View Full Version : Walk Me Through This?

11-06-2012, 12:40 AM
Hey guys!

Time for a newbie to the world of cichlids to come in with a couple of questions. I hope you guys don't mind.

I recently obtained two cichlids. One of them is a Ruby Red female. The other is a male Peacock Cichlid. I'm interested in the breeding aspect of them. I've been stalking this forum reading everything, but some advice would still be nice.

I currently have them in a 40 gallon tank. There is no substrate. I have a filter on it as well as a heater and an airstone that's bubbling through this pirate ship decoration. My decor consists of terracotta pots. One rather large one that was broken upon buying (it's laying on it's side, creating a little den with exits in the front and back), a smaller one on it's side as well at the other end of the tank, and the 2 broken pieces from the bigger pot placed randomly. I used API Natural Trace Cichlid Supplement to treat the water for them (you have to add it weekly to replace lost minerals, so does anyone have a better solution than this?). I currently have no plants in here due to the lack of substrate. I feed them Omega Cichlid Flakes and drop fry from my guppies and mollies in every now and then (although they don't seem interested).

The boy and girl were introduced today (because I bought the male today). I kept an eye on them and they seem to be doing fine. She came out from her hiding and they have been following each other around.

So, is there anything I need to change? I plan to keep everyone updated on my progress.

Oh! And a friend of mine is wanting me to rehome his Blue Ahli Cichlid and Lemon Cichlid (first is male, second is female). Would they be compatible in the tank with these guys? They apparently are around the same size.

Best Wishes,

11-06-2012, 11:03 AM
First of all, congrats on your first cichlids. Cichlids are definitely an interesting facet of the freshwater fish community, but they come with their own quirks(at least for this area).

Right off the bat I would recommend a substrate of sand or fine crushed coral for any cichlids from the rift lakes. The substrate is mainly to keep the pH from crashing, which it will with this area's water. Also with multiple pairs in a tank, the substrate will allow them to further establish their own territories by creating shallow bowl-like depressions.

You want the water to read roughly a pH of 7.8 - 8.0 and a dGH of 7. The water in this area reads lower than this, so you have to add supplements.

Personally I add Kent's Cichlid chemistry to raise the dGH. It's basically salt from the rift lakes with trace elements in it.

A very cheap and safe way to raise the pH is to use baking soda(make sure the only ingredient is sodium bicarbonate).
I would recommend adding a little less than 1 teaspoon per 5gal of water. I wouldn't dump enough supplements to get your tank instantly up to these parameters. Instead do a 25 - 30% water change once a week and have the new water going in the tank at the above parameters. If you keep up with the water changes(every week or two) you won't have to add the API cichlid supplement anymore.

With a substrate you might want to add some plants to help break their line of sight. It will help lessen any hostilities that might arise between the two pairs. Also I don't think that peacocks really mess with plants any, so you should be safe there.

Don't waste your time and money buying plants from petco/petsmart because most of their plants aren't truly aquatic and will die after a little while in your tank. (Notice how all the plants they are selling are emersed not submersed.) I would recommend a trip to petland dunwoody, because they have a big selection of plants to choose from. Don't forget to get their free petclub card for extra discounts.

I'm sure that one of the cichlid experts will chime in and cover anything that I have forgotten.

Good luck,

11-06-2012, 04:30 PM
First of all if you want to breed and don't care about cross breeding it is fine to have them this way. Now if your wanting to breed them to sale it's going to be hard to sale them or even get rid of them. Also a 40 gal is okay to start with but will be hard to breed them in. In regards to plants java fern is an excellent plant to go with. It's not only a hardy plant but it has a bitter taste to it that the fish will not try to eat it. Also I agree with Chris on the crush coral to up your ph and keep it stable. African cichlids like a bigger area and a strong current to swim around. If in the future your thinking of getting a bigger selection of peacocks you would probably want to get a bigger tank. I personally would recommend 75 gallons and up. We have a variety of African cichlids where our breeding tanks start from 75 gallons and up.

11-06-2012, 06:24 PM
I use a DIY supplement to get the pH and hardness where it needs to be:3 parts Epsom salt(any drug,grocery store), 1 part table salt(non-iodized), 1 part Bakeing soda. Add one table spoon of mixture per 5 gals. Very cheap. Keep refridgerated and covered or it gets solid.
Plants may not do well in this modified water so start slow to see how they do. Avoid driftwood, it will tend to pull the pH down.

Welcome. Have fun,those are cool fish.

P.S. Come to the next meeting and we'll talk your ears off.

11-06-2012, 10:24 PM
Okay, I'll get the crushed coral as my substrate. Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

Also, I would like to sell them, but not on a large scale. Just to a few lfs I know are looking for stock. Have a few interested already. I know as mutts they won't be worth much, though, which is fine by me. This pair is simply for me to try my hand at it. If I find it rewarding, I'll invest in better fish. Same with getting a bigger tank (not to mention my apartment can't really fit anything bigger at the moment).

