Lake Tanganyika Species • New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calvus?

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New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calvus?

Postby Witch Slapped » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:47 pm

Greetings everyone! I recently had the opportunity to jump back into the aquarist hobby after college, settling into a new routine, etc etc. Years prior I had kept a variety of fish: guppies, betta, lake fish (pan fish, plecos, carp, small bass etc), and my last foray were some Malawi cichlids. So while I'm not brand spanking new, it has been at least a solid 6-7 years since I kept anything larger than a 10 gallon aquarium. As such, I'm doing as much research as possible before making the purchase of any new fish.
I knew I wanted to get a little deeper into the world of cichlids, and after weeks of browsing and reading I absolutely fell in love with the Altolamprologus Calvus.

Currently I have a 45 gallon breeder set up and cycling (image attached) and I was hoping to get a little input on my setup and any useful resources and/or tips on Calvus. Obviously my first priority is the fish's health and comfort, so I'll just bullet point a few questions I have but any and all info will be greatly appreciated. :thumb:

-Does my setup look like a comfortable environment for Altolamprologus Calvus?
I know the Calvus are finicky with their water chemistry as well as their aquascaping. I arranged as many caves, crevices, nooks and crannies that I could to give them ample places to hide, feel safe, and break up line of sight to tamper aggression as they age. I plan to add some whelk shells and/or boester bells to encourage breeding in two years once they reach sexual maturity. I'm also considering adding an Anubias plant, but I'm not sure if that would be more of a help or hindrance to them? Is there anything else I might want to consider adding to the aquarium?

-What is the optimal number of Calvus to keep in my size setup?
So far I've seen the magic number for keeping Calvus to be around 6 fish. Is this the most accurate and optimal number? (I do plan on getting a second setup going for fry if/when the Calvus start breeding).

-Is this the best time of year to buy Calvus?
I've heard from a couple petshop owners that summer is the best time to purchase cichlids, whether they be tank bred or wild-caught. Is there any basis to this? Similarly due to their rarity should I snatch up a group as soon as I manage to find some available?

-Is the aquarium large enough to comfortably house any other Tanganyikan cichlids? Or should I stick with just Calvus?
I hear other cichlids (such as the schooling cyprichromis) can help keep Calvus at ease, the schooling behavior alerting the Calvus to the fact that there are no dangers present. If this is true, can my setup house another type of cichlid without interfering with possible breeding? If so, is it acceptable to add them later down the road after the Calvus are already established, or are the benefits of getting all the fish at once too great to ignore?

Any other links or tips would be greatly appreciated! The largest compilation on Calvus care I've been able to find thus far has been this article: http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fresh/c ... Calvus.php
However I know the dangers of relying too heavily on just one or two sources for proper fish care. I've browsed various forums and picked up pieces of information anywhere I could find it, but there's no such thing as too much research haha.

Thanks again for any help offered!
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby DJRansome » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:59 pm

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

Witch Slapped wrote: Does my setup look like a comfortable environment for Altolamprologus Calvus?
No need for lots and lots of caves for calvus. One grouping with narrow, vertical openings is what they need, or whelk shells standing on end will do instead. The female needs to be able to block the opening with her body when she is guarding eggs. Usually lots of plants work better than a single plant. The calvus will not mind either way.

Witch Slapped wrote:What is the optimal number of Calvus to keep in my size setup?
Start with six and end up with a pair.

Witch Slapped wrote:Is this the best time of year to buy Calvus?
All year around. Hobbyists that like to ship may prefer summer to avoid freezing temperatures, but professional vendors know how to safeguard the fish.

Witch Slapped wrote:Is the aquarium large enough to comfortably house any other Tanganyikan cichlids? Or should I stick with just Calvus?
I would skip Cyprichromis in a 36" tank but a group of shellies like multifasciatus would work. Add LOTS of shells.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Petricola
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Homeless Peacocks; 33G Cobue
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Witch Slapped » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:41 pm

Thank you for that info DJ. I'll be sure to take some of those extra rocks out then, I'll probably leave the two cavernous structures on both ends though just to see which they prefer.

