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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 29 gallon tank (30"x12" foot print) and I've set my heart on keeping and breeding Steatocranus casuarii. I'd like to set it up as a Zaire river bed biotope, ideally with African glass catfish. I understand though that both the S. casuarii and glass catfish use the bottom of the tank, and it is a small tank... Also, I've tested my water chemistry, and I was encouraged by 0 ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, but dismayed by an 8.2 pH. I believe that this was caused by my purchase of African cichlid gravel (Whaddaya MEAN there's different water systems in Africa?!). I could replace the gravel and start my cycle over again, if that high a pH would significantly stress my fish, but if it wouldn't bother them I would just assume leave it. Thoughts, comments and etc. are appreciated!
 

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What is your pH from the tap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
D'oh, that would have been good info. I'm having trouble reading my test kit, but I think around 7.0-7.2.
 

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I'd leave the substrate alone. They are reported to do fine within a wide range.

I was encouraged by 0 ammonia, nitrites and nitrates
Did you cycle the tank? 0 nitrates suggests no.

Are you sure they won't make a meal of the glass cats? I have tinanti, which are smaller I believe, and they eat anything that moves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welp, I just remeasured the nitrates and they were still 0 ppm. I used a fishless cycle that the store had recommended me, but now I'm not certain. Might go pick up another and give it another shot! The guides to S. casuarii I've read said that the African Glass Catfish makes a good tankmate, but if that's not the case I won't be heartbroken about leaving them out. I'm not sure how good I feel about jamming a school of 3" congo tetras in there, in addition to to the two casuarii and whatever brood they can come up with, but I'm ok with a species tank too.
 

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I used a fishless cycle that the store had recommended me, but now I'm not certain.
What exactly was that? Was it a bacterial starter of some type?

I've read said that the African Glass Catfish makes a good tankmate, but if that's not the case I won't be heartbroken about leaving them out.
I don't know for certain that they wouldn't do ok, but would make certain of the reliablilty of that info before I spent a lot on the cats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
prov356 said:
What exactly was that? Was it a bacterial starter of some type?
It's called nutrafin cycle, made by Hagen. It says that it's a biological aquarium supplement and immediately establishes a safe environment for fish. I feel a renewed sense of caution however, and I guess I could just buy another fishless cycle and keep testing.

I don't know for certain that they wouldn't do ok, but would make certain of the reliablilty of that info before I spent a lot on the cats.
http://fish.mongabay.com/schilbeidae.htm

That's the website I was getting my info from. If they wind up as very expensive Steatocranus food I'll let you know :D
 

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It's called nutrafin cycle, made by Hagen. It says that it's a biological aquarium supplement and immediately establishes a safe environment for fish.
I wouldn't trust it to instant cycle. Instead use one of these products and fishless cycle by adding ammonia from a bottle. See the fishless cycling article in the forum library. Dr Tim's product has a better reputation. The bacterial starters arent' necessary, but can cut the cycling time considerably.
 

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Steatocranus tinanti is the larger species, and more predatory than S. casuarius. I've bred S. casuarius in fairly hard water, and the pH is not a critical element. What is important is providing some sort of current and lots of potential caves. I've never had them go after other types of fish, only other Cichlids, and even then they aren't super aggressive.

I doubt that the African Glass catfish would be at any risk from the Buffaloheads, as they are open water swimmers and are not likely to get too near the bottom, where the Steatocranus are going to stay pretty tight. However, those cats get just as big as Congo Tetras, and some of the species I've seen available get much bigger. I would see nothing wrong with a small school of 5-6 regular Congos in a 29. Better would be a school of Yellow Congo Tetras, Phenacogrammus caudalis, a slightly smaller species (some use the genus Alestopetersius). The name Yellow Congo is misleading, as the fish has a bright blue body with a yellow caudal. Much more colorful than the standard Congo, IMO.

