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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope this doesn't turn into another flame fest and then a lock. Keep it civil. This is not the place to discuss whether it's right or wrong to do what I'm doing. Some of you may remember a couple of similar threads of mine from a few months ago that quickly turned into a poo poo storm of "your fish will kill each other" or "your a liar if you say there's no aggression". This is a thread to offer my experiences so that others may learn from them. If it turns to that again, I'll have this one locked and deleted too.

For those that don't remember the old threads, my tank is 190 US Gallons. It measures five feet long by two feet wide by thirty inches tall. I have a 50 US Gallons wet/dry sump with a QuietOne 6000 (1,500 gph) providing the main filtration. this is supplemented with an Emperor 400 (400 gph), two Penguin 1140 powerheads (300 gph each), and a Magnum 25 H.O.T. pushing water through a Coralife TurboTwist 36 watt UV Sterilizer. There are also two 300 watt heaters, one in the overflow and one in the sump. I got this tank used as a "leaker" and took it completely apart and resealed it. I also built the stand.

The stock is as follows...
Parachromis managuense male (jaguar), about 14", named Tiny
Parachromis managuense male (jaguar), about 11", named Teeny
Parachromis managuense female (jaguar), about 5", named
Parachromis friedrichsthalli male (freddy), about 12", named Captain Awesome
Parachromis loiselli female (loiselli), about 6", named Lois
Amphilophus festae female (True Red Terror), about 8", named Red
Astronotus ocellatus (Albino tiger Oscar), about 14", named Albie
Aequidens rivulatus male (Gold Saum or False Green Terror), about 7", named Stuart
Synodontus eupterus (Featherfin Catfish), about 6", named Corky

All sizes are measured with a ruler against the glass when the fishes come close. True size in photos may be deceptive due to angles and the 2' width of the tank. Keep this in mind when viewing photos. All fishes are really as big as claimed.

I change approximately 100 US Gallons or more of water each Sunday. Water conditions are tested regularly and are constantly excellent. I keep the temperature at 82 degrees. The substrate is pool filter sand with natural rocks and driftwood for hiding spots. I feed these guys 3 to 4 times per day. The feedings consist of manufactured pellets like Hikari Cichlid BioGold, Tetra Cichlid Sticks, and shrimp pellets. I also offer live foods from time to time. These consist of Rosey Reds, Comet Goldfish, raw Carolina Jumbo Shrimp from the grocer, nightcrawlers, crickets, and the snails that came on some plants I bought and have since multiplied and live in the sump.

I've tried a couple of different types of plants in the sump just to help with additional oxygenation and nitrate cleaning (too much is never enough, lol), but haven't been successful in this regard. The main problems have been that the plants are too fragile and shed leaves that get into the main tank. I wasn't happy with this and felt it took away from the aesthetics. I tried another type of plant and they didn't do well floating in the sump and not planted in a substrate. I can't have plants in the sand in the main tank as the fish will just uproot them and with a 30" deep tank, it's not easy to replant them.

Now, on to what has been going on in my tank for the last few months. First, I've learned an important lesson. Fish will jump out of a tank with no lid. I lost an Oscar and a Synodontus this way (both in the middle of the night). I fixed this problem by making a lid out of some 1/4" acrylic I had laying around and haven't had another jumper. Who knows why they decide to jump out, but they do. If you don't have a lid, buy one, get one, or make one. I had an outbreak of ich a few months ago as well. I had another Green Terror back then that was lost to the ich. I was able to successfully save the rest with high heat (90 degrees) and salt. Within a few days, all signs of ich were totally eradicated and it hasn't returned. I blame live feeders for this. I immediately purchased the UV Sterilizer to keep this from happening again. It has been successful so far.

Next, I'm going to relate to you how I've been successful in keeping an overstocked tank with big aggressive CA/SA cichlids with no murders. Be aware, many disagree with my stocking and methods of maximizing chances of success. Again, this is not the place to argue my stocking or methods. the bottom line is that it has worked for me so far (and I have no reason to believe it won't keep working).