Would Ocellatus be a compatible shell dweller for the Calvus? Or would Multies be a better choice?

Anything else I should be aware of or keep an eye out for? I see you keep Calvus in one of your setups so any advice would be great. Thanks again.
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:59 pm

By the time you put up to 100 shells on one side and have a 6" free sand space in between, you may not have room for both rock structures.

I think ocellatus would work, but won't form as large of a colony as the multies, but maybe others who have kept them will chime in.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Petricola
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Homeless Peacocks; 33G Cobue
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Samadhikash » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:54 am

I am growing out 6 calvus in a 40B. I have three double calvus caves, three boester bells, and a whole series of flat rocks forming lots of narrow vertical caves all along the back of the tank. I took two pair of adult multis and put then in two separate shell groups at the very front of the tank--about ten shells each. The male multis were too aggressive for my taste and caused more stress for the calvus than I wanted. So I took the adult multis out and replaced them with two sets of three subadults (1m:2f). This has worked out much better. Though after many spawns and having one or two survive from each I'm going to remove the juvenile survivors and keep the multi numbers low, as the more multis there are the more emboldened they become and the more they encroach on the calvus. The calvus are the main priority in the tank and I have an established multi colony in a separate tank so this combination has worked out okay for me. I expect I'll have to change this set up as time goes on, but for now it adds some extra activity and interest as the calvus take their sweet time growing. :) Don't know how helpful this is, but that's my experience so far with calvus and multis in that size tank.

As far as resources, I've slowly worked my way through all the posts about calvus and comps in this Tanganyika subforum. Lots of info collected here. Other than a few solid articles elsewhere on the net, I haven't found a better source of broad based experience.
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Witch Slapped » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:09 pm

Hmm, I'll have to keep searching for some other tankmates for the calvus then. If shellies are going to be too aggressive in that space, it might be best to think of something else. I just subscribed to Cichlid Room Companion so hopefully there'll be some more ideas there as well. Thanks for the heads up on that Sam!
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby DJRansome » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:19 pm

I did not interpret the post by Samadhikash to mean the shellies are too aggressive for the calvus. Calvus and shellies are a tried and true combination for a 36" tank.

I have also done calvus and caucopundtatus (end up with a pair of each) in a 36" tank if you like those better.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Petricola
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Homeless Peacocks; 33G Cobue
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Samadhikash » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:18 pm

Yeah, just to clarify, I wasn't happy with how the mature multi males acted. But the subadults, who more or less came into their own in the presence of the calvus, have been fine. Also, I have rock all along the back with multis in the front--not ideal as far as territory separation. If I had chosen to do rock on the left and shells on the right, allowing for more separation of territory, it would have likely balanced for me more easily.
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Razzo » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 pm

DJRansome wrote:
Witch Slapped wrote:Is this the best time of year to buy Calvus?
All year around. Hobbyists that like to ship may prefer summer to avoid freezing temperatures, but professional vendors know how to safeguard the fish.


I agree with DJ. When I used to breed Altolamps, I shipped calvus fry all winter long and even to MN.
Recovering frontosa breeder (I have had a relapse)
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby Witch Slapped » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:48 am

Good to know. I found a local PS that specializes in cichlids, so I should be getting some nice deep black Calvus from them soon. I decided to go with a couple leleupi with the calvus. Set up some more rocky caverns. I just cleaned out the house's den as well, so I'm gonna set up a 30 gallon for a small group of ocellatus. I will probably use it to grow out some calvus as well, and use a 10 gallon as a nursery for them until they're big enough to be moved to the 30 gallon with the ocellatus then eventually hopefully sell them off locally.

I got bit by the Tang bug bad haha.
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Re: New Tanganyika Setup: Helpful Tips or Resources for Calv

Postby B2LL » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:42 am

I’ve kept aquariums for over 40 years now but have recently been bitten by the Tang bug myself. I’m cycling a 75 and will be sourcing some Black Calvus for it. Thinking I might want some Similis as tankmates as well. Following to watch your progress, any updates yet?
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