours a day. The new 36 gallon will not get any direct sunlight and will have 2.66 w/gallon).

I'm willing to go with some RO if necessary to soften the water, but am more concerned about the aggression. I'm hoping to keep the peace by getting a single angelfish (Pteropyllum scalare) and sticking to only female cichlids to avoid spawning aggression. Since Pelvicachromis females are more brightly colored than the males I'm thinking of 2 or 3 P pulcher or P taeniatus. I'd then round out the tank with a few smaller "schoolies" of some sort.

Does anybody have female-only Pelvicachromis tanks? I plan on having plenty of rocks for hiding spots and plants for cover which I hope will eliminate most of the bickering. Any ideas of how they would treat the angel?

If you think this combo will work, any ideas on smaller fish that'll be able to hold their own?

Sorry again for the long-ish post, but I don't want fish that are unhappy because I didn't do my homework.
 

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r'bow lover
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female kribs will looks fugly without a male. soft-water cichlid coloration, besides angels and discus, can and usually depend on sexual factors to allow them display coloration.

you would be disappointed in just female pelvics. a pair of pelvics really arent killers... id do a pair of P. taeniatus personally. I have a pair with 6-7 rainbowfish and endler's in a 20L without death and mayhem.

i wouldnt say cichlids are evil or anything... though I wouldnt do angels. I just dont like them. I'd do a pair/trio of easy apistogramma, a pair of pelvics, or a pair of rams. these are all beginner friendly, community compatible in most cases, and beautiful!

GL.

BTW "doing RO" means you're willing to do more delicate species! LOL. all the fish i listed are easy in tap.
 

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... id do a pair of P. taeniatus personally. .

I'd do a pair/trio of easy apistogramma, a pair of pelvics, or a pair of rams. these are all beginner friendly, community compatible in most cases, and beautiful!
I agree, I also have become exceedingly fond of my pair of P. taeniatus "Moliwe". Absolutely beautiful fish. I love watching how the pair work as a team.

However, as the angel is a given due to your husband's request, and even a single angel puts a heavy bio-load on a tank, I'd go w/ a smaller species of dwarf cichlid. I'd choose a pair of Apistogramma borellii "Opals" for the tank. These are an easy Apisto in tap H2O, and being smaller could successfully keep out of the Angels way, rather than choose confrontation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BTW "doing RO" means you're willing to do more delicate species! LOL.
Okay, I was just looking at it as a way to soften my water a bit, but I guess you're right! :lol:

P taeniatus (and rams too) are definitely gorgeous and I'd prefer them, but kribs seem more tolerant of a wide range of water conditions which is why I threw them in the mix. But you both seem to be indicating that the other species are pretty tough as well, so I'm encouraged.

Six: so your taeniatus pair doesn't terrorize the other fish even when spawning? You've got a much bigger thank than I have, but my research indicated that even in large tanks a spawning pair can be too aggressive. I know some of it is individual fish personality and there's no way to predict that. I'd be grateful to hear more people's experiences with keeping other fish species in with a spawning pair. Especially in smaller tanks (mine is 36 gal).

As for the husband, we spent some time online last night looking at the variety offered by cichlid retailers and he was smitten. I think that with a few more "virtual shopping trips" I can make him forget all about that angel. OR, this could be an excuse to start a second tank and it would all be his idea! Hmmm. Will have to give that some further thought...:twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The dward cichlid site has great photos & descriptions, but it's the site that also scared me about water changes/quality. If his fish are spawning or he has fry, he will change anywhere from 40-70% of the water 4-5 times a week. Zoinks! Mud Pie: How often would you recommend water changes & how much?
 

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I'd be grateful to hear more people's experiences with keeping other fish species in with a spawning pair. Especially in smaller tanks (mine is 36 gal).
IME it's not the volume of the tank that's the key but the length. In a 2ft tank I lost a few tetras when my Pelvicachromis suboccelatus 'Matadi' spawned but in a three footer there were no problems with tank mates. My P.taeniatus 'Bipindi' pair were even less aggressive. IME Pelvicachromis are the perfect fish for a medium community tank; they add so much interest and colour. But keep them as a pair so you can see all the colour, displaying and then there superb parental skills and do not separate the young fry as they will look after their fry for well over 12 weeks IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the info. I'm going to go ahead and get a pair of some variety of P taeniatus, if I can ever choose! I found video on You Tube of spawning and parental behavior, and my husband is sold: he's on board with not having an angel. Now I have to rethink my tank mate selections too - just when you think you have it all figured out! :rolleyes:
 

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Hi Keysturtle,
I agree with what everyone is saying. A pair is the way to go.

One thing that I would like to add is that females can be suprisingly aggresive once a pair is formed. I once had a reverse trio of P. taeniatus and the female was the one that did most of the damage to the other male. The other fish in the tank were left alone for the most part.

aaron
 

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r'bow lover
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Here's my Lokundje pair about a year ago:

And the Keinke:

The tanks are crowded, eh? LOL. I do weekly 50% water changes. Both pairs have spawned in those tanks and we've pulled fry out when they are 1/4".

:) enjoy.
 
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