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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Morning All,

Thought I would start a Project Log for my latest project.

So I am a long time Reef Keeper and am in the process of stripping down my RSM 130D Reef Tank (34G/130L depending on location). I have had this tank running for the last 10 Years and have pretty much modified it as much as possible, short of throwing a sump on the thing. Sadly I lost the fish and corals a couple of months ago and have finally had to admit defeat and shutting down the tank. The costs of Saltwater for me now is just too expensive to try restarting so I have decided to switch back to Fresh Water after about 10 years away.

So, I have always loved Cichlids, especially the smaller Shell Dwelling species, my Mrs is from Zimbabwe and I have been attacked many times in Lake Tanganyika while scuba diving so the idea of having these vicious little monsters in my work tank is very much attractive to me.

So Since I know very little about this aspect of fish keeping I hope that someone could tell me if my planned set up/stocking list has any particular issues?

Tank: Red Sea Max 130D
Light: Kessil A360WE Tuna Blue (LFS will swap for Tuna Sun if i want)
Heater: 100W Adjustable
Return: 360 GPH Return Pump

Substrate and Hardscape:
• 5lbs Crushed Coral
• 5lbs Aragonite
• 5lbs Fine Sand
• Snail Shells Minimum 50
• Base Rock

Plants
• Anubias
• Java Fern
• Vallisneria Spirallis

Livestock: Clean up Crew
• Nerite Snails (5/6 Max - depends on build up)
• Bristlenose Pleco (depends on build up)

Livestock: Shell Dwellers
• 6 Neo/Lamprologus Multifasciatus

Also i have a load of Marine Barnacles, obviously I would need to clean these up but can anyone see an issue me adding these to the tank?
 

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How long is the tank? I would not mix substrates...especially the sizes since they tend to sift/separate. Consider 20 grain pool filter sand.

I would skip the rooted plants and just go with the anubias and/or java fern which can be attached to rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DJRansome said:
How long is the tank? I would not mix substrates...especially the sizes since they tend to sift/separate. Consider 20 grain pool filter sand.

I would skip the rooted plants and just go with the anubias and/or java fern which can be attached to rocks.
L24"xW20"xH24"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
sir_keith said:
Sounds like a fine plan; you've done your homework. Good luck! :fish:
Thank you, my main concern at the moment is the Clean up Crew, i'm also really looking forwards to running a more simple tank (no Dosing, easier lighting schedule etc)
 

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Since the length is 24" like a 10G I would skip the pleco and just go with the nerites. Either way the shellies will not appreciate anyone on their shells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DJRansome said:
Since the length is 24" like a 10G I would skip the pleco and just go with the nerites. Either way the shellies will not appreciate anyone on their shells.
Why would you skip the Pleco out of interest?
 

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It is a small tank already, even for shellies. Brevis would be good...multifasciatus are a squeeze. Nerites less of a bioload and less likely to hang out on the bottom.
 

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Ratvan said:
DJRansome said:
Since the length is 24" like a 10G I would skip the pleco and just go with the nerites. Either way the shellies will not appreciate anyone on their shells.
Why would you skip the Pleco out of interest?
It really isn't necessary for one. Second it will attempt to eat any fry. Third, it will regularly get attacked for doing two, perhaps losing it's eyes in the process (Yes, I've seen that).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fair enough, so what usually keeps these shell dweller tanks clean? Regular maintenance and Nerites?
 

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To keep algae in check, wiping down the inside glass can be done using a single edge razor blade (glass tank only) or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (no chemicals) or similar product.

Avoid over feeding so food won't accumulate on the substrate. You can also hand siphon the substrate into a white pail (to see any potential fry) and use your hand to stir up debris.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Deeda said:
To keep algae in check, wiping down the inside glass can be done using a single edge razor blade (glass tank only) or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (no chemicals) or similar product.

Avoid over feeding so food won't accumulate on the substrate. You can also hand siphon the substrate into a white pail (to see any potential fry) and use your hand to stir up debris.
So no real clean up crews, fair enough. Not as complicated as reef tanks but more work....
Next question, how would I protect my overflow from fry? Sponge before the weir teeth and hide with Moss?
 

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Is the overflow weir teeth at the top of the tank? If so, shouldn't be an issue as the fry stay at the bottom for a considerable amount of time when tiny. You could always cut a slit in a piece of sponge and fit it over the teeth but really doubt that is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
yes works as a surface skimmer at the surface, i'll just stick some moss on it to hide the ugly thing then
 

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Ratvan said:
... 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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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
sir_keith said:
Ratvan said:
... 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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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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DJRansome said:
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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Congrats on the five years. I had the best luck with the Tangs...but still only one two-year-old.
 
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