Am I Doomed? Cichlids w/a Killifish...

Discussion on general cichlid care and issues. ID cichlids you don't know the origin of. Mixed tank questions.

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Deandome
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Am I Doomed? Cichlids w/a Killifish...

Post by Deandome » Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:25 pm

Quick tank history: I have a 12 gal Eclipse tank...I started w/a cool irridescent green killifish to 'cycle' the tank. He's grown a fair amount (He's now about 2-3/4"...he's a PIG!!) and has killed SIX different tetras I tried to introduce. I got a smallish red-tail shark, and they get along fine..nary a lunge at each other, either way.

I also have a small para pleco..again, benign w/the killi, who stays at the top most of the time.

I was sick of getting tankmates that the killi, well...KILLED, so I asked my fish guy if some small cichlids would work. He said they probby would, so we selected a small (1.5") Julidochromis marlieri and a small Frontosa (1.5", 6-band variety).

So far, the balance of power/agression seems pretty perfect...the killi is still the king of the tank, but the cichlids weren't cowed by his initial attempts at domination. They certainly haven't bothered HIM, and he still makes a few lunges at the cichlids if they invade his feeding space.

And the tiny Julie is clearly dominant over the Frontosa, despite having only about 1/3 the body mass. But overall, they hang out pretty peacefully together..most of the lunging/chasing only happens during feeding.

The cichlids are mostly bottom/middle fish, and the killi stays up top, so they really don't interact that much.

My question is, other than the Frontosa getting too big too fast (I was told it would take a while), do you think this combination of fish will continue to mesh well in the next 1-2 years? Really, I'm worried about the killi...but it's been HIS tank for so long, I can't see him getting beaten up..and he's really quite agressive.

And how quickly will the Frontosa grow? I don't overfeed...do you see me getting 2 years before he reaches 3-4"??

Thanks!!

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Lisachromis
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Post by Lisachromis » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:03 pm

I'll answer your last question first. Yes, fronts can be that big before 2 years.

The reason the killi and the cichlids get along so far is that they both have different areas of the tank they prefer. As you've seen, your killie prefers the top of the tank and the cichlids prefer the bottom. I cannot see your mix working for too long of a time though. Eventually that front will be big enough to eat both the Juli and the killi if he feels the need to. You really ought to save up for a much larger tank for the front, and then the killi can keep his tank.

Deandome
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Post by Deandome » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:42 pm

I'm kinda open to trading in the Front over anything else...I'm not really a cichlid-head (yet) and if/when I set up another/bigger tank it's gonna be (don't yell!!) a marine one. This is my kid's tank, in his bedroom, so I just want to have 4-6 fish that will get along.

So if/when the Front needs to go, what would you recommend as a second...DWARF/small cichlid?? I'm guessing that would NOT be another Julie..the dynamic between them might get ugly ('specially as they weren't introduced at the same time).

Again, I'm not really worried about the killi. I might be kidding myself, but he is pretty dam tough. No way the Julie will mess w/him, or vice versa...and the wimpy Front should be fine too..until he gets 4"+ or so.

Thanks!

Dean

Deandome
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Update & advice request

Post by Deandome » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:39 pm

Well...it's been several months, here's the scoop:

The front died a couple of weeks after my post. He was always kinda wimpy (for a cichlid)..hid in the corner a lot. He wasn't constantly being picked on or anything..he ate pretty well for a while...I just think I got a bad fish.

No tears...that was the one I was gonna trade in anyways.

The other 4 fish still seem to get along, er...swimmingly: the Julie comes up to feed & there's no fighting w.the killie. He's gotten a bit bigger. The redtail shark has grown a bit, but he hasn't shown any agression (he has a few nips in his fins..nothing big). The Pleco is, well. a pleco...healthy, hides a lot, feeding fine.

So today I'm going to a store in Chicago that I heard was a cichlid specialist...even a Lake tanganika specialist..KING CORAL (oddly, they don't even sell marine fish :D )

I want to get 1-2 more fish to complete my setup, and my local guy, who suggested this shop, said "why not more julies?" and this made some sense...he also suggested shell-dwellers.

Do I want/need to get the same KIND of julie (marlieri), or can I mix variants? I'm GUESSING the one I have is male...does that mean I can't get another male?.

I guess the store people can help me, but as always, I'm getting anal about getting as much input as possible.

Thanks!

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Lisachromis
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Post by Lisachromis » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:12 pm

I'd suggest keeping with the marlieri. Julies can and will cross. Though with only a 12 gallon tank, I'm not sure you really want to be keeping several marlieri in that tank. I can see a breeding pair in a 20g, but not a 12. They do get some size on them. Your best bet may be to only have the one Juli and get a couple of shelldwellers.

Deandome
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Post by Deandome » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:18 pm

Thanks..that's just the kind of advice I was looking for!

Do I have to worry about the size of the shell dwellers, or can they handle themselves regardless? The Julie is now about 2 to 2-1/4" long.

And are there different kinds of shell dwellers, or reallly just one?

Thanks again!

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Lisachromis
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Post by Lisachromis » Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:50 pm

There are many species of shelldwellers out there. A good one for your tank would probably be Lamprologus multifasciatus. They should be one of the more commonly found 'shellies'.

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