SA/CA Cichlid stocking advice.

Aquamaniac96

Feeder Fish
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OK so first off I am a new member. I've wanted to make an account for quite a while. I love this website and hope I can gain wisdom to properly take care of my future pets. I am not completely new to the aquarium hobby. I have kept a 55 gallon with a few cichlids, dither fish, pleco, and silver arowana (I know terrible...) I only kept the tank for about 6 months because we had to move. Then when I went to college I got a 10 gallon. I have raised dwarf cichlids, cories, tetras, and a betta. Not all at the same time. The only original inhabitants are the cories. The cichlids and tetras died because of the water quality. I had to change rooms, when I first moved in the water was orange! Sorry for ranting but the point is I want to do the best I can at preparing the best home for my cichlids. I'm planning on buying a 125 gallon aquarium, I'll use the 10 gallon's filter media or something to help jumpstart cycling the tank. As far as filtration goes I plan on getting the fluval fx6 (if more is needed please let me know). 2 250/300 watt heaters. An airstone. Maybe a powerhead? Sand substrate (not sure what kind... Pool filter?) Rock outcropping, driftwood, Mangrove roots, maybe fake plants for territory/breaking line of sight. I need to get a test kit to test my water parameters still. Now for the actual stocking. I would love to try an EBJD again. I tried 2 in my 55 and lost them to Bloat I think. Now this is my main fish so unless you advise against it I'd like tank mates to revolve around it. I also would like some activity in the tank. I was thinking 5-6 Geo Tapajos (I had one before, it was gorgeous). A rainbow cichlid. And a school of either giant danios or Buenos Aires Tetras, like minimum of 6. I checked the calculator and I was just under 100% for stocking. It said the danios/tetras might be lunched, but that's what I have seen listed from other forums as sizable dithers/targets. I would like to have a semi-aggressive community, but not overstocked. So if this setup would not work I am open to suggestions. I would like something big enough to eat feeders, but not outgrow the tank. I'm not really into Oscars or Severums. Sorry if I made this hard to read, I just want to include as much as possible so you all can help me as best you can.
 

Buphy

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Welcome to MFK! First off, good job on identifying past problems, next step is to keep them from happening again =P Do you already have the 125 or is it just a plan? I only ask because if you can wait, I'd recommend getting a new one on black friday, they're generally 1/2 off.

As for filtration, the fx6 should be good but more never hurts. I recommend running a sponge filter in the tank as well.

As for stocking, you seem to have an idea of what you want so that's a start. I'd recommend not getting something that eats feeders though. It's often a big risk unless you're breeding your own feeders in another tank. I've had good luck with EBJD but many others have not. Would highly recommend not starting your tank off with them, but plan to add them in the future when the tank is more established.
 
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Aquamaniac96

Feeder Fish
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Jun 10, 2016
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I haven't got one yet. My local petsmart is selling them including the stand and lighting for just under $500 which is the best deal I could find but yeah I guess if I was patient enough black Friday would be a great time to get one! I'm not too familiar with a sponge filter, but have heard its good for aquariums with sand so I probably will do that too! I could definitely see issues with diseases/parasites being introduced through feeders, especially with an EBJD being feeble. I was thinking of maybe turning my 10 gallon into a feeder breeder but I'm not too sure that's big enough. I was plannig on putting the danios/tetras in first to help cycle the tank, then maybe the rainbow. My thinking was it would give them a head start to get large enough to fend for themselves. Then the GEOS. Because I can see adding the issue with adding so many fish at one time with the bioload/ammonia spike that it could be a way to kill the EBJD pretty quickly. My only fear is that when the EBJD is finally introduced it would be picked on and die from stress. My plan of action is to either move around the decor to diminish territorial behavior, or try looking for one large enough to fend for itself. I thought about growing it in my 10 gallon til about 2" but I've read that someone tried that and it stunted the growth.
 

ehh

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I think you'll be better off growing the ebjd out in the 125. As buphy said, just make sure he's the last fish you add. They're nortorious for being feeble, having slow growth rates, dying... Pretty much all the stuff you don't want in a fish haha but the big pretty ones are awesome.

Just build around the ebjd and pick fish that won't harass him.
 
