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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #1
My friend has a 10g tank. He wants to get cichlids for it. I have always been interested in cichlids, but have never had the time or room to get any.
First of all, what type would be better to get American or African?

Is there any special care that is involved with raising them?

He wants to get small, inexpensive cichlids, so which would be best, but also be compatible with one another?
 

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Goodwill Ambassador
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With a tank that small, I would suggest some dwarf cichlids. Kribensis from Africa are one of my favorites. Another is blue rams from Thailand. Also very interesting are the tiny shell dwellers from Lake Tanganyika in Africa. Cichlids often don't get along well with other species, especially in that small of a tank. If it were me, I'd stick with a species only tank (one pair), but he could add some dwarf cories for clean up, or a bristlenose pleco. Otos also should work. Kribs are fairly easy to maintain and very entertaining. The blue rams are adorable and active, and the shell dwellers are very unique in that they live and raise their fry in shells. It would probably be easier to find the Kribs and the blue rams at the local LFS and they are easy to care for. The shell dwellers are a little more difficult.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #3
I know about rams and kribs, except none of the fish places we have, have either species. We were looking into the small cichlids, what about jack dempseys? I know they have them for sure, or do they get to big?
 

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Jack Dempsy's get 6 - 10 inches and are very aggressive. I think that is definitely a species only fish, and only one fish in the 10 gallon. They are beautiful fish, though.

The ones I listed stay small. The Kribensis are 2 - 4 inches, the male is the biggest, females are smaller. They would be the easiest of the three that I listed. A pair in the 10 gallon with a clean up crew would be a beautiful tank.

The blue rams (or any of the color varieties) are about 2.5 inches max, and very peaceful, but I've found them to be a bit more sensitive to changes. Both of these fish are good community fish and would allow your friend to get some corys or otos for cleanup.

Among the shell dwellers, some stay under 1.5 inches (Neolamprologus multifasciatus), and are really cool. Your friend could put two pair in a ten gallon.

Perhaps your LFS could order one of these species for your friend. Remember, the fish you see in the fish store are babies. They will grow, grow, grow.

Good luck and have fun with the decision process. Perhaps someone else has other ideas for a 10 gallon tank. These are the easiest I've found and most entertaining. Keep us informed.
 

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I have a pair of Neolamprologus Cylindricus in a 12 gallon, they are a bit cramped for space. The female is about 3.5 inches and the male is about 5 inches. They are cave/rock dwellers so spend most of their time in caves. But very neat fish.

You can try to find some goby cichlids, some stay small and are very kewl as well. I haven't seen any at my LFS so might be more difficult to find. Someone else with more experience needs to jump in here to help you out.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #7
The next time that I go, I'll write down the different types of fish, and we'll try to find which ones would work out best.
My problem is that I don't like to special order or order online or anything, so I just focus on getting what is already in stock.
 

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This is the one mistake most people make with cichlids. They see a one inch Jack Dempsy in the store and the workers that know nothing or are just trying to make a sale will tell you its fine. Two months later you have a very large cichlid in a small tank. You are best to stick with the kribs or rams, but I'd have to suggest keeping another type of fish in that tank. You'll be better off in the end if you keep it simple with smaller community fish.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #9
Until I go back and see what they all have, I haev a 35g that I will eventually be stocking with cichlids. What would be good for that size of tank?

Another question, do cichlids use the same water as normal freshwater fish or no?
 

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Cichlids have very different water requirements from regular tropical fish. It depends on where they come from, what the ph, water hardness and temperature should be. If you decide on African Cichlids, there are three main lakes in Africa that they come from, Tangayika, Victoria, and Malawi. Each has its own water requirements. They like very high ph and hard water. Cichlids from South America like their water to be acidic (lower) ph and soft with tannins leached from drift wood. You should pick fish from one specific area or lake that you like and stick with those.

If you choose from a tank labled 'Assorted Cichlids' you won't know what they are (neither will the staff), or where they come from, and they may be hybrids.

