Lake Victoria Basin, West African, Madagascar & Asian Species • Advice on Multi-tank set up

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Advice on Multi-tank set up

Postby SmokeySparrow » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:56 am

Hello everyone! I'm seeking advice on a 4 tank set up. I'm going to be as specific as I can and list all of the info you would possibly need before I go ahead with my questions :D

x4 Acrylic Tanks aprox. 30 Gallons with a dimension of; width 48" height 11" depth 14".

* All four tanks can be divided into 4 separate sections (w12"h11"d14"). If desired, each section can have their own overflow and adjustable flow or the whole tank can have 4 overflows and 4 flows.

The species I currently have are Xystichromis, Kyoga Flameback. I have 6 males ranging from 3" to 3 1/2" inches. 6 smaller adolescent males ranging from 1 1/2" inches to 2". 3 Females, 1 the size of my smaller males and 2 closer to my larger males size. I noticed aggressive grappling (not sparring) so they are all split up in a couple holding tanks but they will be needing a larger environment very soon.

My question to all of you fine folks is; How many of my available tanks do you think I should use? and how many cichlids would you recommend I allocate to each?

I want to consider growth, space and a comfortable number within their tank. While I've raised them I have observed that Kyoga's prefer a comfortable number within their colony rather than on their own. I have found 7 (1 1/2" to 2" inches) work great in a 20 gal long that's responsibly and appropriately hard/aqua-scaped. I'm guessing this changes as they get bigger though haha!

I'm very well acquainted with the rules pertaining to hard-scaping and aqua-scaping. I also know cichlids are not nice to most plants lol. I have found a work around in the horrors of keeping plants with cichlids but we can discuss that later ;)

This is my first time raising this species of cichlidae and its been very exciting to work with a rarer species :) They are getting bigger and I'm concerned for their future well being D: so I'm pretty eager to hear from you guys :)
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Re: Advice on Multi-tank set up

Postby triscuit » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:46 am

So, you have 3 females and way too many males, right? If your intent is to breed these, I would sell off your extra males and keep 4 good looking ones to start your breeding program. Stick 7 (4M:3F) in one of the 30s, and the rest in the other. I like having three tanks to work with when breeding: the breeding group, the non-breeding group, and the fry/young tank. The dividers will be good for the fry tank. You can send rejected males into the non-breeding tank, or pull the large juveniles in there until you are ready to sell/trade.

I am going to send you over to the Victorian cichlid folder to get some experts to disagree with me. .. I mean get you more feedback :D
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Re: Advice on Multi-tank set up

Postby Chester B » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:22 am

I think Triscuits advice is sound. I don't think I'd want to just have 1 male with the 3 females with nothing else in the tank. With 2 males the sub will probably be harassed terribly, with 3 its getting better but one will still suffer and with 4 it spreads the aggression out amongst the males and removes some of the attention from the females. With having 4 good males, I'd sell the rest as you have plenty of backups in case you lose one. Leave at least two of the tanks for raising fry and third as a possible hospital tank.


Or you could try the single male with 3 females and add another mild species of fish in to take some attention off the females. I would probably put in a non-cichlid like a group of smaller rainbowfish and see how that works. It should help to make them feel more calm. I'd put the rest of the males in another tank as backup and as you raise juveniles to a good size and start adding in more females to group. Leave two tanks for fry/juvies. If you get your female numbers up high enough you could have two adult colonies and two fry tanks.

The thing is Victorians tend to spawn early and often so you'll have far more broods than you need. Females can be worn down if you don't have enough, so option 3 would be to keep the males in one tank and females in another until you have a substantial amount of females. Two tanks for fry. Pick the desired male introduce him to the females tank, and leave him in there until you have a couple of mouthfuls and then remove him.

Sorry not meaning to confuse you, just thinking out loud.
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Re: Advice on Multi-tank set up

Postby SmokeySparrow » Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:35 pm

First off; Thank you for your replies and I'm sorry I was not able to reply sooner :( A bit of an emergency happened and I've been quite busy for 2 months. Although I've been quite preoccupied my Cichlids have not been forgotten! :D

During the beginning of my 2 chaotic months I've managed to successfully hard-scape 2 of the aforementioned tanks into suitable environments. I made some changes to my plans; I decided to hold off on breeding, split up my females and arranged my tanks so fry production was down to a minimum. Each tank consists of 5 main perm. caves, 3 of which are facing down the tank at around 120 degrees, evenly spaced, starting from the far right of the tank progressing towards the left and another towards the left end of the tank that faces the other 3. This allows 3 males to have territory without really seeing one another whilst in their respective caves and one that tends to see the rest resulting in sparring, keeping heat off of the other subs. The last main perm. cave is at the far left end of the tank but unlike the other caves its entrance is better described as a sunroof entrance as to not attract attention from the other more dominant males who won battle rights over the larger exclusive caves. I've found that the subs use this cave to hide and since the tanks first day of operation (1 1/2 months ago) they have excavated another entrance/exit facing towards the back of the tank. I've found they did this to have a grazing area on top of a large flat stone used as a roof for an adjacent cave. 80% of the time they go un-noticed up there and are able to retreat without injury. I should also mention there are many swim throughs in my tank, a lot of them you cannot see from the front or at all. Since I've had it running I've had no problems with fin injury or unhealthy sparring. I feel not only my hard-scaping contributed to this but my lighting system as well. I have an LED flood light far above each tank. They start the day off at a nice vibrant violet and as the day progresses into night they turn more blue. When night is full they progress to a deeper blue and slowly dim in brightness; as morning comes they turn more violet and increases in brightness as noon arrives. I have no aquatic plants in either tank, only one large bamboo looking plant thats partially submerged, lots of new roots and leafs grow way faster than bamboo. With this system I've been able to witness healthy cave dwelling, no constant stress dresses and minimal to no fin damage (usually fin damage occurs when I have to clean or do maintenance to a powerhead, my guess to stress). Testing has shown the "bamboo like plant" draws enough nutrients that the addition of water is only needed to keep up with evaporation or to decrease salinity after treating a disease. So far the tanks water has tested negative for large amounts of waste and has actually steadily decreased since the more porous rocks have seemed to become established.

My dominant male in each tank is beautiful and even the subs have great coloration in comparison. At night when the light is dim and deep blue their behavior is almost exclusively dancing with the roaming female or females that comes by. During the day the males clean out their caves, chase roaming males out of their territory, dance with females and eat when fed. So far about once every 3 weeks they all test their place on the tanks social ladder; the ensuing sparring looks like 3 couples ballroom dancing along the bottom of the tank while lip locking randomly. I've noticed this happens randomly all night during the dim deep blue light cycle. Little to no injuries are noticed the next day, although a male may have a new more desirable residence. Once in a blue moon I catch random fry that have survived the larger males. I plop them into a 20 long tank I designed for fry. Lots of Java fern, moss and rocks of all sizes. So far I have 2 adorable fry :) I will take the advice given and sell my less desirable males while new fry emerge and grow.

I will be breeding Kyogas on a larger scale when I have a few more of those acrylics free but until then I'm suppling a local store with some Snakeskin guppies I've been selectively breeding in the other two acrylics.

Again, thanks for the advice and any more would be awesome :D I know I sound pretty proud but I'm open to criticism or further advice, its whats gotten me this far and its always interesting to learn what has worked for others :)
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