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Buphy

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I paid $330 a tank on black friday. That's for tank, stand, lights and glass hoods. It is a ways off though and I don't know how tight your budget is but if you want to use a smaller tank to start making BB (beneficial bacteria) it's not a bad idea. 10 gallon wouldn't stunt fish because of actual tank size, but because of how quickly the water quality goes bad.

Sponge filter is basically a large sponge median that uses air to draw flow through it. Very cheap and easy to move. If you ever need to remove a fish for it's own health or the health of the tank, the sponge filter can be moved to another tank (recommend a 40 breeder) and basically "instantly" cycle that new tank.

Getting back to your stocking a little bit...
A) What is it that has you set on an EBJD?
B) I wouldn't worry too terribly much about geophagus sp. redhead tapajo aggression, at least not at a smaller size.
C) What is it that you don't like about Oscars and Severums?
 
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Aquamaniac96

Feeder Fish
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Jun 10, 2016
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Oh awesome! Yeah a sponge filter sounds like a really smart idea. And that makes sense. I have to constantly wipe away the algae in my 10 gallon every time I do a water change. I gave up cleaning off the decor. So everything is covered in green and purple algae. It's got to the point where some of it is growing filaments. It looks pretty cool and my fish don't seem to mind. In all honesty I really just love the color and personality. The ones I had before weren't too shy. They'd follow me all around their tank and were pretty active up until they got bloat. Plus they grow smaller than a regular JD. My ideal size range for my fish would be no bigger that 10 inches because I don't want to cramp my fish. As far as Oscars go it's really just that the grow too large for what I'm looking for and their messiness. They look awesome but they're not for me. As far as severums go, I love the variety of colors, they do look awesome, it's just not what I'm looking for. I'm not really into the shape they are and I guess they just seem too big for a 125. I mean they're not totally out of the question, I just want some unique suggestions. Severums seem to be a popular suggestion. Essentially I want something that is eye-catching, decent sized, and (probably) won't try to kill everything in the tank. For me, the EBJD fits the bill. Other cichlids I was interested in before were Festae/RT, GT, Jaguar, but obviously those are wayyyyy too large abd aggressive compared to what I'm looking for in 125. I'll save those for my dream tank that's over 500 gallon when I have a house of my own and can afford such a thing.
 
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Buphy

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None of the fish you listed apart from maybe a male jag/festae would get too big for a 125 though with multiple fish you'd probably run into aggression issues. Seeing as you're set on a community though, it's good to avoid those last few.
 

Aquamaniac96

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Yeah it's probably just a perception thing from videos I watch on the fish. Plus most of the videos have the tanks overstocked anyways. I can see having a single Oscar/Severum not being a problem. Red Shoulder Severums do look fantastic. And Tiger Oscars look pretty cool. I was thinking of maybe a Blue Acara as a compromise between an EBJD and GT. As much as I have my heart set on a EBJD it's not set in stone. I'd just like something special/unique for the main fish. My though process was also color contrast. With the rainbow being a vibrant yellow, the GEOS wit their red and blues. A EBJD would be a good compliment. The inner artist in me is what is really deciding things.
 

Buphy

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I don't see them around here often, and they're a pretty penny at LFS but have you looked into Hoplarchus Psittacus (True parrot cichlid)? Again don't seem them on here much so I don't know a lot, but full grown they're drop dead gorgeous. Also Severums don't get THAT big. My SA community currently has 3 severums, 6 redhead tapajos, 6 dension barbs, a bristlenose pleco and soon to be added a dwarf pike cichlid. Another fish to look into, lots of people like them and I think they're an underrated gem, is chocolate cichlids. They act a lot like oscars but don't get as big.
 
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Aquamaniac96

Feeder Fish
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Jun 10, 2016
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I really do appreciate all the advice, I'm enjoying the conversation! Geophagus sp. Redhead Tapajos are pretty awesome, mine was alone but the boss of the tank until my JD got to about 3 inches and decided he had enough What a total curveball! The True Parrot Cichlid is gorgeous. I'm not a fan at all of the Blood Parrots, but that looks totally different. I was also interested in pike cichlids but was under the impression they were very aggressive and large. But I've never heard of Dwarf Pike Cichlids. Chocolates look pretty cool. They kind of look like flowerhorns with the "Horn" or spots. I'll look more into them. Do you think 6 GEOS is too many? And Would 6 danios/tetras be enough?
 
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