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My LFS Said One Thing But Aquadvisor Says Another Re African Cichlids

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by ghurty, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. ghurty

    ghurty New Member

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    I was talking to someone who builds custom aquariums in my area. He suggested I should look at a mix of:
    Orange shoulder peacock,
    sunburst peacock,
    frontosa,
    venestus,
    yellow lab (can get a few),
    electric blue ahli,
    blue dolphin,
    pink peacock,
    ob peacock

    But when I put that in aquadvisor it puts up warning about mixing different type of lake fish as well as that some need a minimum of 5. How accurate is that?

    Thank you

     
  2. Demeter32

    Demeter32 Member

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    IMO the stocking sounds fine, but you will need a very large tank for frontosa, venustus and ahlis. The frontosa will be the largest and I'd not keep them in anything smaller than a 100gal tank, even then bigger is always better.

    I understand the general idea about sticking to fish from just one lake but in a large enough aquarium it is doable. As for the number of individuals per species, you don't have to have 5 of each unless you want a breeding group. You'll just want to make sure you don't have males harassing the females or males killing other males for dominance.
     
  3. ghurty

    ghurty New Member

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    Thank you.
    I have a 150 Gallon tank so that should be large enough.
    I was unable to find Orange shoulder peacock, sunburst peacock, pink peacock, or ob peacocks. So I was going to substitute for other peackocks. Will certain peacocks not play well with others?
    Besides the Yellow labs I was going to go with 1 of each and the yellow labs I was going to go with four or five. Would that work?

    Thank you
     
  4. AbbeysDad

    AbbeysDad Member

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    As much as we try to mimic nature, our aquariums aren't really there. Take the community tank in general... I have Angel's, Swordtails, Neon Tetra's, and Cories in my 60g display. And even though Neons and Cories are shoaling fish, I only have a few of each. And Angels with Swordtails - some say it can't be done (my water is neither hard, nor soft). But here they are and all are happy and fine and have been for years. My Angels don't bother the neons, even though they could be tasty meals...but then they're well fed.
    But you'd likely never see this combination of fish anywhere near each other in nature...and of course, many would be in large groups. But then again, most all of the fish I have were never really in nature. They were bred and raised in tanks or ponds and never saw the wild. They never went for days without food or necessarily lived in large groups to confuse predators. So I tend to question the notion that shoaling species must only be kept in groups of six or more.
    So is a community tank wrong? I guess like many things, it depends on how you look at it.
    I'm really not familiar enough with all of the species you've suggested. So I don't have a real opinion on the combo. You didn't mention your tank size and I will agree that a larger tank, well scaped (with hiding places) makes a big difference - you always want to avoid crowding that leads to aggression. You also need to be mindful of genders as quite often breeding pairs can get real territorial.
    Note: Having written the above, some time ago I was at a Barnes and Noble book store in the Mall next to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. They had what had to be an 800+ gallon, well planted aquarium, with 100 - 200 Neon Tetras (and no other fish). It was amazing.

    EDIT: Our posts overlapped and I see you have a 150g. Good for you!
     
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  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    At fish farms, the fish are kept in huge schools consisting of thousands of individuals in the same grow out ponds. The only aquarium fish that are kept on their own are male Betta splendens and that is to stop them killing each other. Virtually every other freshwater aquarium fish that is bred in captivity, is grown in ponds or large tanks and there are hundreds or even thousands of fish in each pond.

    Just because fish like neon tetras survive in small groups or even 1 or 2 in an aquarium, it doesn't mean it's good for them. As soon as more fish are added, they immediately group up and hang out together, which is a good indication they were stressed and need to be in groups.

    Bears and tigers live in small concrete cages with steel bars and no plants or trees, and they often survive there for years. It doesn't mean they are happy. Schooling fish need to be kept in groups so they don't go nuts from being on their own, just like most people need to associate with other people or they start talking to trees and rocks, like me. Hello Mr Rock, how are you today? :)
     
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  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    A couple years ago the first scientifically-controlled study on shoaling fish group sizes was carried out. Angelfish, black neons, and other species I cannot remember were studied (in individual tanks of just the one species). The results confirmed what most of us have long advocated, that keeping shoaling fish other than in groups does negatively affect the fish. This is scientific fact.

    Fish species that are naturally on the aggressive side, such as angelfish, became noticeably more aggressive when there were fewer than five in the group. And normally what we would consider peaceful fish like the black neons became aggressive when they were in a group of five or less.

    The conclusions here are very obvious. Maintaining fish contrary to what they "expect" is going to be detrimental in some way, whether aggression or just additional stress that will take its toll down the road. Paul Loiselle is an authority on cichlids, and his comment in my signature is spot on.
     
  7. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Addict
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    I started with at least 6 of each group of neon tetras, green neon, and glo light tetras. Over time as fish from the different groups died off, the tetras all began schoaling together. I now have 2 neon tetras, 3 green neons, and 4 glo lights who all stay together. They all seem fine and show no outward signs of stress. I don’t know what this means but they are doing fine. :good:
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I am not trying to be argumentative, so please take this as intended advice.

