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Page 3 about the
Mbuna Cichlids
From Lake Malawi in East Africa


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This page contains Customer Comments and our Replies about the Mbuna Cichlids that live in Lake Malawi in East Africa.

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Customer Comments

Salutations! I am a regular visitor to your website and have found it very exciting to a fish keeper like myself. I find myself going to it a few days each week and often coming back three to four times a day. I have found that it is the best site for almost any kind of fish that you carry and even some which you don't. I have a few questions which I have not been able to find information about on your website, and I also would like to hear your opinion on what my situation and options are.
1.) I have a 105 gallon show aquarium which I have recently purchased and am looking to decorate quite soon. I am looking to put mbuna cichlids in this tank since I have found them to be a very interesting fish not only for looks, but behavior as well. With what I am planning I will have a thin layer of a sandy base with mounds of rocks, because I understand that mbunas need a rocky habitat ... that is where my question lies. My concern is that a pile of the rocks may fall and crack and/or damage other parts of my aquarium. I have found other mbuna keepers have used a number of methods to attempt to fix that potential threat. The option which I have most commonly seen and heard of is using aquarium glue to secure the rocks to one another and the tank. I have also heard of placing a sheet of styrofoam at the bottom of the tank to prevent slipping and take the impact of a fall. I was wondering what your opinion would be between the two, and what your suggestions may be.
2.) On your information page about mbuna cichlids, you state that you suggest having at least 15 mbunas in a tank. This brings up two questions in my mind. How many fish would you recommend for a 105 gallon tank? And how many different species would you think would be acceptable for that number? Ideally for me I would like to include Auratus, Johanni, Colbalt Blue Zebras, Red Zebras, and either Kenyi or "Lemon Yellow" Labidochromis Caeruleus. I would like to get a reply from you as soon as possible due to my schedule in the near future being as tight as it is. If that is not possible I do understand that it is the holiday season and much is being done during this time. I am looking forward to hearing from you, as well as potentially placing an order for my mbuna cichilds with you.
I thank you for your time and consideration. Keep up the great work with the site and all the benifits it provides for fish lovers!
Christopher B.
Reply. Hello Christopher and thank you for your complimentary comments about We're glad to know you are making good use of it.
You are justified to be concerned about putting a big stack of rocks in a glass aquarium, because the rocks could crack the glass in the bottom of your aquarium.

Long ago we all put a thick layer of gravel on the bottom of each aquarium, and this layer of gravel served as a cushion between the rocks and the glass.
But we have since learned that a thick layer of gravel causes lots of problems, as it fills with bits of food and waste, which eventually ruins the water quality, or the Mbunas dig in the gravel and get sick.

So you should only have a very thin layer of gravel, and that gravel is only for appearance, because the Mbunas do not need any gravel to be happy.
Here is the answer that we developed. Take a rock and carefully set it on a flat surface so it touches in three spots, like a tripod.

Then put a gob of silicone sealer on each spot where the rock touched the flat surface. Set the rock aside with the side of the rock with the silicone facing up, and let the silicone dry and cure for a few days. 

Repeat this process to prepare several such rocks with rubbery silicone. You'll need enough such rocks to form a large base under the other rocks that you'll stack on top of the rocks with silicone bumpers.

The rocks that get stacked on top don't need silicone bumpers. Just the rocks on the bottom layer have silicone bumpers facing down against the bottom of the  aquarium.
Here are some cautions.
1. Some rocks contain minerals that will contaminate aquarium water. So be sure the rocks are safe for aquariums. I would buy the rocks in a fish store. They'll cost more but you won't have to worry about contamination.

  The picture to the left shows a pile of three pieces of Aquarium Safe Rocks. These rocks are very attractive, and they are labeled for use in aquariums. Do not use rocks that are not labeled for use in aquariums.
2. Not all silicone sealer is made for use in aquariums. Some silicone sealer contains toxic chemicals to stop mildew from growing on the silicone, when it is used to seal the crack around a bath tub.

I would buy the silicone sealer in a fish store and be sure the sealer is labeled on the tube for use in a aquariums.
3. Sometimes the silicone will peal off the rocks. We noticed this was due to dust and loose particles on the surface of the rocks.

Use a new clean brush to clean off the surface of the rocks especially in the areas where you will attach the gobs of silicone.
4. Put a nice big gob of silicone on the rock. Be sure the rock does not protrude through the silicone. If it does, apply another layer of silicone over the first layer.

If the gob is too small or too thin, it will cure, become stiff, and loose its value as a bumper to protect the glass.

5. Don't pile the rocks too high. if you do pile the rocks too high, eventually they will become heavy enough to break the bottom of any aquarium. It's good to use light less-dense rocks.

You do not need to glue the rocks together. Just stack them carefully, so they won't topple over.

A pyramid shape is best with a wide base at the bottom that tapers inward toward the top of the pile.
Now on to your second question. The fewer Mbunas you have; the more the strongest Mbunas will make the weaker ones miserable. We have found that 15 is the smallest number that will usually work.
Each full-grown Mbuna will need about 5-gallons of water. Your aquarium has 110-gallons, and 110 divided by 5 is 22. So your aquarium will be able to support about 22 Mbunas.
I would buy at least 30. You may loose a few, before they grow to full size. You will also find that a few will grow to be huge and aggressively attack the other Mbunas.

I would trade these back to the fish store. A few will not grow much, I would also trade these back. if you start with 30, you should end up with a nice group of 20.
I would recommend getting 4 or 5 different species and getting about 6 to 8 fish of each species.

Click here to see the various Mbunas that we offer for sale.

I would also recommend that you have a couple of Synodontis Catfish.

Click here for more about Synodontis Catfish.
If you have a chance, please send us a picture of your aquarium some day to include here. Good luck.

Cichlid Stones - Ceramic Aquarium Caves
Click here to continue to another page in this website with more Customer Comments and our Replies about Mbunas.
Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to listen to a Special Show titled "Mbuna Cichlids", an MP3-PodCast, hosted by The Bailey Brothers on Pet Fish Talk.
Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to listen to a Special Show titled "Mbunas Spawning", an MP3-PodCast, hosted by The Bailey Brothers on Pet Fish Talk.
Pet Fish Talk a Podcast about keeping pet fish in aquariums, fish bowls, and ponds.  
Click here to listen to a Special Show titled "Malawi Bloat", an MP3-PodCast, hosted by The Bailey Brothers on Pet Fish Talk.
Click here to continue to another page in this website with more Customer Comments and our Replies about Mbunas.
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