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Discussion Starter #1
I am not even sure I am in the right Cichlid forum as I am just starting to research this.

The Wife and I decided that our next tank is going to be a Cichlid tank and we are looking for some opinions as she just got her first tank up and running in the Fall and I have never kept Cichlids before.

She is absolutely in love with Oscars so that is one option as they have a great personality. I am leaning toward keeping other options open as we both fell in love with some Blue Jack Dempseys we were admiring in the LFS. I know that they have about the same personality as Oscars when it comes to getting to know their owners so that is a plus.

However peronality is one thing but I like a very visually striking fish but lean toward somewhat darker colors of the Spectrum such as blues and blacks. We were looking at Kennyi and also Black/Blue Convicts.

The tank hasn't been purchased yet and we are going to tailor the purchase around the fish. Obviously we need something bigger than a 30 Gallon for an Oscar or a Dempsey but don't want to go overkill if we decide to go a different direction (picture a Betta alone in a 125 Gallon tank).

As I said we are just getting started with this plan so I am looking for some input. Are any of the above mentioned species compatible with each other? Any other suggestions for something similar that we may not have known about?

Like I say, I have zero Cichlid experience so any and all opinions are helpful. We would also like to do at least pairs instead of a single fish but not neccessarily breeding pairs, more of a his and hers Cichlid type of thing. So for instance 1 Oscar and 1 Dempsey or an Oscar and a Convict, etc.

Thanks in advance for all the help and I apologize in advance for all of the questions I know are going to be coming as we get into this a bit more. ;)
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Well with an oscar, I would suggest a minimum of a 55 but that would be just short term as they do get to be 1 ft. For them to really thrive a 75 would be best.

I love the blue jd's, just had 21 of them delivered to my house a couple of weeks ago. They are so sweet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I kind of figured if we were going with an Oscar and something else that we would be going with at least a 90 and more likely a 125. Especially if we were going with something like a Dempsey that gets similar size in the tank with the Oscar. I am curious as to how the Convict would do with the Oscar as she is really leaning toward the Oscar and I am leaning toward the Convict. Hopefully someone who has tried this combo will jump in.
 

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A dempsey will only get to 7.9 inches so not quite as large as an oscar, but they both do need plenty of room. As for convicts I have never kept them and couldn't answer on this one. Surely someone else that has will read this soon and post a comment.
 

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ahhh dont be fooled by the oscars large size and the convicts modest size,ive seen convicts bail up,floog,kill oscars 3 times there size,but this is usally caused by the convicts spawing,so just get ether 1 male convict,or 1 2 females!this will help with aggression,then this combo should wrk ok,ive had cons with oscars plenty of times,just beware of what you are taking on,oscars are very big eaters,thus big bio load,so top grade filtration is a must,and a top quality diet,and variety too or they will get the H.I.T.H.(hole in the head disease),also i think a 55gal is ok for 1 small oscar,for a very short time.if your filtration and diet is up to scratch and your oscar is truely happy,you will be stunned at how fast he outgrows a 55gal,i had 4 tiger oscars,pretty much fill up a whole 208gallon tank,thats 8 feet,they were huge,when i fed them i just about got soaked everyday,think about how much water 4 15inch oscars splashed around beggin for food!anyway,hope this helps
cheers darryl
 

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I frequently have kept Oscars and Convicts together. Just make sure that the convict isn't small enough to fit in the Oscar's mouth, or it will end up there. Also, you want the convict to be no more than 1/2 the size of the Oscar. The convict is much faster, stronger and more aggressive then the Oscar. If they are equal size the Oscar is at a big disadvantage.

A single male convict with a single Oscar works well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ahhh dont be fooled by the oscars large size and the convicts modest size,ive seen convicts bail up,floog,kill oscars 3 times there size
Yea, from the research I have done it wasn't the Convict I was fearful for. ;)

I am still in the research stage right now and may end up doing a seperate tank just for a Convict as after looking at pictures of Frick, the one that roc has I am absolutely stunned. That has to be the most gorgeous Convict I have ever seen.

Now, since a Convict may be getting a Home of his own, how compatible would a Dempsey and an Oscar be? Also I have seen a lot of Blue Dempseys but nothing as dark as I like. Is there a "bluer" breed of Dempsey out there?

I know there is a ton of questions and I apologize, I am just trying to sort all of this out so I can put together a community that is pleasing to the eye and satisfying yet most importantly healthy and happy for the fish.
 

