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Thread: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

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    Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

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    Hi all, First time posting here.

    I would like to have a go at keeping dwarf cichlids. What would be considered a good beginner cichlid? Have a 2ft Tank. No interest in breeding though. Just wanna keep them, preferably in community tank. When i went LFS, i was recommended Apisto Cacatuoides or German blue rams(which I'm leaning towards because cheaper) with some dither fish. Any expert advice for my scenario?

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    The variants of rams - German, Yellow, Gold, Balloon are the cheaper beginner dwarf cichlids. However, as you develop yr interest, you may want to try apistogrammas. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of species of apistos. The Cacatuodies, Aggassizzi, Borelli, Panduro, Njessenni, MacMasteri & Viejita are the commonly-available ones in LFS.

    If I were to keep dwarf cichlids in a community planted tank, I would actually go for colour theme & perhaps shape. (e.g.) German rams are bluish, Cacatuodies are red or orange based. The other ascetic aspect in my humble opinion, is shape (e.g.) I find it odd to combine discus with angels. One other important consideration is that some dwarf cichlids (depending on species & sometimes, even particular individuals) are aggressive.

    I comm my dwarf cichlids in a 2 feet tank with tetras & even 3 discus. They are fro the same biotope so somehow, looks quite natural to me.

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Your question: What would be considered a good beginner cichlid? The problem here is the meaning of "good". Let me try to offer some perspectives...

    Possible notions of "good" =

    1. cheap = kribs, rams, Laetacara, jewel cichlids, butterfly cichlids (the African one, not the rams), golden dwarf cichlids, assorted Malawi cichlids, firemouth cichlids, convict cichlids (are these still dwarfs??)

    2. robust = kribs, golden dwarf cichlids, Laetacara (are they called flag cichlids?), shellies, julies, jewel, butterfly, Malawis, central americans (e.g. convicts, firemouths), Apisto. trifasciata and borelli

    3. beautiful = they are all beautiful and everyone has their favourite

    4. peaceful = within reason (we're talking about cichlids), they're all quite okay to other fish, but not so nice to each other. except the Malawis who are often equal-opportunity aggressors. and the central americans will dig up your plants.

    Basically, I recommend all of the above except Malawis. And convicts. Rams are my top pick, for their beauty, and kribs are a close second, for being significantly more hardy than rams and their high probability of breeding (which is really half the fun of keeping cichlids). I would totally recommend Apisto. borelli and trifasciata too, except they are not really cheap. Mature male borelli are hands-down the most impressive fish of this whole list, IMO.

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Apistogramma trifasciata are very pretty too. I saw this guy at Glassbox a couple of days ago.

    WhatsApp Image 2019-06-01 at 20.44.32.jpg

    WhatsApp Image 2019-06-01 at 20.45.18.jpg

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    I like this trifasciata fish, whereabout is Glassbox? What does it cost?

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO View Post
    I like this trifasciata fish, whereabout is Glassbox? What does it cost?
    https://goo.gl/maps/aU26Jbg8Ty2YDecy7

    Here you go. I think it's the usual for basic apistos, something like 20 to 30+ dollars for one pair. I saw the fish, the pair seems accurately sexed.

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Quote Originally Posted by boofeng View Post
    https://goo.gl/maps/aU26Jbg8Ty2YDecy7

    Here you go. I think it's the usual for basic apistos, something like 20 to 30+ dollars for one pair. I saw the fish, the pair seems accurately sexed.
    Thanks! Will check them out.

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Quote Originally Posted by boofeng View Post
    Your question: What would be considered a good beginner cichlid? The problem here is the meaning of "good". Let me try to offer some perspectives...

    Possible notions of "good" =

    1. cheap = kribs, rams, Laetacara, jewel cichlids, butterfly cichlids (the African one, not the rams), golden dwarf cichlids, assorted Malawi cichlids, firemouth cichlids, convict cichlids (are these still dwarfs??)

    2. robust = kribs, golden dwarf cichlids, Laetacara (are they called flag cichlids?), shellies, julies, jewel, butterfly, Malawis, central americans (e.g. convicts, firemouths), Apisto. trifasciata and borelli

    3. beautiful = they are all beautiful and everyone has their favourite

    4. peaceful = within reason (we're talking about cichlids), they're all quite okay to other fish, but not so nice to each other. except the Malawis who are often equal-opportunity aggressors. and the central americans will dig up your plants.

    Basically, I recommend all of the above except Malawis. And convicts. Rams are my top pick, for their beauty, and kribs are a close second, for being significantly more hardy than rams and their high probability of breeding (which is really half the fun of keeping cichlids). I would totally recommend Apisto. borelli and trifasciata too, except they are not really cheap. Mature male borelli are hands-down the most impressive fish of this whole list, IMO.

    Thanks all for the input. Since I wasn't into breeding and just wanted to keep them, At the store i asked if could maybe keep 2 males instead. 1 being a german blue ram, who just looked really nice and always wanted to keep them, couldn't resist. I asked if there were any Apistogramma male that could go along with him, and was recommended a male Apistogramma Bitaeniata. I just went with the suggestion. So far not much real aggression seen. The apisto bitaeniata just seems to 'shoo' away the german blue ram when he gets too close, but nothing much more so far. The GBR does want a piece of his reflection though. Got a quick pic of him while he was fighting himself.

    Any advice for a first timer taking care of these guys (feeding etc..), will be much appreciated.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    I don't think there will be much conflict. Dwarf cichlids are really not that aggressive, except to fish of the same species (or those that look too similar, e.g. bitaeniata might confuse long-bodied apistos as conspecifics). They are even less aggressive if there are no females around.

    About care... dwarf cichlids are more vulnerable to flagellate parasites and tapeworms than typical aquarium fish. They are usually not a problem until the fish becomes stressed, maybe because of poor water quality, or by aggression from other fish, etc. I now keep medications containing metronidazole and praziquantel on hand. At the very first sign of appetite loss, I medicate, and I lose less fish to disease nowadays. Appetite loss is the best indicator of disease for these fish I've found. By the time any other symptoms occur it is usually too late.

    There's not much to say about food other than to make sure they're eating. They sift substrate and detritus a lot and actually consume quite a bit of it - so if your substrate gets dirty it might increase their exposure to disease. But not always.

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    Re: Beginner Dwarf Cichlids

    Quote Originally Posted by boofeng View Post
    I don't think there will be much conflict. Dwarf cichlids are really not that aggressive, except to fish of the same species (or those that look too similar, e.g. bitaeniata might confuse long-bodied apistos as conspecifics). They are even less aggressive if there are no females around.

    About care... dwarf cichlids are more vulnerable to flagellate parasites and tapeworms than typical aquarium fish. They are usually not a problem until the fish becomes stressed, maybe because of poor water quality, or by aggression from other fish, etc. I now keep medications containing metronidazole and praziquantel on hand. At the very first sign of appetite loss, I medicate, and I lose less fish to disease nowadays. Appetite loss is the best indicator of disease for these fish I've found. By the time any other symptoms occur it is usually too late.

    There's not much to say about food other than to make sure they're eating. They sift substrate and detritus a lot and actually consume quite a bit of it - so if your substrate gets dirty it might increase their exposure to disease. But not always.
    Okay noted. Ill try my best to keep up with water changes and keep the tank clean. My Apisto does seem to like the shaded areas of my tank. So might be getting some floating plants. Other than that, I think I'm all good. Thanks for the Input!

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