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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I've been checking the forum for a couple of weeks now digesting as much info as possible and it seems the place to come to online for advice on rift valley species. I have a load of questions but i'll try keep my first post under control.

We recently moved to a new house and after a couple months renovation my mind has wandered to new aquarium possibilities. I am new to rift valley cichlids but have some experience with south american species and other soft water setups. I live in a hard water area and messing with water chemistry is always a hassle, pH would reach acceptible levels but gH would remain high. With this in mind and my girlfriends desire for a 'colourful' tank i thought of the cichlids that i previously ignored as characterless, bright and brash (don't hate me)! As i say i've browsed the info supplied through the forum for a couple weeks and come to the conclusion that a Tanganyikan setup would provide the colour she demands and the character/behaviour i seek from aquarium inhabitants.

So the set up i'm considering would be housed in a 5ft x 2ft x 2ft aquarium and consist of the following species:

Enantiopus melagenys (Kilesa) 2M, 4F
Cyprichromis utinta or mpulungu (anything non jumbo) 12-15
Alto comps (Gold head) 3-5
or
Neolamprologus leleupi (Yellow) 3-5
Lamprologus ocellatus (Gold) 3-5

The N. Leleupi would be mainly for the colour although i hear they can be aggresive paticularly to conspecifics so wondered about Labidochromis caeruleus (again don't hate me)!

The tank would be split to roughly three equal sandy areas (one with shells) by two medium rock piles topped by some kind of greenery (Anubias/Java fern). In other words fairly minimal with simple maintenance.

So in summary i guess i'm asking for advice/opinions on the general setup and stocking list particularly the Alto/Lab/N.leleupi quandry. The purpose of one of these three species is a stick out yellow, whereas the other species (my choices) are for behaviour as well as looking pretty!

So guys shoot away! Sorry for going on just wanted to give you as much ammo as poss, plenty more questions particularly regarding male/female ratios but that can be the next installment! Thanks in advance for your expertise.
 

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If you're looking for some yellow color without the potential brutality from leleupi, why not check out Julidochromis Ornatus? They are much more mild than the leleupi are.

You might also want to take a look at Victorians. No, I'm not suggesting you mix them with tangs, but as a high-color alternative that you and your GF might enjoy.
 

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I would definitely get the occies, they are fun to watch, and your GF will think they're cute. The comps are a good choice too.
If it was my tank I would probably do:
8- L. Ocellatus
6- A Comp. Muzi gold head
12-15 Cyp. ( non jumbo)
One more species of small rock dwellers, maybe buescheri or julies
 

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12-15 Cyp mpulungu
6 shell dwellers
4 calvus or gold head comps

loads of room for tons of choices, I'd even be tempted with a couple of caudopunctatus also :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the quick replies guys. Vics aren't something I've looked into but i'll check them out.

In regards to the julies or buescheri I get the impression they'd appreciate more rockwork than I'd like in the setup. Plus would they not be too aggressive for the Enants to feel comfortable? I guess I'm looking for species to inhabit a fairly sparse & open tank however the splashes of solid yellow I'm also looking for seem to prefer extensive rockwork which I'm hoping to keep to a couple of piles.

Any thoughts on the idea of Enants or even the possibility of a Lab insurgency?
 

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kiriyama said:
12-15 Cyp mpulungu
6 shell dwellers
4 calvus or gold head comps

loads of room for tons of choices, I'd even be tempted with a couple of caudopunctatus also :fish:
Sounds good - I would have left the enants off too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The more I think about your suggestion kiriyama the more I like it.

As nobody is suggesting the kilesa option could you let me know why you feel they're not great for this set up? I think they're a really interesting species and would love to own some.

Wei Fun, I've had a quick look a some Vic species and they def look worthy of some research.

Would the tank be considered to small to house a pair of feather fins, species recommendation?
 

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Enants tend to be a little less hardy then your other suggestions. Your tank is large enough to house them, but you'll have to stock and aquascape with them as your #1 priority. 5' is about the minimum size for featherfins. You could do A. dewindti in this setup or maybe O. ventralis but its probably better to get your feet wet with something a little easier that will allow you to have more options in your community.
 

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Enants are not easy to get hold of in the UK (although in London you might be ok). I've been waiting months for some. If you do get them, I think they have to be the main attraction as they are a little more delicate than the other species mentioned and require more tank floorspace. The cyps would be fine with them (non jumbo) as would a pair of comps or calvus, but I'd leave it at that and see how it goes. There will be plenty of colour and interest with just those three species. Keep the shells/rocks in one corner for the altos. You could maybe introduce another rockpile to the other corner with another rock dweller or some shellies at a later date.
 

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just my two cents. but julies and shellies work out fantastic. idk what else u could get to fill it in but that would be a great start. ornatus or transcriptus r very pretty species. gl pleasing the gf. i suggest finding base species that suite ur color needs and go from there.
 

