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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Long time reader but first time poster. I have a lot of experience with saltwater reefs and planted community and a little bit of African cichlid experience (10g N. similis setup a long time ago). So, before I get too deep into this I want to make sure I'm not setting myself up for failure.

1) I'm now looking to set up a 40 breeder (36" tank) as a Tanganyika community. The current plan is to do what I think is, based on reading the forums a lot, fairly common in a tank of this size:

- pair of Calvus
- pair or trio of shellies (probably leaning to brevis or multifasciatus)
- I am also pondering the possibility of a third species. It seems like the smaller Julidiochromis such as ornatus, dickfeldi and transcriptus are common choices. Paracyprichromis nigrippinnis also seem to be chosen. Some people also seem to be doing Neolamprologus buescheri. If I were to go for a third species do these seem viable?

2) I've attached a few pictures of my very tentative rock structure (I'll add sand and tons of shells too of course). I have built in some ledges and overhangs for the calvus and quite a few caves as well, but I'm wondering if maybe I need smaller rocks and more crevices. I'm also looking into a 3d background (probably Universal Rocks unless I decide to order from abroad and go with Aquadecor) that has some ledges built in. Does this seem acceptable, or do I need to make some modifications to my rock structure?

Thanks in advance - I know that the expertise here far outweighs mine.
 

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I would not do julidochromis or buescheri with calvus in a 36" tank.

The calvus and shellies would work...tons of shells at the left side with a swath of open sand as a barrier.

You might squeeze the paracyps if your 3D background has high ledges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks - I appreciate the insight and guidance. I'll just stick with the calvus and the shellies. This is going in my classroom so I don't want to push the limits of the tank environment and I don't want to stress the fish out; now that I type that, I guess it doesn't matter where the tank is - I wouldn't want to do those things regardless of where the tank was located.

Does the rockwork seem adequate?
 

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The rockwork is great. You know you will start with six julidochromis and end up with a pair. Have a rehoming plan.

For a classroom I would choose multifasciatus. Start with six and they will multiply. 100 shells would not be too many.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes - I've seen to start with six and that's what I plan to do unless I can find a confirmed pair (which seems unlikely). I have a fairly well stocked LFS that carries a lot of Africans and claims to be able to get most anything shipped in - they always have a few shellies and black calvus (haven't seen any white, but I think I'm going to go black). I'm going to have a chat with them about the rehoming before I buy.

Does it matter if I add the calvus or the multis first? It seems like it wouldn't given their different territories. I'm going to use filter media from another well stocked tank to jumpstart the cycle so I might be able to add everything at once given the relatively small size of the fish and the large water volume, but that runs contrary to what I've always done and I know they are very sensitive to water quality issues.
 

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Ideal is to add them all at once. As long as the filter media from the established tank that you are going to take is already supporting the same bioload you will stock, you should be fine. AND if you get any ammonia then you can just add more established filter media. Test daily until you are stable.

They will not stay in their territories BTW (especially the shellies before they spawn) but when it comes to eventual combat, any aquascaping advantage helps.

So you are doing calvus instead of julidochromis? My favorite but more challenging to see/raise fry if that is a goal.
 

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Batch, I also highly recommend removing the egg crate underneath the rocks as Shellies WILL move the sand around and expose it. It was once suggested to use egg crate to help spread rock weight or to reduce the chance of causing pressure points on the glass bottom. I and others have found it is not necessary so you just need to take care in placing the rocks so they don't tumble when stacking or inadvertently drop a rock when placing them.

Take a pic of how you currently have them stacked and then try and replicate it if you can once you remove the egg crate/light diffuser material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes the plan is calvus and shellies. While I am interested in the breeding behaviors of the calvus I'm also fine with it not happening. Should be plenty of breeding shellies to keep me busy.

I'll try to add everything at once.

Noted on the egg crate. I guess that was just one of those things that I held over from my past. I will take it out. It will be easy enough to get the rocks back in the same general place.

I really appreciate everybody's help and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A couple of follow up questions.

1) The LFS with Africans tends to have L. brevis "sunspot" and L. ocellatus but not a lot of other shellies. My preference is to buy local for a variety of reasons, so I am planning to go with brevis instead of multis. The calvus they stock are all very small (1.5"...maybe 2" at the max) as would be expected, but the shellies appear to be much more mature (similar in size to the calvus, which I know grow very slowly). Am I going to be okay to add these together at the same size - I don't want to end up with a bunch of dead calvus because they are too small to hold their own against the shellies. I can find larger calvus online and will order if necessary.

2) I plan to get six of the calvus as discussed - the LFS says they will take back any once a pair is established. The last time I kept shellies I was able to get a pre-established harem of similis. I won't be able to do that with the shellies so I plan to get six and see how they pair up. Good plan?

Thanks again.
 

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All good. Calvus are always sold small, they should be OK with the shellies if they are brevis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks. As always, I appreciate the advice.
 
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