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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m about 2 weeks away (fingers crossed) from completing the cycle on a new 55, and I’m debating whether or not to add Cyprichromis (non-jumbo) to the tank. Right now, the plans definitely include a trio of Calvus (relocated from my other tanks) and a group shell dwellers.

After some reading, I'm wondering if Cyps are more trouble than they are really worth? It seems that if they’re not jumping out of the tank, they are wasting away for no apparent reason. I was also surprised to see that inter-species aggression can be a problem if you don’t have the right balance of males in the group. It’s not something I see discussed much when stock list recommendations are tossed out there.

So I’m wondering, am I just digging up isolated cases of things that can go wrong? Or are these fish really as fussy to keep as they appear?
 

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I love mine. I can't imagine my community tank without them. They really add a lot of action as well as drawing other fish out into the open. I have 12 (50/50 ratio) in my 55gal and they're getting along great. I have found that they arn't fussy at all. They eat like pigs and breed like rabbits. Great fish. :thumb:
 

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I've had no trouble with my cyps. My tank has a lid (solves jumping) and they're about as bullet proof a fish I have ever kept. They spawn like mad and the fry sell well. So...yeah, they're worth it.
 

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jrf

I have found cyps to be bullet proof IF you provide flat thin slate up against the sides and/or back wall. As long as they have a structure to orient to, they get very content, fat and breed like rabbits!

Without tall (tank high) structures, I've had them jump to their death or waste away.
 

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Mine are fine, but do cover the tank, LOL.
 

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I'm glad to see the positive replies. I could use some encouragement right now. I bought 10 Specklebacks in July at 1.25". The seller would only ship airport to airport so by the time I added the cost of the fish, air freight, 150 miles roundtrip to the airport,and divided that by the surviving fish I've got $30 per fish invested in these guys. Two were lost in transit which I got credit for but now you divide the total airfreight and mileage costs by 8 instead of 10. Actually now 7 since 1 died last week for no apparent reason. My experience so far is that they are the wimpiest fish that I have ever owned. Initially, I was crushing 1mm NLS pellets. If a piece of food looked too big to them they would let if fall to the bottom and not even try to eat it. I swear they would starve to death with uneaten food on the sand bottom, which I must siphon out every night. They are in a 29 gallon tank with no other fish. If they are at the left side and I drop the food in there they will move to the right so most goes to the bottom before they realize it is there. My advice would be to buy the largest fish you can find and also buy local if you can to save on freight charges. I'm not giving up on these guys but any comparison to pigs and rabbits looks to be a long way off.
 

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I am a cyp killer and am banned for life against ever getting another one. I watched 18 of my 22 wild caught cyps waste away one by one. I've kept many different kinds of cichlids the past 20 years and I just couldn't keep the cyps alive. I was doing something wrong I just couldn't figure it out :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the opinions guys.

Number6 said:
jrf

I have found cyps to be bullet proof IF you provide flat thin slate up against the sides and/or back wall. As long as they have a structure to orient to, they get very content, fat and breed like rabbits!

Without tall (tank high) structures, I've had them jump to their death or waste away.
My tank my not be appropriate then. I have rock piles on either end and a couple of boulders that stick up a bit into the water column. But no propped up slate - and I don’t think I really want to add any at this point to be honest.
 

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Kshafer maybe the reason yours didn't fair too well was the fact you were keeping jumbos in a 29 gallon tank. For jumbo cyps a 6 foot or larger tank is required.
 

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The 29 is just a quarantine/grow-out tank. They are going into a 125 soon. They only use a small portion of the 29 as it is plus I worry about them finding food in a much larger space. The largest one is is at 1.5" and they are in no danger of being eaten by anything in the 125. They haven't done that badly in the 29. I guess it is more impatience on my part in wanting these guys to reach their potential more quickly than they are. If anyone thinks they would do better in the 125 I'll move them now.
 

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kshafer
not using the whole tank is IMHO and IME, a very bad sign.

They are likely stressed by improper terrain, tank size, and/or shipping stress. I don't mean to be a pessimist, but you will likely lose those fish at this rate if my hunches are correct.

Jrf, I would be adding something tall, or swapping them to another tank. My 2 cents
 

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My experience with cyps has been great (without high rocks, never any jumpers). My WC group of 10 did very well in a 55. Their fry have grown and bred (selectively), have been sold, bred again, and all in all do well. I think cyps are more resilient to transport and acclimation stress than many other fish (I've had a terrible time with altos!) I've had them in a empty 40 gallon for growing out- no rocks, no background and no substrate- and they did wonderfully. I think fat and happy cyps need five things:

  • - A place to sleep. Cyps sleep on the ground and need to have a place to do so. If all the floor space is claimed by substrate spawners, the cyps will waste away.

    - A place to swim. Males do form 3D territories in open water. My breeding groups (10-20 cyps) in 4ft tanks have typically resulted with 2 territorial males. If there are 5 or more males, the others don't color up. If there are less than 5 males, I end up with two. The schooling behavior among females is much more evident in a 4ft tank than a 3ft.

    - Good water quality. As with most Tangs, you can't expect cyps to thrive without large, frequent water changes.

    - Appropriate tank mates. Tropheus, frontosa, and brichardi types are not appropriate. Sandsifters, shellies, altos, julies, gobies, and some neolamps are okay.

    - Metronidazole. An essential (and inexpensive) drug to have on hand for cyps and other wasting/bloat prone fish.

They are worth it though. They bring other fish out of hiding, and their open water dancing is spectacular. Find some from a local breeder if you can- it's much cheaper that way. :thumb:
 

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I think the terrain is good. I have some open area and one tall structure in the corner which they seem to like. I've been conservative in moving them to the 125 since I have so much $ invested in them and didn't want to rock their boat. Maybe it's time for a change of scenery by getting them into the 125. I've got nothing to lose if they are unhappy where they are.
 

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Frozen cyclops is excellent for cyps of all ages. I keep mine with large petros and they do great. Young cyps have a hard time with nls 1mm. My growouts get spirulina flake, frozen cyclops and nls grow. Fry grow well in a bare 55 gal with sponge filters.
 

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i think a tanganyika community tank is not complete without a school of cyprichromis.
so, yes i think they're well worth it.
 

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I moved the Cyps his weekend to a 125. Tank parameters that I could measure, temperature and pH, were the same but I still lost two the first day. The five that remain are doing fine. They like to hang out in front of a tall lace rock but they do use the whole tank now. They look better with darker fins and eat more aggressively than I have ever seen. I know they like to be in large groups. Will I have trouble with having only 5 of them?
 
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