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Post by cancichfan on Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:16 am

Well, this is my first question on the site so hopefully I don't embarass myself too much. I am getting a 29 gallon (30x12x18) tank from a friend of mine and I'd like to do a shell-dweller setup for in my office. Where do I start?

I am going to clean out the tank and get it set up with sand substrate and rocks (I assume that these will be more decorative than with mbuna??). But after that, what do you suggest. I have heard plants aren't usually found in this sort of set up. What species would be suitable for this size tank? How big do the shells have to be? Any suggestions on where to find fish (in Ontario preferrably but I am open to mail order). PM me if posting distributor names isn't acceptable.

Thanks in advance.
Graham

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Post by Drake-tripod on Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:30 am

well first glade to see you on the tang side of things Very Happy second for a shelly tank i would not do to much to rocks you should have about 6 shells per fish and what shell do you plan on keeping? what kinda filter do you plane on having on there?
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Post by cancichfan on Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:39 am

I don't really know what I am going to keep in the tank. I've been on other sites and looked at suggestions but I really don't know where to start. It will probably depend mostly on availability. Tangs seem harder to find than mbuna.
The filter I have for the tank is a HOB AquaClear 30 as well as the HOB that is coming with the tank. The tank is set up today with Mollies and such but the owner wants to get rid of it. I don't know what is on the tank today but I will put on the larger of the two and I assume the AquaClear 30 is sufficent although probably just. I did buy an xP4 yesterday for my 90 gallon. I could put that on...crank up a little whirlpool in the tank.

I will be disinfecting the tank and filter so I will have to cycle the tank first. I will likely start with putting some ceramic rings from my eheim in the AquaClear. I am going to run the xP4 and the eheim together so I was only going to seed the xP4 with "sponge squeezins" and let it run and colonize on it's own (both are for my 90 gallon...maybe overkill but that's another topic).

What would you put in?
Graham
P.S. I'm not sure if I should tell you but the 90 is Malawi. Can a person keep both? Am I going to the dark side or coming back?

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Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:30 pm

Hi Graham and welcome to RLC!!!

For filtration I would definitely use both the AC and whatever is coming with the tank.

For stocking, I would put a shell bed on one side of the tank for whatever species of shellies you choose. On the other side of the tank I would put a rock pile for either some Juli's or a pair of Altolamp's (either calvus or compressiceps.

A person can keep both Malawi and Tang tanks... but it seems that once you go Tangs... you never go back!!! hypnotic

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Post by Micheal on Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:45 pm

Hi Graham.

The number of shells depends on which species you decide to keep. Some like a lot of shells and some will only use a few. The idea for shells on one side and rocks on the other would be the way I would go as well.

Of course you can keep both I have fish from all 3 lakes and a few CA fish.
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Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:04 pm

Micheal wrote:
Of course you can keep both I have fish from all 3 lakes and a few CA fish.


He has admitted to me privately that the only reason he keeps the others is because his wife confiscates all the Tangs that come in the house Razz

The only way he can have a tank that's his is to keep fish from other lakes Twisted Evil

Sorry, I strayed off topic... but couldn't help myself cheers


As for shells, the turbo shells seem to be popular. Neothauma shells (not sure on the spelling there) are what the shellies actually use in the lake, but they are harder to find and quite a bit more expensive so that's up to each individual on wether to locate and buy them vs. the turbo shells which are easier to find and much cheaper.


Last edited by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : herny hand kicked in...)

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Post by Drake-tripod on Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:26 pm

yea i would say get like 40 shells and go the turbo snails both filters always good idea and dont worry youll get a 75 for some bigger tangs soon Very Happy thats how it happens
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Post by theswede on Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:10 pm

Shellis and some Jul. ornatus would work in a 29 gallon tank. I had J. ornatus in a tank that size and got loads of fry out of it.


Last edited by theswede on Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by cichlidman on Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:54 pm

Just get ready for a treat.

These smaller fish are so much fun to watch.

I agree with the shells and rocks. I like a variety of different shells. I to am partial to the Altolamprolongus. If you used a light colored sand. A pair of black Calvus, or black Compressiceps would look amazing.

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Post by cancichfan on Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:48 pm

So if i were to segment the tank as suggested which I think I am going to, how many species in totaI wouId I be putting in? 2 pair of 2 species for a totaI of 4 fish or can I put in more?
I |ike the J. ornatus suggestion above and am Ieaning towards at Ieast one Juie species.

Do you suggest two species in a tank this size, more...Iess?
I have to get the tank cycIed first anyway so there is time. Just getting ahead of myseIf. But, picking out the fish is the fun part.
Thanks again.
Graham

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Post by buntbarsch on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:07 pm

Graham, where are you located in Ontario?
You are welcome to come for a visit if you are not too far away. I'm in Ajax just east of TO.

