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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intro:

I picked up a couple of big tanks last month and decided to switch up the show tanks a bit. Most of the mostly-male 180 went into the 150, some of the males from the 150 went into a new 125 and a few groups from those tanks as well from the fish room went back into the 180.

Getting more into breeding these days, I've realized how much cool behavior you can get out of groups of fish. While several groups of mbuna are fairly common in large tanks, I'm more of a hap/peacock guy myself and wanted to do something different.

Species Selection:

In terms of species, I have long since wanted to have a big group of Fossochromis rostratus in the 180, along with some blue Placidochromis followers. I got the Fossies over the last couple of years, from both mail order and from ECC's auction... most around an inch at the time. The blue Placidochromis I picked up at ACA last year. They are Placidochromis sp. "electra blue" and are described by Ad as one of the followers/scavengers that follows Fossies or large Taniolethrinops. The larger fish sift large amounts of sand and these guys (along with C. moori) will grab scarps that are excavated from the sand. Cool, right? So theoretically, these guys are my bottom dwellers.

After that, I decided to put in my favorite breeding group of Protomelas - the P. spilonotus - Sulfur headed/Mara Rocks. These guys are especially cool because in nature, they are one of the few big haps to inhabit the upper-waved-washed rocky habitat. Here, they eat mostly insects that land/fall on the water. So, they (along with the Tanzanian spilonotus) generally hang up top.

To compliment these guys, I wanted to add a smaller streamlined "Utaka" - an open water fish. Over the last year, I have grown a group of Nyassachromis broadzulu. These more streamlined fish (similar to Copadichromis) swim the open water in the lake in large schools and mostly feed of plankton - like the Malawi version of Tanganyikan Cyprichromis.

Well you look at this selection and say "Dang - that's a lot of blue." So to round it off, I put in one of my favorite groups of peacocks - Aulonocara jacobfreibergi - Ottter Point. The striking red and white coloration of the male and brownish-orange of the females really set them apart from the rest. They are very aggressive for peacocks, so if in a group, will appreciate a large tank long term.

Lastly, you will notice that there are some predators in the tank - Stigmatochromis sp. Spirostichus type. These guys are actually just here temporarily. They will be moved over to the other 125, most likely after the convention when things slow down a bit. Either way, they are cool fish... pure predators that only get to be the size of a mid-size hap (8" or so).

Where's the catfish? Besides the lone decent-size albino Ancistrus in the tank for algae control, there is a Synodontis decorus in the tank. Currently about 7" long, this is the largest species of my Synos. Planet Catfish has them maxing out at about 11" long. They are an active Syno with a cool long trailer on their dorsal (which he should be able to keep in this semi-peaceful, mbuna-free crowd).

Stocking Numbers:

-Protomelas spilonotus (Mara Rocks) 1M/5F
-Fossochromis rostratus 2M/5F
-Nyassochromis broadzulu 2M/5F
-Stigmatochromis sp. Spirostichtus Type" 2M/3F
-Placidochromis sp. "Electra Blue" 2M/6F
-Aulonocara jacobfreibergi - Otter Point 1M/3F
-Synodontis decorus (1U)

Long Term Plans/Breeding:

The two first species get big. Sulfur-headed spilonotus are the larges of the Protomelas and get to be about 11" long with Fossies getting 14"+ in a large tank. The Nyassos, electra and peacocks should all max out around 6" give or take. The Stigmatos are leaving. The biggest fish are around 8" now, with smaller males around 5" +/-.

Down the road, a 180 will certainly not accommodate 7 Fossies, so these guys will have to be split up. I would like to keep a quad perhaps, but time will tell. Other groups with multiple males (Placidochromis, nyassos) may have to be split up if the aggression gets too bad... either of these are considered very aggressive though.

In terms of breeding, I have selected species that are different enough that they should not go after the wrong females. In the 3-4 weeks the tank has been setup, the peaccoks, Nyassos and electra have all been holding and the spilonotus has been dancing. I believe the Fossies to still be too small to do their thing reliably.

I have pulled fry from most of these species previously, so am not terribly pressed to catch holding females (though I envision myself doing so down the road if the opportunity presents itself).

I may eventually swap out the electras for my Tanzanian P. phenochilus, but am enjoying keeping that group in their own species tank for now.

Thanks!

Well, if you made it this far, you are either an old-world guy or really bored. Thank you for reading my little write-up. I don't do this often, but am really passionate about this setup. Out of my 30 or so tanks, this one is by far my favorite.

Now for the video (I go from whole tank shot to closeups around 1:10 so skip to there if you get bored):


Coming soon: Fishroom updated in (hopefully) 1080p quality.
 

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Wow those Otter Points are stunning. Your fish has just instantly made me question whether to go Mbuna with my tank (as I have before) or try Hap/Peacocks. That is one beautiful fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much, guys. :)

Yeah, the jakes were sort of an afterthought. At first, I was planning on dropping in my breeding group of benga, but figured these guys with the bright colors would pop a bit more. Plus, they end up a lot bigger and more aggressive in the end than the bengas.
 

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Nice set-up! That was an enjoyable video to watch but one problem; it wasn't long enough. :p
I can't wait to see your fish room video.

I like your thinking behind the Electras and Fossies. IYO, which (among your stock list) have the most interesting personalities?

Out of curiosity, what type of your filtration are you running?

Looks good! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
DanniGirl said:
Nice set-up! That was an enjoyable video to watch but one problem; it wasn't long enough. :p
I can't wait to see your fish room video.
Thank you very much. I'll definitely try to get some shots of the fish room and maybe the other big tanks here in the next couple of weeks.

DanniGirl said:
I like your thinking behind the Electras and Fossies. IYO, which (among your stock list) have the most interesting personalities?

Out of curiosity, what type of your filtration are you running?

Looks good! :thumb:
The electras are a lot of fun to watch... always cruising the bottom, looking for food. The alpha male has actually created a bowl on the far left of the tank that he's always defending.

What has come as a surprise is the Nyassochromis group. Sort of thought them to be a filler fish, but have been proven wrong. I have always heard that these fish do not color well in the presence of other fish and certainly not early.

I was watching them last night and have three (!) fully colored males.. nice dark blue, almost purple with a hint of orange down their sides. They're constantly flexing at each other and the females, fins puffed out, vertical stripes in full effect. No fighting or damage, just plenty of facing-off.

The peacocks are great as well. That little guy is afraid of nobody and will go toe-to-toe with the Fossies, the Protomelas or the catfish. Since he's gone from a 4' tank up to here, he's laid off the females a bit, which is a good thing. He was tearing them up.

For filtration, I have a 50 gallon homemade Rubbermaid sump with a homemade 3-stage trickle tower (mechanical, bio balls, then pot scrubbies). It flows about 1100 gph via a MAG return pump. I think there's about a 5 gallon bucket's worth of media in the sump (along with a giant bag of crushed coral to harden the water a bit). I've supplemented with an AC110 to take care of the big stuff during feedings and two medium-sized Corelia on the top of each end of the tank to keep the fish active and mulm from settling too much.

I do weekly 75% water changes religiously. Happy fish need clean water. :)
 
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