My method is to keep the fishes "happy", if that's possible. I do this by feeeding them often and include live foods. I feel this keeps predatory fishes happy by allowing them to do what they do naturally. The little female jag loves the feeders so much, she'll cram up to four Rosey Reds in her mouth at once. It's funny to see a couple of different tails hangng out of her mouth wiggling. :D I also keep the water warmer (82 degrees). Some reccomend colder temps to keep down aggression, I disagree. The warmer temps keep the fishes happier and increase metabolic rates allowing them to grow faster and thrive. I change a lot of water on a regular schedule to keep it super clean. I provide many holes, caves, and spots so that each fish can have a territory to call "home". All these things add up to maximizing your chances for success by minimizing the things and conditions which will make fishes unhappy wwhich will ultimately lead to frustration, "nuisance" aggression, and murders.

A lot of people won't believe me when I say there is ZERO aggression in this tank. Some will ask "what if the Parachromis breed, arent you concerned there will be aggression?". The answer is the male freddy and female loiselli have bred regularly and this hasn't changed aggression levels whatsoever. The eggs always disappear over the period of about 3 days after being laid and fertilized. I have seen the male freddy eat some of them and I suspect he and the Synodontus are responsible for their disappearance. The bottom line is there have been no murders. There is no lip locking, gill flaring, chasing, or prison yard style race riots of any kind. All these fishes seem to have a mutual respect for each other and their respective territories.

At the end of the day, and although I've been successful so far, this set up isn't for the average hobbyist. There have been a couple of problems that I've been able to learn from and improve upon (the ich and the jumping), although the learning curve is steep as I've lost a couple of good fishes as a result. This setup requires a ton of work and research to maximize your chances for success. At the end of the day, all you can do is to try to do everything possible to maximize your chances for success. There are no guarantees, things can change overnight. Fishes that get along for months on end may suddenly turn on each other. And, although this hasn't been my experience, it can and does happen. I can't over emphasize the sheer amount of time and effort involved with this kind of set up.

The bottom line is that all the hard work and effort I've put in has paid off for me by being able to observe the behavior, interaction and breeding of what I consider to be the most beautiful of the big aggressive CA/SA cichlids. It has truly been a fascinating and interesting experience. The different personalities and tank dynamics along with the beauty of all these fishes together has been the biggest reward.

Thanks for your patience in reading this. I look forward to trying to answer any questions any of you may have regarding my experiences. I am by no means an expert, but I like to pretend to be an amatuer ichthyologist, lol. :D

Please remember, this is not the place for a debate on whether or not this is possible. This is also not the place to tell me "you'll have aggression sooner or later". This will only end up with my real life experiences locked and deleted so that no one may learn from my work. I'd like for this thread to last without arguing so that I'm able to update it from time to time. This way, folks can learn from whatever happens in my tank, good or bad.

Stay tuned for some new pics later tonight. Until then, here's a tank shot from a month or so ago...

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's a recent shot of Albie...

 

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Interesting topic and a beautiful tank too!! :D Your fish all look very nice...I'm a big fan of jaguars, any way to get a close up of one?? Do your male jags fight? Love your oscar too :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here's some shots from tonight...

Tiny...


Albie...


Captain Awesome and Lois, his ol' lady...


Red...


Teeny...


Stuart...


And a tank shot from tonight...


You can click on the pictures for a bigger image. :wink:

Thanks for looking.
 

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Hi terd ferguson

A well put together thread, good on you. :D

What you have done & achieved is fantastic, & although there may be skeptics, it is something I enjoy doing myself. 8)

The wonderful world of fish keeping is a fun & very exciting world. It is I believe popular due to being able to change things all the time. :D

Its when people actually come & see the tank setup is when they get the real shock & awe. :p

Keep up the good work, god bless.

Regards Armandi :thumb:
 

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Excellent update...glad to hear it's been working out. :thumb:
Tank and fish look good in the pics too. You've got some nice specimens in there.

I know you mentioned something about aquatic plants not working out so well in the sump.
Would it be feasible for you to just submerge the roots of non-aquatics (such as bamboo or another tropical species which tolerates high moisture/humidity) and let them grow up and out of the sump? I know of someone over on another forum who does something similar, so I figured I'd throw the idea out there in case you haven't yet considered that as an option.

BV
 

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WOW :thumb: Thanks for posting those pics....I am absolutely drooling over your jags.... :D

To be fair, all of your fish look good!! :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Armandi_fishcarer said:
Hi terd ferguson

A well put together thread, good on you. :D

What you have done & achieved is fantastic, & although there may be skeptics, it is something I enjoy doing myself. 8)

The wonderful world of fish keeping is a fun & very exciting world. It is I believe popular due to being able to change things all the time. :D

Its when people actually come & see the tank setup is when they get the real shock & awe. :p

Keep up the good work, god bless.

