I have a peaceful community of small fish, and am thinking of adding a Cichlid to the mix. This would be my very first Cichlid. I'm really drawn to the intelligence and colors of Cichlids. However, it would have to be gentle enough to get along with Panda Corycats, a Bristlenose Pleco, Cardinal Tetras, Gold Tetras, Black Neon Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, and a Honey Gourami. Having a peaceful tank is extremely important to me.
The aquarium is 75 gallons, and I've had it for about 7 years. The pH of the aquarium is 6.4, the hardness is 8 dGH, and the temperature is 75 degrees. I do 40% water changes once per week. The tank has driftwood and caves, a smooth sand substrate, and lots of fake plants.
Since I'm concerned about aggression that mating would bring, I would like to purchase just 1 Cichlid, so I want one that would be okay by itself.
I have an extremely good fish store by me. They have 2 Cichlid species I'm hoping might be good candidates, and I would choose one.
The first is a Bolivian Ram, which I'd researched online and sounded like a good fit. However, the ones at the store were very grey - hardly any color to them. That's very unusual at this store, which usually has extremely high quality fish that are very vividly colored. 90% of their fish are much brighter than a typical pet store's. So I'm wondering if the Bolivian Ram would color up if I got one? Or are they mostly grey fish in general? They still had the red borders to their fins, but only a very tiny hint of yellow, and otherwise were grey with black markings. I like their body shape and their large eyes, but I kind've wanted at least a little more color, like the pretty pictures I've been seeing of them online. I understand they are timid fish, would plenty of caves and dither fish color them up more?
The other fish I saw there was Apistogramma agassizii "fire red", and they were plenty colorful. I especially loved the male's coloring. However, I didn't think their shape was quite as cute as the Bolivians. I'm having trouble finding out if this Apisto would work alright with just a single male in the tank, as I really don't want them to breed and am not interested in the females. Could 1 male work? How peaceful are they compared to the Bolivian?
If anyone has kept these, I'd love more information about either. And if anyone has had experience with both, it would be awesome if you could share their similarities and differences in temperament and requirements. Would either work for my tank, or would neither work well? Which one do you think would be a better fit? What are their special requirements, per species and about Cichlids in general?
Sorry that was so long, thank you so much for reading!