Lake Tanganyika Species • Advice needed on New Tropheus Setup

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Advice needed on New Tropheus Setup

Postby eugenechng » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:50 am

I currently have a 3ft tank with tropheus in it and it has about 2cm thickness of coral sand as substrate with no rockscape. The sand size is 3mm. Recently i just setup another 3ft tank with 1mm sized crush coral sand as substrate. The substrate is about 4cm in thickness. I'll be moving some of my tropheus to this tank after it is cycled and i have a few questions which i hope to hear some advice.....

1. The reason why i used such a small grain size is because the waste being bigger in size will not be trap in the sand but instead be blown off and suck into the filter. Question is will the small 1mm sized coral sand cause compacting or hydrogen sulfide to buildup in the sand after prolonged usage in the tank?

2. What is the thickness of your substrate or recommended thickness?

3. I notice that most of you guys have rockscape which makes it easy for fish waste to build up in all the nooks and cranny..... Do you vacuum the substrate/rockscapes or you don't bother with it since it's a big hassle?
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Postby Pali » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:42 am

1 mm grain size is not a problem, I run 0.8-1.2 mm grain size.

I have aprox 1 cm substrate in most my tanks, I have no buildup of gasses or anything in a thin layer of sand substrate.

Personaly I only have a little rockscape, I don't have waste build ups inbetween the rocks. A power head moves water in between them and pushed waste out and into a cornor where it's easy to vacum out.
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Postby prov356 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:00 am

With tropheus, I go with just enough substrate to cover the bottom, they don't need more. It's probably about 1cm thick. I vacuum it out, rinse and replace occasionally. Depends on the fish load, as to how often. Grain size doesn't matter much. With a fish like tropheus that sifts sand for food, detritus will get trapped underneath regardless of grain size. Rock scape in such a manner that's it's easy to vacuum around them and you won't have to remove them. I like a heavily rocked tank, so I just pull the rocks, vacuum it all out and replace everything. I just don't mind spending a saturday afternoon up to my elbows in fish water. :)

I know you didn't ask, but 36" is going to seem awfully tight when these guys reach adulthood.
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Postby ejammer » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:16 pm

I like the Argonite sand as a substrate. It keeps the PH really high. I have had my tank set up for 6 years, and have not had to replace the substrate(PH always goes up after the water change). The one I have is black and white mix. I only use about 2 inches. They love to sift it, and it does not become impacted. Every rock pile is covered with the sand!
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36 Tropheus Moori Kasanga
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Postby Afishionado » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:10 pm

I also have the black & white mix (one of the CaribSea mixes), about an average depth of 1.25", and some formations of fairly large rocks. This substrate is light, it gets churned and turned fairly well by the fish, water changes, and the occasional quick bit of stirring by me with any suitable elongated flat piece of plastic. The rockwork gets removed & re-done 1-3 times per year (or more) to catch holding females or excess growout survivors - cleaning out what was under the rocks occurs on those occasions.

And yep, they just love to scoop that stuff up and spread it all over the rocks, and even bomb each other with it.
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Postby eugenechng » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:36 am

Hi everyone, Thanks for the inputs. :) Looks like most of you go for a thinner substrate. Do you guys use eggcrate for the bottom of your tanks or only on areas where you're putting your rockscapes to spread out the weight of the rocks in that area?

I'm still considering whether i should have some rockscape or not at all and am wondering which is better if i'm thinking of breeding them?
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Postby 24Tropheus » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:30 am

Hate to say it but think any three foot tank for growing on and breeding Tropheus is nearly always doomed from the start.
Yep grow a group (pref of your own young) on in this size tank is a possibility if you keep nitrates high (keeps down aggression, keeps growth rate low and stunts em to about 3" for female and males about 4") numbers high, keeps down aggression, lighting subdued, keeps down aggression, territory markers and rocks at a min keeps down established territories, water movement very high keeps em from picking on one individual too much. But long term you will need a bigger tank. Far better to start with a bigger tank in the first place I think. Troph often fight when moved to bigger quarters. Why not keep a fish that would do well in such a tank rather than struggle keeping these guys in quarters they will struggle with and never show you any wild type behaviour or interest?

Saying that I have bred dubs in such a tank (years ago) but neither the fish nor I enjoyed it much. :(

Average territory for a wild type 5" male breeding is about 2 foot square even in crowded tanks. One male groups tend to be hard on the females. Its kind of like trying to climb Everest with a bad leg and no oxygen. Can work but I sure would not try it again.