Regards Armandi :thumb:
Thanks for the compliments. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Big Vine said:
Excellent update...glad to hear it's been working out. :thumb:
Tank and fish look good in the pics too. You've got some nice specimens in there.

I know you mentioned something about aquatic plants not working out so well in the sump.
Would it be feasible for you to just submerge the roots of non-aquatics (such as bamboo or another tropical species which tolerates high moisture/humidity) and let them grow up and out of the sump? I know of someone over on another forum who does something similar, so I figured I'd throw the idea out there in case you haven't yet considered that as an option.

BV
Thanks for the compliments and for the hint on the bamboo. I hadn't thought of trying that, but that's a great suggestion. I'll give it a shot and let you know how it works out. Thanks again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
heylady said:
WOW :thumb: Thanks for posting those pics....I am absolutely drooling over your jags.... :D

To be fair, all of your fish look good!! :wink:
Thanks a lot. :thumb:
 

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Nice looking tank! I really like the driftwood at the top, looks neat!
 

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Like your settup, love your style. I have a 8x2x2 with 2 jags 7", 3 green terrors 5", 3 synspilum 8" ,3 rainbow cichlids, 3 sajica, and 2 small plecs about 4 ". The rainbows spawn at least once a month. The synspilum dig huge craters all over the place. There is virtualy no aggression, just a bit of gill flaring but thats all. What do you think about the idea of adding more fish to this tank? All the occupants went in when they were all very small and seem to respect each other. I have 4 oscars in another tank 5x2x2 and was thinking of putting them in. They are odd sizes, 2 at 7" 1 at 5" and 1 at 3". I was wondering how they would get along, what do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
shef said:
Nice looking tank! I really like the driftwood at the top, looks neat!
Thanks. It wouldn't sink so t's just floating against the glass braces on top.

gage said:
very nice! really like the Parachromis in there
Thanks. I'd really like to add a female Red Tiger Mota (Parachromis motaguense), but I haven't been able to find any local to me. If I could find one, I'd have 4 of the 5 species of Parachromis. They're really my favorite. I consider them apex predators, top of the food chain, so to speak. I'm toying with the idea of a 300g and a pair of dovii. I just don't know if I want another tank to take care of (I've already got several). :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Big Den said:
Like your settup, love your style. I have a 8x2x2 with 2 jags 7", 3 green terrors 5", 3 synspilum 8" ,3 rainbow cichlids, 3 sajica, and 2 small plecs about 4 ". The rainbows spawn at least once a month. The synspilum dig huge craters all over the place. There is virtualy no aggression, just a bit of gill flaring but thats all. What do you think about the idea of adding more fish to this tank? All the occupants went in when they were all very small and seem to respect each other. I have 4 oscars in another tank 5x2x2 and was thinking of putting them in. They are odd sizes, 2 at 7" 1 at 5" and 1 at 3". I was wondering how they would get along, what do you think?
Thanks. The one advantage you would have in trying to add the Oscars would be the Oscars' natural behavior. They like to pal around together. This may make them less of a target to more aggressive fishes, being three fishes together (almost like a single big fish). Should you decide to add them, you should keep a close eye on the tank dynamics, watching closely for any signs of aggression, and be ready to take the neccessary actions if it goes badly.

Another thing to consider is that (I'm sure you know) Oscars are pigs and have huge appetites. This causes huge amounts of waste. You'll have to keep a close watch on your water parameters should you decide to add them. It will probably require a stepped up water change schedule and a larger volume of water changed.

The bottom line is that you know your fishes best. Be prepared for any eventuality and how to deal with it. :thumb:
 

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Thanks for that. Your right about them being pigs. While they are in the 5x2x2 I can monitor them easily. I have a eheim bucket filter on this tank with 2 other eheim 2317's. Its just that I wanted to try something else with this tank and was wondering about moving them. I was wondering how the jags would take to them. They are ok with the others but they have been with them for a year now, they have all grown together. I will post some pics when I work out how to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
jmreef said:
u could also try peace lilies and pothos they r used in betta bowls
Thanks for another good suggestion. I've also heard of people using mangrove trees (really small ones, lol). Anyone have any experience with those?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nighthawk said:
Great looking tank with an awesome stock list. :thumb: I also like the floating driftwood. Thanks for such an informative post.
Thanks for looking and thanks for the compliments. :)
 
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