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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I am in the process of planning my first cichlid tank and want to make sure I stock it correctly. I wanted to do a Tanganyika tank first, as it has interested me the most. I have only kept various freshwater/planted tanks so far, but now that I have a 33 long I'd love to do cichlids.

I have a new 4ft 33 long tank I am going to use (48x12x12) and I have a ton of rocks already to choose from. I was thinking two rock piles, one on each side with open space in the middle for shell dwellers.

So far these are the fish I am the most interested in keeping based on my research and tanks I have seen on Youtube:
  1. Neolamprologus Multifasciatus (Deffinitely want these guys)
  2. Julidochromis Transcriptus (Really been interested in these)
  3. Neolamprologus Leleupi (Love the colors, but concerned about compatibility)
I have heard conflicting things about the leleupi and their compatibility though. Would these three species be alright together in a more narrow tank like this? If so how many of each? Otherwise I am looking for stocking suggestions/recommendations.

I assume three species is the max for this size tank, and I prefer my fish to be happy and not overstocked. I do love to see the social interactions though so if its possible to do three species I'd like to. If its possible to safely have a fourth species, that would be awesome but I was not expecting that to be a good idea. I am still doing a lot of research right now as there is a lot to learn!

ALSO I am doing research on what shells to purchase for the multis, and would prefer to get the ones that actually come from the lake (Neothauma tanganyicense I believe), however they are extremely expensive and I know I need a lot of shells per fish. I also have read it may not be good for the lake/fish to be exporting them out, so I don't know if I want to support that although I need to do more research. Anyways, if anyone has recommendations on the best shell to use for multis I would appreciate that advice. I want to make my tank as close to a proper Tanganyikan biotope as possible within reason.

Thanks for any help in advance! I am super excited to finally start keeping cichlids.
 

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Welcome to C-F!

No on the Neolamprologus leleupi as they will harass the Multies and pull them and their fry out of the shells.

I've always used Escargot shells for my small shell dwellers and they work great and are cheap. I also wanted the Neothauma shells when I started out but they were either not available or $10 per shell. I've seen they are available lately sometimes but don't know how they are legally exported as my understanding is they are/were prohibited to export.

The usual suggestion is to start with 6 unsexed juveniles of either #1 and #2 on your species list to get a chance at males and females. In my experience it didn't matter too much with Multies as you can always get more females if your 1st purchase was male heavy.

I haven't kept Julidochromis transcriptus, some members suggest that once a pair forms, the others may need to be rehomed so hopefully they comment on your stocking plans.
 

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Big YES to the Neo. multifasciatus. They would be a perfect choice for a 33 long. Get some Bahamian Aragonite Sand, some extra large escargot shells off of Amazon and sit back and watch the little community develop and grow. While they may not be the most colorful fish out there they more than make up for it with their social behavior & multigenerational spawnings. One of my favorite tanks. Every time I look in there I see new babies. While some people will mix in some Julies & multis I prefer to have species only tanks with these fish. So...options...
1. Neo multis (my favorite choice)
2. Neo brichardis (a close 2nd that also exhibit multi generational spawning)
3. Julidochromis (my preference would be dickfeldi, ornatus, transcriptus in that order). Prefer a bigger tank for marlieri.
You can't go wrong with any of these single species only tanks. They will all provide years of enjoyment. As an added bonus you can always sell any of these species juveniles.
 

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ALSO I am doing research on what shells to purchase for the multis, and would prefer to get the ones that actually come from the lake (Neothauma tanganyicense I believe), however they are extremely expensive and I know I need a lot of shells per fish. I also have read it may not be good for the lake/fish to be exporting them out, so I don't know if I want to support that although I need to do more research. Anyways, if anyone has recommendations on the best shell to use for multis I would appreciate that advice. I want to make my tank as close to a proper Tanganyikan biotope as possible within reason.
Thanks for any help in advance! I am super excited to finally start keeping cichlids.
Noah the multis are going to bury most of these shells anyways so why waste money on a shell where you will only see some of it and an opening. Quite frankly it is a waste of money. This is all you need...
In my tank I also placed a large Texas holey Rock for a sight break in the middle of the tank. They dug underneath and breed in there too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to C-F!

No on the Neolamprologus leleupi as they will harass the Multies and pull them and their fry out of the shells.

I've always used Escargot shells for my small shell dwellers and they work great and are cheap. I also wanted the Neothauma shells when I started out but they were either not available or $10 per shell. I've seen they are available lately sometimes but don't know how they are legally exported as my understanding is they are/were prohibited to export.

The usual suggestion is to start with 6 unsexed juveniles of either #1 and #2 on your species list to get a chance at males and females. In my experience it didn't matter too much with Multies as you can always get more females if your 1st purchase was male heavy.

I haven't kept Julidochromis transcriptus, some members suggest that once a pair forms, the others may need to be rehomed so hopefully they comment on your stocking plans.
Noah the multis are going to bury most of these shells anyways so why waste money on a shell where you will only see some of it and an opening. Quite frankly it is a waste of money. This is all you need...
In my tank I also placed a large Texas holey Rock for a sight break in the middle of the tank. They dug underneath and breed in there too.
Ok then I will definitely go with some escargot shells like those. That is what I was thinking was going to be the next best option.

So I actually have two 33 long tanks, but hadn't decided yet what I will do with the second one. (They will be stacked on a rack) So now I am considering doing species only tank for the Neo Multis, if that will make them the happiest and show their best behavior/interactions. But if I could keep a second species with them safely that would be nice.

Then for my second tank if I do more cichlids, would I have more compatibility options if I don't keep shell dwellers? Or would it always be a much better idea to go with single species for this tank size? I love the social interaction between the different kinds of fish, but I also know given smaller tanks this can cause stress or harassment.

My goal is for the fish to be happy and show their best behavior of course (which usually means single species), but at the same time want to keep as many species as I can given my tank's sizes if that makes sense. Hence why so much research and advice from you guys, which I really appreciate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I also already happen to have a bunch of this sand on hand. But I am not sure if it is ideal for the Multis or if I should buy a different Aragonite sand for them. (For example that same brand has one specific for cichlids) AQUANATURAL Oolitic Aragonite Aquarium Sand

If I am going with a species tank for the multis, I want the most ideal sand for them of course. So I won't mind buying one slightly different if that is better.
 

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It's really only the leleupi and their close relatives that are a problem with shellies in the tank. Also leleupi are aggressive even without shellies so you may want a 48x18 for them.

I think you would be fine with shellies and a pair of rock dwellers like calvus or julidochromis.
 
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I also already happen to have a bunch of this sand on hand. But I am not sure if it is ideal for the Multis or if I should buy a different Aragonite sand for them. (For example that same brand has one specific for cichlids) AQUANATURAL Oolitic Aragonite Aquarium Sand

If I am going with a species tank for the multis, I want the most ideal sand for them of course. So I won't mind buying one slightly different if that is better.
The sand you have listed will work fine. It's good stuff & helps buffer the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks again for all the help everyone! I think I am going to go with a species only tank for the Neo Multis first. The more I watch/read about them the more interested I am getting. I will decide later what to do with my second tank, but I will probably want to do a rock dweller tank or some kind of set up where I could do more than once species if possible. Still have lots of research do to!
 
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