My New World Cichlid Adventure

NWC

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My first journal on the forum 😊

A bit of background on my fish keeping. Im no stranger to keeping new world cichlids. I kept them for many years with motoro stingrays in large tanks.

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to fish and mine is certainly new world cichlids. Big, beautiful, and highly intelligent. They are great fish to keep and interact with.

I had to shut down my tanks due to an issue with living circumstances which broke my heart. I made sure all my fish were rehomed into adequate-sized aquariums with people who knew what they were doing. I'm been impatiently waiting for the right time to get started again and that time has arrived 😊.

Previously I've kept a varied selection of fish. Oscars, my absolute favorite nwc, green terrors, parrotfish, plecs, motoro rays, and more.

My plan is to create a large cichlid tank with medium-large semi-aggressive species. I've learned in my previous years keeping these types of fish that to keep these species together its best to start young and add them in a similar time frame. This will allow them to grow together and work out the dominant fish in the group from an early stage.

I want colorful cichlids for this tank and finding the specific species all available at the same time has been tricky. Last week all were finally available so I've jumped in and ordered them.

This plsn has been in planning for a while so my filters have been cycled and are ready. Pictures to follow.

The plan is to start the fish in a 200 liter tank, all fish are 2-5cm in length. 3 of each species in the hope to find a pair from each. In a few months they will be moved to a 6 x 2 x 2 ft tank. They will be further grown in this tank until a custom built larger tank is ready and cycled.

The species i plan to keep are:

Red terror
Green terror
Pearlscale
Oscars
And a plec ( you have to have some ugly cuteness in there and this little monster will keep the tank nice and clean).

Possible additions in the future:

A walking catfish. I love this fish and there isn't a clean-up fish that will come close imo. I can't find a baby one so it's not safe to get a larger one atm. Generally peaceful these are a very cool medium sized catfish for the cat lovers out there.

Motoro and or Black Diamond rays. This is dependant on whether I'm able to get a custom tank built on site. I cannot fit anything over 60cm into the room. The rays will need more room than this. My ideal tank is 150cm x 110cm x 60xm (LxWxH). This would fit lovely into the space in my living area and allow rays some room to grow and enjoy the tank. If this isn't an option then a large standard size aquarium will house just the cichlids.

This is going to be a journey. Large and aggressive cichlids can be tricky to keep. I've done it before and will draw on my past lessons and mistakes. Id love to go for the big boys of the cichlid world, Dovii, Umbee, but imo these fish are not suitable for much else other than a very large pond.

The fish that are to aggressive have the backup 6 x 2 x 2 feet tank. I plan to end up with 2 out of each set of 3 fish. I already have a home for the fish that cannot be kept should that be an issue. If I manage to get the tank I'm planning on then keeping all of them may also be an option.

3 oscars and 3 red terrors are here already. They are settling in fine in the 200l tank. The green terrors and pearlscale will be here this week. This tank is little more than a baby/quarentine tank and wont be used for more than a couple of months. These are messy fish and while small there are a good few in there so good filtration is a must. Ive opted for 2 x all pond solutions 2000 models. This means i have 1 5th the starter tanks volume in filter media alone and am filtering up to 20x the volume of the tank an hour. These filters will be moved to the next tank with the fish as they grow, taking the bioload with them.

I'll get some pictures and do some unboxings as the new fish arrive next week.
 
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Wills

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Really excited to see this project progress! If you’ve not been in the hobby a few years there are a couple of species that are available or more available now so be sure to have a look around some of the geophagus and severum species around are incredible but maybe a bit too calm for your bigger boys.

Wills
 
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NWC

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Really excited to see this project progress! If you’ve not been in the hobby a few years there are a couple of species that are available or more available now so be sure to have a look around some of the geophagus and severum species around are incredible but maybe a bit too calm for your bigger boys.

Wills

I'll look at them now. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop 😅. I've got baskets full of all sorts on various sites atm. I'll not let the inner child take over though. I really, really want a Jaguar Cichlid, these are up there with the Dovii and Umbees as far as monsters go but not quite as big. But I've not kept one before and it may be just a little to aggressive for the other semi-aggressive fish in there. If the prices come back and I'm able to get the larger square tank ill grab one, if I'm going to be in a standard tank ill stick with the above list.
 

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Rather than getting a big tank made for the rays, how about getting a fiberglass pond and having an indoor pond for them?
We used to be able to buy fiberglass ponds that were 8ft long x 4ft wide x 2ft high. The pond guys made them in black or blue and a blue one would let you see the rays from above and give them room to move.

The pond would be cheaper and lighter than a custom tank and you could build a wooden frame around it to sit on and enjoy the fish.
 
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Pictures are not great as im trying not to stress them out with my big head pressed against the glass atm.

Oscars:

20211025_001827.jpg

20211025_001801.jpg


Red terrors:

20211025_001500.jpg
20211025_001254.jpg


There is a larger red terror in there thats a bit shy atm.

They have been in the tank for 5 days so still settling in.
 
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NWC

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Rather than getting a big tank made for the rays, how about getting a fiberglass pond and having an indoor pond for them?
We used to be able to buy fiberglass ponds that were 8ft long x 4ft wide x 2ft high. The pond guys made them in black or blue and a blue one would let you see the rays from above and give them room to move.

The pond would be cheaper and lighter than a custom tank and you could build a wooden frame around it to sit on and enjoy the fish.

