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This was a great read. Thanks for sharing this.

A comment on North fin, the cichlid formula sinks fairly quickly, but the veggie formula does not. Have you considered some kind of feeding ring to keep food out of your overflow? Just a thought.


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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
This was a great read. Thanks for sharing this.

A comment on North fin, the cichlid formula sinks fairly quickly, but the veggie formula does not. Have you considered some kind of feeding ring to keep food out of your overflow? Just a thought.


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Thank you for stopping by this thread! I've been feeding the Northfin Veggie Formula and find that it sinks very well - much better than the NLS Algaemax. I have one of my flow outlets slightly raised to create surface agitation to get nice light ripples in the water from my led lights, and I think that helps the pellets sink. Unfortunately with the NLS about 10% of the pellets always remain floating and end up going down the overflow. No such issues with the Northfin.
 

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Thank you for stopping by this thread! I've been feeding the Northfin Veggie Formula and find that it sinks very well - much better than the NLS Algaemax. I have one of my flow outlets slightly raised to create surface agitation to get nice light ripples in the water from my led lights, and I think that helps the pellets sink. Unfortunately with the NLS about 10% of the pellets always remain floating and end up going down the overflow. No such issues with the Northfin.
That’s great! Sounds like it’s working. Maybe I got a different batch of the veggie formula then. Who knows.


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...This is my first time ever keeping Tanganyikan fish, so it is a completely new experience for me coming first from community tanks as a kid, then growing into the South American side of the hobby before dabbling in reef tanks then back to SA cichlids. I'm most glad for the few years I spent reefing as to me, that was really what prepared me most for this new aspect of the hobby. If I didn't already learn to maintain much more stringent water parameters in reefing, and if I didn't already familiarize myself with the array of equipment used by reefers to automate alot of tasks (which seem absent in the freshwater hobby for some reason), I don't think I would be having as smooth a journey as I have been so far. Not to mention of course all the valuable advice you guys have given me over the past weeks!

Without much further ado, here's some of my thoughts and observations about the fish I've been keeping. I hope that it can provide some anecdotal help to other newcomers to the hobby in future, as well as elicit more comments and advice from all you experienced hobbyists too!...
I just wanted to add some brief comments to your progress report. In general, it sounds like things are going very well indeed.

(1) As far as the Cyps functioning as 'dithers' in a Characin-typical manner; you are correct- there will be much more of that when you have more fishes, and hopefully the Cyps will provide you with some progeny. The young will need an area near the surface where they can congregate without needing to fight a strong current constantly.

(2) The C. microlepidotus should colour up given time to settle in.

(3) I am not a bit surprised that the E. kilesa (now a bona fide species distinct from E. melanogenys) have won you over; these are wonderful fishes. They are beautiful and gregarious, but their aggression is highly ritualized, and I have never seen them damage each other. They also largely ignore Xenotilapia. One of my favourite Tanganyikans.

(4) I am a bit concerned about your C. furcifer. You made a comment previously about the male being 'fat,' and the pic you posted shows a fish that has gorged himself with food. Cyathopharynx are foraging omnivores, and as such they have long, thin digestive tracts similar to those of herbivores, e. g. Tropheus. These fishes can be subject to intestinal overloading if allowed to consume large amounts of concentrated food (e. g. pellets) at one time; far better to feed small amounts of food more often.

Other than that, the male is colouring up nicely for this stage of the game. And finally, it is virtually impossible to distinguish female featherfins from young males without venting. I have seen fishes that I thought were females for 2 years suddenly show as males when moved into a new environment. That said, I wouldn't worry about the gender ratio unless you have a vast preponderance of males.

(5) 'Not very interesting behaviour so far...' For Altolamprologus, that comes with the territory. I've never kept the Mandarin population, so can't comment on the colour, but wouldn't be surprised if it was less than advertised in most individuals.

(6) So far so good with the Paracyps; it's not something I would have tried, but it sounds like they're doing fine in this big tank. Whether they will colour up fully in this environment is another matter.