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Yep if going Enants make them the dominant fish in the tank. That prob meens no shellys. (except a real home lover like brevis). Even multies used to bully my Enants. Your first three species seemed fine to me.
Enantiopus melagenys (Kilesa) 2M, 4F
Cyprichromis utinta or mpulungu (anything non jumbo) 12-15
Alto comps (Gold head) 3-5 (or calvus which I think I prefer) or pair.

I would up the Enants to a group of 12. If you can get em sexed and want to breed then yep just two males and the rest female. If unsexed it gives you enough to remove excess males and enough so you can leave it at about 6 of each sex if thats what you want.

Pesonally I would be tempted to add a pair of goby cichlids in a pile of rocks one end, use large shells for the alto lamps the other.(help to make up for no shellys) to that list and leave it at that.

Get the Enants settled first. I think. Remember these do not breed for long so breed em or lose them quite quickly like goby cichlids.

Only downer is I have not seen Enantiopus melanogenys (Kilesa) in the UK. Dunno if anyone can get them iether. Normal Enants should not be a problem though.

All the best James
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again for the opinions guys, its helping me get the list straight in my head.

I live bout half hour along the A414 and down the A10 from you James and your right about the rarity of Kilesa in our neck of the woods. Another downside to that is the price i'd expect to pay for them, especially 12 as per your suggestion!

Thanks all for the Goby and Julie thoughts but personally they don't hold much interest for me, although i'm sure my girlfriend would have something to say about the yellow variants!

So the ideal but increasingly unlikely list would be as follows:

Enantiopus melagenys (Kilesa) 2M, 4F
Cyprichromis utinta or mpulungu (anything non jumbo) 12-15
Alto comps (Gold head) 3-5
and
Another colour splash capable of fitting in with Enants. Suggestions? The caudopunctatus thoughts sounded interesting...

The more realistic version (unless i'm told otherwise):

Opthalmotilapia ventralis 1M, 2/3F
Cyprichromis utinta or mpulungu (anything non jumbo) 12-15
Alto comps (Gold head) 3-5
Lamprologus ocellatus 3 - 5 (too feisty for the ventralis)?

Look forward to your thoughts.....

P.S: I'd be looking to get the best colours/behaviour out of the Cyps as this is a show tank rather than a breeding tank; could someone suggest an appropriate male/female ratio to acheive this? Male only? Less females?
 

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derkhead said:
Any advice on the Cyp ratio?
Depends on what you want. In good numbers like 12 or more they will breed fine whatever the ratio. It is with small numbers and small tanks the ratio becomes important for survival and breeding. More of a show tank get mostly males more of a breeding tank get mostly females.

If you are going for young guys you kind of have little choice over the sex mix. If going adult then yep you can select. You still seem to get more males than you thought unless buying full size adults (those though are prob best value to species tank breeders (expensive but breed fast if given reasonable conditions where they are not bullied) not community tank keepers who prefer the hardyness and longer life and adaptability and price of smaller stock)

All the best James
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'll be going with younger specimens on the cyps so I guess i'll take my chances with the ratio.

On reflection it appears space won't allow 2ft front to back and 18in is more likely. As I'm keen on keeping the ventralis would this reduce stock numbers. I assume the footprint reduction means yes. An increase in length to 6ft is viable but is length what the ventralis require territory wise?

In summary I'd be looking to keep cyps, ventralis, occies, maybe alto pair in a 5 or 6ft x 18in deep x 24in high.
 

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If you want to get the best colour and behavior out of the Ventralis, you should have two males, that way they are not only displaying to attract a female, but are also coloured up and displaying whenever they lay eyes on each other. Having said that, the more distance between two male Ventralis the better. A six foot tank would be a better way to do this, and would also allow you to keep jumbo cyps, giving you much more choices to choose from. Ventralis are great fish to keep, sounds like a great tank to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So am i wrong in thinking jumbos would be a bit too much for the ventralis to deal with?

I would ideally like to keep two males for the behaviour and colouration reasons Noddy states but is the opnion that this is impossible to acheive in a 5ftx18inx24in high?

The girlfriend was unhappy with loosing 2ft width of the dining room which i probably agree with, the length would physically be less of an issue however bear in mind she'd rather i had a goldfish bowl!
 

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derkhead said:
No thoughts on jumbo/ventralis combo or if two male ventralis in 5ft is asking for trouble?
Pushing things a bit but give it a pop if you want. It is not a silly thing to try. Just not sure one way or the other.

All the best James
 

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I wouldn't have a problem with two male Ventralis in a 5 footer, Furcifers, that's a different story. Be sure to have something that divides the tank in the middle. ie: rock pile.
I wouldn't try jumbo cyps in a five foot tank though. I kept Ventralis and jumbo blue orchid cyps in a six foot tank with no problems between the two at all.
 
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