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Old 03-04-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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Shell Dwellers! (?)

So I posted a couple days ago saying that after about a 1.5 years of having fish I think I'm ready for cichlids. I had a 25 gallon tank that was overstocked with 4 corys, 8 mollies, a betta and a bristlenose. Now that tank has 4 corys, 4 mollies, a bristlenose and a betta. I'm in the process of finding all of them new homes except I'm keeping the bristlenose. After hours of research online last night I'm almost certain that I want a tank of Tanganyikan shell dwellers. They seem awesome and I love the idea of the tank setup. So now I begin the process of transforming my run of the mill tropical tank into a Tanganyika shell dweller cichlid tank. From what I've read the bristlenose can stay. I think I'd like to get rid of the corys though to give the coming cichlids more space, and I definitely am getting rid of the mollies. So any helpful suggestions to make the transformation process easier would be great. I know I need to get a bit of coral sand, and I already have tons of regular quartz pool filter sand. I also need some rocks (tuffa?) and plenty of shells. Should I get rid of the airstone / pump? Get rid of the anacharis?

Also, how many of these shell dwelling cichlids would you guys suggest for this 25 gallon tank? Ideally I'd like to get two species, but I'd be fine with just one species. Whatever would make for a more interesting habitat to view.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:53 PM   #2
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In a 25g you should stick to 1 species. They are small (most of them) but they can be aggressive, depending on the species. Breeding habits are different between species too, which will decide how many you could have.

Multies (Neolamprologus multifasciatus) would be your choice if you want more than a couple pairs of fish. They live in colonies, don't eat their fry, and their numbers will continue to multiply. You could start with 5-6 (try to get 1-2 males and the rest females) and soon they will breed and have fry which will add more to the tank. Skip the rock and just buy a ton of shells. They may hide behind rocks instead of using their shells and you won't be able to see them much! Plus when they are in and out of shells, they are super cute.

I'm not sure if a Bristlenose would eat fry. Personally I wouldn't keep it with the shellies.

You could use regular pool filter sand with them. What is your water hardness and pH like? You may not need coral sand. You don't need an airstone or pump....just a filter with a sponge over the intake (so fry won't get sucked up).

If you dont like Multies for some reason, there are other options. Brevis are similar in size and care, but they pair up, so I'd only suggest 2 pair in a 25g...maybe 3. Ocellatus are pretty, but they are aggressive, so you'd be lucky to have a single pair live in a 25g without killing one another.

FWIW, my Multies are very friendly. They beg in the front of the glass, follow my finger down the glass, and are almost always out of their shells. It took mine a good couple months to settle in though. I have probably 6 dozen shells in a 29g (or possibly more). I suggest starting with atleast 2-3 shells per fish...adding more as their numbers grow.
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