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Question
Hi Jordan,

After keeping basic tropical fish such as tetras, barbs and livebearers for a few years, I have decided to set up a new tank and keep Malawi Cichlids.  The tank has sand for substrate and has rocks and limestone rocks for decor and territories for the fish that will be added.  The tank is 30 gallons and has filtration coming out of its ears and the tank is currently cycling.  My question, what cichlids do i get?! I have been doing research and there seems to be many different sub species of malawi cichlids and they all look the same to me! Could you give me a list of species with stocking numbers that I research and look to buy?

Thank you for your time,

Jack

Answer
Alright, so with Cichlids I assume that you are wanting to keep a variety and not just have one or two big guys in there. Some Cichlids that I would recommend myself are Auratus Cichlids as well as any of the electric yellow and electric blue cichlids. For you tank, in order for it to cycle to the best of its abilities, you should buy pure ammonia from a local grocery store. Add some to the tank and do a water test after a week. The reason behind this is, when you buy cichlids, you almost always want to buy all of them at once. The problem with this practice is that it can raise your ammonia levels to toxic levels. The way to counter act that is to "cheat" and add ammonia before you add fish so that the bacteria can support that many fish after a few weeks. Cichlids are all about your preference though. Most pet stores have a section with "Assorted African Cichlids." That tank will house your electric yellows and electric blues. Just ensure you have enough territories set up in your tank so that the males do not fight each other too much. I hope this helped you and if you have any other questions email me!

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Jordan Gobely

Expertise

I can answer most questions about fish care and maintenance. I am not an expert on saltwater aquariums but I am researching more about them on a daily basis. I have kept many different tropical freshwater fish as well as cichlids. Brackish water is my weakest category but if you have a question feel free to ask and I will do research on it myself.

Experience

I have kept fish for over 10 years. I am also an employee at a pet store and the head of the fish department. I am going to school at Emporia State University and studying biology with a concentration in ecology and biodiversity for undergraduate work. Right now my job is to care for and maintain the fish department at a local pet store. As far as water quality, I am well versed in different practices you can do to help improve conditions and what levels to look out for when testing the water.

Education/Credentials
I am majoring in Biology at Emporia State University and have researched fish reproductive behavior for the past decade.

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