• You liked BFD7 now you should join this forum and of course become a club member to see what CCA is all about.
  • Thank you to everyone who registered and showed up for the BIG Fish Deal #7.

Your Bucket List - Aulonocara and Haplochromis (all male tanks)


CCA Members
I did a bucket list search on the forum and did not find much so I thought I would start a thread.

I am fairly new to Africans and to be honest, this is a bit of a selfish endeavor in asking the question.
I don't know what I don't know - I am trying to build my own bucket list but I don't know enough, and Google searches have not been that helpful, to really understand what is a rare fish or bucket list fish should be. I also want to stay away from hybrids etc. There are SO MANY Cliched sellers I am not sure if when they say rare, or uncommon, if they are just trying to market a run of the mill peacock or hap. So, I need your help and I thought it might be fun at the same time for everyone to share their bucket list.
I want to set some goals for my tank and knowing what everyone else considers a bucket list fish will help me with my research.

Please post away!!!


Staff member
Honestly, being 'fairly new' I'd just start with things you like; whether thats due to color, behavior, etc.

Sometimes fish are rare, or a bucket list fish for a reason. Might be hard to find, expensive to buy, difficult to keep alive, need a large tank, etc.

You're better off going with something fun or hardy, seeing what you like or don't like, and go from there. The other thing to consider is that it might be really hard to get rid of a 'bucket list' fish if you find yourself wanting to change directions, because it might not be on other people's bucket list.

We also need to know what type of tank you'd have, etc. For instance, something I might consider a 'bucket list' fish could be Benthochromis tricoti. They get very large, are usually only available wild caught, and can be somewhat 'delicate.' So I'll need to budget several hundred dollars for the purchase, and have, or plan to have a 300+ gallon tank for them to maintain long term, and be prepared for regular maintenance. That being said, I know a very experienced fish keeper who tried some of these, didn't have the best of luck, and lost most or all of the fish within a period of time, so its very likely I'll never try to keep them. Sometimes 'bucket list' items are better off staying in the bucket.

Anyway, I think a great looking, and easy to maintain starter tank would be yellow labs and demasoni. Easy fish to find, very colorful, not expensive, and generally hardy. If you end up not liking them for any reason, they'd probably be pretty easy to get rid of. But you'd probably want/need a 40 or 55 gallon tank to start with, anything smaller definitely limits your options for Africans.


CCA Members

I should have given more info but the post was already getting long so I left it off. I am not new to tanks but new to Africans. I have a 240 gallon tank with a 75 gallon sump running around 300 gallons total volume. I push around 2,000gph through the sump during the day and drop it to around 800gph overnight.
I have kept Discus in the past (video of my grow outs below - from 2" - 2.5" starting size), but that was way to much of a PITA and took away some of the enjoyment of having an aquarium. So I have some miles under my belt as far as that goes but I am always learning new things.

Gregs Discus

Wet Sleeves

CCA Members
Go check this list out for some amazing fish. Some of the species are rare in the hobby and also in the lakes, some of them are extinct in the wild and some, are harder to keep thriving. Most of the species you can easily sell back to the community once you get bored of them :cool:



Just haps and peacocks (as in your title) or are you considering Tanganyika cichlids also?

Sure, with some of the more esoteric Tangs, the market is limited, but Malawi haps and peacocks not so much-- I did them for years, breeding, trade, sell-- with the exception that the really large Malawi haps won't fit in just any tank, so they aren't for everyone.

Do you prefer a busy tank, variety of species and colors-- Malawi, or a more specialized tank, likely with fewer species-- Tanganyika?

Rare is relative. There's rare as in not in most pet shops and most people don't have them-- or rare as in rarely or only occasionally imported. In the first category are plenty of beautiful fish, some more rare than others-- larger species tend to be less common. It would take a half hour to list all those I like or have kept, but here are a few favorites:

Several Copadichromis, including mloto and geertsi, some Protomelas, like P. steveni Taiwan reef (or simply Taiwan Reef fish), Red Empress (type of Protomelas taeniolatus, old favorite in the hobby but can be quite nice), Placidochromis sp. "Phenochilus Tanzania", Buccochromis lepturus and B. rhoadesii (yellow lepturus), Fossorochromis rostratus. A smaller hap I like (used to breed) is Otopharynx Lithobates 'Zimbabwe Rock' or Z rocks lithbobates.

My list of favorite peacocks diminished over the years, but on my list would still be Aulonocara. sp. Lwanda, A. maulana, A. ngara, and A. jacobfreibergi 'lemon jake'.

Then there's all the designer Malawi fish, albino this and hybrid that, which have become so omnipresent that keeping true species actually found in the lake is already at another level.



CCA Members
This is great info. Thank you!
All male ust haps and peacocks - color, yes, like a gumball machine- overstocked along with some tank cleaners (pleco and dither).
One fish that seems to popular that I am not a fan of are the OB’s.


Staff member
I didn’t read the full title of the thread apparently...

I’m a big fan of lethrinops but they’re not always great choices for crowded all male tanks. Same with Copadichromis, but plenty of nice species.

With a 240 going all male you have room for a lot of different types even if you go with some of the larger fish. Definitely some cool stuff out there, good suggestions above.