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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been keeping South American cichlids for over 15 years, and have been very used to keeping my water as soft as possible with very low pH. Recently, I have been thinking of keeping Tanganyikan cichlids instead, and would like to set up my 600 gallon (7' x 3' x 4') tank for this. The tank has a remote 125 gallon sump with about 20 gallons of Sera Siporax filter media, and 2x Abyzz A200 run at 60% as return pumps. I have a 24/7 constant water change system that changes 3-5% (25-30 gallons) of ro water daily. This system worked out well for my South American setup as doing water changes with ro water was needed to keep tds and pH low, but it would pose a problem for a Tanganyikan tank since that would constantly dilute the water and change the parameters over time.

If I would like to keep my awc system as it is, would I still be able to keep Tanganyikan cichlids, perhaps by daily dosing kH and gH buffers daily/hourly into the tank to maintain water parameters? E.g. Can I premix the diy rift buffer or Seachem cichlid salt into a liquid form to dose daily/hourly together with a separate dosing pump for kH? If not, can I instead mix up separate solutions of Mg, kH, and K or Na to dose separately with rift lake trace solution (e.g. from Seachem)? I intend to use aragonite sand so that would help buffer the kH and calcium levels as well. Alternatively, could I run a reef style calcium reactor to supplement the dosing?

I would also do a large 50% water change monthly with the rift buffer to reset parameters similar to how planted tank hobbyists do it with EI dosing method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow, that sounds like an awesome system.

I’ve never used r/o before so my advice might not be right, but if you have fairly hard water from the tap, could you use that instead of the r/o water, and incorporate that into your system instead?


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I think all the options you posted are reasonable, it's just a question of how you want to go about doing this. And the aragonite substrate will certainly help buffer the system to appropriate levels. But why fuss with RO water rather than tap if your goal is hard, alkaline water?

That said, another important variable is what sorts of Tanganyikans you plan on keeping. The more commonly kept genera (Lamprologus, Neolamprologus, Julidochromis, Altolamprologus, etc.) will be fine in dealing with small changes in water chemistry that occur gradually, but you might have to be more careful with sensitive fishes like Opthalmotilapia, Xenotilapia, and other featherfins. Bigger fishes (e. g. Cyphotilapia) will get you into waste/nitrogen cycle issues not unlike those posed by Neotropicals, so at this point the big question is which fishes you plan on keeping.

Good luck; it sounds like an awesome setup. (y)
Thank you for your responses! My tap water is actually also on the soft side. I used ro water due to my previous blackwater inhabitants requiring the super low tds and pH water (for reference, they were doing well in water with pH slightly under 4.0). Due to non-forward thinking when I set up my tank and awc system, I cannot easily change the system and so I need to work around the limitations.

I read the article on salt, and I was thinking that if I dose the various macro elements (kH, Magnesium, Potassium) hourly using a dosing pump, and trace elements daily based on the ppm from that article, I wouldn't have too much issues with parameter instability? Or would that be insufficient? With 3-5% daily wc (so 20-35% weekly) and a monthly 50% wc on top of my already large filtration would I still run into nitrogen/waste issues?

I do hope to be able to keep the more exotic species. I will need more advice on stocking once the basic setup and water issues have been solved, but I am hoping to keep Cyprichromis (almost compulsory given that my tank is 4' tall so I need lots of activity in the mid and upper levels of the tank), Altolamprologus, Julidochromis, sandsifters (Xenotilapia/Enantiopius) and featherfins in a community setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I took values from this article: Aquarium Salts

Based on the Lake Tanganyika values, the macro nutrients I need are:
HCO3 + CO3 = 6.02-6.81 meq/L = 301.5-341ppm
Na = 57-63.6ppm
Ca = 9.2-17.6ppm
K = 18-35.5ppm
Mg = 39.2-43.3 ppm

Assuming I change 25 gallons of water a day, the following mixture doses will yield in 25g of water:
  • 380g of NaHCO3 mixed in 5L of water, dosed at 600ml/day will give 300ppm of HCO3 and 113.06ppm of Na
  • 2kg of MgCl mixed in 5L of water, dosed at 40ml/day will give 40.84ppm of Mg
  • 1.2kg of KCl mixed in 5L of water, dosed at 20ml/day will give 25.17ppm of K

If I dose the above together with Seachem Cichlid Trace daily, would it be sufficient to keep water parameters stable day to day, with a 50% monthly water change using actual reef buffer to normalize any parameter drift?

