Lake Tanganyika Species • First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyikans

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First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyikans

Postby rocknut » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:14 pm

Hello everyone,

This is my first post, and I was hoping I could take a few minutes of everyone’s time, and get a few opinions, and some guidance regarding a new tank I am working on setting up. Quick bit of background about me: I kept quite a few Lake Tanganyikan aquariums back when I was in high school in the late 90’s, and had pretty good long term success, and bread quite a few fish (which resulted in more and more aquariums…God bless my poor parents). Anyway, in the early 2000’s I made the move to saltwater, and had been keeping an SPS Reef Tank for the last ten years or so. Honestly, the demands/stress of that tank kind of burned me out, and when my wife and I decided to change out the flooring in our house, I took it as an excuse to break the tank down, and sell everything. Funny thing happened, however: after about three months of not having a tank at all, started thinking about the Lake Tanganyikan aquariums I had as a kid, and quickly decided to plan a set-up. Which leads me to where I am at now, and to my main question(s).

When I had my aquariums set-up back in high school, I kept all sorts of fish from Frontosa, to Julidochromis, different shell dwellers, Cyprochromis, etc, but never had the money at that age to try what I really wanted, which was a group of Tropheus. When I decided to get back into Tanganyikans again, that was immediately were my mind went. But after giving it some more thought, I have been going back and forth. My main concern is that I don’t want to jump right back into an aquarium that is so complicated and/or stressful that I am basically moving right back into the same stress level as my previous SPS Reef. I know that at the end of the day, this is personal choice I have to make, but would really appreciate any feedback/guidance from the members of this forum. Like I said, I have basically had an aquarium for the past 25 years or so, but haven’t had a fresh water/Tanganyikan tank, specifically, in about 20 years.

The tank I am setting up with be an acrylic 120 gallon (48” x 24” x 24”), and I will use the sump tank I used with my reef tank. I am going to use a combination of Poret foam, Seachem Matrix, filter socks, and maybe some Sera Siporax for filtration, in the sump (would rather over-do it, than not have enough). Also have some really good equipment that I kept from my reef that I can use in this tank (controller, circulation pumps, wave maker, etc).

With that tank size, I am considering two options for stocking the tank:

1. Option #1 - Go with a full blown Tropheus tank. Would probably do Duboisi, as these seem to be considered the least demanding of the Tropheus, and a good starting point? Was thinking I would do 20-25 initially? Again, I am not new to keeping an aquarium, and the SPS corals, and fish in my reef were fairly delicate and demanding, but am I foolish to jump right back into fresh water & Tanganyikans with Tropheus, and am I setting myself up to fail?

2. Option #2 – go with a more balanced option, and get a dozen Cyprochromis, some cave dwellers like Julidochromis/Calvus, and some shell dwellers. Might not be as flashy as a Tropheus tank (basing this only on my own opinion, because this is the kind of tank I had back in the day, and have never done a full Tropheus tank), but might be better to get my feet wet again?

Appreciate any guidance and advice you are all willing to give. Really looking forward to have a Tanganyikan aquarium up and running again, just don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire, as far as stress, etc. Not saying I want an “easy” tank, and I enjoy doing maintenance, etc, but don’t want to set myself up for total failure either.
Thanks in advance!
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Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:03 pm
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Re: First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyika

Postby DJRansome » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:22 pm

Why do the same thing as before? Go for the tropheus as it is clearly what you want.
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75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Petricola
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Homeless Peacocks; 33G Cobue
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Re: First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyika

Postby punman » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:23 pm

This is my third time in my life with tropheus and I have been successful every time and never lost an adult fish. I have kept them in groups of 20-30 fish in tanks ranging from 90 to 180 gallons. I have only done tropheus-only tanks and only had one variety/species at a time.
Keep up with your water changes and you should be fine.
Tanganyika Cichlids all the Way!
135 Gallon: Tropheus duboisi (Halembe)
90 Gallon: Frontosa mpimbwe f1 and A. calvus
Fish tanks - betcha can't have just one!
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Re: First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyika

Postby rocknut » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:39 pm

DJRansome wrote:Why do the same thing as before? Go for the tropheus as it is clearly what you want.

punman wrote:This is my third time in my life with tropheus and I have been successful every time and never lost an adult fish. I have kept them in groups of 20-30 fish in tanks ranging from 90 to 180 gallons. I have only done tropheus-only tanks and only had one variety/species at a time.
Keep up with your water changes and you should be fine.


Thanks for reading through my post, and responding, DJRamsome & punman, really appreciate your feedback.
I think you are both right. I would probably regret not at least trying a Tropheus tank, so that's probably the way go. I'm thinking about buying maybe 20 Tropheus Duboisi juveniles, and having them being the only fish in the tank. For a standard 120 gallon, does that sound about right, or would I be better off bumping up the number to more like 24? I know it's key to not start with too few.

Also, if anyone reading this can recommend a good online dealer, or someone in Arizona that has these fish, I would really appreciate it.
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Re: First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyika

Postby noddy » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:45 pm

I agree with the others. Go for the Tropheus tank. 24 is a good number for a group. Not sure I would chose Dubs just because you've heard they are less demanding tbh.
I have found that they are all behave practically the same. I think you should chose the ones you like and are available. The only thing I have heard is that the Brichardi types can be more aggressive (never kept them myself) and for what it's worth, the largest Trophs I have ever seen have been Dubs. I have only ever kept Tropheus in 5' 120g tanks so I don't really know about a 4' tank but, I would probably steer away from the Brichardi.
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Re: First post - feedback on set-up and return to Tanganyika

Postby punman » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:34 am

My first two times I started with thirty (Kirizas and then Chimba Red the second time). I did that because I was told I could have losses and you do not want to be adding new stock down the road. But I did not have any losses so maybe had more than I needed.

When I went with Duboisi this time I went with 20 because I have been successful before not losing any, and was also told that Duboisi were supposedly "easier". They were in a 90 gallon to start and now at 4 inches have moved them into a 6 foot, 135 gallon, although the 90 would have still worked. It has been 7 and 9 years since I had the Kirizas and Chimbas but it seems to me that the Duboisis are a bigger fish as adults - or maybe my memory is fading!
Tanganyika Cichlids all the Way!
135 Gallon: Tropheus duboisi (Halembe)
90 Gallon: Frontosa mpimbwe f1 and A. calvus
Fish tanks - betcha can't have just one!
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 4:59 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta


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