American cichlid aggression

Rob1987

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Hi all new to here. I’m going to be setting up a new aquarium and I want it to be a South/central American cichlid tank bio top if I can.
400litre.
Stocking wise I was wondering if a Elliott cichlid would be ok with keyholes , festivium and blue acara? Oh and a geophagus tapajos with a bunch of columbian tetras.
Will the ellioti be to aggressive?
 

AquaBarb

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Hi all new to here. I’m going to be setting up a new aquarium and I want it to be a South/central American cichlid tank bio top if I can.
400litre.
Stocking wise I was wondering if a Elliott cichlid would be ok with keyholes , festivium and blue acara? Oh and a geophagus tapajos with a bunch of columbian tetras.
Will the ellioti be to aggressive?
Ellioti's are pretty peaceful cichlids compared to most others. Be fine in that set up.

Mine are in with other cichlids, barbs, Colombian tetras and bottom dwellers without issues.

Lovely well mannered cichlids
 

Wills

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Hi welcome to the forum :) 400 litres is a great size for a cichlid tank so you will have loads of options.

First thing to mention is that I wouldn't recommend mixing central and South American Cichlids. They have different water requirements, Southern do better in soft water and Centrals do better in harder water, though some cross over around neutral. And the levels of aggression and the way they deal with territories and conflict are quite different with Centrals on average are more aggressive than Souths with some exceptions e.g Green Terrors are a particularly aggressive South American and Rainbow Cichlids are a particularly peaceful Central American.

Do you know how hard your water is? A quick google of Bedfordshire tap water brings up some articles about it being particularly hard so I would be tempted based on that to go down the Central American route.

I'm in the same situation, though I'm further up north and my next tank is going to be about 340 litres. Your Ellioti Cichlid would be a great starting point, Thoricthys species are actually quite gregarious so you could think of a small group of these? You could also look at some other species to keep with them like Rainbow Cichlids, Cutteri Cichlids, Nanoluteus would be nice. A real stand out species here could be an Oscura Heterospilla the Montecristo Cichlid, they are becoming much easier to find these days get between 8-10 inches and have a pretty good reputation for being quite relaxed. Check out a YouTube channel called BigFishLad, he has quite a few of them and has done a profile on them. Really nice looking fish. The tricky bit with Central American Cichlids is that is really hard to do a biotope as a lot of the schooling fish and catfish are much bigger than their South American counterparts and are often quite nippy. The best option is livebearers like Swordtails and Mollies or some of the rarer livebearers like Goodieds or Skiffia. You can also look outside of the biotope at a couple of the Rainbow Fish species or some of the Barbs which would do well in a 400 litre.

If you wanted to go for the South American set up you would need to work out how to soften your water probably through an RO system.

Wills
 
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Rob1987

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Hi all new to here. I’m going to be setting up a new aquarium and I want it to be a South/central American cichlid tank bio top if I can.
400litre.
Stocking wise I was wondering if a Elliott cichlid would be ok with keyholes , festivium and blue acara? Oh and a geophagus tapajos with a bunch of columbian tetras.
Will the ellioti be to aggressive?
Ellioti's are pretty peaceful cichlids compared to most others. Be fine in that set up.

Mine are in with other cichlids, barbs, Colombian tetras and bottom dwellers without issues.

Lovely well mannered cichlids
Amazing thanks. There are so many conflicting sets of information. Any other cichlids you would recommend for that type set up? I did look at the chocolate cichlid but I think that’ll get to big
 

Wills

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Amazing thanks. There are so many conflicting sets of information. Any other cichlids you would recommend for that type set up? I did look at the chocolate cichlid but I think that’ll get to big
Chocolates could be ok in a 400 litre tank but they are a South American so not well suited to your water.

@AquaBarb 's Rio 450 is a really amazing example of a Central American Cichlid tank check it out here https://www.fishforums.net/threads/big-river-rio.470829/page-11 (correct me if I'm wrong AB but I think he has quite neutral water which gives him a bit more flexibility with some of the fish he keeps like the Silver Dollars and Pictus Cats but a fantastic example of what is possible and what can work.

Did you have a look at any of the cichlids I mentioned above? Any you liked or didn't like etc?

Wills
 
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Rob1987

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My water is just on the acidic side 6.8-6.9. Love the tank it’s very similar to what I want to do. The ellioti look stunning. I’m not sure on the silver dollars as they look like the Colombian tetra just a lot bigger lol. If needed I do have the option of going up to a 600l. Iv decided on the oases high line range. So have those to options to use. Then the chocolate would fit with abit more room it’s 10cm wider. It is the fish turning around on there that worries me when it’s full grown. Would hate to cramp them up
 

Wills

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My water is just on the acidic side 6.8-6.9. Love the tank it’s very similar to what I want to do. The ellioti look stunning. I’m not sure on the silver dollars as they look like the Colombian tetra just a lot bigger lol. If needed I do have the option of going up to a 600l. Iv decided on the oases high line range. So have those to options to use. Then the chocolate would fit with abit more room it’s 10cm wider. It is the fish turning around on there that worries me when it’s full grown. Would hate to cramp them up
I'm always going to tell you to go for the 600 but I'm a terrible influence and probably not an impartial representation haha!

A general guide with fish as a minimum is to have a tank that is 6x its adult length long and 2x its adult length wide. So actually for something like a Chocolate Cichlid you would want a 6 foot x 2 foot tank as a minimum. BUT there is a balance to this rule for me, eg for a really common fish like an Oscar a 4 foot x 2 foot or 6 foot x 18 inch tank would be ok because a huge number of them. I would even say for a Chocolate Cichlid an 18-20 inch wide tank is 'ok' but if you ended up with a particularly large specimen that hits 14 inches you would have problems.

Interesting that you are on the soft side of thing as that means ignore what I said above haha!

Unfortunately I would avoid the Ellioti as they are from a harder water region and you will have more success with South Americans. From your original list you have a nice community coming together but 2 fish to flag, Keyholes are really timid so be careful when mixing them with others as they may get really stressed. They should be a pale grey with dark keyhole marking but when stressed they will go brown and hide a lot. Festivums are a nice fish and generally have a good reputation, but I once had a really bad experience with some and they were really aggressive, they are a nice top third water fish though but if you got a Chocolate too they could encroach on each other a bit.

I think from the fish you have mentioned I would go for a combo of the Chocolate, Blue Acara (regular or electric blue) and a group of Geophagus Tapajo (stunning fish!) The Geos are a gregarious fish, so not strictly schooling but do really well in a small group of 4+, you could try 2 of the Chocs and Acaras but I would be tempted to keep single specimens as a pair of Chocs could take over even a 600 litre tank.

Columbian Tetras would look great with them, you will need to be careful as Chocs are super predatory when I had mine he ate quite a lot of tank mates I tried... some of them unbelievably so you will probably need the Tetras in near the start of the tank and add a small Chocolate last. If you can find them Hemiodus would be a nice addition to the tank, they are a long thin characin but get some cool markings and are South American, an other option would be headstanders, Annostomus Ternetzi are an awesome fish I used to have a big group in my SA tank and loved them. Marbled Headstanders would be an other option and the Strawberry Headstanders seem to be more common these days and again, awesome fish (but I've never kept them).

Catfish wise you would have a load of options, Flagtail Catfish are nice, Hoplo species are cool too. Pictus could work but might be too active and stress the cichlids as you have quite calm species in the mix here. Plecos and Whiptails would be great too, I go for Whiptails over Plecos because they produce much less poop but something like a Panaque would look cool in this tank.

Wills
 

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