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New/re-Done Tang Setup


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#1 Inga51

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 02:13 PM

Howdy folks, I'm totally new around here, but have been keeping Cichlids for over 20 years. I started with a 4ft Malawi/Mbuna tank. When I got my own house I installed a 6x2x2.5 display tank with sump and got a colony of young T. Moliro. I had them for about eight years and bred lots, which were traded for store credit (i.e. fish food) at the LFS. I have been running a 40cm cube in my office as a quasi grow-out tank for the Moliro as well. Recently I traded all the Moliro for a colony of 17 F1 Frontosa Kigoma (3.5-4.5cm). 

 

I am fully aware that this will most likely end up too crowded in the display when the fish reach a more adult size. I figured I'd let them grow up considerably and then thin the numbers by removing a few males to improve the ratios. 

 

I wanted to add some other tank mates to the display tank, and also something interesting to the cube in my office. I picked up three small black calvus, one a bit larger than the other two, hoping it would end up 1M : 2F...but who knows what will happen until they mature a bit. They are currently living in the cube with a small Gibbiceps for cleaning. All three seem to be quite capable of displaying strong colourings and standing their ground. One of the smaller ones is definitely lighter in colour, but will still show some flare against the other two at times. I was hoping to get a pair happening and move them into the display tank. Also considered adding some shell dwellers (like Multi's or Similis) into the display, but hear/read that they can become very aggressive and territorial, even against bigger fish like Fronts. Lastly, I love the bright yellow of Leleupi and while they seem to be a common addition to Tang tanks, I still like them. I thought they'd make a good contrast to the black/white/blue markings of the Fronts and Calvus.

 

When I had the Ts in the tanks, I was running quite a lot of flow. The display has a Laguna Pond Max (?) 6500LPH return pump, plus a Tunze powerhead. The Ts didn't seem to mind the flow at all, and it certainly helped with filtration. When I got the Fronts I turned the Tunze off immediately, but they still seemed to only hang out huddled around the base of the rockscape, not to mention that getting food to them was impossible without it going all over the tank. So I added a T-piece into the return line and with a ball valve am currently running a decent volume of flow back into the first chamber of the sump. As they get bigger and more capable of dealing with a bit more water movement I'd like to ramp down how much water goes back into the sump, increasing the flow through the display. The return outlet to the display does not have any diffuser or spray-bar etc, it's just a 25mm PVC fitting, just below water level directed across the surface of the tank for gentle agitation. With the reduced flow the Fronts seem far more adventurous in exploring the tank, and feeding is much easier. (Currently feeding NLS grow and Cichlid pellets couple of times a day, and (thawed) Mysis shrimp every third day or so). 

 

Things I'm not 100% happy with in the display currently:

1. Lighting. I have a 2x 80W T5 fitting, with a ~white bulb and a light blue bulb. I could get the specific bulb models if needed, but they are Geismann brand. The tank is super bright, which isn't bad for viewing. But is it too bright for the Fronts? Many Tang tanks I've seen are lower intensity, and definitely more blue to simulate the deeper water conditions that Fronts inhabit in the wild. I could swap the light blue tube for an actinic, which would reduce the overall brightness a bit, and add more blue to the tank. Worth doing? Also, the fitting I have is one switch. There is no option to ramp up/down the lighting, and I have no night-time lighting. Currently the lights come on in the afternoon and stay on into the evening until 9pm, then the tank is plunged into darkness, aside from household lights on in the surrounding rooms. I've considered a moonlight setup of some sort, or something similar to give some dim/dark-blue lighting after the main lights go out. Thoughts?

2. Weir overflow. I currently have no comb / mesh across the weir lip, and am frequently having to collect fish out of the overflow area. Aside from being a nuisance to me, I know it's stressful to the fish. I love that the open lip has a perfectly silent laminar water flow as the display is in the main living area of the house. Aside from a very gentle hum (barely noticable) of the return pump, the tank is silent. I'd like to keep it that way. What can people suggest to stop fish going over the falls into the weir? FYI The way I've got my durso standpipes setup I am not concerned with fish going into the sump. 

 

Things I'm not 100% happy with in the cube currently:

1. The aragonite sand I have in there is growing a lot of surface algae. To the point that it becomes a solid blanket, and doesn't look good. The Ts I had in there previously were quite good at sand sifting and thus the sand stayed nice and white and free from algae. The new inhabitants of this tank (3x small Calvus, 1 Gibb Catfish) are not doing anything to the surface of the sand. I had contemplated putting some sort of sandfitter in there, but feel the tank is simply too small, unless it was turned into a species tank housing a small group of one type of fish.

