Cichlid Fish Forum banner
21 - 40 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
41,827 Posts
Your water may have some levels of these minerals already. You don't have to match Lake Tang exactly...the amounts probably vary from location to location in any case. But feel free to customize your amounts based on your water.

I only use baking soda (almost never), but I have not kept the more discriminating Tangs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
Sounds like a great plan. On to the questions-

(1) You'll get different opinions here (ask me how I know), but yes, coral sand will help buffer (i. e. resist changes) your parameters between water changes. Personally, I use Aragonite substrate in all my tanks, which greatly increases their stability between water changes (I also use Seachem Cichlid Lake Salt and Tanganyika Buffer). Since you are doing daily dosing with bicarbonate, this may not be necessary, but the only argument I can see for not using Aragonite is that it's relatively expensive. I very much doubt that's an issue here.

(2) This is totally a matter of personal taste; I greatly prefer blue-ish illumination like marine tanks over the typical yellowish freshwater lights.

Good luck!

Purple Cabinetry Interior design Floor Shelving

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
41,827 Posts
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auballagh

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
I answered this question yesterday in a different thread (75 Gallon Tropheus Setup), so I'm just going to plagiarize myself, below-

HistPhil13 said: ...Thoughts on mixing color variants if I go the colony route?...

"Bad idea. Very bad idea. They are not 'color variants,' they are geographically and genetically distinct populations that for the time being are grouped together as a single species. Irrespective of the taxonomy, hybridization between the different forms compromises their genetic integrity, and ultimately results in the loss of the distinct parental forms. This has been an issue with Tropheus for many years, for example, but so far serious hobbyists have been able to avoid genetic homogenization, the few man-made, 'line bred' strains (Kiriza Gold, Red Bishop, etc.) notwithstanding. Buy pure specimens from a reputable source, and avoid any sort of hybridization."


I had thought about the fact that you are unlikely to be raising and distributing fry from this setup, but that really doesn't change my opinion: I don't think we should be hybridizing natural populations. Here are my biases going into this highly personal view- (1) The first concern is scientific/philosophical. I am a geneticist, and have a high regard for the integrity of biological species (and populations) and their genetic heritage. I would never do anything to compromise that, irrespective of the ultimate fate of the hybrid progeny. (2) The second concern is aesthetic. I do not believe that 'maximum visual impact' is necessarily achieved by having a potpourri of fishes. Is a mixed colony of Cyprichromis leptostoma Utinta and C. leptostoma Mpimbwe more attractive than each colony individually? I don't think so, as pure colonies of each population are striking in and of themselves. Obviously, this is a highly personal view, but when I think back on all the really impessive tanks I've seen over the years, most of them had a limited number of species.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
41,827 Posts
It does not change my opinion either. How do you know you will never want/need to sell your adult fish or fry? Life happens. What if your tank ends up being overpopulated, will you just keep adding tanks to house the overflow for their lifetimes?

The wonder of these tanks for me is that I can view a slice of the lake.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sir_keith

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
41,827 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
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...

Water Fin Organism Underwater Fish

...and Benthochromis...

Water Fin Fish Terrestrial plant Marine biology

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...

Water Fin Organism Mammal Underwater

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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
41,827 Posts
People who have used the alive aragonite have reported a cloudy tank for an extended period. I use PFS, which I still wash. sir_keith may have a recommendation on both the aragonite and the foai...which I was told would need the whole bottom...no calvus, no synodontis.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
735 Posts
...
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?...
(1) Well, perhaps this is the time to make a couple of important points about your stocking plans. First, you can't mix Tanganyikans without carefully considering their behavioural requirements. Those two are really beautiful fishes, but their temperaments are so different that they are unlikely to coexist happily, even in a really large tank. These kinds of incompatibilities make it difficult to assemble a Tanganyikan 'community.' You need to decide which fishes interest you most, make a few choices, then build a community around them.

Second, I'm not sure how much help we can provide here, because most of us have no experience with such a large tank. Certainly I feel more than a bit uncomfortable generalizing from my own experiences, all of which have been with tanks one-quarter as large or less.

(2) There are tons of different Cyprichromis populations (see Distribution maps of Lake Tanganyika cichlids), and subtle difference are common, so you need to know their collection point to be sure. I have both Utinta and Mpimbwe, and both are beautiful.

(3) There are a number of tribe Ectodini fishes that occupy the mid-water column, most notably, the featherfins. There are also some mid-water Xeno's (e. g. X. spilopterus) and other lesser-known featherfins (e. g. Ectodus descampsi).


...sir_keith may have a recommendation on both the aragonite and the foai...which I was told would need the whole bottom...no calvus, no synodontis...
I use the basic Caribsea Aragonite in all my tanks; I have never tried any of the other versions.

Yes, C. foai will want the whole bottom of most tanks, but as I mentioned above, I have a feeling that many of our generalizations might be suspect in a 600g tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
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.
 
21 - 40 of 43 Posts
Top