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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot of discussion exists on this forum about Calvus and Comps and it got me asking myself why they seem to be so popular.
I have a couple of Comps and I admit they are a very interesting looking fish. But that's about where my affection ends. Mine are happy and very healthy, not picked on by other tankmates, so all is good there. My issue with them is they tend to spend most of the time just staying in one spot, just kind of treading water and hanging out. At feeding time, they spring to life, darting around to get as much food as they can. Then it's back to just hanging out somewhere not doing much of anything. I like them, don't get me wrong, but would some of you agree they are one of the more boring Tangs? If so, why are they so popular?

Tom
 

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Mine interact quite a bit, but I have 3m/5f. The females sometimes shoal around together and there's, of course, some interaction between the males. And there's always interaction between the calvus and juli's. I could see two just hanging out like you describe. Same can be true of many fish. I think part of the popularity is that they integrate so well in tang community tanks. Plus they look cool. 8)
 

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I don't see them as a main attraction but as an add-on.
Different shape is appealing and they are not too in-your-face.
 

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I like the way my comps patrol the tank flairing fins. Fun to watch. I just bought 3 black calvus too for a different tank, waiting for them to settle in so I can see what their behavior is like
 

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I am at an age where it is not advised to buy green bananas :thumb: , yet altos are green bananas that I think are worth it. I think their inter- and intra-species reactivity is rather unique among cichlids. Recently I read a post in the Central American section where a "fan" of those species claimed the Tanganyikans are all dull fish that look the same all the time :zz: . For the most part my Julies don't change much except for color intensity. Not true for Altos.

I have not seen faster color changes than they undergo. An Alto can look rather small and timid until threatened by another fish, then WOW, in an instant: fins flair, bodies arch. color changes, they seem to double in size. Even the mentioned change from appearing very docile to attacking food with huge gaping mouths seems rather species specific.

Finally, it is just my opinion but I just think they are neat looking :popcorn: . I have not seen any juvies from either rift lake prettier :p than the A. calvus pictures Razzo has frequently posted.
 

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Very tribal looking, my favorite Tang. Mine don't just hang out either...male is always chasing the females.
 

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It is interesting how different people find different fish attractive, or cool , or worthwhile. I think if you sit in front of the tank long enough, they are all cool.
 

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I didn't even know what a cichlid was until I came across a black alto comp pic on google. Soon there after, I started my tang tank. I fell in love with altos the first time I saw them. As they are my main attraction to my tank as well.

Couldn't stop learning about cichlids after that! :thumb:
 

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:thumb:

Dare I say the Discus of East Africa?

Naw - not that delicate! But just as tribal.
 

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Now discus. There is a fish I don't get. :lol:
 

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DJRansome said:
Now discus. There is a fish I don't get. :lol:
that makes two of us! :thumb:
 

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they are ornamental. Do nothin but look great. Also they present a challenge to fish keepers as they require a lot of effort. Discus that is. Not a fan myself but can understand why people are.
 

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As pov356 said, altos can be very active fish when kept in a large group in a suitably sized tank. I used to have 6 (3m, 2f) gold head comps in my 240G for a number of years. After the cyps, they'd be far and away the most active fish in the tank. The males were constantly displaying to each other to make sure everybody knew who was top dog. When they were not doing that, they were courting the females who tended to stay more in an area of their own while the males were cruising the entire 8' of the tank.

After I lost two males, I decided to move one male with the females to a 75G by themselves to get them to breed in an environment where I could save some fry. The females were frequently big with eggs in the 8' tank, and I observed them come to normal size in one night and then hang around a crevice in my rock background for a while, but I could never get any eggs or fry out of that tank. Since coming to the 75G, they are mostly hiding, and I haven't seen any serious spawning activity yet. I hope that will change soon.

The one remaining male in the 240G is not as active as he was in the group, but still out in the open all the time, and a lot more active than his friends in the 75G. I think he feels more secure with all the activity of other fish that swim around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the relies. I have to agree with so many of your comments: the "tribal" look,
color changes, flaring their fins, etc, etc. They really are a cool and unique fish. And based on some responses, maybe my biggest problem (boring-wise) is that I only have 2 of them. I think I'll add a few more of them to get more of the male-male and male-female interactions going on.
As always, your responses are great and thought provoking. Many thanks :)

As for Discus, I kept them some 30 years ago. Challenging yes, but in my mind some of the most beautiful fish anywhere. The color varieties available these days make for some striking looking fish.

