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Cichlid tank mates for golden zebra loaches

vertigo

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31
TLDR: Looking for cichlids (besides angelfish) to add to a 90gal tank with 5 golden zebra loaches. a Leopard Ctenapoma (aka African Leaf Gourami). 4 Bleeding Heart Tetra's.

+Festivum is my first choice, but finding them is tough, finding reasonabley priced ones that are close to 2" is impossible.

-Appistos and Rams are too incompatible

- Maybe Bandit cichlids, keyhole cichlids , something of that nature?

Long Version:
GZ Loaches raised some issues in a previous post. They're 5y/o under 3" some might be yo-yo's or a hybrid. Not aggressive but very dumb, fast, and obnoxious. .
My experience with 'less aggressive' cichlids are Bolivian Rams and Firemouths. Originally the loaches were housed with the rams I tried moving them in with the Firemouths when they were about the same size.
Some individuals Firemouths are bullies, but even the non-bullies "stand their ground" against' similar sized 'peaceful/semi-peacful' community fish. i.e. if a rainbow fish or skirt tetra nip at the Firemouth, the Firemouth chases it off.
I tried housing the loaches with Firemouths for a few weeks, but the loaches were too stupid to stop getting close the Firemouths were a little to 'bitey' when they did. Loaches were moved out again in a week.
I was expecting similar behavior out of my trio of Bolivian Rams. They're not just non-aggressive/peaceful for a cichlid, they were timid. They hid and ran from everyone, but the loaches were a big problem, they zip around and feel up all the other fish, the gourami push them off tetras will nip if they don't back off, the rams just ran/hid and took it. One died of stress, the other 2 were rehomed.

Tank has lots of slate caves/platforms, heavily planted.
Once I figure out the cichlid, I'll add wide bodied tetras and less aggressive gourami at the same time. Balance the aggression load, since anything I add will be juvenile/smaller than the current occupants.
 

MacZ

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3,193
Location
Germany
With cichlids of a length of 12-16cm adult size you are in a good size-range for your project.

Most important is to make sure the cichlids don't get too territorial. So maybe something like Biotodoma or Cleithracara might fit the bill. The latter are not very keen on too boisterous tankmates, so maybe getting adults would be best.
Something of interest but only as a single fish: Rubricatochromis, formerly known as Hemichromis, the jewel cichlids. Size-wise they fit, but once they decide to breed everything else in the tank is getting it.

If it was me I'd probably leave the lower 2/3 of the tank to the loaches and instead of a cichlid go for a group of Trichopodus leeri (provided you have a lot of plants near the surface). Or stock up on Ctenopoma. Or, if you can find them, get a group of 3-5 wild coloured Helostoma temminkii.
 

anewbie

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1,479
wetspot has festum now and then - both wc and tank raised; you can get on a wait list but be sure you get on for all species and both tank raised/wc - kind of annoying how their notification works or even checking inventory.
--
currently they have wc Mesonauta egregius in stock @ $12.99 each if that works for you.
 

MacZ

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3,193
Location
Germany
wetspot has festum now and then - both wc and tank raised; you can get on a wait list but be sure you get on for all species and both tank raised/wc - kind of annoying how their notification works or even checking inventory.
--
currently they have wc Mesonauta egregius in stock @ $12.99 each if that works for you.
It might work. Hope they are a good size.
 

anewbie

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I will note that I keep my angels and festum with yoyo/zebra/clown loaches and it is not a perfect arrangement; when I move next month i will be sep my festum from the loaches and keeping them with geo (my festum were around 2 1/2 inches when purchased and are now adults - my clown loaches range between 6 and 3 inches; yoyo up to 6+ inches; ...); I do recommend dense patches of plants (and i mean dense) so the cichild have an area where they can find some tranquility. On the whole it is not a combination i recommend unless the tank is very large. Again i find the zebra are least problematic - just because they are shy and are less likely to swim around the cichild.
 

vertigo

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31
wetspot has festum now and then - both wc and tank raised; you can get on a wait list but be sure you get on for all species and both tank raised/wc - kind of annoying how their notification works or even checking inventory.
I've been looking in the major sites often, and everytime I have an opening. I don't want wild caught. WS price is fine but they're too small They need to be 2.25"-2.5" (& priced in the teens).

They're very easy fish to keep/breed just harder to find because theyve fallen out of popularity over the past 25years. Hybrid/fancy Angels Discus, Sevrums keep getting more ornate and cheaper. Poor Festivums get less love.
 

vertigo

Member
Messages
31
I will note that I keep my angels and festum with yoyo/zebra/clown loaches and it is not a perfect arrangement; when I move next month i will be sep my festum from the loaches and keeping them with geo (my festum were around 2 1/2 inches when purchased and are now adults - my clown loaches range between 6 and 3 inches; yoyo up to 6+ inches; ...); I do recommend dense patches of plants (and i mean dense) so the cichild have an area where they can find some tranquility. On the whole it is not a combination i recommend unless the tank is very large. Again i find the zebra are least problematic - just because they are shy and are less likely to swim around the cichild.
The tank is densely planted and caved, I probably should added that in the OP. Can't have anything that needs large open spaces.


