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Aj931

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Hello every first time posting here, I have a question regarding a neolamprologus multifaciatus (multis) shell dweller tank I set up a little over a year ago. I bought a group of 5 multis unsexed from a LFS and put them in a 20 gallon long with 36 escargo shells i bought off amazon. I use playsand as the substrate as i didnt have any aragonite at the time and have just been buffering with lake malawi buffer(all i have). The parameters of the tank are as follows:
Ammonia 0
Nitritre 0
Nitrate 40
Ph 8.2

The issue is after over a year they have yet to breed which although unlikely has led me to believe that they may all be male or female. Would it be possible to add more multis to this tank or would their already established territories cause aggression to new multis. Hesitant to buy more as they cost around 20 dollars each but ive checked my parameters and everything else seems to be in order.
 
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

Pictures and video of the tank and fish?
How often do you feed them and what do you feed them?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?

What sort of filter is on the tank?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

What other fish, snails, shrimp are in the tank?

What is the water temperature?

What is the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness) of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).
 
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

Pictures and video of the tank and fish?
How often do you feed them and what do you feed them?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?

What sort of filter is on the tank?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

What other fish, snails, shrimp are in the tank?

What is the water temperature?

What is the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness) of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

Pictures and video of the tank and fish?
How often do you feed them and what do you feed them?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?

What sort of filter is on the tank?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

What other fish, snails, shrimp are in the tank?

What is the water temperature?

What is the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness) of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).
Hello, Ill definitely have my water tested for kh and gh sometime this week at my lfs as i dont have the test kits for those but using some test strips I measured it gh to be around; 200ppm GH and 100ppm KH. There arent any other fish besides the shell dwellers. Although theyre may be some pest bladder snails that hitched hiked from my other fish tanks. I set my heater to 78 degrees but it may fluctuate to 82 in the summer and 76 in the winter

In terms of water changes as there is only 5 of them in there i have done around 25 percent once every 2 weeks. On the tank is a aquaclear 50 which i recently just positioned in the back (located in the side before).

Below is a picture of all 5 of them in their territories from right to left in the tank.
 

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How often do you feed them?
What do you feed them?

To bring fish into breeding condition, feed them 3-5 times a day for a month and see if it helps. Use a variety of dry, frozen and live foods.

Do big water changes and gravel cleans every day or two while feeding more often so the water stays clean.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

-------------------
For Lake Tanganyikan cichlids you want the GH around 350-450ppm

-------------------
Do any of them hang out together?

I'm thinking you might have 5 females.
 
How often do you feed them?
What do you feed them?

To bring fish into breeding condition, feed them 3-5 times a day for a month and see if it helps. Use a variety of dry, frozen and live foods.

Do big water changes and gravel cleans every day or two while feeding more often so the water stays clean.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

-------------------
For Lake Tanganyikan cichlids you want the GH around 350-450ppm

-------------------
Do any of them hang out together?

I'm thinking you might have 5 females.
Oh I feed them frozen foods around 2x a week generally frozen brine and daphnia, my lfs makes a general macro pellet for tropical fish that I feed in between these feedings. Ill definitely try to increase feedings and water changes for a little while.

Would it be okay to add more shell dwellers in the aquarium? So far all 5 of them seem to get along okay but none of them seem to be pairing up. In terms of territories 4 of them seem to gather together whle 1 is on the far left by itself. Im worried that adding more may cause aggression problems which I hope is not the case.
 
I wouldn't add more now. Try feeding more often and feed more variety. Use frozen foods every day. Feed dry food first, then frozen (but defrosted) and then offer some live food. Do this each day for a month and see if anything changes.

Shell dwellers and all cichlids are territorial and if you add more shell dwellers to a tank that has been set up for a while, the original inhabitants will go nuts on any new fish that come into their territory. The only exception to this is if you have a group of females and introduce a male.

If you want to add more shell dwellers, feed the fish really heavily and then rearrange the tank just before adding the new fish. This will help to break up the established territories and means the new fish are less likely to be killed. It's not a guarantee they won't be killed, but it reduces the chance of them being killed.

If you do add more shell dwellers, add 5 or 6 new ones so any aggression is spread out over more fish. If you add one fish and it's the same sex as the others, they will all bash it.
 
Hm i would add more and wouldn't worry about agressions. The only agresive ones of the species are males, towards another male in their recognized territory. I once added 10 new fish, lights on and i saw females dart into empty shells with females right next to them with zero issues. Males stayed in the top layer as outsiders, helped to reorganize territories and remove the previously present males for few days. But that should not be your issue.
Females and males are only recognized per behavior, and if you have only females this doesn't apply because they tend to behave as males, not staying in their shells all the time (as they otherwise would), darting all the way to the surface,... Males don't sleep in the shells and don't hide in them, just slightly above them.
In normal circumstances you will see youngsters in three weeks after adding males. If your ph and hardness don't match what they require, you will see young ones but none will reach one centimeter.
 
I wouldn't add more now. Try feeding more often and feed more variety. Use frozen foods every day. Feed dry food first, then frozen (but defrosted) and then offer some live food. Do this each day for a month and see if anything changes.

Shell dwellers and all cichlids are territorial and if you add more shell dwellers to a tank that has been set up for a while, the original inhabitants will go nuts on any new fish that come into their territory. The only exception to this is if you have a group of females and introduce a male.

If you want to add more shell dwellers, feed the fish really heavily and then rearrange the tank just before adding the new fish. This will help to break up the established territories and means the new fish are less likely to be killed. It's not a guarantee they won't be killed, but it reduces the chance of them being killed.

If you do add more shell dwellers, add 5 or 6 new ones so any aggression is spread out over more fish. If you add one fish and it's the same sex as the others, they will all bash it.
Not sure how with other species of african cichlids, but with this specific one, females are really really mellow towards each other. Males no, but females will bunk in the same grouping of shells, zero issues. My only remaining 2 females, even though they have 2x 5 shells each several cm apart often bunk with each other and change shells frequently. Same was always the case even if I had males, they would change territory, females were never rejected from the harem.
 
Not sure how with other species of african cichlids, but with this specific one, females are really really mellow towards each other. Males no, but females will bunk in the same grouping of shells, zero issues. My only remaining 2 females, even though they have 2x 5 shells each several cm apart often bunk with each other and change shells frequently. Same was always the case even if I had males, they would change territory, females were never rejected from the harem.
I waited a couple weeks and increased feeding while doing water changes 1-2x a week, still no change which leads me to believe they are all females. You said that males generally don’t go into shells and just stay above them which I haven’t found to be the case for any of my Shellies who I see go into their shells a lot whenever I approach the tank. You said that your females are generally pretty mellow and which is somewhat like mine. 4 do generally group together although they have their own separate territories while one has its own territory a on the other side of the aquarium. They generally don’t approach the others and each stays to themselves.

I’m still hesitant to add males but if I do how many males and would you suggest I add. Would adding just 2 males cause aggression to the existing population. And would it be safe if I rearrange their shells/rocks.
 
If you can guarantee they are males, which I have no idea how you are going to do, adding 2 would be ideal. Where were you when I needed to rehome three males from my previous tank :)

adding one now and one later would be a very bad idea, if you add males, young, 2 is fine. Although one male can manage 5 females, there is no need for a territory, since that one is for the male only, and he would be just the one.

TBH I would rearrange anyway based on the number of males you add. If you add just one, no need to change the setup, if you add two, you should divide in the middle by placing the stones as a divider and placing half of shells on one hand and other half on the other hand. Dont bother trying to split with plants or sand dunes, they get rid of those fast

I used to have it like this, excuse the algae
1658492660096.png
 

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