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Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:34 am
by Kiks
Hello,

I'm new on the forum and created this account because I just set up a tank for l. multifasciatus. Currently I have eight (bought them yesterday), but I'm hoping they'll add some fry to the colony soon.
My setup is based on pictures I've found of other shell dweller tanks and information online - I'm hoping I'm doing it all right.

I have a few questions that I'm hoping some of you might be able to answer.

1. The water in my tank has a bit of current. The fish aren't being pushed around, but in some areas of the tank they have to use quite some energy to keep in one spot. Is this okay or is it too much? There are places with rocks where the current is less, but I don't want to exhaust them.
2. I bought some food when I bought the fish since the food I had is flakes and general bottom feeder food like algae wafers and such. The store employee gave me some food which says it's for American cichlids. I asked him if it made a difference since the multis are African and he said it doesn't - but I don't quite believe this. On some website it even stated that feeding Africans with food made for Americans could be dangerous because their dietary preferences are so different. Should I buy a different food? Might add that they don't seem too stoked about the food, they tend to spit out most of it from what I can see.
3. One of the multis have an odd white spot on it's fin. It's rather large, but kind of see-through like the rest of the fin. To me it doesn't look like fungus (it's not fluffy looking or raised), it even looks to be shining in bright light. It's also not equally white on either side of the fin. Any idea what it could be? It also has one eye that looks to be larger than the other, which I'm thinking is pop-eye. I intend to cure it by keeping it in clean water unless there are any other options? Looking at the picture of the eye, I'm actually thinking it might not be that much larger, but appears larger because it seems like part of the "shiny" part of the eye is uncovered more on one side than the other... I don't know.
I've tried to attach some pictures of the fish in question and the entire tank - it's 47 gallons and of course cycled.

Any help would be very much appreciated. Not a beginner, but definitely a multi beginner :-)

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:20 pm
by DJRansome
Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

Kiks wrote: 1. The water in my tank has a bit of current. The fish aren't being pushed around, but in some areas of the tank they have to use quite some energy to keep in one spot. Is this okay or is it too much? There are places with rocks where the current is less, but I don't want to exhaust them.

I would tone it down a bit...what is your total GPH?

Kiks wrote:2. I bought some food when I bought the fish since the food I had is flakes and general bottom feeder food like algae wafers and such. The store employee gave me some food which says it's for American cichlids. I asked him if it made a difference since the multis are African and he said it doesn't - but I don't quite believe this. On some website it even stated that feeding Africans with food made for Americans could be dangerous because their dietary preferences are so different. Should I buy a different food? Might add that they don't seem too stoked about the food, they tend to spit out most of it from what I can see.
Fish are not expected to eat for the first 24 hours in a new tank and may not eat well for the first week. Post the ingredients of the food you have.

Kiks wrote:3. One of the multis have an odd white spot on it's fin. It's rather large, but kind of see-through like the rest of the fin. To me it doesn't look like fungus (it's not fluffy looking or raised), it even looks to be shining in bright light. It's also not equally white on either side of the fin. Any idea what it could be? It also has one eye that looks to be larger than the other, which I'm thinking is pop-eye. I intend to cure it by keeping it in clean water unless there are any other options? Looking at the picture of the eye, I'm actually thinking it might not be that much larger, but appears larger because it seems like part of the "shiny" part of the eye is uncovered more on one side than the other... I don't know.
Regarding fin spots...does it look like pigment? Regarding the eye...maybe an injury? it does sound swollen. Clean water is best unless you see more symptoms...and injuries heal very fast...improving every day.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 1:36 pm
by Kiks
Welcome to Cichlid-forum!


Thanks a ton and thank you for replying!

I would tone it down a bit...what is your total GPH?


I have the JUWEL 180 liter tank which comes with a built-in internal filter. Many choose to cut it out and buy another filter since the GPH isn't high with this one. It sits at 158 GPH which hasn't been causing me any troubles filtration wise, but it does create quite a bit of current. I have previously baffled it, but I assume that might bring the GPH down even further?