(7) Like all Xenotilapia, you need to be patient with the Red Princess. I have never been fortunate enough to keep these myself, but have seen adults in full colour and they are spectacular.

Stay the course; all is well. Will be looking forward to seeing some videos! (y)

BTW, will you be going to the Grand Prix next weekend? :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
I just wanted to add some brief comments to your progress report. In general, it sounds like things are going very well indeed.

(1) As far as the Cyps functioning as 'dithers' in a Characin-typical manner; you are correct- there will be much more of that when you have more fishes, and hopefully the Cyps will provide you with some progeny. The young will need an area near the surface where they can congregate without needing to fight a strong current constantly.
I'll be honest, things are going alot better than I expected. I thought that I'd experience much more issues especially in relation to the water conditions. Thanks to everyone's guidance here and lots of planning and research it's been a smooth journey so far.

I'm abit confused, when you say more fishes do you mean more Cyprichromis or more of other types of fish? I thought your previous advice was not to add any more.

(2) The C. microlepidotus should colour up given time to settle in.

(3) I am not a bit surprised that the E. kilesa (now a bona fide species distinct from E. melanogenys) have won you over; these are wonderful fishes. They are beautiful and gregarious, but their aggression is highly ritualized, and I have never seen them damage each other. They also largely ignore Xenotilapia. One of my favourite Tanganyikans.
Yes, they have become one of my favourites as well! Very colourful and very interesting behaviour. I really like the small sand formations they create as well. Very different and more interesting than the large pits of the featherfins.

(4) I am a bit concerned about your C. furcifer. You made a comment previously about the male being 'fat,' and the pic you posted shows a fish that has gorged himself with food. Cyathopharynx are foraging omnivores, and as such they have long, thin digestive tracts similar to those of herbivores, e. g. Tropheus. These fishes can be subject to intestinal overloading if allowed to consume large amounts of concentrated food (e. g. pellets) at one time; far better to feed small amounts of food more often.

Other than that, the male is colouring up nicely for this stage of the game. And finally, it is virtually impossible to distinguish female featherfins from young males without venting. I have seen fishes that I thought were females for 2 years suddenly show as males when moved into a new environment. That said, I wouldn't worry about the gender ratio unless you have a vast preponderance of males.
I am concerned as well. This guy is pretty smart. He claimed the area where the pellets settle on the sand as his territory where he is building his nest, so whenever I feed the tank, the food is brought by the flow straight into his nest where he gets first pick and gorges himself before the other fish swarm in to grab the rest of the food. That's probably why he's the most coloured up of all the featherfins and yet in terms of body length he's actually the smallest one. Even the females are longer than he is. I have split daily feedings to twice a day now, and will eventually increase it to 4x a day. My only concern is that since he gets first pickings of each meal, he will continue gorging himself at each feeding and just leave less for the other fish instead.

I ordered 3m6f for the featherfins, but based on how the dorsal fins are colouring up - having yellow and blue markings means they're male right? - I have at least 4 males now.

(5) 'Not very interesting behaviour so far...' For Altolamprologus, that comes with the territory. I've never kept the Mandarin population, so can't comment on the colour, but wouldn't be surprised if it was less than advertised in most individuals.
I added more Altolamprologus compressiceps Mandarin as my wife asked me to. The second batch arrived larger and better coloured so I hope it's due to size and they will colour up more as they grow.

(6) So far so good with the Paracyps; it's not something I would have tried, but it sounds like they're doing fine in this big tank. Whether they will colour up fully in this environment is another matter.
I doubt that they will ever fully colour up, but I enjoy their wall dwelling behaviour.

(7) Like all Xenotilapia, you need to be patient with the Red Princess. I have never been fortunate enough to keep these myself, but have seen adults in full colour and they are spectacular.
I am hoping for tye best with these as they grow! I was told that they're super delicate so I'm just happy that they are doing well in my tank. I've added another 5 to the colony.