Tom
 

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I thought the same way as you for a while. Now I love the 2 I have. I guess because they are so different. I never got the discus thing myself.
 

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You'll notice that some of the guys sporting multiple males had big tanks and/or the males were not 100% mature yet. The older the males get, the grumpier we... I mean they get :lol: !

I have noticed that my males will allow, with minimal fighting, for another male to be around as long as he stays out of the way but only if the dominant male is up to 5 years old or so. I would say, just from recollection (From being a die hard Calvus ENTHUSIAST :drooling: for a million years!), that from 5 to 15 years (15 was the oldest male I ever had may he RIP :D ) they, like us, get set in their ways. They seem to even implement more divorce behavior (unapiring from a female which was previously accepted) once older.

My White Calvus male (He's wild but was a small adult of about 2+ inches when I got him so I suspect he was 2-3 yrs. old), which I've had for 6 or 7 years now, used to breed and tolerate (though he always preferred one over the rest in that he would allow her to kinda follow him around without getting annoyed with her constant presence) 5 females but now with no notable setup changes, It's a struggle to get 2 females going in his tank. Plus the preferred female he keeps is was technically #2 but My dominant white female (She was HUGE for a girl at 4" and 16 yrs. old! was killed by what for the last 7 years was the love of her life!

It took him about 3 days, I thought it was just a mating frustration (happens :D ) but he eventually harassed her to the point where she jumped through a nook at the filter intake (A nearly impossible maneuver intentionally setup that way) and got all crispy! Now he's got 2 females submitted to the top corners of the tank and just tolerates the one, who is the least attractive and most aggressive female I have had (Still nice though :) )

Anyway, the soap operas these fish put on and the fact that they're tolerant of every other species (I have a couple Buescheri Calvus Hybrids in my freak tank with a spare pair of Congo Black Calvus and they all ignore each other even though the hybrids look very much like a Calvus, I thought that was fascinating). Don't worry forum friends, the "freak" tank is for vat and/or weird hybrids only! No breeding in the freak tank! I just couldn't pass on the weird cross Buescheri/Calvus. Now I just raise them to see how they behave/look.

All altos are great fish. IMO, Comps are a little more laid back but it's barely discernable either way. None of my comps seem to POSESS their females the way my calvus do.

Discus are cool but I'd rather glaze them and mount them on the wall than raise them and plant their tanks! :lol:
 

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BioG - you are making some excellent points. There was actually a typo in my post, which should have said I had 4m,2f gold head comps in my 240G. It was right around the 5 year mark that I lost 2 of the males. I didn't see how it happened, but my guess would be that they were battered from fighting with the other comp males and then eaten by the other fish. I never have to remove and dead bodies from that tank :wink:

Anyhow, a third male was hanging out in a corner, and looked kind of beat up when I removed the other male and both females to a 75G breeding setup. The last male quickly recovered, which give further credibility to the assumption that none of the other fish bothered him.

So it seems when they reached 5 years of age, I could not even keep two comp males in a 8' 240G tank! Maybe that should make us reconsider recommending juveniles to people with 29G tanks! But the aggression somehow seems to set in with age, not with the start of breeding activity as it seems to do in other lamprologine. I know that the gold head comps in my 240G had been happily breeding for years, and 4 males tolerated each other just fine.

It is also interesting that we know have two independent observations of a behavior change around the 5 year mark. I am wondering if anybody else has made similar observations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It is also interesting that we know have two independent observations of a behavior change around the 5 year mark. I am wondering if anybody else has made similar observations.
fmueller and BioG - those were 2 very interesting scenarios you laid out, i.e. behavior change around the 5 year mark. It begs the question: Were they isolated and non-typical occurrences
or were the changes normal and to be expected? If enough people would write in with their experiences, it would be very interesting to contrast and compare. But for now, I've learned that it CAN happen, but the probability remains in question. Thanks for sharing :thumb:

Tom
 
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