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mmmm,be carefull,with the jd,normall or blue colour,oscars despite there large size,arent real aggressive,ive had jds and oscars togther b4 also,however the oscars were larger,but the jd was the boss,if your just going with 1 jd and 1 oscar,id give it a go,put the oscar in first,then once hes settled in,wack in the jd.ive had very well behaved jds,and ive had straight up killers,after all they didnt name the fish after a heavy weight boxer for no reason.this you will find out when you have mixed him with the oscar,but for the most part,normall or the blue colour,jds are nasty fellas,very nice but very capable of knocking off a large oscar no probs!also its easy for us to say it will go this way or that way,but the truth is fish are just like us,and each of us is different,they mite mix just fine and you never have trouble from them,but they could hate each other from day 1,and just constanly fight!ive had aggresive fish that were well behaved,and ive had gental fish that were down rite little terrors,what im saying is you wont know for sure untill you try it.thats what i normall do,i just watch close for BAD aggresion,and have my dividers ready to slip in...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, sorry to do this agan but it looks like we are going to be going with more than 1 tank as I can't live without the Blue Convict and he may be getting his own space or possibly 1 friend along with him. Also I know the wife is going to be going with an Oscar sometime in the future but that will have it's own dedicated setup (probably a 125 when the remodeling project is done and we have a place for it).

Now I am looking at probably doing a 55 and rearranging our home office or possibly living room to put it in (If I can convince the wife to move the piano) so it will fit. Since this will most likely be in a common area I am looking for something eye catching.

Here is what I have found so far that I like. Some Are African, Some are American and obviously that will be taken into account when the actual setup is closer to being done as they have different needs. However I am pretty much posting a list of what I have found that I like and am looking for some pro's and cons of these since I can't seem to find a decent compatibility list. Obviously not everything is going in, just what I have found so far that I want to research more and hopefully get some more pointers and suggestions from the members here if there is anything similar that may be more compatible than others that I may have overlooked.

P.Demasoni

Labeotropheus trewavasae "Scrapermouth Mbuna"

Labidochromis caeruleus "Yellow Lab"

Protomelas sp. steveni taiwan "Taiwan Reef steveni"

Kadango (Copadichromis borleyi)

Lavender Mbuna (Iodotropheus sprengerae)

Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara hansbaenschi)

Yellow Tail Acei (Pseudotropheus Acei)

Golden Julie (Julidochromis ornatus)

Green Terror

Electric Blue Jack Dempsey

Again sorry for all the questions but like I stated earlier I am a complete newbie to Cichlids and need all the help I can get. There are way too many species and requirements and it is getting a bit overwhelming but I am determined to learn as much as I can so I don't make a mistake. The most important thing for me is that the fish have a high quality of life and are cared for to the best of my ability.
 

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ok ive kept most of the fish on that list and in my opp most of the africans youve listed are ok in a 55,but beware some of the mbuna CAN and most likely get nasty,also peacocks CAN BE nasty too,most african setups that ive done,as long as you dont get nothing super aggresive,theve worked fine,just make sure lots of rockwork is in there for them to take shelter,and a place to call home.some africans despite there small size are extremely nasty,stear clear of things like pseudotropheus elongatus,in my oppion they are way worse than the mbuna you want,atleast the scapermouth is one of the more gental mbuna,some of the african familys are huge,like the mbuna family thats pretty big,also the pseudotropheos family,thats even bigger,theres hundreds to choose from,but we will get to that later.ok now for the gt(green terror)these are by far my favourite fish,they guys are plain and simple a wet pet,my male gt loves me,and for a gt he is pretty well behaved,in my oppion you can start him off in a 55gal,but he would have to be moved depending on how fast he grows,if you want a pair of gts in there,even move them sooner.atleast a 75gal for a gt to be happy and reach full growth,120gal for a real heathly pair with a few catfish on cleanup duties..green terrors for the most part live up to there name,they can be/are down rite terrors,harras/killing tankmates,but if you just want 1,he will be ok even if he is the terminator,they can be cheecky buggers too,pulling airlines and things down...lol.now for the jd (jack dempsey),blue colour or normall strain,for the most part these guys are down rite nasty,thats why they are named after a heavy weight boxer,ive started them of with heaps of different tankmates and they did mix ok untill they paired up,they just turned psycotic,and started dispatching tankmates,but again if you just want 1,he will be ok a in 55gal,then he will have to be moved up to a 75,just like the gt!ive herd of people keeping both those fish in 55gals,however the fish rarely reaches its full size and colour,id go with the africans,most of them can be happy in a 55gal and reach a good size,but the 2 amercans,will need something bigger down the track,hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, thank you so much for the in depth response! That is what I was hoping for is to hear from someone with experience on all of the fish I had listed.

We are going out shopping today and going to swing by the LFS so the wife can take a look at some of what I have listed above. Again thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, this should probably be posted in the African forum but since everyone here has been so helpful and this thread is being followed I will go ahead and continue here. The trip to the LFS was successful and I narrowed my list a lot. Here is what I have narrowed it down to.

