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Thread: Ohh, the madness!

  1. #1

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    Arrow

    Hello,
    I am starting to get mad about cichlids...I don't even have my convict cichilds yet, and I want to set up a tank of mbunas! the book i had with them in it did not give out much info... could someone tell me how long they get, what the eat, size of tank, fish compatibility, etc? thanks!

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    Give a specific species and you'll get specific info. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different species of Mbuna within the Rift Lakes of Africa. Mbuna is simply the native language for "rock dweller"...or something similar to that. These fish live among the vast rubble and boulder fields throughout the lakes. They feed primarily in algea, some vegetation, and awfuchs (the tiny invertebrates and crustaceans that live within the algae mats). They need the same diet in captivity, otherwise they will suffer from Malawi bloat. Basically, their digestive tracts are extremely long to allow the digestive vegetable matter more time to be absorbed. When people feed them a diet high in protein (which includes your basic flake food) the food isn't passed through their system fast enough and begins to rot. The gases given off produce bloating in the fish, hence the name...and hence the sick and dying fish. Most mbuna are found in Lake Malawi, but there are many rock dwellers in Tanganyika as well. They can range from around 3" up to 7-8". They do best crammed together in a tank--they are very aggressive and very territorial, and a maximum number of fish helps to disperse aggression. So plan on buying multiple numbers of the same species to put into the tank. Also, you will need HEAVY filtration as mbuna require excellent water conditions and need plenty of oxygen. I wouldn't really try keeping them in anything less than a 55 gal tank, and that would be for just one or two species. They need plenty of room and TONS of rockwork to hide in and hunt around.

    Again, knowing more about which species will help provide better information and suggestions.

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