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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody. I'm new to this forum. I currently have a 29gallon planted tank that is over a year and a half old now, and I'm looking for something new. All I have in it is the usual tetras, cories, blah blah blah. :zz: I also have a SW tank... anyway, back to my FW. I've been trying to find some interesting tankmates that won't just float around that are also appropriate for my tank size. Of all the fish I've looked at, these cute little shell dwellers look the most interesting to me. :)

So, I think I need some help deciding what species to get. From what I've read, Brevis and multifasciatus seem to be the most popular. I've read only one species from each genus, and I prefer Brevis. What I'm wondering is how many of those I could have in my 29g tank, assuming there were no other fish in it? :?

You may have noticed that I haven't used the genus names for any of these fish. The reason is because there seems to be conflicting information on them. Some sites will say Neolamprologus brevis, others just Lamprologus brevis... which is correct? :-?

Also, what tankmates could I have with it? I know it needs to be a high pH, and the only thing other than cichlids I can think of it mollies. :roll: Could somebody please give me ideas? I have no idea what type of cichlids would be compatible with these itty bitty ones. I've read they breed like rabbits, so something for population control would be nice. :D

And finally, I'm wondering how to keep the pH high. For my marine tank it just kinda stays high... from surface agitation (removing CO2) and coral sand. Would that be enough to keep it up in a freshwater tank? My pH is about 6.5 out of the tap. :(

I know that's a lot of questions, but I've never kept cichlids before. I'd really appreciate your help. :fish:
 

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but most tetras don't like hard water. if you have soft water go with a pair of blue rams. a beautiful dwarf ciclid. stick with ur water don't fight it. becaues then you have to monitor alot more. oh and rams are soft water fish btw
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
goldoccie21 said:
but most tetras don't like hard water. if you have soft water go with a pair of blue rams. a beautiful dwarf ciclid. stick with ur water don't fight it. becaues then you have to monitor alot more. oh and rams are soft water fish btw
I would rehome my current fish if they won't be compatible. I should've made that clear.
I don't really want rams. I guess I'm just being stubborn, but I don't like them all that much.
And I don't mind monitoring my water. That's why I have a reef tank. :D
sw mixe have buffers to keep the ph high
*smacks forehead* I don't know why I didn't think of that... :roll:
 

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a 29 would work for a few pairs of shellies same species though. and maybe a only a couple of occies. but occies rule esp the gold strain. crushed coral sand a few pieces of holey rock and a shell bed and a jar of cichlid buffer. could proabily squeeze either a pair of julies or calvus also.
 

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all4game said:
Hi everybody. I'm new to this forum. I currently have a 29gallon planted tank that is over a year and a half old now, and I'm looking for something new. All I have in it is the usual tetras, cories, blah blah blah. :zz: I also have a SW tank... anyway, back to my FW. I've been trying to find some interesting tankmates that won't just float around that are also appropriate for my tank size. Of all the fish I've looked at, these cute little shell dwellers look the most interesting to me. :)

So, I think I need some help deciding what species to get. From what I've read, Brevis and multifasciatus seem to be the most popular. I've read only one species from each genus, and I prefer Brevis. What I'm wondering is how many of those I could have in my 29g tank, assuming there were no other fish in it? :?

You may have noticed that I haven't used the genus names for any of these fish. The reason is because there seems to be conflicting information on them. Some sites will say Neolamprologus brevis, others just Lamprologus brevis... which is correct? :-?

Also, what tankmates could I have with it? I know it needs to be a high pH, and the only thing other than cichlids I can think of it mollies. :roll: Could somebody please give me ideas? I have no idea what type of cichlids would be compatible with these itty bitty ones. I've read they breed like rabbits, so something for population control would be nice. :D

And finally, I'm wondering how to keep the pH high. For my marine tank it just kinda stays high... from surface agitation (removing CO2) and coral sand. Would that be enough to keep it up in a freshwater tank? My pH is about 6.5 out of the tap. :(

I know that's a lot of questions, but I've never kept cichlids before. I'd really appreciate your help. :fish:
,

Your pH is 6.5 out of the tap? If you let it sit in a bucket for a couple of days what's your pH then? The excess of C02 causes this false pH reading, likely you have hard enough water to maintain TR Africans. Leave some water in a bucket and then test it 1 day, then 2 days later. If you get a pH over 7 you'll be able to maintain these fish long term, especially with the inclusion of a mild buffer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay I have a bucket of water sitting now. :)

Also, I have access to RO water. So if my tap water isn't quite up to par then I can always use that.
 

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RO water is almost the opposite of what you want :)

For Tanganyikans you want water so hard you almost have to chisel it from the tap!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know but I could add buffer to it. If I have to add more buffer to the tap water than I would to the RO water, ya know? That probably wouldn't happen though. :)
 

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The suggestion of rams is a pretty good one, given your water. Long term, low maintenance is a good idea.

I have a few big tanks and pre-mixing water with chemicals during water changes is an extra step (that is not so bad if you make yourself some time-saving hoses and pumps , but i digress)

If you have SW then you are accustomed to mixing water in a tub before adding to tank

If that is OK with you, you can bring your water up to tang hardness with good commercial pH buffers and "cichlid lake salts" for hardness.

Pretty much any shelldwellers will be fun.

Lamprologus vs Neolamprologus is a nomenclature / scientific species identification detail... they refer to the same "group" of fish for practical purposes, and thie "officially correct" term has been subject to change as the taxonomic classifications are revised seemingly every few years.