Also, given that my coral sand will buffer the kH, should I dose less NaHCO3?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sounds like you are on top of the chemistry for this. As mentioned by @sir_keith , stability in your water chemistry will be key. Esp. with the more sensitive Tanganyikan Cichlid species you are interested in keeping.
I can only offer a few things for you to consider. Though I'm sure with a system built out as technical as this one will be, there will be some additional aspects to consider and plan for.
  • Dual water pre-treatment reservoirs. Recommend both reservoirs at 225 to 250 gallons in capacity. Having one in active 'dispenser mode' (25 gallons daily?), while the second reservoir is filling with RO and getting prepared with the dosing recipe for use, makes sense. A system like that could also offer some system redundancy in case of unexpected problems.
  • A third water reservoir. This one at 350 gallon capacity, would be reserved for your monthly, 50% water changes.
  • Make up/evaporation loss water. In these larger capacity aquariums, pure RO water is typically added daily to the system to make up for water evaporation loss. Amounts (in gallons) will vary depending on daily, water evaporation loss rate. That daily make up amount of pure RO water should be accounted for, to maintain water chemistry stability in the system.
Otherwise, this looks like it will be a really nice system once set up and placed in operation. Will require a bit more planning and 'tech' than its previous incarnation, as a Black Water (New World) aquarium system. But the results of the effort, should be worth it. :)
I wish I had the space for this redundancy! Unfortunately I only have space for the current 100 gallon water reservoir that's being kept topped up constantly with ro water. My awc peristaltic pump fills the tank from this reservoir 24/7 at a rate of 90ml/minute, and I currently use a 200gpd (about 527ml/minute) ro machine to keep the reservoir always topped up. I have a 400gpd ro machine too that I purchased for the system but have not yet installed. In this way, the reservoir will always have enough water for the awc since the ro water is always being replaced at a rate more than 5x the rate of the awc. I also draw evaporation top up water from this barrel, with my auto top off being programmed to only trigger every 6 hours so there's also no chance that the auto top off will ever drain the barrel empty (I have redundancy built into my auto top off both via a separate float switch and programming). I have a separate breeding rack for South American dwarf cichlids and I do water changes for the tanks on that rack from this reservoir too, but the volume of water changed never brings the reservoir below 1/3 volume. The 50% monthly water changes I intend to do with dechlorinated tap water as I don't have enough reservoir space for 300 gallons - but my tap water is only slightly different from ro water (70 tds, negligible kH and gH below 3). If absolutely needed I'll run the water through di resin for the water change.

That's the best I can do for redundancy planning to keep the tank on "auto" mode with regards to the water. But this is also why I need to dose the replenishment buffer directly into the tank instead of preparing suitable wc water beforehand for direct water changes. It's unfortunately the only constraint I have to keeping Tanganyikan cichlids, but it's a big constraint.

Based on all your responses so far though, it seems that dosing directly into the tank to replenish the minerals lost from an ro water wc will be ok? My thought is that since only 90ml/minute of water is being changed, and I can dose the minerals back in hourly, the amount of fluctuation in water parameters would be very minimal. Add to that the monthly 50% manual wc to reset parameters in case they drift, things should be ok?

Prior to this post, I've never even had to do any manual water changes and I've maintained sensitive blackwater cichlids in this tank for 2 years (altum angels, panda uaru, multispinosa pikes). I figure that with the additional 50% monthly water changes, the water should be good enough for even the sensitive Tanganyikan cichlids too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Be careful. The water chemistry of a Tanganyikan Lake aquarium approaches the level of a full marine/salt water aquarium. Black Water themed tanks are much more forgiving in maintenance and water chemistry management. Kept acidic in PH, with very soft water and consistently clean, the dissolved organics are nowhere near as toxic to the fish in a Black Water tank, because the PH is kept so low.
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And no - I am NOT a fan of mixing water chemistry additives directly in the tank of a Tanganyikan themed aquarium. To avoid any water chemistry swings in hardness or PH, the water is almost always carefully pre-mixed first in a separate reservoir, prior to addition into the aquarium (For my own 33 gallon 'long' tank, I utilized a plastic, 44 gallon Rubber Maid trash can for the chore with a Model 7 Mag Drive submersible pump/vinyl hose to transfer the pre-mixed water over). You are going to be assuming quite a bit of risk with just the single 100 gallon reservoir available to support this tank.
Certainly more risk than I would be personally be comfortable with. :oops:
I can understand the concern for perfect parameters always and in an ideal world I would definitely do as you advised. I have kept sps reef tanks for several years which are super demanding on parameters being stable. Here's my 180 gallon reef before i decommissioned it to move to a new place where I set up my current 600 gallon tank:

Purple Blue Plant Violet Underwater


In fact, I got the idea to dose macro nutrients directly into the tank from my reefing days. When keeping sps, there is significant depletion of calcium, magnesium, kH and trace elements from the coral growth. Kind of similar to what is being depleted from my ro water changes in a Tanganyikan tank. Reef hobbyists dose back what is being consumed via calcium reactors and dosing pumps to keep parameters stable as water changes cannot keep up with the depletion. I thought that since the reefers do this dosing method for almost exactly the same macro nutrients and the sensitive sps thrive, Tanganyikan fish should be similarly comfortable?

I also hear of many hobbyists who do water changes by draining the tank, filling it with tap water and simply dumping the buffer into the tank while filling and letting it dissolve via the flow from the filling water. Doesn't that create much more parameter instability on a weekly basis?

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your advice and again I would definitely follow it in an ideal world, but just throwing it out there that this might also be possible when I'm facing the constraints that I have outlined above?

Well, that's the conventional wisdom, and for sure it is the best and safest way to go. That said, I don't pre-mix my water changes because I just don't have the facilities to fuss with ~1000 gallons of water. Four-plus decades of keeping Tanganyikans, and it still works for me. :)
Do you do nutrients dosing in a similar manner to what I'm attempting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No, because the parameters don't change that much between water changes. But I'm not running a constant flow system.

Difficult to make out, but are you writing from Singapore? My partner spent most of her childhood there. 🦀
Oh wow small world! Indeed I am from Singapore, how did you tell?

When you mentioned you don't premix your water changes, did you mean you just fill the tank and put the buffer into the tank directly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Thank you everyone for your interest, I am definitely excited too, but I want to make sure I am fully prepared before taking the plunge. However, I couldn't resist ordering a few Altolamprologus compressiceps "Mandarin" just to see how they look like as Google images showed them to look really awesome. I'll set up a temporary 30 gallon tank for them on my breeding rack till the tank is ready and cycled.

In the meantime, I have some questions regarding the Rift Lake buffer recipe in the Library:
1. Under the previous article I linked, it stated that the Magnesium levels in Lake Tanganyika are at 40ppm. However using the recipe of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts per 5 gallons of water, it gives 80ppm, which is double the natural level. Anyone know why this is?
2. Similarly, the level of carbonates in Lake Tanganyika is about 300ppm, but dosing 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 5 gallons of water only gives 173ppm of carbonate.
3. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts, 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate and 1 teaspoon of marine salt per 5 gallons of water. However in my research on this forum, I see a number of people instead use 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts, 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate and 1 teaspoon of marine salt instead, which is 3x the amount of sodium bicarbonate. Which is the correct recipe to use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thanks everyone for the advice thus far! After the past days of research, this is what I intend to do:
1. Set up tank using Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt (11g per 10 gallons) + sodium bicarbonate to kh 15
2. Daily awc with ro water of 30 gallons, with daily dosing of Magnesium 40ppm, sodium bicarbonate to kh 15 and marine salt 6tsp (emulating diy rift lake buffer recipe)
3. Monthly manual wc of 50% using Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt (11g per 10 gallons) + sodium bicarbonate to kh 15

The above should give me fairly good and consistent parameters for the tank?

