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Old 04-19-2007, 12:47 AM   #1
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New shellie tank in the works

I'm planning to convert a 15 gallon plant propagation/quarrantine tank into a Lake Tang shelldweller tank. At the moment, the tank contains driftwood, gravel, and lots of plants. It's a temporary home to a severum that I purchased last month. Everything is going to be moved into my 58 gal Amazon biotope tank.

I'm going to put in about two inches of crushed coral sand, lots of escargot shells, and a sponge to protect my HOB filter.

Questions:

1 Any tips regarding the coral sand? I've had a bad experience (clumping and floating) with colored silica sand in the past.

2 The filter is cycled, but I would expect a drastic change in pH to disrupt the bacteria somewhat. My tapwater is neutral (pH 7.2) and exremely soft (3 degrees for both gH and KH). I probably need to bring the water to about pH 9.0 and 17 degrees hardness. (reference). If I add the Lake Tang buffers and salts slowly over a one-to-two week period, will I avoid a major bacterial die-off? I'll be keeping the tank cycled with the addition of a tiny bit o' ammonia during this time.

3 How many shellie pairs would you suggest in a 15 gal (24 x 12 inch) tank? I'm probably going to go with multis or brevis since they appear to have fewer aggression issues than occellatus.

4 A 15 gal seems so big for a few pairs of relatively small fish, even if they are highly territorial. I've read that zebra danios are compatible tankmates since they occupy tank space that is unimportant to the shellies. Another site recommended Austrailian rainbowfish, but I'm afraid even one may get too big for a 15 gal. Any thoughts or other suggestions?

5 The next fish auction is two weeks away on May 2. Is this enough time to prep the tank? I've read that shellies are very sensitive to changes in water parameters, and it would be a shame to shock them unnecessarily. Should I start prepping the tank, pick the breeder's brains at the auction, and plan on buying the fish at the following auction on June 6?

Thanks for reading all this. I'm a shellie noob!
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:16 PM   #2
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Brevis or Multies is a tough decision, on the other hand the multies will quickly over populate the tank, I like to call them water rabbits. If you happen to see any Lamp. Callarius "Magara" at the auction I would pick them over any other. The are pretty similar in habits to the Brevis, but have touches of yellowish orange in the pectorals and get a really cool lyre tail.I like mine so much I set them as my avatar.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:18 PM   #3
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I use good old baking soda to buffer the pH fir my multi's. If you need to raise the GH, epsom salt works just fine, about 1 Tbsp/5 gallons. Consistency is the main thing once they're acclimated.
For a 15 gallon tank, I'd recommend either a pair of brevis or a trio of multi's. They'll breed soon enough, and you'll have a tankful before you know it. In any case, it's too small for more than one species of shellie.
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