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on my setup(s) and sharing more as time permits. 



#2 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:29 PM

Sounds almost identical to my setup I put some comb up and glued it in place with gold label silicon worked a treat.
I keep 6 bar Burundis with some julidechromis regani , black calvus and ventralis chituta

#3 Westie

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:35 PM

For lighting look at getting a basic LED light unit.
You can also get an LED moon light cheap enough, here's the one on my 6x2x2:
Attached File  IMG_2619.JPG   88.91KB   16 downloads

#4 Inga51

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 11:58 PM

Thanks for the input. What sort of unit is a "basic LED unit"?

For lighting look at getting a basic LED light unit.
You can also get an LED moon light cheap enough, here's the one on my 6x2x2:
IMG_2619.JPG



#5 Delapool

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 07:08 AM

Anything that isn't dimmable imo

It sounds like a base model LED (cheapest) would do it. I'm a fan of dimmable lights though so I can experiment on what works best.

I'm not sure swapping to another blue light would work as blue light penetrates water very well - I'd get dimmable white light LEDs and lower light until algae slows down.


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#6 Inga51

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:20 AM

Sounds almost identical to my setup I put some comb up and glued it in place with gold label silicon worked a treat.
I keep 6 bar Burundis with some julidechromis regani , black calvus and ventralis chituta

 

Thanks for your feedback Mike. Are you able to share some photos of the comb? Where did you source it?

 

Could you share some numbers on size and stocking and your tank?

 

I've seen pictures of Regani and haven't been a fan of the look personally. The Chituta look quite interesting, well at least the male does. But I read that they would be very shy in a tank where they aren't the dominant species. Do yours swim freely with the Fronts around?



#7 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:34 AM

Hey mate I'll post a pic when I get home , Ye I've read it's hit and miss with mixing the two I'm sure once my fronts get close to the 20 cm mark I'll have to seperate them.
Right now my fronts are around 10 cm and the ventralis are around 6 to 7 I have 6 fronts and 14 ventralis and 5 black calvus.
To be honest if it comes down to it I'd rather keep the ventralis then the fronts as I find them more interesting.

I wouldn't recommend putting shellies in as I had caudos and ending up front food ;)
Oh and I have two regani at 9 cm who breed constantly in there

#8 Inga51

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 08:36 AM

Anything that isn't dimmable imo

It sounds like a base model LED (cheapest) would do it. I'm a fan of dimmable lights though so I can experiment on what works best.

I'm not sure swapping to another blue light would work as blue light penetrates water very well - I'd get dimmable white light LEDs and lower light until algae slows down.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

This is a good suggestion, and perhaps (prior to the) next time the T5 tubes need replacing I should investigate switching to an LED unit for the whole tank. My tank is set up as an in-wall build, with cabinets running floor to ceiling. This leaves ~600-700mm between the top of the tank and the ceiling, enclosed within cabinets. I'm sure the decreased heat of LEDs would be a good thing as well. I added some 250x250mm ceiling vents to help move heat and humid air into the roof cavity, but it still gets pretty toasty, and damp in there. Plus LEDs would probably be cheaper to run than my 2x 80W T5s that aren't dimmable. 

 

There are probably rules about posting suggestions for products, perhaps people could PM me with some units that I could look at. I see, from my very brief search, that 120-150cm units run from a couple of hundred through to $4000+. I would love to make use of some technology with timers, sunset/sunrise, moon light (maybe even lunar cycles?), and anything else that's useful. But I don't want to break the bank either. 

 

TBH algae growth is much slower in the tank now that I don't have a huge colony of adult Tropheus in there, as the feeding regime is so much lighter now. I wonder whether the type of algae growing also changes with blue (or dimmer) light? I used to have an issue with a dark purple algae that was really hard to scrub off. Needed to us a hand scraper as the magnet cleaner didn't budge it. But now, I think I've run the magnet cleaner over the front (and back) glass one in a few weeks, only cleaning a very light film of brown algae.