11-07-2012, 08:49 AM
I have some reservations about the success of this spawning project for two reasons. First, I don't know how closely related the two different species are and if they see each other as spawning partners. If they do then there is a very high possibility that the female will not survive. Male peacocks are very aggressive as they mature. That male will only have one potential mate to focus his attention. If she is not ready at exactly the right time she is toast. I tried a male and three females once in a 55 gal tank and it didn't work. My only success with peacocks have come with large # of individuals (at lease 6-8). My second concern is a bit controversial but I am totally against hybrids being released into the market. GamingGal, I would really like to see you start over. If you want to stay with african cichlids, think about a group of something like yellow labs. They are not nearly as aggressive and a group would do well in your tank. I saw a bag of adults in our last mini auction sell for like $10 0r $15. There must have been 8-10 adult fish. You would be able to watch more normal behavior and interaction in your aquarium. Also, the babies would be much more in demand when you are ready to sell. Good luck whatever you decide.

11-07-2012, 11:07 AM
In the wild, the male peacocks each have territories where they display for schools of females that come by, breed, and go off in a "brood school". Keeping only 1 male and 1 female together long term seems like it would be hard on the female. It might make more sense to have the male in his own tank and you can put him in to breed, and take him out to let her brood. IMO most red peacocks are already hybrids, some claim they are just line-bred, but I kind of doubt it. This is not a fish that will make you any money in Atlanta. The only valuable fish are "colored up" males and only one in a tank will "color up" in a tank at a time, because the second bright one will be attacked by the first one. Females you won't be able to give away. Add in the "puppy mill" laws that make it hard to sell "pet" fish and most stores will only give you store credit, which won't pay your electric bill. Yellow labs are colorful and in demand and are available in huge quantities from national wholesalers. Never breed a fish you see in PetSmart.

Get a fish you love. If you treat it right and are lucky, you will have fry. But plan as if you will never recover a penny of what you spend on fish. Doing otherwise is deluding yourself, like buying a metal detector and expecting to find pirate treasure.

You can keep an acei and a "lemon yellow" with peacock and having more fish for the male to chase may be good for the female. But it may not be good for your breeding project. I have seen acei "bump" holding females and eat the eggs. In general though, 2 Malawian is not enough, you need more crowding to spread out aggression.

11-07-2012, 01:04 PM
Okay, at all of your urging, I am starting over. Well, attempting to buy a different breeding pair. I will continue this post when I obtain them. Thank you so much for all your help!

11-07-2012, 01:33 PM
I'm glad you are starting over. Please consider something other than lake Malawi cichlids (none of them do well as pairs). If you want African cichlids, good choices would be some of the shell or small sand dwellers from lake Tanganyika. Better still in my opinion would be a group of west african or south american cichlids like maybe Pelvicachromis pulcher (common name-kribensis). An ideal setup (IMO) in your 40 gal tank would be a group of 8 young kribensis, a group of 8 cory catfish and a school of 8-10 tetras, danios or barbs. I guarentee that you will enjoy sitting in front of that aquarium more than Lake Malawi African cichlids. Please avoid the temptation to get "one of each". In other words don't get one of lemon tetra and one neon tetra and one zebra danio, etc. Get groups of the same kind of fish. They will do better.

11-07-2012, 01:36 PM
I might also add that the fish mentioned above are probably available from members of the club. Think about what you want and post again in this forum. Let's discuss your choices and see if anyone in the club can help.

11-07-2012, 07:18 PM
I to after 20 plus years of fish keeping have taken the African plunge and have a few tanks now devoted to them along with my other tanks and koi pond and goldfish pond , yes one is never enough lol. I have several juvies in a 75 gallon like yellow labs, rustys, red empress, german reds, dragons blood , red zebras , electric blues and johanni. My goal is to grow them out and keep some bright colored males in my display tank and thin out some and place females in their own tank except for when I want to breed.I think to you will love the Pelvicachromis pulcher I have a few adult pairs and several juvies of those lol, as well as Albino pairs on eggs . They are truly one of my favorite fish.Everyone here is full of great advice and when you are ready to buy the quality and price does not get any better. Only way I buy now is from the members here.

11-07-2012, 10:26 PM
I've researched kribensis a bit and they seem very interesting. I think I'll go with them. Just need to find somewhere to get them. Can you guys let me know if you ever have any? In the meantime, I think I'll invest in the crushed coral for my substrate, as well as try to find a home for the two guys I have now.

11-07-2012, 10:32 PM
I have several but am not in Ga that often, maybe once a month. But mine are still young only like an inch or little bigger. Several in th club has them if I am not mistaken if not I will be in Ga Thanksgiving week and can bring some . Got a few already sold but still have several.

11-08-2012, 07:56 AM
I breed and have numerous kribs and angels. Let me know when you are ready.


I've researched kribensis a bit and they seem very interesting. I think I'll go with them. Just need to find somewhere to get them. Can you guys let me know if you ever have any? In the meantime, I think I'll invest in the crushed coral for my substrate, as well as try to find a home for the two guys I have now.

11-08-2012, 09:00 AM
I've researched kribensis a bit and they seem very interesting. I think I'll go with them. Just need to find somewhere to get them. Can you guys let me know if you ever have any? In the meantime, I think I'll invest in the crushed coral for my substrate, as well as try to find a home for the two guys I have now.

Don't get the crushed coral. You would need that for Lake Malawi African cichlids. They like hard water which the coral will help create. Another advantage of kribensis is that local Atlanta (typically soft) water suits them fine. You might add a handfull of coral to your 40 gal tank, but no more than that.

11-08-2012, 09:24 AM
The Avarium next to Gwinnett Place Mall usually keeps a nice selection of Krib's in stock. That is where I got mine.