This is the end game. Id like a semi-outdoor pond 8 x 4 feet in size. Im planning a plywood build which would be much cheaper with just the viewing glass at the front. This is a while off though as i need to build the missus endless list of other things in the back garden area first.
 

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Jags are cool I’ve always wanted a female RTM but I don’t like mixing central’s and south’s it never seems to work long term and they have quite different water chemistry needs to do their best.

It’s a bit of an either or for me - I have harder water at I’m planning a central tank at the moment (not on the same scale as you though lol).
 
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Jags are cool I’ve always wanted a female RTM but I don’t like mixing central’s and south’s it never seems to work long term and they have quite different water chemistry needs to do their best.

It’s a bit of an either or for me - I have harder water at I’m planning a central tank at the moment (not on the same scale as you though lol).
I see your thread on the Nicaraguan cichlids, stunning fish. Not something ive looked at in detail but will be now.

So many new fish in the hobby as you mentioned above. Some are definately not for the better. It seems once a fish is featured on a tv show it suddenly appears as a "pet". I was looking for catfish on a online store and see a goonch cat fish. I remember seeing that on the programme river monsters. That can get to 1.5m in length. The fact its even avaible in the hobby shocked me. Im sure a few of them will end up in 4 foot aquariums with no hope of ever reaching adulthood. Not one of the places ive ordered from has asked any questions about tank size, what other fish i keep, experience etc.
 
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A quick couple of videos. The fish have been in the tank for around 5 days and are still a little nervous but the Oscars already know when it's feeding time and are straight to the front glass as soon as anyone walks near the tank.

There is no real decor in there atm and this is for a reason. Once the other fish arrive I will stick basic terracotta pots there. A few places to hide and more importantly claim. If I add the decor now the fish in there will lay claim which will give them a reason to act aggressively the minute the new fish are introduced. By adding it once they are all in it will allow them to sort out whos boss with the tank. I've never been one for decor or planted tanks. When keeping larger fish I prefer to give them as much area to swim in as possible. It also makes tank maintenance a lot easier as these fish will produce a lot of waste when bigger.

The below video shows most of the fish. The large Red Terror is hiding by the internal filter. The fish is quite nervous but I'm already quietly confident he is a make.


The larger Red Terror came out for some lunch so I managed to film him.


The larger Red terror is already displaying a lot of ultraviolet colours. The video quality isn't great as I was removing uneaten food and feeding some pellets. I think I've been lucky as the large Red Terror is already tolerating one of the smaller who is also displaying some mad colours, this is an indication they are male and female. I once had Green Terrors shock me by breeding not much bigger than this. The 6-foot tank will have to be gotten out of storage if they start all that.

They are currently on a diet of Hikari Gold pellets of various sizes, frozen blood worms each morning, and chopped prawns as a treat. I'll move over to much more frozen foods as they go and will make my own pellet/boilies as they grow and can eat larger items.
 

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Looking good!!

I am not an expert on all things festae, but the tail spot on those juveniles is really large, which has my novice cichlid brain thinking that you may have some cichlasoma uropthalmus, aka Mayan cichlid, aka false red terror. Did you acquire them from a reputable source?
 
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Looking good!!

I am not an expert on all things festae, but the tail spot on those juveniles is really large, which has my novice cichlid brain thinking that you may have some cichlasoma uropthalmus, aka Mayan cichlid, aka false red terror. Did you acquire them from a reputable source?
I went with the best based on reviews. The company i used for years is no longer around. Ill keep an eye in them as they grow.
 
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I went with the best based on reviews. The company i used fir tears is no longer around. Ill keep an eye in them as they grow.
Both are great looking fish IMO, and both can be ticking time bombs as far as aggression goes, but I have seen some adult male Mayans kept solo in captivity that would make me think twice about reaching my hand in their area for anything.
 
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Both are great looking fish IMO, and both can be ticking time bombs as far as aggression goes, but I have seen some adult male Mayans kept solo in captivity that would make me think twice about reaching my hand in their area for anything.
I think thats part of the fun with these species, the possibility of loosing a finger or 2 over the years 😅.

Ive been facinated with big cichlids for many years. Im just happy im finally in a position to keep them and properly again. I missed my previous oscars more than i realised, watching these little ones at the glass asking for food every 5 minutes is reminding me of the little characters they are.

Ive had the prices back on the custom tanks mentioned above and they are doable. I think a Jaguar will be joining the list.
 

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I think thats part of the fun with these species, the possibility of loosing a finger or 2 over the years 😅.

Ive been facinated with big cichlids for many years. Im just happy im finally in a position to keep them and properly again. I missed my previous oscars more than i realised, watching these little ones at the glass asking for food every 5 minutes is reminding me of the little characters they are.

Ive had the prices back on the custom tanks mentioned above and they are doable. I think a Jaguar will be joining the list.
Great news on the prices :) the idea of a Jag does make me nervous though!
 
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Great news on the prices :) the idea of a Jag does make me nervous though!
Im already planning its own tank 🙈. If somethings worth doing its worth doing proper and all that 😅. It will go in with the other baby fish till its grown a bit then have the 6 foot to itself. Ive been watching videos all evening on them. Its the biggest cichlid id go for. The Dovii is a stunner but up to 70cm. Not right to keep one of them. Ive ordered 2 as its all the place had that the other fish are coming from on wednesday. Fingers crossed for a male and female.
 
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