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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've picked the lights, the sand, and a somewhat decent list of fish. But I was wondering if instead of putting shells in the tank if the shell dwellers would like a home made place to hide out in just as well.
My thought was to take small pieces of pvc pipe. Either elbows, pieces with caps or both. Cover them will silicone then coat them completely black sand, or maybe the black and white sand out of my other tank. I just have never had shellies before so I don't know if it will work just as well.
See to be honest i really don't care for the look for shells in my tank. The tank is going to have black sand and either slate rock stacked in ledges or Texas holey rock. I think a bunch of shells would make it look tacky. But if thats the only option ill go with it.
I just really think the pvc covered in the sand would be pretty neat. Half buried in the sand blending in with a little fish sticking out would be cool.

Any thoughts? any and all advice is welcome. As well as opinions.
 

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If it's what you'd like than go for it. The fish won't care. If Pvc works, and it does, then PVC covered in sand will be no different to them.

My personal opinion is to use shells as its natural. Never thought of it as tacky but that's just me. I will say that I prefer to have all shells be of the same type as the "hodge Podge" shell bed does actually look "tacky" to me :thumb: But to each his own. Good luck! :)
 

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The thing that is cool about shells is the opening goes from wide to narrow and the fish can hover in the wide part or snug into the close-fitting part if someone is after him. Also one shell can still be the right size as the fish grows...when he is a fry he can get way in the back. When he is an adult he still fits in the opening part.

I have covered things with silicone and substrate (various kinds) before...I did not like the outcome long term. The substrate eventually brushed off in places. I decided if I want PVC, I would have to like the look. Covering it just made it look like disguised PVC. I use those items in quarantine-maternity-fry tanks now.

I do use PVC in mbuna tanks, but I bury it completely under rock piles.

The shellies might not leave your custom caves half buried, so make sure you like the look even when exposed.
 

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I've used pvc coated in my substrate (3m black color quartz) for plecos, works great if you want the "caves" to be invisible. Not sure how it would be received with shell dwellers, like DJ said, it's really cool to see them hoovering at the opening with fry behind them.

I know you said you don't like the look of shells and sand. I have a 10g multi tank I just set up. I didn't use sand at all, I used all shells, bulk shells I've had for years that I picked up at the beach, on top I have whales eye shells for the multi's to live in. I've done this before and it doesn't seem to make a difference, they breed just as well without sand in the tank.

You might be surprised how nice the shells look with black sand. Shells "pop", so do the shell dwellers. The contrast is actually very pleasing.
 

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My preferences for tank decor go in phases. Sure, I've used PVC in the past as well as various colorful ceramic decorations (in my pre-Tang days) :oops: . Right now, I'm in more of a purist, biotope mode, so basically, "if it's not in the lake, it's not in my tank". But really, there is no right or wrong here. If you like something and it will make your tank more enjoyable to you, do it. That's what the hobby is all about. Gotta keep it fun :thumb:
 

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TMB60 said:
"if it's not in the lake, it's not in my tank".
Bet those Neothauma tanganycensis snail shells set you back a bit? :wink:
 

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The price tag on those shells cured me from being a purist. I started thinking whale eyes did not look that out of place :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm kinda thinking about trying both to start..before i put any fish in. Put hem both in the tank and see how it looks. Maybe ill really like the look of it...who knows.
So i assume any shell will work. Any suggestions on what kind to get?
 

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whale eyes, escargot, turbo shells.. anything with a circular opening big enough for the fish to get in and out of easily but not so big the fish would not feel secure. http://www.cichlidbreeding.com has the best selection i know of. if you are in a rush you can usually pick up 2 dozen escargot shells for around $20 in most speciallty food stores
 

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Bet those Neothauma tanganycensis snail shells set you back a bit?
Ok 24Tropheus, you got me there - I'm using whale's eye shells :oops: , but they're still shells :D

Well, guilty as charged. Guess I'm just a semi-purist? :lol:
 

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No worries I use substitute shells too (whelk and various sea shells and escargot) . I have seen Neothauma tanganycensis snail shells for sale once in the UK and to be honest they were pretty dull and far too much money. (Over 10 times the price of the substitutes). I do not know why they are so pricey and hard to get hold of. You would have thought they being so common in the lake they would be cheap? Dunno maybe I am missing something?

I understand some breeders use pipe elbows not because of their looks or better protection but because you can remove fry and young from the adults more easily. Or for some species move the adults on to a new breeding tank leaving the young behind easily. Not a priority for me but sure it works fine.

Currently doing an experiment with some exLamprologus stappersii/meleagris given a free choice of the ones I think quite good.
So far one ?female has chosen a whelk, one an escargot and one a different sea shell. Go figure.... seems they are not very fussy. I should I guess have tried some pipe elbows too to see if they like those and some Neothauma tanganycensis snail shells?

All the best James
 

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24 Tropheus - glad you didn't take me literally. By saying "if it's not in the lake, it's not in my tanks", I only meant I have the type of "things" you'd find there (rocks, sand, shells), not necessarily samples taken from the lake. Ahh.....but you knew that :wink:
 

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I guess very few are full purists as far as Shelly's go. Who wants 100s of shells and loads of mud in their tanks and pretty much little else except the odd predator like an eel?

Who sticks with keeping ones from just one location and habbitat in one tank?

For sure not me. :)
 

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I guess very few are full purists as far as Shelly's go. Who wants 100s of shells and loads of mud in their tanks and pretty much little else except the odd predator like an eel?

Who sticks with keeping ones from just one location and habbitat in one tank?
I absolutely agree. Too extreme for me. I'm happy with a "reasonable representation" of the type of habitat a given fish is naturally from, using those materials that are "close" to the real thing. That allows me to give the fish what they need "to be themselves" as much as possible while not losing any sleep over it. Hard to do better than that in a 2 to 6 foot glass enclosure :)
With that said, if someone else likes to use PVC or whatever else to provide any particular look or function in the tank, that's totally fine. No rule against our tanks being as individual as we are. That's one of the benefits that make it such a great hobby :thumb:
 
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