There are special cichlid salts and buffers to help you condition your water properly for different areas that they come from. When you find fish that you like, then we can be more specific about their requirements.
 

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Most of the african cichlids like hard water (all of the rift lake ones do).

Most of the south american cichilds like softer water.

With a 10 gallon your friend is going to need to go dwarf cichlids only.

For softer water the "rams" or "kribs" as mentioned are a good way to go. Your big chain store such as petsmart or petco should have some.

If your water is hard the Tanganyikain "shelldwellers" as previously mentioned are a good way to go.

The more common are "brevis" neolamprologus brevis and "multis" neolamprologus multifasciatus (could be sold under either common or full name). Big chain stores do not sell them. Call around to your local stores and ask if they have "shelldwellers" and you should be able to find some. Multis are a harem fish 1 male for 2-3 females. A ten gallon can support a male his wives and their kids. Brevis are monogamous, but their territories are small enough that you could have 2 pairs in a 10 gallon with their kids.
 

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Sorry Fishfinder I didn't see your reply, and repeated some of what you said... :)

I would add it is generally easier to find out how hard your water is and try to get fish to match that than to match water to fish.

"African Cichlids" in most stores are from lake Malawi. The shelldwellers (except one) are from lake Tanganyika.

The genus Apistogramma from southamerica have some good fish, but I have found them more rare than shelldwellers to find (and like soft water).

Somewhere to look at pictures and profiles is www.cichlidforum select profiles and look at south american dwarves, and tanganyika shelldwellers.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #13
Well, I have hard water at my house, and the only S American cichlids I like besides rams are convict cichlids, so I think I'm gonna go with African.

I found some really nice jewel cichlids at a the Petco by me. They had nice coloration and they were quite cheap, $5 each.

I doubt I'll go this way but what about parrot cichlids?
 

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Parrot Cichlids are of South American origin. Most likely you have seen the Blood Parrot Cichlid, it is a manufactured fish. I personally don't like them, but that is just me. Here is some information about them.

Cichlid Research Home Page: Parrot Cichlids

Jewel Cichlids are beautiful. I've never had any, but have always admired them. They are not suited for a 10 gallon tank but if you are thinking about them for your 35 gallon tank it could work out for you.
 

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Catch and Release
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Discussion Starter #15
I wasn't a big fan of parrot cichlids, but I just love their color. They were the blood parrot cichlids.

As for the jewel cichlids, with keeping them, is there any different water that I need to put in?
 

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Red jewels would probably be a good choice if you liked them. Another one that would be interesting for you guys would be Tropheus Duboisi Maswa, I'm not sure if you can get them over there, They are a small fish growing to only around 12cm, Should be kept in gropus of atleast 15 but I have kept them happily with 3 or 4 in a 2ft tank. I think if you are new to the hobby which you seem to be (no offence), then they would be a good choice, they are not the easiest fish to keep but are a very interesting one. Mine are fairly interactive with me. I started with 3 and that 3 has turnt into 28 of them. They are a vey addictive fish. :p
 

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This is the one mistake most people make with cichlids. They see a one inch Jack Dempsy in the store and the workers that know nothing or are just trying to make a sale will tell you its fine. Two months later you have a very large cichlid in a small tank. You are best to stick with the kribs or rams, but I'd have to suggest keeping another type of fish in that tank. You'll be better off in the end if you keep it simple with smaller community fish.
this happened to a friend of mine 6 years ago. now he has a jack dempsey the size of my hand in a 10g. its very sad. *frown
 

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I would not recommend any Tropheus species to someone relatively new to caring for african cichlids. Their dietary and water parameter needs are strict as tropheus species will get the "bloat" at the drop of a hat. A great website for cichlid questions is Cichlidforum.com. Plenty of cichlid experts over there that will answer any questions you may have.
 

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fishboydanny
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i've had south americans in alkaline hard water, and have seen africans in soft neutral water, so they really arent picky unless you want to breed them... I tend to keep my ph up just in case, so i do reccomend keeping them in their respective parameters, but they definetely aren't picky.
 
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