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Post by Aura on Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:01 pm

I have a 29 gallon with J. transcriptus and L. stappersii in it. I don't have much experience with Tangs, but from what I've seen so far with mine, I wouldn't go more than two species and by the way my J. transcriptus starting behaving after two of them paired up and spawned, I wish they were all I had in there. I moved the extra julies out early on and I'm down to two stappersii and am trying to figure out where I can move them so they enjoy life a little more -- not being constantly chased around the tank.

It might be that I have a particularly aggressive male, because he even chases the female off (from the rock pile where the cave and fry are) for two or three days after I do a water change in the tank, but I'm not too comfortable keeping mine in the 29.

Here's the topic with a few pictures of how mine was set up. http://www.riftlakecichlids.com/tanks-and-equipment-f18/new-29-gallon-setup-t79.htm
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Post by cancichfan on Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:28 pm

Aura wrote:
Here's the topic with a few pictures of how mine was set up. http://www.riftlakecichlids.com/tanks-and-equipment-f18/new-29-gallon-setup-t79.htm

Thanks for the reference. Gives me a lot to think about. There really are just too many choices. I like the idea of having some substrate breeders and shell breeders. Just curious, how long was the tank in the post? 30 or 36 inch? It just seemed a lot longer than the 30 I am working with. I am working on a DIY foam background that is going to take up some of the space in the tank as well. Possibly up to 6/12 inches in some spots, 0 in others. I don't want to use up too much space but I also want to make it as interesting as I can. It's going in my office so if I am looking at it for 8 hours a day, I want to make it interesting looking as possible.
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Post by cancichfan on Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:32 pm

buntbarsch wrote:Graham, where are you located in Ontario?
You are welcome to come for a visit if you are not too far away. I'm in Ajax just east of TO.

Thanks for the invite. I may just take you up on that sometime. I am down by London but my in-laws are in Scarborough so we are often 4/5s of the way to Ajax. What I would like, if you don't mind, is a good reference for a quality source for fish in the area. I have had very bad experiences with my local store and have given up on them as a fish source.
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Post by Aura on Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:29 am

Graham, that tank is a standard 29 gallon, 30 inches wide. It probably looks wider because the fish were small when I first put them in. It seems smaller to me now! Smile
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Post by cancichfan on Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:49 pm

I thought I posted this question already but I don't see it, if I double up, forgive me.

A lot of you seem to like the Alto... species. Can you tell me more about them? How big do they get? I assume they are substrate breeders? Do the breed often? Are they aggressive towards others (shellies). If so, how bad compared to the Julies? I have read a few stories about how it is hard to get Julies to bond and keep them bonded so I am wondering now about trying these that so many of you seem to like.

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Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:21 pm

They are very slow growers but males can get 5+" while females will stay a bit smaller. Mine don't rule the entire tank, they stay in their territory pretty much. When they do get out and sneak around the tank (looking for fry I presume), they aren't aggressive towards the other fish. When they are spawning, they are extremely protective of thier territory but any tankmates will figure that out real quick. They won't continue chase but will run off any intruders. Once a male and female pair up, it's a tight bond. My wild calvus still haven't successfully spawned in almost a year of having them. My wild comp's spawned within the first month and have spawned every 4-6 weeks since. They are substrate spawners, the female will lay a large number of eggs inside a cave/crevice/welk shell/breeding bell. The entrance to this must be big enough to allow her to enter but small enough that the male can't. He will hang out in front of the entrance and will fertilize from there. In 2 weeks the fry are generally big enough to pull, you have to get them before they leave the cave. They are very tiny and grow extremely slow, 1" of growth in 6 months is a good rate of growth for these guys. The adults are extremely protective parents and care must be taken when pulling the fry, they will attack you Wink

In general, these fish are kinda shy and aren't overly aggressive towards other tankmates. They can be extremely aggressive towards thier own kind tho. If you want the best chance at immediate spawning, wild fish are the best option as it's very hard to find tank raised adults for sale. If you start out with juvies, the usual suggestion is to get 6 and let them pair up. Keep 1 male and as many females as he will accept. Many people shy away from these guys because they grow so slowly, the upside is they have a long life span... 10yrs +. I love mine and don't regret getting them one bit, if I had it to do over again I'd get them in a second. The comp's do have shellies as tankmates and aside from sneaking over to inspect the shells for fry, they don't show any aggression towards them unless the comp's are protecting a spawn and a shellies get's to close. Even then, they will chase it away and turn back to their spawning site... the funny part is the shellie will also turn around and flare up... like he ran the comp off Laughing It's been a great mix for me. Any other questions about these guys, feel free to ask.

