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Having some real trouble deciding on stocking my tanks, so I thought I'd see if there were some more experienced cichlid keepers who could give me some suggestions.

I have two tanks I need to stock.

1) 55g (48x14x18)

2) 40g (36x18x15)

I presently have a colony of multifasciatus (10 adults, ~60 fry) and some julie transcriptus.

First, let me ask my aquascaping questions; it seems like there is two trains of thought when it comes to this. More dense, cave-filled layout to increase available territory and therefore decrease aggression. Or a less dense, more simplistic aquascaping to reduce available territory and therefore reduce aggression. They both sound like they'd have the same effect in theory, but I'm hoping someone with firsthand experience would be able to point me in the right direction as far their function in practicality.

Ideally, I would like both tanks stocked with something with colour and/or character. I've narrowed it down to a few choices that seem the most feasible and appealing to me;

1) 55g becomes a Malawi (Mbuna?) single species tank. Move on the julies, transfer the multis to the 40g.

2) 55g becomes a Malawi community tank. Although, if hybridization will occur, I'm not a fan of this option. Move on the julies, transfer the multis to the 40g.

3) 55g becomes a Tanganyikan community tank. A colony of shellies on each end (multis + ?), keep the julies, maybe a single/group calvus or comps, a school of cyps/paracyps, a lone tret? 40g gets some mbunas or similar

4) Not too sure whether or not this will work, everywhere I've looked seems to be 50/50 on whether or not it does, and I have no experience with them; tropheus colony in the 55g. Multis to the 40g

Filtration is really not going to be an issue. 55g has 2 AC70s and an AC50. 40g has an AC50 and an AC30

Would love to hear some species suggestions and tips!
 

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I think the best idea for aqua scaping is to do what you think looks the best. I have lots of rocks and hiding places and its worked great for me. The different species of the lakes do prefer different setups. Mbunas are rock dwellers so I wouldnt recommend not having lots of hiding places. Haps and Peacocks prefer open water so I can see them being okay with no hiding spaces. If you are setting up the 55g as a mbuna tank id recommend doing to different species. Have 1 male for each group and lots of females 5+. Make sure you pick 2 species that look different and wont hybridize.
 
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