Stay the course; all is well. Will be looking forward to seeing some videos! (y)

BTW, will you be going to the Grand Prix next weekend? :cool:
Thank you, I will try to take some videos.

I will not be going to the Grand Prix event. Crowds are not really my thing
 

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(1) On the Cyps, when I said 'more fishes' I meant more Cyps. The only reason I suggested that you wait a while before adding more Cyps to your tank is that they are likely to produce progeny, so your school will grow with time. But if you want to increase it now, by all mean add some more Cyps.

(3) I agree about the E. kilesa 'castle with turrets' nests; they are really cool.

(4) I don't know what to do about your C. furcifer male; perhaps he will be fine with the diet you've chosen, even though his eating habits are rather porcine. If you're getting lots of color in the fins of these fishes, those are males; hints of color would be ambiguous.

(7) Oh man, I am jealous! Can't wait to see some pics of the Red Princess males.

I don't like crowds either, but for a Grand Prix I make an exception. Ideally, one could watch the race whilst sitting on your balcony... :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
(1) On the Cyps, when I said 'more fishes' I meant more Cyps. The only reason I suggested that you wait a while before adding more Cyps to your tank is that they are likely to produce progeny, so your school will grow with time. But if you want to increase it now, by all mean add some more Cyps.
I thought that with the Altolamprologus, fry wouldn't survive in my tank. I'm tempted to add 11 more of each species of Cyprichromis to make it 70 in total in the tank, but I'm holding back for now. I think the supplier is currently out of stock of the Cyprichromis microlepidotus Bulu Point anyway so that helps curb the temptation.

(3) I agree about the E. kilesa 'castle with turrets' nests; they are really cool.
Some new pictures of the E. kilesa

Water Fin Underwater Fish Marine biology

Petal Fin Fish Underwater Marine biology


(4) I don't know what to do about your C. furcifer male; perhaps he will be fine with the diet you've chosen, even though his eating habits are rather porcine. If you're getting lots of color in the fins of these fishes, those are males; hints of color would be ambiguous.
I have adjusted the flow in the tank such that his nest is no longer where the food drops. Let's see how things develop from here. If he moves his nest location to the new food settling spot then I think there's nothing more I can do.

Would this fish be an obvious male too, or a possible female still?

Water Fin Underwater Organism Fish


(7) Oh man, I am jealous! Can't wait to see some pics of the Red Princess males.
Here's one of the new ones. Still not striking yet, but shows some colour at least. They're all still really small though, about 2 inches. I read that both males and females get good red colouration when they are adults? Or is it only the males?

Water Vertebrate Fin Underwater Organism


I don't like crowds either, but for a Grand Prix I make an exception. Ideally, one could watch the race whilst sitting on your balcony... :cool:
I can get a view of the racetrack from my office actually, but I still probably won't be going down!
 

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I thought that with the Altolamprologus, fry wouldn't survive in my tank. I'm tempted to add 11 more of each species of Cyprichromis to make it 70 in total in the tank, but I'm holding back for now. I think the supplier is currently out of stock of the Cyprichromis microlepidotus Bulu Point anyway so that helps curb the temptation.



Some new pictures of the E. kilesa

View attachment 143980
View attachment 143979



I have adjusted the flow in the tank such that his nest is no longer where the food drops. Let's see how things develop from here. If he moves his nest location to the new food settling spot then I think there's nothing more I can do.

Would this fish be an obvious male too, or a possible female still?

View attachment 143977



Here's one of the new ones. Still not striking yet, but shows some colour at least. They're all still really small though, about 2 inches. I read that both males and females get good red colouration when they are adults? Or is it only the males?

View attachment 143978



I can get a view of the racetrack from my office actually, but I still probably won't be going down!
(1) I forgot about the Alto's; even so, in a tank this size, with so many Cyps, their predation success is likely to be limited.

(4) Good plan for the C. furcifer male. The pic you posted looks more like a female to me at this point, but only time will tell.

(7) Like many Xenotilapia species, 'Red Princess' females can show good colour, although there is some variation.