All the best James

Dunno if I can put this any simpler get a bigger tank or keep a fish suitable for your tank. :thumb:
Tanks 180, empty revamping 100,65,60g Tropheus/tang communities 75g revamping. 29gx3 shelly communities, 29g Trigs breeding. 20gx2 shelly tanks. BCA member 207. Try it you might like it.
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Postby punman » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:10 am

Curious as to how many tropheus you have. That tank could grow out some fry for a time, but you need at least 10 tropheus in a group (15-20 is better) and even 10 adult tropheus in that tank won't work.
Sorry for the negative comment - just trying to be of help.
I have only 3/4 - 1 inch of sand in my tropheus tank.
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90 Gallon: Turquoise Discus, Skunk Corydoras, Cardinal Tetras
90 Gallon: Yellow Lab grow-out tank
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Postby 24Tropheus » Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:16 am

I have about 100 Tropheus in 5 tanks. I have had Tropheus for just over 30 years some still from the original WC from back then. Young TB are far easier but abuse em at your loss. :wink:

Oops Kind of missed the point of the question. Kind of asking the original poster to give more info.

Dunno for sure but on the beginning of the learning curve would be my guess. :lol:
Tanks 180, empty revamping 100,65,60g Tropheus/tang communities 75g revamping. 29gx3 shelly communities, 29g Trigs breeding. 20gx2 shelly tanks. BCA member 207. Try it you might like it.
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Postby ejammer » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:28 pm

Have to agree on the three foot tank(30gallons?) I have a 90g(four foot) which is ok for one species, but I have had the occasional blood bath when the ratio gets out of hand. It happens quick, and usually doesn't end until enough are killed off, or I sell a few. I think there would be many wars in a three foot tank. High stocking levels would cause problems in maintaining water quality. I am sure someone here has tried a three foot tank before with tropheus.
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36 Tropheus Moori Kasanga
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Postby Afishionado » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:48 pm

On the eggcrate question, some believe in it, some don't. I use it with larger rock formations. I fill it in with substrate before putting the rock on. It's up to you.

Edit: whoops! I just realized there was no eggcrate question - never mind :lol: I need a vacation!

Bigger tank +1
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Postby eeztropheus » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:47 am

+1 on the bigger tank!
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Postby eugenechng » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:15 am

I bought about 10 ikolas, 10 muragos and 5 red rainbows quite some time back. The ikolas and muragos were about 1.5" - 2" and the red rainbows about 4" size when i bought them. It's very difficult to get the abovementioned tropheus in my country cos it's mostly dubosi and some other varient which it's very hard to indentify and they're sold in LFSes at about 1.5" - 2" in size. When i one of the LFS brought in the tropheus i now have, i just bought them up thinking that since they're still young and hard to come by, i'd buy them first with the intention of getting a bigger tank to house them later but it never materialise due to space constrains. :oops: I now have 8 ikolas, 8 muragos and 3 red rainbows due to deaths caused by fights. Right now i converted my planted tank to house some of them but looks like it's also not suitable from your experiences.... :(
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Postby eugenechng » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:27 am

ejammer wrote:Have to agree on the three foot tank(30gallons?) I have a 90g(four foot) which is ok for one species, but I have had the occasional blood bath when the ratio gets out of hand. It happens quick, and usually doesn't end until enough are killed off, or I sell a few. I think there would be many wars in a three foot tank. High stocking levels would cause problems in maintaining water quality. I am sure someone here has tried a three foot tank before with tropheus.


My tank size is 3ft (L) x 18" (W) x 18" (H) holding about 40gallons of water. The many wars is usually among the ikolas but recently the red rainbows also became much more aggressive which end up in the 3 pcs that i have now. I do 50% water change every week.
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Postby eugenechng » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:42 am

24Tropheus wrote:Hate to say it but think any three foot tank for growing on and breeding Tropheus is nearly always doomed from the start.
Yep grow a group (pref of your own young) on in this size tank is a possibility if you keep nitrates high (keeps down aggression, keeps growth rate low and stunts em to about 3" for female and males about 4") numbers high, keeps down aggression, lighting subdued, keeps down aggression, territory markers and rocks at a min keeps down established territories, water movement very high keeps em from picking on one individual too much. But long term you will need a bigger tank. Far better to start with a bigger tank in the first place I think. Troph often fight when moved to bigger quarters. Why not keep a fish that would do well in such a tank rather than struggle keeping these guys in quarters they will struggle with and never show you any wild type behaviour or interest?

Saying that I have bred dubs in such a tank (years ago) but neither the fish nor I enjoyed it much. :(

Average territory for a wild type 5" male breeding is about 2 foot square even in crowded tanks. One male groups tend to be hard on the females. Its kind of like trying to climb Everest with a bad leg and no oxygen. Can work but I sure would not try it again.

All the best James

Dunno if I can put this any simpler get a bigger tank or keep a fish suitable for your tank. :thumb:


Thanks for the Very informative sharing. :) You're right.... It's one thing to keep them but another to see them thrive in the tank. By the way since you've been keeping tropheus for over 30yrs, what is their average lifespan?
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