Hey cichlid fans, Jose here again. I want to share a little story about the first time I tried to mix Centrals with Africans and Madagascars. This is just an experience that I had when I was much younger, and I DO NOT condone my actions, nor am I proud of how I handled the situation at the time. I have learned a lot from my mistakes, and most who have been in the aquarium hobby for as long as I have will have some similar, horrifying experiences to share. Sometimes you get lucky with a mix and sometimes you don’t, so you learn by experience and not necessarily just from the advice of others.
The tank size was a 75 gallon, and the species were 1 Parapetenia dovii (wolf cichlid), a pair of Dimidiochromis compressiceps (Malawi eye biter) and 1 Paratilapia bleekeri (large spot). I purchased them at the same time, and they were about 3 to 4 inches. I was told if they grew up together they would get along fine (ha ha ha). Everything seemed to work out fine for about 7 months then the fun began. On a daily basis they would take turns fighting with each other in the tank, even the 12 inch gibbicep pleco got a work out. Then one day I noticed that the compressiceps were preparing to breed (hooray!). The aggression level from the compy pair went up a notch as they both defended their spawning site.
Ok, now here is where the story really gets messed up.
So I went to work, put in my 8 hours and went home. My girlfriend at the time tells me my fish are acting weird, and I thought it was because they were spawning (boy was I wrong). Upon entering the room, what I saw was a shock. The female compressiceps‘ head was in the dovii‘s mouth, while the bleekeri had the rear half. There in the middle was her gravid belly. Before I could even reach for a net, they decided it was time to end the game of tug of war. I tell you it was heartbreaking as what looked like 100 eggs fell to the bottom of the tank.
A lesson in mixing I had to learn the hard way, and a tale I hope that encourages others to research a lot before deciding which fish to house together.
Write in if you have any tank horror stories that you’ve learned from that you’d like to share.
Until next time, have fun with cichlids. JOSE