Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Micheal on Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:26 pm

You always hear that Mbuna need to be overstocked to have a happy tank. What you won't hear is a definitive answer to how many that is. Keeping fish together is trial and error based on many factors so what works for some may not work for you. That being said here is a good formula that I was told to figure up a good starting point for numbers of fish in your tank. If you have a 55 gallon tank multiply that by 1/2 and add that to 55. Then divide by average size of your fish. An example would be my tank of Cobue and Saulosi where the average size is 4 inches. 55+27.5=77.5 82.5/4=20.6 So a good starting point for me was 20 to 21 fish.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Aura on Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:42 pm

That's an interesting forumula. I'm going to have to check my tanks out to see just how overstocked I am. pale
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by preacherboy on Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:03 pm

The main idea behind the theory of overstocked is to help minimize
aggression levels.
This is why it is always better to have more females/male if
one is interested in breeding and keeping a specific species.
But allow me to also emphasize the importance of over filtration
as well.
I always try to set up my tanks with a minimum of 10x per hour
gph according to the tank size.
For example, if I have a 100 gallon tank, then I want at least
1000 gph filtering through my system.
Just my opinion for what its worth!
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by cichlidman on Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:40 pm

That may be why my male Kenyi kills all of my fish.
I only have 8 in a 55 and was worried that was pushing the max. I now have 3. They were all males to keep down aggression.

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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Micheal on Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:10 pm

I tried an all male tank one time without much success because you really have to watch your fish and remove any aggressors. Working offshore I wasn't able to watch them like I should have. From what I had read though you could only have one male for each species. For a really aggressive species like Kenyi I would recommend at least 9 females for the 3 males that you have.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by iceblue on Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:25 pm

That's the formula I use for Mbuna stocking levels. If your not sure of the species you are going to keep I use 5" as a ballpark measure divided into one and a half times the tank volume. As you narrow the species down you can adjust accordingly.

kenyi are highly aggressive. Right up there with auratus. The dominant male from my group killed off all his competetion in short order and ran all the females ragged. This was in a 6' long 84 gallon in which he took over fully a third of the tank. I wouldn't recommend keeping them in anything less then a 125g long with lots of rockwork if you plan to keep more than one male.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by cichlidman on Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:22 pm

I only had one of each species..

He did not care what it was.
Except the Albino Greshakei. He was the dominate fish until he died.
The Kenyi never challenged him.

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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by iceblue on Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:43 pm

I had the same experiance with my regular greshaki. There always seemed to be some kind of truce between them. All others were fair game if they wandered into the Kenyi's percieved territory though most of the time it was just a chase unless they did something to really tick him off.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by cichlidman on Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:58 pm

Not George, he hunts them down. I put a divider in. He came over the divder after them. He should belong to Charles Manson. He absolutely beats them to death.

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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by odie on Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:42 am

New guy here. Nice site and I have enjoyed reading many threads here.

I am looking at possibly using a 125 gallon tank I was going to setup as a reef for a mbuna tank or other malawi setup. So if I read this correctly if I used the rule of thumb stated above along with a common adult size of 5'' I would stock with 37 fish to help ease agression. That seems to be alot! But as it is a reef ready tank it has two corner overflow/megflows that can handle 1600 gph if running full bore into a sump. That being said I dont want to use a sump but maybe a pond biowheel or canister. Something that could be plumbed into the drains if possible for a more clean look....

Anyway....sorry going into build questions and will be back on topic......

So 30 would be an estimate after rock/sand is put into tank thus lowering the volume of water or would one use 37 as it is more based on originall tank size? Wouldnt area vs volume be a better guidline??

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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:54 am


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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Chrisg12887 on Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:06 pm

hmmm very interesting formula! i use the trial and error thing, i tend to just buy whatever species i want and just throw them in the big 125 and hope that they all do well together....usually groups dont last in my tank, lots of the species i have are down to just pairs or 1m/2f, seems they do better in pairs in my tanks rather than groups but i guess that the consequence i get for having soo many species in one tank but i love the variety! i dont really count how many fish are in there either...i stop adding fish when it looks full lol.....but it all works out somehow..
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Super Turtleman on Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:59 pm

I agree with Chris, I use trial and error as well. My tank would probably be considered overstocked and having too many species in it, but I like it. I accept that it might not work, but usually things work out with minimal deaths or damage.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by Micheal on Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:00 am

This formula is not set in stone as each group of fish will be different but it is a good starting point to get an idea of where the limit may be. I have some tanks with more and some with less than what the formula calls for but I usually end up pretty close to that number.
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Re: Overstocking numbers for Mbuna

Post by theswede on Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:33 am

I agree with overstocking mbuna. We use to say that one mbuna should have 10 liters, and that is pretty near your formula.
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