Labeotropheus trewavasae (Scrapermouth Mbuna)

Labidochromis caeruleus (Yellow Lab)

Protomelas sp. steveni taiwan

Lavender Mbuna (Iodotropheus sprengerae)

Peacock Cichlid (Aulonocara hansbaenschi)

Yellow Tail Acei (Pseudotropheus Acei)

Now come even more questions (there's a surprise, I think I owe all of you dinner by now for all the questions).

As was mentioned above by Hokese who is so kindly putting up with all my questions everything should be fine. From what I have found everything seems either non aggressive or mildly aggressive. The next question is how many of each? I know as was mentioned above that they should be fine in a 55 but is this pushing the limit for them? I plan on getting Juveniles of everything and letting them grow out together.

On A side note I fell in love with a Blue Acara which looks a lot like a Green Terror but sadly it is not African so probably not a real good idea in this tank.

Last thought is this. Everything I have read says P.Demasoni
needs to be kept in groups of 12 to help with aggression. Is this just a recommendation if you are keeping multiples in the tank such as don't get 4, get 12 or does this mean period, as in you can't keep it as a single in a tank with anything else due to aggression?

Thank you again and I promise, the questions will hopefully be getting fewer once I get this sorted out.
 

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ok well done,now with the p.demasoni,yes alot of info and people will say to get a school,keeping lots of different fish i was able to get away with 1 and he thrived,but the fella i had,i was extremaly lucky ive been told,normally they are ment to be kept in numbers,and can be VERY NASTY,ive red and herd a school of 5,if theres room keep more,and even then ,they still could dish out beating to there tankmates!so after thinking about this,id avoid getting one/school just incase they do turn aggresive!peacocks also have a bad rep for not getting on with mbuna,but again,mine were fine together,there was a pecking order in there,with territorial lines,and they were enforced,but no major aggresion,just the odd territory check!so the list above has you at 6 fish so far,as you want to start with juvies,this will let you have more fish in the tank,but as the fish grow so do there eyes for territory,so just keep that in mind,dont go to over board.now b4 i say yeah go ahead and get more fish,what sort of filtration do you have running on your 55gal?if its of a high flow rate and a good quality filter,and your water changes are up to scratch,yes you can get some more fish,i wont make any recomendations,,the choosing is up to you,just try to keep the aggresion level your at now the same,ask in the guy in the fish shop if its real aggresive b4 you buy it,(i mean dont come home with some crazy f1 hongi,thats asking for trouble)and tell him whats already in the tank.also is there LOTS of rockwork/caves in the tank,having this,even thow it does take up some space,does wonders helping fish live together,i think even more so with africans,i think that was how i was so lucky,all the fish had a nook a or cranny/cave to call home and retreat to if things got to much for them.ive herd 2 caves per fish,but i didnt follow this advice at all!so if you dont have lots of rockwork/caves,id probly get them b4 the next lot of fish,just my oppion thow.also because i was going for a mixed cichlid community tank,i just stuck to getting 1 of each,like what i mean is,1 electric yellow,1 electirc blue,1 checkerboard,1 scrapermouth,1 borlyi,1 bristlenose,1 lavender rusty,1 cobolt blue,1 red jewel,etc,ect,i done this to try to avoid breeding,witch brings aggresion,witch you dont want in a mixed setup.but my plan was not full proof because x-breeding took place,and i ended up with hybrids,but you get what im saying!now for the blue acara,im in love with em too,my 2nd favourate fish,yup they are american,yup they look like the green terror,and yup its not a real good idea in that tank,i say 1 or the other,african or american!however,and i dont recomend doing this,im just saying,ive seen blue acaras kept with africans and do quite well,providied the acara is aggresive enuff,and ive seen them with thrashed fins from not being able to get away from the nippy africans,alot of people who arent schooled enuff,mistake gt and ba for africans because of there vibrant colours,and because gts,and ba dont place no real demands on water parameters,they tolerate the high ph,but it dosent mean they like it...so i hope ive answered your questions,if you have any more,no probs,just ask...:D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you again for the thorough and complete answers. I think I owe you TWO dinners now lol. The tank hasn't been setup yet and will be custom setup for this purpose so filtration is something that I will be looking into. Obviously it will be "more than you need for a 55" because I believe in having a cushion and not pushing my filtration to the limit.

Also the plan is to go with a sandy or very fine gravel substrate. We were talking last night and decided that this tank setup is going to be in a common area and is going to be our showpiece tank so we are looking at making it not only very beautiful but also accurate in mimicking the natural habitat of the fish.

I am also going to check with my LFS and get their input as far as what they offer for the best substrate, rock, etc. and also any suggestions that they may have for something else that may do well in this community. Like I say, this tank is going to be our showpiece for the main floor of the house and A big tank is going downstairs when the remodel project is done for the Oscars that the wife can't live without.
 
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