Fish are not expected to eat for the first 24 hours in a new tank and may not eat well for the first week. Post the ingredients of the food you have.


The food I bought is "Vitalis central/south american cichlid pellets" and the ingredients are:
Protein: 44.7%
Moisture: 20.5%
Inorganic matter: 19.4%
Fat content: 10.8%
Fibre: 1.7%

There are also a bunch of additives... Actually there are a lot.

Regarding fin spots...does it look like pigment? Regarding the eye...maybe an injury? it does sound swollen. Clean water is best unless you see more symptoms...and injuries heal very fast...improving every day.


It does kind of look like pigment, but it's very light as you can see in the pictures. As of now it doesn't concern me that much, but since I'm used to community tanks and those kinds of fish I thought I'd ask here in case there was something cichlid specific I didn't know of. So far I think I'll just keep the water pristine.

Again, thanks for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:59 pm
by DJRansome
GPH seems low for cichlids, but you do not want them to have only limited places to rest in the tank. Not sure I have the liters and gallons and GPH all converted correctly, but either way we usually do 8X to 10X GPH for cichlids.

I found this from Vitalis.
Fish and Fish Derivatives, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Molluscs and Crustaceans, Oils and Fats, Minerals.

Could be anything, you want a product that is proud enough of their ingredients to provide something more specific like this:
Ingredients: Whole Antarctic Krill Meal, High Omega-3 (DHA) Herring Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Wheat Flour, Kelp, Spirulina, Garlic, Astaxanthin (Haematococcus Algae), Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorby-2-Polyphospate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Activated Animal-Sterol (D3), DL Alphatocopherol (E), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride,Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc.


The first ingredients are most important. Specify the fish and the source. Aquatic protein and aquatic vegetation like spirulina. These are high quality ingredients.

You don't want ground up fish from farms...they tend to have high heavy metal content.

WRT the spot...lots of cichlids have egg spots on their fins, and I see lots of spots on shellie fins but not exactly what you describe. Cichlid bad fin spots are similar to other fish...ich or fin rot, etc.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:19 am
by Kiks
GPH seems low for cichlids, but you do not want them to have only limited places to rest in the tank. Not sure I have the liters and gallons and GPH all converted correctly, but either way we usually do 8X to 10X GPH for cichlids.


It is quite low, sitting at only 3.3 x turn over per hour. I've never had any issues with this, but I do believe it might be possible to cut the internal filter out and swap it without having to remove fish and decorations. Would you suggest I bought another filter? And if so, do you have any suggestions?

The first ingredients are most important. Specify the fish and the source. Aquatic protein and aquatic vegetation like spirulina. These are high quality ingredients.

You don't want ground up fish from farms...they tend to have high heavy metal content.


Sounds like I'll be going to the store to look for some better food.

WRT the spot...lots of cichlids have egg spots on their fins, and I see lots of spots on shellie fins but not exactly what you describe. Cichlid bad fin spots are similar to other fish...ich or fin rot, etc.


I've never seen a spot like this on any fish before. The fish however seems healthy and does all the same things that the others do. I guess I'll wait and see if it gets better or worse or stays the same.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:54 am
by DJRansome
Check out online vendors for the higher end fish foods. IDK what is available in Denmark, but here we like New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula 1mm sinking pellets and in Canada Northfin Cichlid Formula 1mm sinking pellets.

If your GPH is less than 4 and still too much current for your fish I would not change it.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:55 am
by Kiks
We do have NLS in Denmark. I just ordered some of their cichlid food 1 mm.
I guess I will keep my filter for now.

Thanks for all the help :-)

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:26 pm
by punman
I have been keeping African cichlids for the last 16 years. Malawi and Tanganyika, but mostly Tanganyika. New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula and Northfin Cichlid Formula is what they have been fed. Northfin more so in recent years but I think both brands are great. DJRansome has given great advice.