Next questions I have (sorry I'm really very new to this):
1. If I'm already dosing sodium bicarbonate to raise kh to 15, do I still need to use coral sand? Seems redundant as coral sand buffers the water to lower than kh 15 anyway. Can i use normal river sand?
2. For the best viewing experience, should I use bluer spectrum marine lights instead of yellowish freshwater lights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thank you once again for sharing your experiences! Your tanks look great! I was thinking of going with river sand as a failsafe option in case my Tanga journey fails and I can switch back to SA without changing out the sand again (as you can imagine it's not easy in a 4ft high tank). But I think I'll just take the plunge! Worst case scenario I'll just keep a school of farmbred frontosa longterm instead. I intend to order Caribsea special grade aragonite sand - it's meant for marine use but should work right? Should I get a coarser or finer grade instead?

I am currently hanging 3x Aquaillumination Prime16 HD Freshwater lights over the tank and I find them really yellow. They are good for bringing out reds, but Tanganyika fish are mostly blue and yellow right? I am thinking of switching to reef lights instead and running them on the lower end of that spectrum, maybe about 16000K. I could switch to identical lights as I'm using now but the marine version, or perhaps try something like Kessil Tuna Blue

Exciting news, my LFS just had a Tanganyikan shipment today and they have some Cyprichromis leptosoma jumbo tricolor mpimbwe and Altolamprologus compressiceps gold head kasanga. Thinking of asking them to reserve a few and hold them for me for a couple of weeks till the tank is cycled.

Anyone have stocking recommendations for me? I'm assuming I need alot of Cyprichromis to fill the upper and middle layers of the tank since my tank is so tall?

Also, is it OK to mix variants of the same species? E.g. different colour variants of Cyprichromis, or 2-3 variants of Altolamprologus?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Do not mix species. The different color variants are specified by collection point. They have evolved separately so it is better for the hobby if you keep them separate, retaining the ability to sell the fish with the full genus/species/collection point name.

Also don't mix comps/calvus, etc. You don't want crossbreeding.

I will let sir_keith advise on numbers.

Regarding substrate and buffering...I use pool filter sand as substrate and put crushed coral as part of the media in my filters. My tap water starts off with the right parameters for the fish and I have a well so no chloramines/chlorine. I do have some tanks with aragonite substrate from my initial set-up in 2005...I see no difference among the different tanks.
That's what I thought, but my LFS also reminded me that I'm never going to be fishing any of the fry from my tank to sell, and the Tanga community in my country is super small, so as far as the hobby goes, whatever goes into my tank dies in my tank, so to speak. They thus advised me to go for maximum visual impact as that's the point of my tank - a showpiece (They're not saying this just to make a sale, I've known these guys for over a decade and they're trustworthy). So if I'm not going to be breeding and selling, would it change your opinion?
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Thank you for your views. I went down to the LFS today and didn't really like the look of the gold head kasangas, so i will probably hold out for Mandarins in the next shipment. I did manage to reserve 6 pieces of Synodontis granulosa though, so they'll be going in once the tank is set up and cycled properly.

Any advice on other fish to stock the tank with, and numbers of each species?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Are you going with a colony of altos? And cyps? Looking for things to go with them? I would skip any shellies with the Synodontis.

What is the collection point of the Mandarin? Kilima?

Ideally add all the fish at once so that your beneficial bacteria level achieved by your cycle is fully supported by fish right away. This way you can avoid the need to quarantine new additions for 3 weeks every time you add a group, and then the waiting/testing to ensure the increased bioload does not generate more ammonia than the beneficial bacteria can handle.
I definitely want the Altolamprologus compressiceps Mandarin. The stockist doesn't state the collection point, but Google shows Kilima. I also want a group of more vibrant cyprichromis to catch the eye in the upper and mid regions of the tank, and other midwater dwellers if possible as well. I need more life in the upper and mid levels as the tank is tall. The Cyprichromis leptosoma jumbo tricolor Mpimbwe are pretty, but they seem more pastel and not really vibrant. I saw a picture of a Cyprichromis leptosoma Utinta that looked really good, but I'm open to suggestions. I also am very attracted to the pretty dorsal fins of the sandsifters, and I've also seen some pictures of blue Julidochromis dickfeldi that are really pretty.

I don't think I'll be able to stock everything in at once, as I will only be able to order what I want once a month, and the chances of the stocklist having everything I want at the same time is really low.


In such a large tank, once established, my ultimate goal would be some of the larger, holy grail Tanganyikans that require a great deal of space, notably Cyathopharynx...

...and Benthochromis...

