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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, this is the 2nd time I've set up my 29 gallon aquarium, but the first time I've tried Tanganyikans. My first setup was several years ago when I was in undergrad, and I just had some neon tetras and a few other simple tropical fish. A little over a month ago I prepped my empty and neglected aquarium by spray-painting a black background on it and filling it with a mixture of interesting looking limestone and sandstone from a local landscaper. I used Caribsea's Ocean Direct aragonite sand for the substrate, and made 2 different shell beds on each end of the tank with escargot shells from the grocery store. Filtration is provided by an AquaClear 50 HOB. I got the tank cycled with 3 giant danios that were still doing fine when I returned them to the LFS last week. Anyway, I put my first cichlids in and they seem to be doing great. The tank is currently stocked with 3 Juli. marlieri Burundi (I'm hoping to get a pair then take any others out), 7 L. multifasciatus, 2 Syn. multipunctatus, and 1 albino bristlenose pleco. So here are some of the questions I have:

1. Should I throw three more Julis in there to make sure I get a pair? The Julis are 1.5-2" long, so how long should I expect to wait before a pair forms?

2. I wanted to put 2 more species in to make things more interesting, but I figured it would be good to have some feedback from experienced Tanganyikan aquarists before I do. Would it be too much to add 2-3 Alto. Sumbu dwarfs and maybe 3-4 Cyp. lept. Utinta? The multis have already claimed both shell beds, so I'm worried the Sumbu dwarfs might suffer because of this. However, I did add a cluster of shells on top of some of the rocks. Does anyone think the Sumbus might use these, or do they pretty much stick to the substrate like the multis? Also, there is still quite a bit of rockwork on the left side of my tank that has been unclaimed, with the Julies always staying on the right side. I'm not sure if Sumbus dwarfs prefer shells, or if they will do just fine with sufficient rockwork. As for the Cyps, I wanted to throw them in there to have some action towards the top of the tank.

3. Now, for a question on water chemistry. My tap water's parameters are pH: 8.8 or more (it maxed out my API high range pH test), KH: 4 dH, GH: 5 dH. In my water changes I've been adding SeaChem's Tang Buffer (and Prime to condition it) to bring my tap's KH up to 11-12 dH. Currently, my tank's parameters are pH: 7.8, KH: 12 dH, GH: 6 dH. I'm very confused by the GH test kit I have. For some reason when I test my tank water my GH always comes out lower than my KH! How is this possible!? My understanding is that by definition the GH, or total hardness, has to be at least, if not greater, than the KH. My GH test kit is made by Tetra, while the rest of my test kits are made by API, but I don't think that should matter. I'd like for my GH to be higher than is indicated by my test kit, which I assume will happen slowly because of all the limestone and aragonite substrate in the tank. If anyone can explain this KH/GH discrepancy I would greatly appreciate it. Also, the pH in my tank keeps going down from the tap's naturally high pH, despite my increasing the KH to 12 dH. I assume the culprit is nitrifying bacteria since the tank is full of rocks that would naturally increase the pH. I'm worried because I don't want there to be significant flucuations in pH every time I change the water.

Well, I know this is a bit wordy for my first post, but I'm really hoping I can get some good advice. As I've been researching Tanganyikan cichlids in the last month, I've realized this forum is full of some very knowledgeable people!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, I found the answer to one of my questions. A 29 gallon is much too small for Cyps, so nix that idea. Any suggestions on top swimmers, either Tanganyikan or something compatible?
 

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the julies will out grow the tank and probably kill the multies.
try a smaller species. top swimmers would be danios, rainbows, minnows, other active fish.
 
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