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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping to get some advice from the knowledge people who populate this forum...

Here's the situation - a little while ago I was asked to rescue / re-home 10 yellow labidochromis, as the owner was leaving the country... I think they were all purchased together, and they've been living that way in a 10 gallon tank as a nice little community / colony for more than a year now, maybe two or three. They were moved to my place last weekend and have just been settling back into their 10g over the last few days. Seem to be doing fine in terms of appearance, colours etc. They even released some fry during the move, although I made the mistake of putting the fry back into the main tank once they were back so it looks like there's no more fry now :\

Now I've never kept cichlids before except maybe an angel or two and a krib which did fine in my other community tanks... And if it aint broken don't fix it, right? But, from all the reading I've been doing on these guys, 10 gallons seemed like entirely too little space for 10 cichlids, so I've made arrangements to get two larger tanks, one of which is planned for them to move into so they wouldn't be so cramped. The other tank will become a new community tank, an upgrade for one of my older 20 gallons

Anyway, my question is about best conditions for them - a higher tank for more up and down, or a wider tank for more side to side?. The tanks i have available to setup for the labs right now are about the same sizes, either 1.) a 28/29 gal, 30x12x18 (high), or 2.) a 30 gal 36x12x16.

So which one would you use for plants, and which one for the cichlids? Keep the plants in mind as well, would the shorter tank height of the 30 be better for growing plants since the light is a little closer?

I've noticed that these labs love caves and really dig around in the gravel quite a bit so although i'd love to put them in with some of my real plants, I'm not sure that will work out... Instead I was thinking to put them into a tank with medium sized gravel, maybe 5-10 mm in size, as well as some wood, rocks/caves, and fake plants. I'll probably move my 3-4" pleco in with them as well since he's getting to be a decent size and seems to like to disturb my plants quite a bit...

I'd appreciate it if you could provide some advice on tank choice from the perspective of whats best for the labs as well as what's best for the plants. Also any advice on general labidochromis keeping would also help a lot

Thanks

U_E
 

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labs dont really need a high tank, most mbuna just hang out around the rocks
i think the purple acei are the only ones i know of (you saw them at my house) that swim around in the upper half of the tank.
some of mine are really hesitant to get near the surface to feed actually, i dont know if its cuz theyre just used to the sinking pellets or if they are naturally inclined to stay away from where the birds would yank them out of the water...

that said i would go for a longer tank for the fish so theres more room for territories/aggression spreading

plants are doable but you need ones like java fern that dont mind their roots exposed, or a way to protect the roots from being dug up (in the case of my upside down clay pot with the amazon sword growing up out the bottom)
or floating plants since they obv cant be dug up regardless any plants will need to tolerate the 8.2PH and ~200 ppm hardness they like if you want the fish to be rly happy

also i read somewhere that the large the air gap between the lights and the surface of the water is worse and you should have the water close to the lights as possible but im not sure how true that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Geez Mike that was fast, you sure do lurk about these forums quite a bit ;P

Thanks for the advice the other day by the way, I'm planning to kind of mirror your setup eventually in terms of territories and occupants...

Oh and one other thing, I was thinking if I used the 36" tank I might want to get a powerhead to create some more water movement since it's fairly wide. Anyone know, do these fish like to swim in a current?
 

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I agree with everything mferko suggested. Definately go with the 30 for the labs. I have a 29 planted myself and it's doing well enough growing low-med light plants with 65w pc. If you want to grow some the higher light plants though 65w is not enough.
 

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Geez Mike that was fast, you sure do lurk about these forums quite a bit ;P

Thanks for the advice the other day by the way, I'm planning to kind of mirror your setup eventually in terms of territories and occupants...

Oh and one other thing, I was thinking if I used the 36" tank I might want to get a powerhead to create some more water movement since it's fairly wide. Anyone know, do these fish like to swim in a current?
my job can be pretty boring so i alt tab and hit new posts alot :p
 

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didn't read other people's post, but I would suggest the one with 36" length.

They are not Angels and hence dont need a tall tank, but they can live in the 30" tank too
 

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Hi User_error. I think your fish will enjoy the longer 36 inch tank. As well, these kinds of cichlids need harder water than kribs, so don't forget the Equilibrium or Replenish!
 

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I agree the longer tank will be better :D. So they have more space to swim in :rolleyes:.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
okay thanks the 30 gallon is the consensus so i'll do that

should i use a powerhead like mentioned above? oh and do the labs care what kind of light the tank has? standard 20watts right now.

guess i also need to find a better 30" light for the other tank as well. anyone have for sale?

finally, does anyone want to take some male labs off my hands? based on coloring etc. i believe there are 5 males and 5 females...
 

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I have just reg white light bulb. And at night time sometimes I change the bulb to blue light or just leave the lights off :). I am currently using a internal fluval 3 plus for more water movement and my cichlids love it :D.
 

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Powerhead is good. 10 Cichlids in a 30 gallon are going to tossle it up a bit, I personally wouldn't go with anything less than a 55 gallon for 10 Labs. Plants have never been a great option with South Africans, my plants never stayed.
 
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