#9 Inga51

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 09:03 AM

I wouldn't recommend putting shellies in as I had caudos and ending up front food ;)
Oh and I have two regani at 9 cm who breed constantly in there

 

The whole breeding thing is a tough one for me. I like to have a nice looking display, which will end up including some decent rockscape (yet to be designed). This makes recovery of holding females difficult at best, especially in a 2.5' deep tank that is 6' long. I completely gave up on the Tropheus in that regard. They would breed constantly, and most of the fry ended up as food. I had a pile of rubble-fist sized rocks at one end of the tank, designed to be a refuge for fry, which worked nicely. Then I would regularly find fry in the weir, which would get netted and transferred into the grow-out cube. But now that I'm getting something a bit more fancy (F1 fronts) etc, letting nature take its course seems wasteful. But catching holding females seems like it's going to be major challenge, as is catching hatched fry from Calvus etc. 



#10 humbug

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 11:49 AM

Great post Inga51!

I have a large colony of multies in a community tang tank with julies, cyps, paracyps, chalinochromis and gobies.  I find that the little blighters fiercely guard their tiny patch, but the other fish just keep clear.  A multi territory is a very limited area, so I don’t think they are likely to cause issues to other fish in your situation if you provide a shell bed in a limited area.  More of an issue would be the fronts as they grow.  A multi would make a tasty, albeit crunchy, snack for a large front.  Given the right conditions, multis will breed like rabbits.  Predators like leleupi make for good “crowd control” with multi fry to keep numbers in check.

Another option to consider as a possible tank mate for the fronts is Limnochromis auritus.  They are a mid-sized, very placid cichlid, and are fascinating fish to breed as they are by-parental mouth brooders, with the male sharing in fry raising.  In the lake they are mud-borrows, so they need to be provided with caves or tunnels.  Wonderful fish to keep.  I struggle to understand why they aren’t more commonly kept.

With catching holding females, have you tried sneaking back into the room a couple of hours after lights out and grabbing them while they are dozing?  Its the method I use to catch awkward fish.  It works well with the more open-water fish - not so successful with rock dwellers who take refuge when sleeping.

 



#11 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:16 PM

Great post Inga51!

I have a large colony of multies in a community tang tank with julies, cyps, paracyps, chalinochromis and gobies.  I find that the little blighters fiercely guard their tiny patch, but the other fish just keep clear.  A multi territory is a very limited area, so I don’t think they are likely to cause issues to other fish in your situation if you provide a shell bed in a limited area.  More of an issue would be the fronts as they grow.  A multi would make a tasty, albeit crunchy, snack for a large front.  Given the right conditions, multis will breed like rabbits.  Predators like leleupi make for good “crowd control” with multi fry to keep numbers in check.

Another option to consider as a possible tank mate for the fronts is Limnochromis auritus.  They are a mid-sized, very placid cichlid, and are fascinating fish to breed as they are by-parental mouth brooders, with the male sharing in fry raising.  In the lake they are mud-borrows, so they need to be provided with caves or tunnels.  Wonderful fish to keep.  I struggle to understand why they aren’t more commonly kept.

With catching holding females, have you tried sneaking back into the room a couple of hours after lights out and grabbing them while they are dozing?  Its the method I use to catch awkward fish.  It works well with the more open-water fish - not so successful with rock dwellers who take refuge when sleeping.

 

can I ask how the Julies go with calinochromis as I've got some in a breeder tank but wanting to add them in the display but have read that don't do well with each other

#12 humbug

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:30 PM

can I ask how the Julies go with calinochromis as I've got some in a breeder tank but wanting to add them in the display but have read that don't do well with each other

 
I've had Chalinochromis sp. "ndobhoi" and Julidochromis regani gold sambia (I actually have happy little trios of each of these species) co-habiting for around 3 years I guess.  They were in a 6x2x2, but more recently moved to a standard 6 footer.  I make sure I have plenty of rock piles and they stake out their little territories.  They still seem to roam throughout the tank, though.   Both groups actively breed.  Other than chasing an interloper away from fry, I don't think I ever seen any real interaction between the groups.
 



#13 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 04:35 PM

Ok awesome thanks for the quick reply I'll chuck them in

#14 Chopstick_mike

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 10:09 AM

3909776117a438d575da15dd587ac9a5.jpgad4e3128428b8e11cc8094021bab222e.jpg4e33a7f10ae24948c4d5eea70294dcdc.jpg my E.melangenys starting the dance thanks to Kim/Spilo always quality from him ( don’t mind the torn fin at the top my ventralis did that when they decided to spawn )

Edited by Chopstick_mike, 08 June 2018 - 10:11 AM.





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