adding dwarf mbunas

Q&A About Lake Malawi Cichlids

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adding dwarf mbunas

Post by mrlilfish90 »

Hello Pam, in my searching the Web I found someone speaking highly about you so I thought I'd see if you could help me. I've started stocking my 48" 75 gallon tank with african dwarf mbunas. I'd like to stick with dwarf mbunas but would like to add more species. I have 1 elongatus chewere and 3 saulosi. At this point they all appear to be male but it's still early to decide on the juvenile saulosi.

Anyways my questions are what would be some good matches to go with these fish? I'm looking for different colors to go along with the yellow and eventual blues. I'm thinking red or orange. Or do you know of any green dwarf mbunas? I cannot find any.

Secondly and probably more importantly, should I work on getting my already existing species numbers up before I add new species?

I'm not intent on breeding any fish but I also wouldn't be against it. If a single female does appear I will most likely have to remove her to keep her from being pestered to death until I can get some more, I'm assuming. So should I concern myself with different species yet or just work on establishing my to species for now?

I am aware of the male to female ratios and the risks of hybridization as well fyi.

Thank you and I'm looking forward to hearing back from you
Pam Chin
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Re: adding dwarf mbunas

Post by Pam Chin »


I don't know who started this term "dwarf mbuna"? Typically a dwarf cichlid is 3" or under. There are no mbuna that meet that criteria, and they all grow larger in our aquariums then in the Lake itself. So I guess your plan A is it out the window! lol

But lets talk about a Malawi community tank....

First off mbuna are group fish, so they do like being in a group, I always suggest getting 6 - 8 of each species.

The best community tanks have fish in all sections of the tank.... bottom, middle and upper. Mbuna are all going to hang out on the bottom or middle of your tank. These tanks are more peaceful because if you select the right fish, they will not be competing for the same area in the tank. For 75 gal tank, you get (3-4) species 6 - 8 fish. Saulosi is always a good choice, because its like getting two mbuna for one, since the females are yellow and the males are blue.

Here are couple of green mbuna's if you have a good imagination.... Metriaclima patricki & Cynotilapia afra Mbweca Rocks

Please consider a mellow hap for the top portion of your tank, it will make it look more complete and offer good color. Anything from these genus' will work... Copadichromis, Otopharnx, Protomelas they would all be good canidates, and get like (3) and all males, and you get all that color, females are battleship grey.

Metriaclima zebra's get huge, so I would say no, you don't need that big of an mbuna even with the nice color, they will be way to pushy in your tank.

Alternative might be: Labeotropheus trewavasae or fulleborni would be excellent candidates.

2 - 3 mbuna types and (1) hap type to fill out your tank

Remember any mouthbrooder can cross with another. But also consider if you do get 6 - 8 of each species, you have a nice little group. Get your self a used 55 gal tank. and when you want to breed one of your groups, you put them in the 55 by themselves. When you are done, you put one group back and move another group if you so desire. This way you insure that they are pure bred. No one wants to buy fry out of mixed tank.

Hope this gives you a few ideas! And if you would like to discuss further, please start a new message!

Sounds like a great tank in the making!

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