    None of us can possibly know how the fish think about the situation we force them into, nor can we assume they are fine. Those who are trained ichthyologists do know that these things do negatively affect fish. That is plain scientific fact. Detrimental effects do not mean the fish is necessarily going to die, or change externally in any way. But it is causing additional stress, and this can lead to other issues. Stress is the direct cause of 95% of all fish disease in an aquarium; the pathogens/protozoan have to be present, but it is the stress that prevents the fish from fighting them off.

    From that generalization, we can turn to specific species. Neon tetra and green neon tetra are very closely related species, along with cardinal tetras. These will naturally shoal together in an aquarium. The glowlight tetra is a more distant cousin, but when faced with the lack of its own species it will not surprisingly tend to look for alternative species. Individual fish within a species can also react differently to stress. I have over my 30 years had various species of shoaling fish that have died off through old age, leaving one or two or three for a time at the end; most of them have clearly shown increased aggressive behaviours, especially when it is down to the last one. If I cannot acquire, or do not want to continue, with the species, it is best to leave the last ones where they are, in known surroundings, and hope nothing becomes too serious which would necessitate the removal/euthanization of the fish. But that can sometimes happen.

    All of this is programmed into the fish's DNA, and no aquarist should think they can change the way a fish behaves, responds, or handles a given situation.
     
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  9. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Addict
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    Gotcha! Thanks.
     
    #9 Deanasue, Mar 26, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  10. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Addict
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    After thinking about this, it isn’t exactly true. What about betas that won’t come near you when you first get them but run to the front to see you after you teach them that you won’t hurt them. Isn’t that changing a learned behavior? My pond goldfish wil not come to anyone but me. That is because I feed them and they eat out of my hand. Isn’t that a learned behavior? So to an extent, you actually can change a fish’s behavior. Perhaps it’s the same thing in a tank. The schoaling fish learn that the tank is their home and a safe place to be. They no longer feel safety is in numbers with their same kind and learn to trust the community. Just some food for thought...
     
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  11. Byron

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    We are actually thinking of two very different things here. Fish "learning" to approach their owner is not uncommon. Most of us will see the fish in an aquarium come to the front/surface at feeding time, long before we add the food. They equate our appearance with food. If you feed fish at approximately the same time each day, you can clearly see they learn the time and will respond at that time, and not at other times, day after day. This is not changing their inherent behaviours as a species which is what is involved in the shoaling numbers.

    I recall reading some years back of a discus aquarist who had a fish room. He always wore a white lab coat when working on the tanks. One day a friend wanted to see the fish and came in the room. All the discus literally crashed into the back of the tanks out of fright at the perceived predator/threat. He was not wearing a white coat, so he represented danger.

    The scientific study proved beyond any doubt that shoaling fish kept in numbers below five did exhibit increased aggression. This is because the fish "expects" to be in a large group, it is in their DNA. None of us can alter that. It represents increased safety. With some species there are other reasons they need the numbers. When fish die off and the group/shoal becomes fewer, sometimes this affects the fish detrimentally with clear increased aggression, sometimes the fish may do the opposite and withdraw to the point of starving to death, and sometimes we think they are "coping" with the problem because nothing seems to change externally. But the fish internally may be going through difficulties in its attempt to manage in what is an adverse condition to the fish. To paraphrase ichthyologist Paul Loiselle citation, it is inhumane to deprive a fish of an element it regards as critical to its well-being, and totally naïve to expect normal behaviour in its absence.
     
  12. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Addict
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    Hmmm. Don’t have me convinced on that one. Sorry. If you can train a fish to ignore their “fight or flight” instinct and trust a human being then I believe they can also get accustomed to the safety of their tank and not need the safety of others in their group. Just my personal observations and conclusion.
     
  13. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I'd like to see that you understand the issue because it is critical to fish keeping. I cannot understand those who do not accept scientific fact. We cannot change it. It has nothing to do with feeling safe.

    And no one is training a fish to ignore their instincts; that too is not possible. If a fish learns that he has nothing to fear from the aquarist but instead will be fed, it is not because he ignores the fight or flight instinct; that instinct is still very much present. Go after it with a fish net to see that.

    DNA is short for deoxyribonucleic acid. This is the nucleic acid that is the genetic material determining the makeup of all living cells and many viruses. What is programmed into the DNA of a species cannot be changed other than through evolution. It is not possible to change a fish's thinking/expectations/requirements for life because this is part of what defines that species as unique.

    DNA is a complex molecule that contains all of the information necessary to build and maintain an organism. All living things have DNA within their cells. DNA is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. All known cellular life and some viruses contain DNA. The main role of DNA in the cell is the long-term storage of information.
     
    #13 Byron, Mar 26, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
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  14. Deanasue

    Deanasue Fish Addict
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    I believe Science is open to a lot of interpretation. At one time it was believed that the earth was flat. :dunno:
     
    #14 Deanasue, Mar 26, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  15. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    It still is... and it's not safe to sail off the edge
     
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