Though it occurs more frequently with novices, even the experts are subject to “shiny ball syndrome.” Those of you who have kept cichlids for years know what I mean. You happen across a great deal on a species that looks awesome and they suddenly get your full attention. You jump at the chance, buying a group of unsexed juveniles, bring them home, and put them in the tank.
All is great….for a while. Then it happens. You realize you don’t really have the right substrate – you find out the species does better with light gravel/sand and what you have is dark or vice versa. Or you realize these fish will outgrow your tank sooner than you thought. Or all hell has broken loose and you’re discovering that the unsexed group you bought is mostly males. Or you come to realize your new fish aren’t compatible with the fish already in your tank, for whatever reason. The scenarios are numerous but they all have a common denominator. You didn’t think it through and do your homework. You got excited, completely lost focus, and rushed your decision.
There are usually many solutions to these scenarios, but most of them involve spending even more money to resolve. The best two solutions are to slow down and think about what you’re doing. Generally speaking, cichlids aren’t cheap. Furthermore, as a responsible fish keeper you owe it to the fish to provide them with the most stress free environment possible.