But these are sensitive and demanding fishes, and even with all your experience with reef tanks etc., it's probably best that you start out more gradually with Tanganyikans. That doesn't mean you can't have some stunning fishes. For sure, Cyprichromis, and if you can find them, a large (20+) school of Cyprichromis sp. 'leptostoma jumbo' Tri Color Black Bee would be stunning...

There are so many options for the sand floor that it 's difficult to suggest anything in particular without knowing what your leanings are. So many choices!
Wow those first 2 pictures you posted are amazing. I don't mind working up my way to them over time, but I would really love to have both species in my tank eventually! Can you share more about them please?

For the Cyprichromis, are they the same as the Cyprichromis leptosoma jumbo tricolor Mpimbwe I mentioned above? They look really similar but the ones at my lfs have a neon blue edge on their dorsal and anal fins.

Based on what I've mentioned above do you have any other suggestions for me?
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Sorry another question - what grade sand should I be looking at? More specifically, I'm thinking of adding Caribsea Arag-alive sand (so I don't have to wash it), and am deciding which version I should be using - Special Grade or Fiji Pink? Bahamas Oolite looks too fine and seems like it will compact over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Thank you very much. I understand that my tank is probably vastly different from most of your experiences, but your experience is all I have to go by in terms of species compatibility. It's very hard to tease information out of Google when I myself am not even sure what exactly I'm looking for.

In terms of sand, are you able to tell which one you're using from this link: Marine Substrates - CaribSea

Even under aragonite sand they have different sizes. I am looking at the Fiji pink sand, as the Oolite is way too fine for my liking. Do you think sandsifters would do ok with that?

In terms of species mix, as mentioned before I would really like a lively and vibrant tank, so if a small group of the foai will take up all or almost all of the bottom then I guess I would pass on them. A friend of mine recommended that I just go with Frontosa, Altolamprologus and the Benthochromis tricoti and just stop at that. However, I am rather interested in the sandsifters, Cyprichromis, gobies and other fish like Julidochromis and maybe some single specimens of Neolamprologus. A large community basically. But given the size of my tank, do you think that a usual Tanganyikan community selection would be too small in size and end up looking very sparse and not lively? I would think that many tens of small 4-6 inch fish would just make the tank look messy and not that nice. After all, unlike smaller tanks my tank isn't really designed to be enjoyed by examining the fish up close but instead by sitting back and enjoying it as a large scene collectively. Really quite af a dilemma and very frustrated at being unable to even come up with some draft plans for advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Well then.....
Now THIS, is something that comes up on Cichlid-forum quite a lot,

Best answer? Trust your instincts on this. Because even though a 600 gallon tank DOES change things a bit in the usual games we play as aquarists in stocking schemes with balancing aggression and other problems... compared to the wild - nature itself - your aquarium is actually very small. This same problem comes up just as often in larger, New World stocking schemes. My advice is always,
LESS, IS MORE.
It may help to think of this situation as a bit like art. Where FOCUS on intentional things, can reveal the actual masterpiece within. Let's use some imagination to help out here!
And so, place yourself in the water column of that big African Rift Lake. Somewhere above a clear sandy bottom, near a rocky escarpment (invisible to the life forms around you). A look around would reveal that this little place you have found yourself is NOT densely populated. Fish just swimming and crawling 'willy-nilly' everywhere.
Nope.
But, your attention might be directed at that flash of light and color above the open expanse of sandy bottom.
Featherfin Cichlids!
Impossible to resist - those Cichlids (esp. the displaying males), are eye magnets!
Good: NOW you have established the centerpiece species for your tank. Stock lavishly with them!
And, making your stars that much more visually compelling in the mid to upper levels of the water column, are the 'supporting cast'. Dancing and weaving (warily) about amongst those Featherfin, 'Rock Stars' is the Cypichromis, 'supporting cast'. Smaller and brightly colored - they do not disappoint.
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Looking for details now... your eye will inevitably be drawn to the rocky escarpment. Think small, shy and wary. There are no loudmouth Cichlid clowns or bullies here! You'll see a hint of movement, a possible flash of design and muted color - and that is IT.
The REAL SHOW of your 600 gallon tank should always be about those oh-so-impressive Featherfin Cichlids.
I personally believe that diluting from that focus (as in all larger tanks, where more numbers of the same species are needed - NOT more species), will diminish your aquarium. Cause it to lose focus, and be less visually comprehensible to the viewer.
Go with and emphasize the visual power (represented by the Featherfin Cichlids in this case), and the tank will benefit as a result. :cool:
This is a vivid picture that you have painted and it appears beautiful in my mind! You, sir, have a way with words! I will attempt to have the featherfins as the focus fish in my tank!