I have a friend who works in the aerodynamics department for Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes. Go Max!
 

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That Furcifer looks like a female to me. It could be a young male but, the first thing to look for (Imo) is an elongated anal fin which will I.D a male.
The red princess, from what I have read and heard from sellers is that they are very difficult to tell apart.
Which means they should both be nicely coloured up at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
(1) I forgot about the Alto's; even so, in a tank this size, with so many Cyps, their predation success is likely to be limited.

(4) Good plan for the C. furcifer male. The pic you posted looks more like a female to me at this point, but only time will tell.

(7) Like many Xenotilapia species, 'Red Princess' females can show good colour, although there is some variation.

I have a friend who works in the aerodynamics department for Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes. Go Max!
That Furcifer looks like a female to me. It could be a young male but, the first thing to look for (Imo) is an elongated anal fin which will I.D a male.
The red princess, from what I have read and heard from sellers is that they are very difficult to tell apart.
Which means they should both be nicely coloured up at some point.
Do you mean an elongated pair of ventral fins to identify the males? I can't seem to tell the difference in their anal fins between the obvious male and the others.

The fish in the tank seem to have undergone a growth spurt in the past 2 weeks, as all of them have grown a couple of centimeters very obviously. I have managed to set up the auto water change of about 5% daily with dosing of gH, kH and marine salt solutions to keep parameters stable, so maybe that is helping? Another obviously coloured up male Cyathopharynx has emerged and he is larger than the previous one. I think the change in flow may have triggered this. The previous alpha is still keeping guard at his previous nesting area where the food used to settle, but he hasn't been digging his nest as enthusiastically as he used to. This area is about 1/3 towards the left side of the tank. The newly coloured up male now guards the extreme left side of the tank, though he hasn't started digging his nest yet. Interestingly, the alpha Enantiopus kilesa is digging his sandcastles at the front of the tank in between the territories of the 2 male Cyathopharynx. I notice that my fish like to congregate towards the left side of the tank. Not sure why.

The alpha Cyathopharynx has coloured up beautifully. However, I notice that he had some tears on his dorsal and anal fins at about the same time the new male started showing his colours (first 2 pictures. Seems healed by the 3rd picture taken 2 days later). Perhaps fighting with the newly developed male? The new male has perfect fins but is less colourful than the alpha still. The alpha is still fat but has lost some weight.

Water Fish Fin Marine biology Underwater


Water Vertebrate Fin Fish Underwater


Water Fin Organism Underwater Fish


This is the same fish that I thought was male but you think is a female. Short ventral fins still, but beautiful colours. None of the other "females" in the tank display this sort of colour, especially the patterns in the dorsal and anal fins. Will all females eventually develop this kind of colouration too?

Water Fin Fish Underwater Marine biology


No updates on the red princess as they like to hang out near the back. There is one that is obviously larger than the rest, but that's about it. The Altolamprologus are still not colouring up very well. I'm still tempted to add more Cyprichromis, but we'll have to see what is available when the next stocklist comes.
 

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still open as to whether that is a male or female for me. I did mean anal fin, not ventrals.

Note the rounded anal fin that doesn't extend very far back on the body of the fish.



Compared to a male, who's anal fin is pointed and extends beyond the base of the tail

:



A female featherfin will never have the pointed tail that extends beyond the base of the tail (at least any that I have ever seen).
 

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Ah OK thanks! So technically, even the alpha isn't 100% sure to be male as he still lacks that pointed anal fin?
I think you're misinterpreting the term 'pointed,' even though the anal fins do get pretty 'pointy' at maturity. For the present, I would suggest the term 'elongated;' for example, this-

Water Gesture Underwater Marine biology Fish

Versus this-

Water Electric blue Macro photography Invertebrate Transparent material

Both of these are just cropped images of your pics, the male above and the presumptive female below. Only time will tell, but for now I'm pretty confident the upper fish is a male, but the lower fish could be either a female or an immature male.
 
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