Lake Tanganyika Species • 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby sir_keith » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:48 am

Ratvan wrote: ... So no real clean up crews, fair enough...


Sure you can have 'clean-up crews.' I have Nerite snails and Siamese Algae Eaters (Crossocheilus oblongus, also called Crossocheilus siamensis) in most of my Tanganyika tanks, and they do a fine job of algae control. Sure, I have to scrape the glass with a MagFloat periodically, but the SAEs and Nerites take care of the algae inside the tank, including on my plants. Good luck! :thumb:
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby Ratvan » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:52 am

sir_keith wrote:
Ratvan wrote: ... So no real clean up crews, fair enough...


Sure you can have 'clean-up crews.' I have Nerite snails and Siamese Algae Eaters (Crossocheilus oblongus, also called Crossocheilus siamensis) in most of my Tanganyika tanks, and they do a fine job of algae control. Sure, I have to scrape the glass with a MagFloat periodically, but the SAEs and Nerites take care of the algae inside the tank, including on my plants. Good luck! :thumb:


How do the SAE and the Cichlids get on? I know every fish is different
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby DJRansome » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:41 pm

You are going to see mixed reviews about SAE and cichlids. sir_keith is recommending them. There were enough issues surfaced in my research for me to skip them, but it is seductive.

I have better results managing algae with light and nutrients. Especially in a 24" tank. Nerites do not seem to live their full life spans in my various African Rift Lake tanks...best I have been able to do is two years.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby sir_keith » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:52 pm

DJRansome wrote:You are going to see mixed reviews about SAE and cichlids. sir_keith is recommending them. There were enough issues surfaced in my research for me to skip them, but it is seductive.

I have better results managing algae with light and nutrients. Especially in a 24" tank. Nerites do not seem to live their full life spans in my various African Rift Lake tanks...best I have been able to do is two years.


Well, you know what they say- 'Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear...' Perhaps even less of what you hear online (except for this forum, of course :) ).

I tried SAEs in a couple of my Tanganyika tanks a few years ago; my main worry being whether they would be OK with the water chemistry, but they were fine. Since then, I have included 6 or more SAEs in every one of my tanks (all 4' or more), without any problems. The caveat here is that my collection does not include any large, aggressive cichlids, just various Tropheus, Xenotilapia, Enantiopus, Ophthalmotilapia, Julidochromis, and Neolamprologus shell dwellers. All of these cichlids completely ignore the SAEs, even full-grown featherfins.

As for the Nerites, you have to be careful who you put with whom, because once they get turned on their backs, it's over. So I put small Nerites in my grow-out tanks, and only when they get to be ~1/2 inch or so do they go in with any adult fishes. They need to be even bigger to go in a Tropheus tank, because these fishes are so hyperkinetic, but once the snails can resist the occasional nudge from a curious Tropheus, they are fine (I'm not at all sure this would work with Mbuna). I started my Nerite experiment about 5 years ago, and several of my snails are that old. I do not know what the full life span of a Nerite in captivity is supposed to be (that pesty internet 'truth' issue again), but is five years so bad for a snail?

Bottom line- with your shellies, the Nerites will be fine. I don't think the SAEs will work in a 24" tank- there's just not enough room. For sure light and nutrients are one way to manage algae, along with an occasional swipe from a MagFloat.

There really are no hard-and-fast rules in this hobby, which is why it's so much fun. Good luck! :fish:
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby DJRansome » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:59 pm

Congrats on the five years. I had the best luck with the Tangs...but still only one two-year-old.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby sir_keith » Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:13 pm

DJRansome wrote:Congrats on the five years. I had the best luck with the Tangs...but still only one two-year-old.

Thank you. I should have mentioned that everything I said in my post about the Nerites refers specifically to the 'Black Racers.' I've only recently begun to experiment with some of the other Nerites (e. g. 'Zebras") and I have the impression that they are more sensitive. For sure the 'Black Racers' deserve their name, and perhaps they are better able to get out of the way of inquisitive cichlids. In any event, the Racers are awesome algae eaters. :)
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby Ratvan » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:07 am

Thank you all for taking the time to give me your insights.
I should have the majority of the sand and rocks within the tank today, I am going to have some very basic plants as sand and shells only is a little too dull for me.
I have spoken with a few French Restaurants and will be picking up some Escargot shells to clean and add shortly
Got some branches that are currently soaking, once they're ready I will add to the tank, finish the rock work and start to add some plants.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:35 am

Not too many rocks and leave the multis lots of sand around the shell colony...they like several layers.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby Ratvan » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:52 am

I've got a pile of rock in one rear corner where I aim to have the majority of my plants, thinking about a Julie pair at the moment as well as the multis but stocking is still a few months off. Then have 3 largish rocks that i'll spread to break up lines of sight to the rock cave. I have a lot of sand in here so far, roughly 3" in depth all around the tank (fully expecting for it to not look it currently does)
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby Deeda » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:42 am

I think you will be unhappy with a 3" sand depth as the Multies are definitely sand movers and will create large mounds to bury unwanted shells and leave bare spots in the tank. I found that even with 1" sand depth, they rearrange it daily.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby Ratvan » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:27 am

Deeda wrote:I think you will be unhappy with a 3" sand depth as the Multies are definitely sand movers and will create large mounds to bury unwanted shells and leave bare spots in the tank. I found that even with 1" sand depth, they rearrange it daily.


I'm used to my sandbed being rearranged. In my reefs I always have burrowing shrimp and gobies.
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Re: 1st Time Keeping Cichlids

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:02 pm

Ratvan wrote:I've got a pile of rock in one rear corner where I aim to have the majority of my plants, thinking about a Julie pair at the moment as well as the multis but stocking is still a few months off. Then have 3 largish rocks that i'll spread to break up lines of sight to the rock cave. I have a lot of sand in here so far, roughly 3" in depth all around the tank (fully expecting for it to not look it currently does)
The tank is already overstocked with just the multifasciatus.

For a Julidochromis pair, I would do a 30" tank minimum and even then choose a small, peaceful juli like Gombe.
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