The Aragonite I use is listed in the Freshwater section of the Caribsea website; the package looks like this-


I believe the nominal grain size is 1-2mm; you can get an idea of the grain size from this pic. This size is ideal for Tanganyikan sandsifters.


I had to chuckle at your friend's suggestion because if you are looking for a 'lively and vibrant tank,' the absolute last Tanganyikans I would choose would be frontosa, Alto's, or Bentho's, all of which are mellow and borderline lethargic. Frontosa's in particular are mopey in the extreme (they're popular because they get large), so no, I would not go in that direction.

One issue you have is that most Tanganyikans in the hobby are not large, but if you want some reasonably sized fishes that are active and interesting, by all means consider the featherfins (I may have held back on this suggestion earlier simply because they are my favourites.) The largest are Cyathopharynx, but their territorial demands are extreme, as you noted, so the best option might be Ophthalmotiapia. There are lots to consider, summarized here- Ophthalmotilapia

Amongst the Ophthalmotilapia, O. boops are the largest and most aggressive; most of these are black with blue streaks, and take a long time to color up. O. ventralis are somewhat less aggressive, but still plenty feisty, and this group includes some really lovely fishes, especially the various pale blue populations. O. nasuta are the least aggressive in the genus; I particularly like O. nasuta Kipili 'Gold' and Chimba 'Tiger.' I kept a breeding colony of 3m:5f wild-caught Kipili Gold's in a 125 for some years; here is a pic of one of the co-dominant males. This fish is 5-6"TL. I now have two F1 colonies from the original stock, and they are just as pretty.



Any of the featherfins could be centerpieces in your tank, but it's not just the fishes, it's also the nests. The males dig crater nests in the substrate, and if you leave enough open space, you will have several co-dominant males and their nests as centerpieces of your tank. Lively and vibrant? Absolutely. And to anticipate a question- no, I would not mix any of the Ophthalmotilapia.

Jumbo Cyps would be perfect for this tank, as mentioned previously. I'd skip the gobies, which just hide and/or sit on the bottom most of the time and can be nasty, as there are so many sand/mud bottom dwellers that are more interesting, e. g. Limnochromis or Triglochromis. I particularly like Triglochromis otostigma-


These beefy 5-6" fishes are biparental mouthbrooders, and dig long tunnels in the hard mud bottom to spawn in the lake. They can be quite the diggers in captivity (only at night, apparently), but this is usually confined to a small area. They are also able to swim forwards and backwards with equal ease (useful for backing out of a narrow tunnel), which is quite entertaining.

So, more food for thought...
Thank you for the information about the sand! I have decided to go with the Caribsea Fiji Pink sand (0.5-1.5mm) as it's not possible for me to get the cichlid sands here locally. Getting marine live sand helps me avoid having to wash 200lbs of sand as well since it comes prewashed.

For stocking the tank, I'm wondering if the following species mix would work out. Exact numbers of each to be determined.

Feature fish
  • Cyathopharynx furcifer/foai
Which locality variants would be recommended? Based on pictures from the distribution website and what was available last month from the supplier, I was looking at the Malago variant of furcifer, but I note that foai isn't listed on the distribution website so I'm not sure what is what.

Dither fish
  • Cyprichromis sp. leptosoma jumbo
  • Paracyprichromis nigripinnis
If possible I would like to have 2 distinctive types of dither fish dancing around the upper reaches of the tank. Without mixing species, I am hoping keeping fish from 2 different genus would work out. Or would different species of Cyprichromis work as well? I can keep leptosoma jumbo with zonatus perhaps? For the leptosoma jumbo, my supplier has the tricolor Mpimbwe in stock now, but they look more like the picture of black bee that you posted rather than the Mpimbwe picture on the distribution website. They are farm bred, so probably easier to get a large school than wildcaught ones.

