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Old 08-06-2012, 03:52 PM   #1 
AngesRadieux
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Cichlid Tank Size Question

I've been doing some research and I think I'd really like a cichlid tank. But I've seen so many different opinions as to minimum tank sizes and I was hoping someone here can clear things up for me.

I'd really like to do a pair of rainbow cichlids. I've seen some sites say that a 29 gallon tank is okay for a pair as long as it's 36 inches long, which mine is. But I've seen others say that the minimum for these fish is a 90 gallon aquarium, which certainly rules them out for my 29 gallon tank. As of right now, I plan to only have the rainbow cichlids in the tank.

If I were to put a pair of rainbow cichlids in this tank, would I be fully stocked? I'm fine with having just the cichlids if that's all I can put in the tank. I think they're just gorgeous. I'd just like to know if there's a possibility for adding maybe a few bottom dwellers.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:41 PM   #2 
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What about a pair of jewel cichlids? I've also searched and gotten some pretty varied answers about those. As with the rainbow cichlids, I'd be perfectly fine with having them be the only fish in the tank.

Are the jewels difficult to breed? I'd like to get a pair because I'm absolutely intrigued by their spawning behavior. I've also gotten mixed information on that. Some people seem to say that they aren't much more difficult to breed than convicts (which is to say pretty easy) and others saying that it's difficult. From what I've read about the rainbow cichlids, the general consensus seems to be that the hardest part about breeding those is sexing them and once you've found a male and female pair you're good to go.

I've also looked into firemouths and convicts, but I'd really rather not get those if there are other options. I don't find them that appealing to look at and I adore the colors on both the rainbow and jewel cichlids.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:49 AM   #3 
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There are 2 different kinds of rainbow cichlids. There are the African ones which need the 90g, and then there are the South American ones that need the 29g. You could get the SA ones. You could also get some other fish in the tank as well, unless you're going to breed them... then no you can't. Cichlids get VERY mean when they breed and will often kill any/every fish that swims into "their" territory when they have eggs/wrigglers/fry. However if you're not going to try to breed them, and maybe these too if you are, some hatchetfish? They dwell at the top of the tank and won't get into the way of your cichlids.

If you want jewel cichlids, a 29g would be pushing it. They can live in there, but it's not ideal. The best tank for them is a 36g Long or 40g/40B. However they could live in a 29g and reproduce. Just over filter the tank a lot.

I personally have never had either fish (although jewels may be in my future...), but I believe that they are fairly easy breeders. I know many other people who have breed them accidentally. Just feed them a varied diet, keep the parameters in check, and give them plenty of breeding spots such as terra cotta pots, large rocks, or even LARGE plant leaves.

Good Luck with you fish!
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:21 AM   #4 
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Oh! That makes sense. The ones I wanted were the American ones, not the African. The only problem I can see with the rainbows is that I can't seem to find those. I'm wondering if I'd have to get a local pet store to special order them, if they can? But I'm not sure I'd trust them not to get the African variety in instead of the ones that are suitable for my tank. The reason I mentioned the jewels was because those seem more available.

I just remeasured my tank and discovered it's actually a 30 gallon breeder. Would that be better for jewels, since it's 6" longer than a 29 gallon? It's the same length as a 40 gallon breeder but without the extra height, I think. Anyway, the measurements are 36"x18"x12". I didn't buy the tank, my dad did and he bought it a pretty long time ago. I had assumed it was a 29 gallon, but I put the dimensions into an online search and it came up as a 30 gallon breeder.

If the extra 6 inches makes a difference and makes the tank more suitable for jewels, I'll probably end up with those just because they seem easier to find than the rainbows, at least where I live. Would the hatchetfish possibly work with the jewels, or are those only with rainbows? I've read that jewels are more aggressive than the rainbows, but I've seen other people say that they really aren't.

Again, I'd be happy with a cichlid only tank, but a little variety would be nice if the I can do it without the fish suffering.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:59 AM   #5 
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Have kept the Herotalapia Multispinosa and the Jewel cichlids and 29 gal would suit a pair of either.
The difficult part is finding a pair, which usually means buying several juveniles and waiting for a pair to form.
Jewel cichlid's in particular, are indeed rough on even a chosen female should she not be receptive to the male.Lot's of fin damage, and chasing the female around, can be stressful and tank should have plenty of caves for the female to rest/hide in. Even in larger tank's,,it may be necessary to seperate the fish.Females are rarely as rough as the males, but females will not often tolerate the advances of males smaller than them.
They are hard to sex when small so buying several is best way to get a pair and then other's will need to be removed.
Rainbow's are not as rough when spawning activity takes place, but with bothe species,,I would make sure dither fishes were quick, and not too expensive.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:54 PM   #6 
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My only concern with buying several is that I don't have anywhere to put the other fish after a pair gets established. If I get them from the fish store near me, I know they won't take the extras back. I might be able to find the jewels at Petsmart and I think Petsmart would be more likely to take the extras back. But the fish store generally has a better selection and healthier fish. :/