I do not get overly concerned with cycling tanks because I usually place a large clump of floating aquatic plants (Najas, Hornwort, or Water Sprite) in the tank, which not only takes up ammonia directly, but carries all the necessary microfauna for starting a cycled tank. Vegetarian fish also love to chew on Najas, which gives them a constant supply of food. I also tend to underpopulate the tanks for breeding purposes. However, Najas has a tendency to break up and clog filter intakes. I overcame this by putting a small powerhead on a large box filter to produce current the first time i bred Steatocranus casuarius.
 

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I do not get overly concerned with cycling tanks because I usually place a large clump of floating aquatic plants (Najas, Hornwort, or Water Sprite) in the tank, which not only takes up ammonia directly, but carries all the necessary microfauna for starting a cycled tank.
I'd just like to forewarn others that there's risk in this approach and plants actually only take up ammonium. Ammonia is toxic to plants just as it is to fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Chromedome52 said:
Steatocranus tinanti is the larger species, and more predatory than S. casuarius. I've bred S. casuarius in fairly hard water, and the pH is not a critical element. What is important is providing some sort of current and lots of potential caves. I've never had them go after other types of fish, only other Cichlids, and even then they aren't super aggressive.
I've got a powerhead running for the current, and I'm mostly using a small pile of terra cotta pots for caves, with some driftwood. Eventually I plan on obscuring some of the entrances with anubias and bolbitis, so that should hopefully make them comfortable and split up the territory a bit.

I doubt that the African Glass catfish would be at any risk from the Buffaloheads, as they are open water swimmers and are not likely to get too near the bottom, where the Steatocranus are going to stay pretty tight. However, those cats get just as big as Congo Tetras, and some of the species I've seen available get much bigger. I would see nothing wrong with a small school of 5-6 regular Congos in a 29. Better would be a school of Yellow Congo Tetras, Phenacogrammus caudalis, a slightly smaller species (some use the genus Alestopetersius). The name Yellow Congo is misleading, as the fish has a bright blue body with a yellow caudal. Much more colorful than the standard Congo, IMO.
Yknow, that might be a much better option, and even petco carries them. Thanks for the advice!

I do not get overly concerned with cycling tanks because I usually place a large clump of floating aquatic plants (Najas, Hornwort, or Water Sprite) in the tank, which not only takes up ammonia directly, but carries all the necessary microfauna for starting a cycled tank. Vegetarian fish also love to chew on Najas, which gives them a constant supply of food. I also tend to underpopulate the tanks for breeding purposes. However, Najas has a tendency to break up and clog filter intakes. I overcame this by putting a small powerhead on a large box filter to produce current the first time i bred Steatocranus casuarius.
Thanks again! Will give this a try, along with the Dr. Tim's!
 

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prov356 said:
I do not get overly concerned with cycling tanks because I usually place a large clump of floating aquatic plants (Najas, Hornwort, or Water Sprite) in the tank, which not only takes up ammonia directly, but carries all the necessary microfauna for starting a cycled tank.
I'd just like to forewarn others that there's risk in this approach and plants actually only take up ammonium. Ammonia is toxic to plants just as it is to fish.
Let's rephrase then, true aquatic plants take up what the fish put out. This eliminates the nitrite/nitrate concerns because the buildup is much, much slower and the microfauna in the plants takes hold long before it builds up to toxic levels. "Advanced" cycling of tanks became an issue when people stopped putting live plants in tanks and started overloading them with Malawi Cichlids. I've been breeding fish for over 40 years and never tested for anything other than pH and TDS. Someone on another forum took a couple pounds of Najas I sent them and tested; with a moderate bioload they never saw any significant levels of ammonia/ammonium/whatever the heck you want to call it.

I say it is an absolutely safe way of insta-cycling breeding tanks. I did not recommend it for a display tank, most people don't like the appearance of a bunch of loose plants anyway.
 

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This approach is well known and well documented by Diana Walstad in her book "Ecology of the planted aquarium". It can work if you know what you're doing and stock very lightly. Very few here stock and keep tanks this way so need the 'advanced cycling' methods. I expressed the warning because sometimes posts can be misinterpreted. I could see some walking away with the idea that cycling isn't necessary if you toss some plants in the tank. There's more to it than that. I'd recommend Diana's book to anyone intersted in taking this approach. It'd be a very intesting and educational setup.
 
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