There are a few different types of shellies.

Brevis, in my opinion and experience, are ones where you would not have long term success with more than one male (correct me if you know otherwise) and are often kept as a pair. THey are larg-ish and tend to use a single shell for both male and female, which is slighlty unusual.

Neolamp. multifasciatus ("multies") and closely related neol. similis, which i have, readily form colonies in your size tank and even smaller tanks. Multiple males can coexist, but not always in absolute harmony.

I believe Neol. ocellatus ("occies") and closely related Neol. speciosus tend toward a harem style, in my experience, with a single male dominating a small tank but with multiple females, each in her own shell. I didn't see much tendency for colony-formation in a 20H when i had these years back, more of a 1-male plus females, and young males that grew up to challenge the alpha male were not tolerated.

most of the commonly available shellies fall into one of these 3 groups.

Here is a pretty good list of common and not-so-common shellies.
http://www.shelldwellers.com/index.php?topic=1991.15

I haven't kep telmatochromis, they seem to me to be a sort of shellie-julidochromis intermeidate.

There are some other larger fish that are "shellies" but I wouldn't recommend in your case.
for example, Lepidolamprologus Hecqui is plucky and cool when small (and breed like rabbits), but males get to be 3.5" bruisers and no longer occupy a "shellie" slot in a tank, but end up being pretty aggressive and claim rock territory from other more peaceful fish (IME)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks a lot for the post!

I just tested the water in teh bucket I set aside, pH was exactly 7 and it's been about 4 hours. :)

So would I use these products to help get the water to the right conditions?
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/P ... catid=4196
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... catid=4192

I could only have one species from the same genus, right? Otherwise they will breed with each other and produce hybrids?

How many could I have total? Six?
Can anybody suggest some possible tankmates?

Thanks for replies.
 

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Hmmm it depends on what exactly you're looking for. What do you like the looks of best? I hate to say it, but I really do enjoy the behavior of my multies more than I do my other shellies and I've pretty much kept every shell dweller in the lake. Endlers, dwarf rainbows and danios will all make good dithers. You won't get the full enjoyment out of them if you keep other cichlids with them, especially in an aquarium of that size. If you start with 6 multies... you'll end up with tons of fry which will help to look after succeeding generations. Give the water a day and see what the eventual pH is, I imagine that it will rise another couple points yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks.

What are the behavior differences in multis and other shellies? I figured the behavior was all the same... :-?

I really like my hatchetfish that I have now. I'm worried about the pH being too high for them? Or will they be okay. I also have some upside down catfish (S. nigriventris) and kuhlie loaches. Will the shellies bother them since they are bottom feeders?
I currently own praecox rainbows as well but I don't like them very much...

I was looking forward to more cichlids but the shelldwellers are my main interest so I'll try to find something else.
 

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I'm with Darkside: you'll find prettier shellies, but multies are by far the most enjoyable to keep. Nothing more entertaining than watching a colony tend to their daily business. I've had occies, brevis, and a tank full of gorgeous meleagris, but none of 'em compared to the multies.

You can keep almost any schooling fish as dither with 'em, they don't bother anyone that doesn't bother them. (I've been partial to white clouds.)
 

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That cichlid lake salt is what I use.
As for the Buffer, I find that exact replication of Tanganyika pH of 9-9.4 with the Tanganyika buffer is not as practical for me. I keep large-ish tanks and sometimes (gasp!) mix lakes, and things are easier for me if my tanks are less extremely different in chemistry.

So... for Tang tanks I use about 3 parts malawi buffer and 1 part tanganyika buffer to get to pH8.5 or so.

I have had no issues with breeding or long term health with my tangs this way.

Another big benefit to this approach is during introduction of new fish... VERY few if any fish stores or wholesalers keep their water at pH as high as 9.0, so having that high a pH can increase the stress of intorducing new fish considerably.
 

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mikesl said:
That cichlid lake salt is what I use.
As for the Buffer, I find that exact replication of Tanganyika pH of 9-9.4 with the Tanganyika buffer is not as practical for me. I keep large-ish tanks and sometimes (gasp!) mix lakes, and things are easier for me if my tanks are less extremely different in chemistry.

So... for Tang tanks I use about 3 parts malawi buffer and 1 part tanganyika buffer to get to pH8.5 or so.

I have had no issues with breeding or long term health with my tangs this way.

Another big benefit to this approach is during introduction of new fish... VERY few if any fish stores or wholesalers keep their water at pH as high as 9.0, so having that high a pH can increase the stress of intorducing new fish considerably.
You'll only find a pH that high in the surge zones where aggressive oxygenation increases the pH through agitation. A pH of 8.2 - 8.5 is preferable for shell dwellers and most of the other fish in the lake (gobies occur in the surge zones, but I have them at around 8.2 and they do well for me).

I don't add any buffer to my water, I use crushed coral and aragonite to buffer the water that's already in my aquariums. I just add the water slowly and in smaller, more frequent changes, like you would with your marine setup. I wouldn't worry too much about trying to replicate the exact environment of the lakes, its more hassle than its worth and its better to value stability and reproducibility over trying to get an exact match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everyone, that's really helpful.

More on tankmates, I've been researching Cyprichromis leptosoma. It seems this fish stays near the middle and top, and is a peaceful schooling fish. I'm tempted to chose them, but they get up to 5 inches. Is that too large for my tank?
 

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I would say that a 4' is about minimum from a school of cyps, but if you have an aquarium that size they do make good tankmates.
 
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