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Post by cancichfan on Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:33 pm

Thanks a lot. Do they eat their own fry? I am not actually looking to breed any fish but I would like the behaviour that comes with breeding. I just don't want to have tanks and tanks full of little guys. Of course, it is also possible that they never breed either which is fine.
I saw some small ones recently at a store but my tank isn't set up yet so I am going to wait. I hope I can find them when the time comes.
The slow growth doesn't bother me, particularly when I am going to be using a 29 gallon tank. Hopefully they wouldn't outgrow that too quickly. Just curious, if I was to get 6 do I eventually narrow that down to one pair? What do I do with the rest? Is it obvious which are males and which are females or is that why you get so many?
Sorry for all the questions and thanks again.
Graham

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Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:15 pm

No prob with the questions, ask away Wink

I haven't witnessed mine eating their own fry. That's not to say that some will or won't. If you don't want to raise the fry, that's not a problem. They are soooo tiny when they leave the cave and they stay tiny for a long time. I haven't had any grow out in the main tank yet that I know of. I'm sure any that leave the cave before I pull them end up a snack for either the julie's or the shellies. They are also very delicate, many from each spawn will die even when you try your best to provide for them. I don't think you'd have a tank full of them if you didn't pull the fry, I think they'd die off or become snacks but for the few that did make it, you could trade them back in to the lfs.

These guys don't need large tanks which is also a plus. You're 29 would probably be fine long term unless you were to end up with 1 male and 5 females... and he accepted all of them.

The males will outgrow the females so you will be able to tell based on thier size after you've had them for a while. You will also be able to tell who is going to stay in the tank and who will have to be removed. You can either give them away, sell them, or swap for store credit. You would want to end up with atleast a bonded pair out of the 6 you start with. If the male were to accept more than one female, I'd be inclined to keep them also. I started out with a trio of comps, and a trio of calvus. The male comp bonded with one female and tried relentlessly to kill the other female. The male calvus tried to kill both females Shocked. I was finally able to get him to accept one female but they've had a rocky relationship. She has layed eggs a few times without him paying attention. I think this last time he figured out what she was doing and they have been acting more and more like a bonded pair ever since. I'm hopefull she'll hurry up and try to spawn again soon before he get's tired of waiting and ends the relationship due to frustration yet again. Getting 6 would help to avoid the difficulties I'm having with the calvus.

Hopefully all that makes decent sense Laughing

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Post by cancichfan on Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:27 pm

Makes perfect sense. I finished my background for my tank so I am going to get it set up this weekend, maybe put water in it, maybe not depending on if I think the background has cured enough. Either way I am going to put in some rocks and sand and be ready for water.

Assuming it is a go, I am going to start a fishIess cycIe untiI the ammonia is gone and the tank is stabIe and then I think I"II start hunting for a few of these. Or I wiII get impatient and drop my big OB peacock in the tank and Iet him cycIe it. I'm stiII mad at him for kiIIing my other OB peacock that was much nicer Iooking...

I am reaIIy open to suggestions for pIaces in Southern Ontario to get Tanganyikan cichIids.

Thanks
Graham

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Post by Rift_Lakes_Rule on Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:43 pm

Sounds good, lookin forward to seeing it take shape Wink

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Post by cichlidman on Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:39 pm

I am awaiting the first view of this tank..

It sounds very nice.

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Post by cancichfan on Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:52 pm

Now let's not get our hopes up too much. Rank amateur at work here.

I will take a few pictures when I get the background and sand in place and see what you think would improve things.
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Post by cancichfan on Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:44 pm

Well, here's the first view of the tank with the background installed and sand in it. The rocks that are there are just stuck in to give the idea of 1/2 rock, 1/2 open. I need to get a whole bunch more. Trouble is, I refuse to pay for rocks. Centuries of glaciation have left an ample supply of rocks in every field around here and I spent years and years picking the things up so I'm not buying any now. Actually, I am just a rock snob and I only use "Wild Caught" rocks in my cichlid tanks...

The background is spray foam and you may see a couple small tubes in it if you look closely. These hook to my intake for my filter. Not sure how that is going to work but we'll see. I have black foam to go in the ends of these to keep the little fishies from exploring. You can't really see the colour too well in this shot but it has some brown and other shades in it. Once it is covered with algae it probably won't matter. When there's water and fish and lights and such, I'll put another one on.
I'm not sure I'd do another spray foam one...
Thanks
Graham
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Post by Drake-tripod on Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:17 pm

i really like it
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