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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a 4', 46 gallon aquarium which is currently planted. Having lost my fishkeeping mojo over recent months, I am planning to create a Lake Tanganyika aquarium and have the following questions:

My tapwater is around PH 7.2, so I was going to use 25kg of 1mm coral sand to increase PH. Is this okay?

I plan to keep two species - a shell dweller and a Julie, buying 6x juveniles of each to hopefully form a pair. Is this okay? I presume that if I get three of each from different suppliers this will reduce the likelihood of inbreeding?

I would like to transfer some of the plants from my current tank to the future tank. Can the substate be planted or am I best attaching plants to the rocks due to the potential destruction?

To assist buffering, I was going to use ocean rock, however I prefer the look of larger rocks. How important is ocean rock for buffering?
My current plan is to have Lamprologus ocellatus & Julidochromis transcriptus with half the tank shells and half rock with Java fern attached. Is this okay or should I stick to one species?

I have 2x T8 bulbs - any ideas on the best ones to use?

I would appreciate any thoughts on my plans…

Thanks in advance to everyone on this wonderful forum and Happy Christmas,

Ben
 

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brearabbit said:
tapwater is around PH 7.2, so I was going to use 25kg of 1mm coral sand to increase PH. Is this okay?
I have never found crushed coral or aragonite to make the slightest difference. A mod here who had her PhD in water treatment confirmed that rock or sand cannot raise pH fast enough to compensate for the 50% weekly water changes that are necessary to keep cichlids. That said, I do have crushed coral in some of the media baskets of my canisters...best chance of buffering with the water being forced through gravel-sized particles. Did not change pH but it can't hurt.

brearabbit said:
a shell dweller and a Julie, buying 6x juveniles of each to hopefully form a pair. Is this okay?
Okay.

brearabbit said:
if I get three of each from different suppliers this will reduce the likelihood of inbreeding?
No need for this. Fish do not show defects from interbreeding the way it was thought years ago and are different from humans in this regard.

brearabbit said:
Can the substate be planted or am I best attaching plants to the rocks due to the potential destruction?
Shellies dig and would not appreciate a planted substrate. You might have luck attaching plants to rocks.

brearabbit said:
To assist buffering, I was going to use ocean rock, however I prefer the look of larger rocks. How important is ocean rock for buffering?
See #1. Also ocean rock is rough...smooth rocks will minimize fish injuries. Remember the rocks serve a function for the fish and are not just decorative. Julidochromis want a flat rock propped up in the front and resting on the glass in back like a lean-to. They lay their eggs on the underside.

brearabbit said:
half the tank shells and half rock with Java fern attached. Is this okay
Think in terms of 1/3 rocks, 1/3 open sand and 1/3 shells. The open sand forms a barrier (from the viewpoint of the shellies) better than other aquascapes.
 

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With all due respect, I'd like to add my $0.02 to this conversation-

brearabbit said:
My tapwater is around PH 7.2, so I was going to use 25kg of 1mm coral sand to increase PH. Is this okay?
That would be useful, but it won't be sufficient. A buffer is 'an aqueous solution containing either a week acid and its conjugate base, or a weak base and its conjugate acid, which is resistant to changes in pH.' Weak acids or bases incompletely ionize in solution; thus, they act as 'sinks' for free hydrogen ions (H+), making that solution resistant to changes in hydrogen ion concentration (pH is just a mathematical way to express hydrogen ion concentration). Neither coral sand nor Aragonite are themselves 'buffers,' because they are not 'in solution,' but they do release true buffers slowly as they dissolve, primarily as calcium carbonate going into solution as free Ca+ cations and HCO3- anions (this is an oversimplification, but close enough).

Coral sand and aragonite are great substrates for Tanganyikan tanks because they release buffering ions into solution slowly over time, and thus act as effective long-term buffers. However, they will not be able to raise the pH of the aquarium to acceptable levels if you do a 50% water change with your pH7.2 tapwater. For that, you need to add a buffer that will dissolve immediately. There are lots of things you can use; I prefer SeaChem Tanganyika Buffer together with SeaChem Lake Cichlid Salts. And yes, I do have Aragonite substrates in all my Tanganyika tanks.

brearabbit said:
I plan to keep two species - a shell dweller and a Julie, buying 6x juveniles of each to hopefully form a pair. Is this okay?
Sure, but the Julies will pick off shellie fry when they can, if you care. You could also go with something that spends more time in the open water column.

brearabbit said:
I presume that if I get three of each from different suppliers this will reduce the likelihood of inbreeding?
Do all you can to maximize genetic diversity of your founding colony, because inbreeding in aquarium fishes is a significant problem. The genetics of all sexually-reproducing diploid organisms follow the same molecular rules, whether you are a man or a fish; there's no getting around that. And just as a point of information, I have undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral degrees in genetics, and spent my entire professional life doing genetic research, so you can trust me on this one.

brearabbit said:
I would like to transfer some of the plants from my current tank to the future tank. Can the substate be planted or am I best attaching plants to the rocks due to the potential destruction?
Most plants won't survive Tanganyika water. Prominent amongst those that will are Vallisneria and Anubias. The Val will need to be planted, but the shellies will dig them up. Anubias attached to rocks (super glue gel) would be a better choice.

brearabbit said:
To assist buffering, I was going to use ocean rock, however I prefer the look of larger rocks. How important is ocean rock for buffering?
Totally irrelevant if you have another source of buffering ions, e. g. coral sand or aragonite, which in any event are much more effective buffers. Just pick rocks that you and your fishes like, but avoid stones with sharp edges.

brearabbit said:
My current plan is to have Lamprologus ocellatus & Julidochromis transcriptus with half the tank shells and half rock with Java fern attached. Is this okay or should I stick to one species?
Either way works. I agree with the suggestion of having areas with shells, rocks, or neither, assuming your shellies don't rearrange the whole tank (N. mulitfasciatus will do this). In my tanks, Anubias do way better than Jave Fern; ymmv.

brearabbit said:
I have 2x T8 bulbs - any ideas on the best ones to use?
Neither Anubias nor Java Fern require much light, so you should be fine here.

A 4' tank will be really nice when set up as you suggested. Good luck, and have fun! :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the comprehensive replies - I really appreciate it. I have a much better idea on set-up thanks to this forum...

Any ideas on species that would spend more time in the open water column?

Thanks,

Ben
 

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brearabbit said:
Any ideas on species that would spend more time in the open water column?
Actually, now that I realize we're talking a 46l here (16" tall?), not a 55 (20" tall), that might not be such a great idea. You'll be fine going with your original plan of Lamprologus ocellatus and Julidochromis transcriptus; that will be a pretty and interesting tank. Good luck!
 
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