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New to Dwarf Cichlids

Tbot2021

New Member
Hi,

I am currently in the process of cycling my 60 gal aquarium that I got for Christmas. I am new to dwarf cichlids and would like to stock it with a Cockatoo, electric blue ram, rainbow krib and Bolivian ram. Is this possible?

I am thinking I would have a single specimen of each species, probably male, but I want to make sure they won't be aggressive towards each other and that they will have enough room for their own territory. I also am wondering if a single specimen can be happy and thrive or if I would be better doing a species specific tank.

I am also wondering about tankmates for a peaceful community. I would like to have corys in the tank too and maybe some schooling species to occupy the top of the tank. Any thought or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Welcome. I don't recommend this community for 2 reasons. Kribs being West African have a very different threat/submission response compared to Neotropical cichlids. This can result in increased aggression. Orinoco Rams need a higher temperature than other dwarf cichlids, best at least 84°F/30°C.
 

Tbot2021

New Member
IMG_5207.JPG
Mike,

Thanks for the guidance! I am so taken with the apistogramma and other than my 10 gallon betta tank I only have the 60 gallon I am currently cycling. There are so many species I would like to keep I just don't have endless space or funds for more than this 60 gal so in your opinion is there a couple good species I could house together. Or should I set up a tank with a single apistogramma species like a ram harem?
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Well, your tank is fairly open. I don't see many visual territorial boundaries that you would need to safely keep several different species. If you really do want several species in the same tank I suggest that the aquascaping be much more complex. Which species? I suggest you choose your favorite species and then add other species that look different in body shape and finnage, and have a similar temperament. One option is an apisto species and Bolivian Rams/Laetacara which inhabit different biotopes in the same type of habitat.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
.......I am currently in the process of cycling my 60 gal aquarium ........
Are you adding ammonia to cycle the tank? If you are? You can stop, it doesn't serve any useful purpose. If you have a tank without plants and a substrate you are obliged to rely on the nitrifying organisms in the filter, but when you have plants there are much more resilient ways of ensuring nitrification.

There has been a lot of scientific research on nitrifying organisms, using rDNA and RNA libraries, which has shown that Archaea are much more important than had been realised in nitrification and that the bacteria found under high ammonia loadings aren't the micro-organisms found in aquarium filters.

The basic reason is that ammonia isn't the most important factor in biological filtration, it is oxygen. Have a look at Dr Stephan Tanner's <"Bacteria Revealed"> and <"Aquarium biofiltration">, <"Water quality: a holistic approach"> & <"Aquatic plants and nitrogen"> by Dr Tim Hovanec.

At the moment you just need to a lot more plants and as they grow in, this will also help to create a more complex environment (and break up the line of sight) that Mike mentions.

cheers Darrel
 

Ben Rhau

New Member
Darrel, I read through these articles you linked to above. They are compelling, yet prompt some questions:

1. If ammonia-based cycling is irrelevant, why does appear to work, empirically? By "work," I mean that an ammonia-cycled tank can accept a moderate bioload of fish with no ammonia or nitrite spike, but an uncycled tank cannot?

2. If plants, substrate and oxygen are the important factors in cycling, what is the protocol for cycling a tank? Do you simply add plants and wait? How do you know when the tank is cycled to the extent that it can accept a moderate load of fish?

3. I'll ask a separate question in my plants thread.

Thanks,
Ben
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
If ammonia-based cycling is irrelevant, why does appear to work, empirically? By "work," I mean that an ammonia-cycled tank can accept a moderate bioload of fish with no ammonia or nitrite spike, but an uncycled tank cannot?
Ammonia based cycling definitely can work, if you don't have plants you don't have any alternative. I'm really more interested in the probable, rather than the possible, and plants and time are definitely the factors that increase the probability of success.

I always tell people that while there is "microbe only" biofiltration, there isn't "plant only", it is always "plant and microbe based" it is synergistic process.
If plants, substrate and oxygen are the important factors in cycling, what is the protocol for cycling a tank? Do you simply add plants and wait? How do you know when the tank is cycled to the extent that it can accept a moderate load of fish?
Pretty much that, "add plants and wait".

If I had to set up a tank, without access to any substrate or filter media from another tank, I would wait at least six weeks before adding fish. The method is plant the tank, add some floating plants, set the filter going, add wood and structural leaf litter and add some invertebrates, and then just wait. I'd add some vegetables, as food for snails and crustaceans, and I'd change a bit of water, but only on an ad hoc. basis.

If I had no alternative other than to add fish to an "un-cycled" tank I'd want a shallow water depth, plenty of aeration and <"a lot of floating plants">. Have a look at @Bart Hazes <"Low-flow and no-flow Apistogramma biotope tanks">.

I don't look at cycling as a binary switch from "not-cycled" to "cycled", it is much more a nuanced <"shades of grey world"> where over time the tank becomes more stable and resilient and capable of processing larger bioloads.

cheers Darrel
 
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