From Tanganyika I have kept tropheus, cyprichromis, furcifers, compressiceps, frontosas, enantiopus; some of these not the easiest fish to keep but I think one reason I have been successful is that I have used good quality food and been careful about which fish were kept together and which ones were better on their own.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:14 pm
by Kiks
I have been keeping African cichlids for the last 16 years. Malawi and Tanganyika, but mostly Tanganyika. New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula and Northfin Cichlid Formula is what they have been fed. Northfin more so in recent years but I think both brands are great. DJRansome has given great advice.

From Tanganyika I have kept tropheus, cyprichromis, furcifers, compressiceps, frontosas, enantiopus; some of these not the easiest fish to keep but I think one reason I have been successful is that I have used good quality food and been careful about which fish were kept together and which ones were better on their own.


Sounds good, I'm glad I've ordered some NLS then.

Since you have a lot of experience, do you have any guesses regarding the white spot?
If you have any comments on my setup from what you can see on the pictures, any feedback would be appreciated.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:48 pm
by punman
Sorry, no idea on the white spot. Maybe if you post in the Illness, Health and Disease section, you might get more feedback.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:00 am
by naturlvr
Hi Kiks. I am glad to have another shellie wanna be in this forum who asks questions. You will get a lot of great advice in here. I have never been steered wrong. DJ and others are truly glad to help you...it must be their calling.

I have a couple of tanks devoted to the shell dwellers and the fish that go with them. Right now I have a pair out of ten gold occellatus that are breeding..started quickly after i got them. So far the babies are not making it and probably eaten by the other fish. I hope the parents soon learn how to protect them, if that is possible because I too want to see an active colony.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:00 am
by Kiks
punman wrote:Sorry, no idea on the white spot. Maybe if you post in the Illness, Health and Disease section, you might get more feedback.


I might try that. Thanks!

naturlvr wrote:Hi Kiks. I am glad to have another shellie wanna be in this forum who asks questions. You will get a lot of great advice in here. I have never been steered wrong. DJ and others are truly glad to help you...it must be their calling.

I have a couple of tanks devoted to the shell dwellers and the fish that go with them. Right now I have a pair out of ten gold occellatus that are breeding..started quickly after i got them. So far the babies are not making it and probably eaten by the other fish. I hope the parents soon learn how to protect them, if that is possible because I too want to see an active colony.


Interesting. I did consider adding some other cichlids to my multis, but I think for now I'll just keep it as a one species setup.
I have noticed a bit of chasing between two fish which I would like to limit. I've tried to put the shells in small groups to create a "buffer zone". I read about this in an article that stated that this could lower aggression since the fish were less likely to intrude another's territory. Not sure yet if it has helped, but I've also ordered more shells. As of now I have 21 shells and eight fish, but when the new shells arrive I'll have 41.
I haven't kept these multis before so I'm unsure how much chasing is considered "okay" and how much chasing is too much.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:14 am
by DJRansome
If the fish is repeatedly driven toward the surface, that is too much. Multi's like a lot of shells...100 are not too many. But usually all in one pile...multi level.

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:51 am
by Kiks
DJRansome wrote:If the fish is repeatedly driven toward the surface, that is too much. Multi's like a lot of shells...100 are not too many. But usually all in one pile...multi level.


The fish that's getting chased is chased around the tank by a male (the one with the spot in the pictures) that seems to think it owns more than half the tank. Other fish are allowed into its territory except for this one fish. It is chased approximately half way towards the surface, but sometimes it's also just chased around the tank until it leaves the area, which it is pretty reluctant to do for some reason.

Do you have any suggestions on how to lower the aggressions? I assume more shells will help, but are there other things I can do?

Re: Questions about shell dwellers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:07 pm
by DJRansome
Usually we let them work it out until the reject fish is in danger (relentless chasing over a period of days, especially when the victim fish chooses the direction of the surface), then we rehome either the victim fish or the aggressor.

Of course the victim fish wants to claim a shell. The aggressor has decided the victim is competition. Try more shells first.