The golden zebras loaches (maybe yoyo) are 5yrs old under 3" doesn't seem like they'll every reach 4". If they do get that big I have a 55g with bigger meaner fish. (Tried it when the loaches were younger, Adult Firemouths were too aggressive then, at 4" loaches will be fine, Firemouths might die of old age before than happens,they're almost 12 -14years old.
 

anewbie

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1,479
@5 they are not going to grow much if at all. Just based off of size i have my doubts about species; definitely not yoyo. A clear picture *might* help; they could be kubotai.
 

vertigo

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31
@5 they are not going to grow much if at all. Just based off of size i have my doubts about species; definitely not yoyo. A clear picture *might* help; they could be kubotai.
1000008917.jpg
 

anewbie

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Messages
1,479
Does it have a distinct gold colour when the lighting is more natural? I'm leaning towards histronica; or maybe one of the rostrata species. When adult the rostrata and yoyo tend to get darker grey. I did find pictures of yoyo (almorhae) with similar pattern but the problem with this species is that it has extremely high variance in adult markings:
--
The gold zebra i've had have been much more gold in colour while the yoyo tend to darken when they are adults (after 2ish years). There are also a lot of 'unclassified' or unamed loaches.
 

vertigo

Member
Messages
31
Does it have a distinct gold colour when the lighting is more natural? I'm leaning towards histronica; or maybe one of the rostrata species. When adult the rostrata and yoyo tend to get darker grey. I did find pictures of yoyo (almorhae) with similar pattern but the problem with this species is that it has extremely high variance in adult markings:
--
The gold zebra i've had have been much more gold in colour while the yoyo tend to darken when they are adults (after 2ish years). There are also a lot of 'unclassified' or unamed loaches.


Heres one in Natural light:
1000009143.jpg

-----
My one small one, full inch smaller than the other 4 , more slender frame, fewer but thicker and more vertical bands he's usually bolder in color. It may be a runt, or only male, or the only true golden zebra loach. (He's fast, can't get all of him in one clear photo):
1000009148.jpg
1000009149.jpg





Thier coloring changes on a daily bases. They vary from a pale 'golden wheat' yellow to almost as orange as a clown loach. Stripes fluctuate from a washed out brown to jet black. Theyre very greedy eaters.
----
When I got them, they look exactly like this pic of a Petco Golden Zebra (botia histrionica)
1000009145.jpg
(to me looks like a yoyo from the right, gold zebra from the left).
---

Google images pics of loaches similar to mine go to an inconclusive debate weather it's a Gold Z or or Yoyo (youtube, fishlore, and monsterfishkeeper).

AFAIK GZ and Yoyo's have fairly similar temperaments, just different max sizes if that's true it doesn't matter if we figure it out, just got to make sure new tank mates aren't so aggressive that they'll kill skirt/bleeding heart tetras, big and not so timid that that living with 3.5" (max) Yoyos OR Golden Zebra loaches will stress them to death.
 

vertigo

Member
Messages
31
That's what I thought too, hence I would only try with adult ones.
I'm more looking for a list of cichlids to keep an eye out for.

Cichlids that aren't so timid that they'll die of stress in a community tank, not so agressive thst theyll slaughter everyone.

Happy at pH 6.8-7.0, reach at least 3", at most 6"

I only know of Angelfish, Rams, Discus, Apistos, Festivum, Keyhole, Bandit.

I'm sure there are others.
 

MacZ

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3,193
Location
Germany
Then I'm sorry to be of no more help. I'm a biotope freak because community tanks are more or less all just bad compromises. Plus the fact that here in Europe the availabilities and choices of species are very different from e.g. North America.
 

vertigo

Member
Messages
31
Found a weird LFS that breed cichlids in-store, smaller ones are all mixed together sold as "assorted cichlids"
Would any of these work:
Kribs
sevrum
peacock cichlid
rainbow cichlid
blue acara
Yellow lab (idk why these are mixed with the new world cichlids but hey were)
 

anewbie

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1,479
kribs might work they are fairly robust; but if paired they will attack anything that enter their territory; they can drive away the loaches but it might produce a bit of stress. rainbow tend to be harder water than the loaches. yellow lab are also harder water.
 

MacZ

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3,193
Location
Germany
Yellow lab (idk why these are mixed with the new world cichlids but hey were)
Because they are supposedly the most peaceful Malawis. "Peacock" is a type of Malawi cichlid aswell, genus Aulonocara, there are about 15 recognized species and a dozen manmade hybrids. Having kept rift lake cichlids for a decade, keep your lake cichlids among their own and nothing else with them.
Pelvicachromis (you call them kribs) are also african btw.

To be frank, the approach of wanting a cichlid with the loaches and not being very picky as long as they get along with the loaches... Whatever you will get in the end will likely not make you happy and that in turn is not the best result for anyone, for you and the fish. May I ask why you are so stubbornly looking for a fitting cichlid? I'd just leave it be (and probaly just stock up the loaches).
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,193
Location
Germany
Found a weird LFS that breed cichlids in-store, smaller ones are all mixed together sold as "assorted cichlids"
Weird indeed. And "assorted cichlids" tells me how much they care for the fish. I'd stay clear.
 

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