I've also gotten some conflicting information about whether pairs of jewels are okay. I've seen people say that they have pairs that are fine, but others said that they needed an extra female jewel cichlid to spread out the aggression so that the pair don't kill each other. Based on what I've seen, I'm inclined to believe that a pair is usually fine on their own, but I figured I'd ask here before buying fish and ending up having them just kill each other.
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:10 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by AngesRadieux View Post
My only concern with buying several is that I don't have anywhere to put the other fish after a pair gets established. If I get them from the fish store near me, I know they won't take the extras back. I might be able to find the jewels at Petsmart and I think Petsmart would be more likely to take the extras back. But the fish store generally has a better selection and healthier fish. :/

I've also gotten some conflicting information about whether pairs of jewels are okay. I've seen people say that they have pairs that are fine, but others said that they needed an extra female jewel cichlid to spread out the aggression so that the pair don't kill each other. Based on what I've seen, I'm inclined to believe that a pair is usually fine on their own, but I figured I'd ask here before buying fish and ending up having them just kill each other.
Would not get a pair, if you don't have room to seperate them or to house the fry produced until such time as they are big enough to sell/trade.

Should you want a pair anyway,I
Would ask the fish store to get a group and remove the two that appear to be a pair.(could take a few day's.week's)
If you are good customer,then they may do this for you for small deposit.
Do keep in mind that young jewel cichlids are not all that easy to get rid of, and you will need another tank to house them in, or the male and possibly female will eliminate all but the fastest ,most secretive of the smaller ones once they decide to spawn again. (they don't tolerate other fishes at this time)
Two males would not be wise in 29 gal nor two females in my opinion.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:12 PM   #8 
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I have a tank I can use as a grow out for the fry, but it isn't big enough to be a permanent home for 3-4 full grown cichlids that would be left after two paired up. Plus, if I put the extra jewels in that tank I wouldn't have a tank for the fry. :/
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:19 AM   #9 
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Originally Posted by AngesRadieux View Post
I have a tank I can use as a grow out for the fry, but it isn't big enough to be a permanent home for 3-4 full grown cichlids that would be left after two paired up. Plus, if I put the extra jewels in that tank I wouldn't have a tank for the fry. :/


I fear you need a larger tank if trying to get a pair of jewel's as per the best way to do it.
Buying what you might hope is a pair, will most likely(few exception's) result in one jewel, minus the dead one(s) if it cannot be removed, returned.
These are pretty fish and I have kept them a few times, but if not kept in a large group,,or mated pair,, they do not play nice with each other at all, and you can pretty much figure on some death's in tank smaller than 55 gallons.
For a rather small fish, these fish can be nasty and small tank only increases the carnage they can inflict.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #10 
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I spoke to someone at the local fish store and they told me that the fish frequently try to spawn in their tank and they can observe them and look for a pair for me. When I went it was just to buy stuff for the tank and I wasn't ready to buy any fish, but she pointed out males that looked ready to breed and told me that there would be attempts to spawn soon, which wuold make pairs more evident.

Should I trust the fish store to pick out a pair for me? The staff's generally pretty knowledgeable. They tend to give good information and the tanks are almost always kept very well and the fish are healthy. I've very rarely seen dead fish in tanks and the last time I did I'm pretty sure that it was because they got a bad shipment. When I went to pick up stuff for the tanks the fish were brightly colored, the tank was clean, and I didn't notice a single dead fish in any of the tanks.

Also, if it makes any difference the tank isn't 29 gallons as I originally thought. It's actually a 30 gallon breeder. While the volume is only a gallon more, it's half a foot longer than a 29 gallon. I read that footprint is more important than volume for some cichlids. Is that the case here? If it is, does the extra 6" make any difference or would it have to be more like an additional foot before it starts to matter? The tank was pretty old. My dad bought it when my sister and I were maybe three or four years old so we didn't really remember. I had just assumed it was a 29, but when I got the green light to set it up I measured it and discovered it was considerably longer than I had originally thought.
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