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Thread: Africans vs South Americans

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Default Africans vs South Americans

    Hi Eveyone,

    I've been reading fairly often that you should not mix continents in one tank. That got me thinking as I'm currently mixing Africans and South Americans in my 120 gallon. I was thinking that if I was to get another tank and separate them, what would I do differently from one tank to the other? There really wouldn't be that many changes I could make.

    I can't change the water as I read it's best to leave the pH alone rather than trying to fix it and have everything out of whack. My pH is always pretty high, over 8 to be more precise. I've tried lowering it in the past and found it's just a waste of time and money. Is this high pH better for Africans or SA's? I thought it was better for SA's until I read otherwise.

    The only change in diet I would think to make is to add spirolina to the African tank and not give them shrimp. Both tanks would still get the cichlid food and cucumber.

    Am I missing something there or is there really a huge difference between the two, other than the above as well as decor and aggression levels. I think that if the fish are bred in captivity for generations, do they really need a specific decoration in the tank, would they really know the difference in what they like and don't like. My Africans for example have no interest in the rocks in my tank.

    Thanks.
    Patti the Pomeranian
    Houdini the Bearded Dragon
    Betta

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Neenah, Wi.
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    3,562

    Default

    Newbie: The thinking is we really shouldn't mix Africans and Americans as a norm. Water params and dietary differences are the main reason. For instance, your Dempsey would do well with Africans of the same temperament and dietary needs as the waters they come from in Central America are usually quite close to that of many African Rift Lake Cichlids. As do the Convicts. Dietary needs are somewhat similar to Africans but not completely. Your Port Cichlids as a norm really enjoy a softer, cooler water than most Africans and enjoy a meatier diet and usually are quite peaceful. Oscars prefer softer water and a meatier diet as well, plus get pretty big. Your Cobalt Blues, ( I'm assuming they are Blue Zebra Mbuna) really should have a veggie/spirulina diet as the main staple.
    As far as your Red Parrots, the fish they are made from are of a few different species, either Severum and Red Devil, which is soft water fish and a hard water fish, or Veja Synspillum and Amphilophus Citrinellus (Midas) which are both neutral fish as well. Don't know what to say about them. Never wanted to own them. I guess what I am also trying to say is attitudes of all these fish can also be quite different as well. I'm sure I didn't help here as you probably knew this stuff to begin with but, size, food, water params, and attitude all play a part in why one should seriously consider mixing the Americans and Africans.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default

    Yes, your reply helped a lot as I wanted confirmations of my thoughts and what the main differences are. I'm sure my water is pretty hard and have no way of softening it. However, it's soft compared to others in neighbouring towns as I'm on a well.

    I will be looking for a new home for the cobalts due to the aggression level increasing and for the betterment of their health. At the moment, they are very healthy, growing, active and now one is holding. It was so cool to watch them yesterday.

    OK, now my next question. I really really want, almost to the point of needing, a Frontosa. How would they fair with Americans?
    Patti the Pomeranian
    Houdini the Bearded Dragon
    Betta

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Neenah, Wi.
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    Default

    Fronts are slow growers the first 2 years. They get quite big and are very laid back fish. I kept 5 of them in 150 Gallon tank for more than 10 years with many, many broods. I wouldn't put them with Americans at all. They are nocturnal feeders by nature. My experience with them is they should be left to themselves or with other Tang Cichlids of similar temperament in darker tanks. They stress somewhat easily with busy fish that are territorial and will eat any fish at 3 or 4 inches. If you want Fronts, IMO, you should dedicate a tank at least 6 foot long, fairly deep with 1 male to 4 or 5 females. The females will school together which is really cool to watch. They are great parents as well. Just my thoughts newbie. If you decide to go that route, you will never regret it. They can live way beyond 10 years if taken care of properly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    I would love to have more tanks, 1 devoted to Fronts and 1 for Tropheus. However, life, time and money intervenes. From what you wrote, I won't be getting any Fronts, it won't be fair. I'll just have to admire them from afar. And who knows, I may win the lottery and then I can have all the tanks I want. Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge baytherman.
    Patti the Pomeranian
    Houdini the Bearded Dragon
    Betta

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