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Old 07-02-2019, 11:19 AM   #1
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Am new & am interested in setting up at “Multifasciatus” specific tank.

Hi Folks,
Am pretty new to this hobby, just got into this last year. As of now I have 2 tanks.
Tank 1 - Community Tank - 28 gallon
Tank 2 - Species Specific (Betta Splenden) - 8 gallon

Now planning to go for the 3rd tank & this too I want it to be a species-specific tank, got interested with multi’s after reading a lot of material bout them. I have quite a few questions which I think lot of hobbyist here can help me out with. With the space constraint the best I can for is a 11 gal tank (16.5” x 13” x 12”). My thought is to have

- 2 male & 3 females
- Aqua Clear 20 power filter
- Fluval pre-filter sponge
- 0.5 inches of river sand at the bottom
- 1 inch of aquarium sand over the river sand
- 12 to 15 giant escargot shells.
- Very few plants or nothing.
- Lighting (I want some suggestions)

I want to know if am in the right direction or not. Point out wherever I am wrong or something needs to be changes or any hobbyist have suggestions/opinions as I just want to make it right as in India, we don’t have must hobbyist are into multifasciatus & getting them is quite a challenge.

Help/Suggestion/Opinions appreciated in advance.
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Old 07-02-2019, 05:47 PM   #2
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For that many females you only want one male. The males prefer harems. The sand bed should be pretty deep, they like to dig in the sand below the shells, to the point that the shells rest on the bottom of the tank. You'll want about 3-4 shells per fish, and expect to have to get more, they are easy to breed fish. A current is pretty good, flakes are best, but they float and a current is needed to get the food to the fish more easily. If you use fine sand, then be warned that it gets everywhere, so taking the sponge prefilter and cleaning it thoroughly at least once a month or replacing it is a good idea. You'll also want to take the filter out and clean it of any sand that gets in it. The finer the sand, the easier it is for the Multies to dig around, but it's also easier for it to get into the filter, potentially causing a lot of problems. Normal lighting is fine, though having a small, smooth stone can be useful in keeping the ph up, as being from lake Tanganyika they prefer hard water, though be careful with hard water, it'll cause hard water stains on the glass where the water evaporates before it's topped off. In my 60g Tanganyika biotope I have about a 3" or so sand bed, and the Multies have done some pretty expansive digging on their end of the tank, causing some fairly sizeable hills, especially one rather large one in the no man's land of the tank.
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Old 07-02-2019, 06:06 PM   #3
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Here's some pictures of my 60g. The Juli's are on the right, the Multies on the left, with the sand hill in no ma's land in the middle from all of the Multies digging around. The second picture is the Multies, I've got about 2 dozen shells for the 3 females, one male, and about a half dozen fry. The females have more or less divided the shells among themselves, with each female claiming some shell, which they then dig around, not caring if they buried another female's shells.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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Hi Arget, thanks a lot for all the input/insight.
- I am having a pre-filter sponge to ensure that the 99% of the sand does not get into the filter. Do you think even after having this there are chances of sand getting into the filter ??
- Mine is however a multi's specific tank so hope there wont be much of turf war.

My next doubts I have is
- How much water change I need to do & how frequently ?
- Is a light algae growth "OK" with the Multi's ?
- How does a plant help the multifasciatus specific tank ?
- Is is possible/good having 24 shells are more in a 10 gallon tank where my actual floor space is only 1.48 square feet ??
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:15 PM   #5
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It depends on how fine the sand is. I use very fine sand, and need to clean the filters and pre-sponge very frequently to get the sand out. The water change depends on the water quality, how many fish and how much you feed them. In the wild, Multies are found in areas with shell beds that are over ten feet deep, so the more shells the better off you are. The Multies are easy to breed, and they will, so over time as they breed the fry will go off to find their own shells. The more shells, the less fighting over them. It depends on the algae, I prefer to keep my tanks clean of it, aside from the Mbuna tank where they eat the algae. Multies are not like Julidochromis which will eat algae along with any small invertebrates. Algae can make the tank look really bad, so I tend to prefer to control it. Plants have to be ones that can handle hardwater, Lake Tanganyika has a ph of 7.8 to 9.0, but many tank bred fish can handle a lower ph. You'll want to be careful when changing the water that the ph of the new matches what's already in the tank, otherwise it'll shock the fish and kill them. Small, frequent water changes are better then larger, less frequent ones. In a 10g it'll be really challenging, larger tanks are more stable, so the water change effects it a lot less. I don't have much experience in live plants, but I've heard that Vallisneria, Anubias, and Java Fern will work in a Lake Tanganyika tank. Multies will dig in the sand, so any plants that are in the sand can be uprooted.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockarolla70 View Post
Hi Arget, thanks a lot for all the input/insight.
- I am having a pre-filter sponge to ensure that the 99% of the sand does not get into the filter. Do you think even after having this there are chances of sand getting into the filter ??
- Mine is however a multi's specific tank so hope there wont be much of turf war.

My Multies have a bad habit of moving the sand around. I've seen them take a mouthful of sand, go up to the top of the pre-sponge, and spit the sand out, right where the sponge is on the intake, pretty much insuring that the sand gets into the filter.
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Old 07-04-2019, 12:02 PM   #7
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I have a 20 long Multi tank. I used an Aragonite sand substrate with about 35-40 escargot shells. This substrate can help buffer your pH at a proper level for these guys. I'm probably going to add more shells because they keep burying some of them in the sand. As someone else said you really can't have enough shells with these guys.

I started with 2 males and 1 female and now I have about 14 of them. They only bred the one time, I think they have an instinct not to over populate their living area.
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Old 07-04-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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My Multies have a bad habit of moving the sand around. I've seen them take a mouthful of sand, go up to the top of the pre-sponge, and spit the sand out, right where the sponge is on the intake, pretty much insuring that the sand gets into the filter.

This is a bit worrying, as it is a HOB which am going to have. Will try to go for the finest sand in order to avoid the problem.
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Old 07-04-2019, 09:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Laser View Post
I have a 20 long Multi tank. I used an Aragonite sand substrate with about 35-40 escargot shells.


I started with 2 males and 1 female and now I have about 14 of them. They only bred the one time, I think they have an instinct not to over populate their living area.

Thanks, need to check if I can find Argonite sand here in India, I know about "Maalavya Live Reef Substrate Aragonite Sand" which is available here. (if this is the same you are referring to)


On the breeding part a bit confusing, some say they don't stop breeding irrespective of the space.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:22 PM   #10
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They make specific sand for African Cichlids. I've never used it, my tap water is pretty hard. Putting in some smooth limestone rocks also helps keep the ph up. I had a hob on a 20g which is where I had my Julidochromis before I upgraded them to the 60g. The very fine sand that I had got into the filter, even with a pre-sponge on it. I had to clean it out about once a month, each time I changed the media.
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