Well, my 30 gal tank has had some misfortune lately. My yellow lab has been MIA for about 3 weeks. No sign of him at all. I have to assume that he was eaten, as he's not in the filter or the floor.
I had two raphael catfish in there, but I put them in one of my 55's to help clean up schtuff in the bottom of the tank, also hoping they will grow a bit faster with more available food.
One of my Kenyi's was found dead in bottom of the tank, but the others showed no sign of eating him.
I have a lot of small trumpet snails in the tank now, so I think the fish are eating them now, as they're not very interested in feeding times these days.
This left only two fish in the tank. One is an orange one, I think is a malawi, and one kenyi. I wanted to get another one to go in there, so I went to the local Petsmart. The one here's actually pretty good with their fish, so I don't mind buying there.
I considered a couple convicts, but heard they'd likely get picked on badly by the cichlids. They had a nice looking albino cichlid with red edges on its fins. Really nice looking fish. It isn't as big as the ones I have, but seemed to be one of the more dominant fish in the tank at the store. It's only about 3/4-1" smaller than mine are, and I have so much stuff in my tank that I often have to look a couple minutes to find the fish in it...lots of hiding spaces.
However, when I put this fish in the tank, my orange one immediately seemed to show interest. He was following (not chasing) it around and doing the shaking dance they do many times. Well, by the next day, this new fish was doing the vertical position in the corners, or wedging into really tight places to hide. Anytime it came out, the orange one would chase it around.
I did rearrange all the stuff in the tank when I put it in, but it seems that made no difference.
I already have a 10 gallon tank I had to set up for another cichlid that was picked on pretty badly...now I have another one with issues.
I've even tried taking the dominant orange fish and putting him in the 10 gal, but then another one steps up and starts to be the big bully. It seems that I have to keep a constant rotation of fish into the "sick tank" if I have more than 3 or 4 in there. These fish are about 2.5-3" long. I don't expect to have a lot, but 4 of them in one tank will be fine..and as they get bigger I can put them in a bigger tank.
Why is it that I can go in a pet store or look at pics here and people can have 20 cichlids in a tank, but they all have healthy tails and fins? In stores, they do sometimes chase each other, but without doing real damage to each other. I have no luck with cichlids here at home.
Would I do better if I had more females? I really don't know the sex of the ones I have, except that they all seem to want to be dominant in the tank. No local stores can tell me if I'm buying a male or female. I can't find any local breeders that can help either.