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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I've been in the game of African haps and peacocks for 2 years now and although I thorougly enjoy it I am ready to try something new. I'm getting tired of my all male show tank with 6 in. fish and think more smaller fish would be better. I've been toying around with an idea for quite some time now involving my soon to be empty 55 gallon tank.

What I would like to do is attempt to use the back half (depth) of the tank to create a "submerged root system" of driftwood which would be inhabited by a small bunch of dwarf pikes, Crenicichla compressiceps. The exact number I am unsure of and would appreciate your advice! I was thinking about 5 or 6 total, 2 of them being male. With the front I would use some low foreground and midground plants for cover and occupy the open water space with guppies or Endlers, lots of them. I'm aware that in the wild these 2 species would not be found together as the livebearers are of Central American origin while the pike are indegenous to South America. However, I think this would be an interesting and fun path to pursue in this hobby not only to have a chance to observe the natural behavior of predation of the pikes on the livebearers, but the breeding as well.

I'm asking for all your thoughts, concerns, and criticizm on this matter and all responses are greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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Endlers and guppies are also from SA :wink: C. compressiceps are fairly aggressive, I think C. regani would be a much better choice since a 55g has a really limited footprint. C wallacii or C. notophthalmus would also work. They are all very similar and would be more peaceful choices than C. compressiceps (and more likely to work as a group long term). Otherwise, it sounds like a cool idea. There's plenty of livebearers from SA you could choose from, such as Jenynsia. They are readily available in the hobby and lots of them grow larger than C. regani would feed on (2"+), which might make them better choices than guppies or endlers, which I think would just get eaten before they reproduced.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well hooray! I don't know why, maybe it's kind of an OCD thing, but i feel like my fish should all be kept with species they could be found in the wild with haha.

As far as the aggression goes are you just referring to aggression between the pikes? I would like the pikes to display predatory behavior on the livebearers that I could actually see being demonstrated and not restricted to just targeting the fry. (Some people probably really think this is messed up, but I think it would be interesting to try to recreate a natural environment setting.)
 

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Yes, I mean aggression between the pikes. I think 6 C. compressiceps would become 2 eventually. But with C. regani or the others, are much more tolerant of conspecifics.
jbacker7 said:
i feel like my fish should all be kept with species they could be found in the wild
Agreed.

I only mentioned the adult size because of the long term aspect of the setup. If you have 60 tiny Endlers in there, 6 pikes would eat all of them in ten days. But if you had a dozen Jenysia that were too big for them to view as food, you could watch the pikes eat fry for years. Maybe you could have a wide range of sizes, so that some where large enough to not get eaten? I just think if all are small the whole population will get wiped out. 55g doesn't offer much refuge from a group of dwarf pikes.

jbacker7 said:
Some people probably really think this is messed up
I wouldn't worry about it. The first ingredient on most pellets/flakes are fish that we're wiping out by the millions. So a sustainable production of fry for food seems rather "green" to me.

Ed
 

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A 55g is only 12" wide. Not much room for backround and foregrond aquascaping. 75g is a better choice.

As Ed said, sounds like expensive feeders to me. Cool idea though.

....Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks a lot guys! Yea you're right Monte, a 75g would be much better but unfortunately I don't have the money right now and I'm saving up slowly for a 125 so a 55 will have to do, which I think I can make work. My main focus is really whether it is possible to create a balanced ecosystem. I don't want my pikes killing each other but I would like them preying on the breeding feeders. I guess my main concerns are the species of feeders and pike. So far what I'm looking at seems to be...

Either C. compressiceps (which is looking a bit doubtful, but I would still appreciate more info from other users with experience) or C. regani (which I am not as fond of, but again would love to learn more from others personal experiences rather than just the research I have conducted)

And then..

Either Jenysia (which I am worried about being hard to find, and I don't like their huge size as I really want to see a tank with a large school of smaller fish which I failed to specify before so sorry about that on my part) or Guppies (seems like a top choice because I would introduce them to the tank so a strong population of all ages could be established in hopes of the pikes not being able to completely wipe it out) or Endlers ( I am very fond of the appearance of these fish but could again be difficult to find.)
 

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I've been wanting to do a similar set-up, but haven't came across any dwarf pikes in the area, for a while now. I was thinking with a pair in a 30 inch tank.

I would leave the top off, hang a light above the tank and cover the top with floating plants. Then a lot of wood and some java moss on the bottom. This would give the young livebearers plenty of refuge.
 

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I still think they will eat the prey faster than they will reproduce. And even then, the fry will be so small.

Floating plants and java moss would help them to hide.

You will have alot of dead fish on the floor with an open top tank.

....Bill
 

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Well, a 55 gallon will most likely end up with only 1 compressiceps ... mean little buggers.

They are also not so fond of the driftwood, mine ignored all the driftwood in the tank and stuck to the rocks. They come from areas of faster water movement than other dwarves, prefer caves under rocks than they do leaf litter and driftwood.

As for feeders, these pikes will kill any fish they can get their jaws around. So even if they can't swallow the endler's, they will crush the heads. I watched my pair do that to some ember tetras, 11 lost before the shock of what what I was watching even wore off. Talk about expensive feeders. :x

The regani are deffinately a better choice for the decor and what you are wanting to do, though wallacii and noto's would also work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so much for all the help guys!

dwarfpike, I really do like the coloration of those noto's! The red in pictures of mature specimen I have seen is pretty attractive. Now the only problem, these guys seem like they are almost impossible to come across for purchase. Do you have any suggestions on stores or websites that have them listed for sale?

Thanks again.
 

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Since most dwarf pikes are imported, they tend to be seasonal. Pikes usually start showing up around Feb - April. Usually you have to order them online, I've been lucky that our LFS orders from a huge importer here on the west coast that's close by. I've kept all 4 species before. I checked the normal online places that normally carry them, none atm. Not surprising given the time of the year.
 

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I'll PM you the list, since the mods don't like retailers here in the forum part. :thumb:

Oh, and while not a true dwarf pike (wallacii group) ... Cr. minuano is a small pike that has a pattern very similiar to compressiceps (except more colorful) and is not nearly as aggressive. Also, due to the influx of Uruguay cichlids in recent years, also much easier to find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks so much for all the help guys, this forum is truly my favorite research tool when it comes to aquariums because of users like you. Looking forward to the PM dwarfpike!
 

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Minuano is very nice, but, not predatory, just really cranky and obnoxious with age. Stick with a Regani variant, the only major difference in appearance to a Notopthalmus is the ring around the dorsal spot on females, white vs. red.
 

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I like the idea of the tank I think it would be really cool and would love to see some pics or video if it ever got set up and running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm having a little trouble researching C. regani's natural habitat. Would anyone be able to describe it for me? I have read they can be found in places with tree roots, leaf litter, and browner colored water, but how about plants? Very much vegitation or not? I would like to keep it as true to their natural habitat as possible but I think some plants would give fry a place to hide and they do always look nice. Your thoughts?
 
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