Sandsifters
  • Enantiopus melanogenys Kilesa
  • Xenotilapia nigrolabiata Red Princess
I really love the patterns and colours on these 2 variants of sandsifters so I really hope to be able to keep them.

Others
  • Altolamprologus compressiceps
  • Julidochromis dickfeldi Midnight Blue/ marlieri Kasanga
I really like the bright orange forms of Altolamprologus compressiceps like the Kugungu variant, but may have to settle for the Mandarin variant instead that doesn't have the blue lips and pearl like spots on the fins. The blue forms of Julidochromis are also very attractive to me. These fish would likely stay near the rock clusters and the Altolamprologus would aid in fry control since as I mentioned earlier I am not into breeding these fish and raising fry as this is a display tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
A range like that will make it difficult to siphon and may cause a problem with your filters sucking up the fine sand and grinding the impellers.

I will leave the stock feedback to sir_keith as he has kept more of these fish than I. Seems like the foai and the cyps would fill the tank.
My tank uses an overflow system into the sump. At 4ft tall it's not likely that the sand would enter the overflow. Even if it did, with a 6ft sump chances are that it would settle in the sump before reaching the return pumps, so I think the risk of damaging the pumps is low :)

Given the height of the tank I'm actually also hoping to rely on the sandsifters to keep the sand well turned over and cut down the need for sand maintenance. When keeping South American cichlids I kept eartheaters for this purpose and they did this job exceptionally well
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Thank you, I've added more bags of sand to the order to be delivered tomorrow. If it's still not enough I'll have to add more sand while the tank is filled and the fish are inside. My initial plan was to add water and ammonia today to start the cycle for the tank, as I expect the next Tanganyikan shipment to arrive in 3-4 weeks. Will use a bottled bacteria product to speed things along. Unfortunately things got delayed as I discovered a chip in the 3d background that needed to be repaired and the silicone needs 24 hours to cure. Also the sand delivery got delayed, which is a good thing since it enabled me to add more bags of sand to the order.

After taking all your advice into account, this is what I think my final stocklist will be. Populations are based on what was available in the last stocklist so may be subject to change depending on what's in the next stocklist that will hopefully release next week. As I'm new to Tanganyikans, I am mostly opting for farmbred fish since I assume they will be more hardy than the wildcaughts.
  • Cyathopharynx foai Sibwesa / furcifer Resha x9 (3m 6f) [I can't decide between these 2. I love the red sheen on the foai Sibwesa, but the dorsal patterns on the furcifer Resha are captivating too...]
  • Cyprichromis leptosoma jumbo tricolor Mpimbwe x25
  • Synodontis granulosa x6
  • Altolamprologus compressiceps Mandarin x ??? (What's the recommended number and sex ratio?)
  • Enantiopus melanogenys Kilesa x ??? (What's the recommended number and sex ratio?)
  • Xenotilapia nigrolabiata Red Princess x ??? (What's the recommended number and sex ratio?)
I would really like to give the sandsifters a shot as even years ago when I was considering whether or not to try keeping Tanganyikans (I eventually didn't back then), it was the dorsal fin patterns of the sandsifters that caught my eye. The Red Princess is constantly available farmbred from my supplier, so I guess the wildcaught ones are holy grail fish but they are getting bred in sizeable numbers?
 

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66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Be careful with this.
There are NO shortcuts!
Get an API Master Test Kit, and ensure that water in this big aquarium is measuring ZERO Ammonia and Nitrites, with plenty of Nitrate production, before you get ANY of those awesome Cichlids.
Been having way too many problems on C-F lately with people not confirming a complete Cycle of their biological filtration before stocking with new fish.
DON'T be 'That Guy'! You know, the one who rushed into stocking with new fish before his tank was properly cycled, and was really upset about it later.
Be Safe!
Thank you for the reminder. I have successfully used certain brands of bottled bacteria before with success to cycle tanks so I wouldn't say that they are all snake oil, but point taken about establishing a full cycle either way - with or without bottled bacteria - and I do have my test kits ready to ensure a full cycle before adding the fish. My supplier is able to hold fish for me in case the cycle is not complete before the new fish arrive (they have already been holding the Synodontis granulosa for me for almost 2 weeks already while I was preparing the tank)
 
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