Tanganyikan Cichlids!

tomtomtom1230

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Can anybody tell me about Neolamprologus Multifasciatus? Not sure what their common name is. Any first hand experience? I've got a140 litre tank with a 90cm x 50cm (ish) footprint. How many shells am I going to need? What sort of substrate will it require? I understand they like to sift through it. Male to female ratios? How many could I get in my tank and be slightly understocked? Anything special I can add to their diet aside from the regular suspects like bloodworm, tubifex, daphnia, spirulina etc? I'll be using a Fluval 306 canister filter with it. I'm not doing this to breed, although it would be nice to get the conditions correct and stable enough that the fish feel as though it's secure enough to do so.
 
Naturally, I'll do some of my own research as well. Just wondered if anybody has anything specific to add :) Thanks.
 
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tomtomtom1230

tomtomtom1230

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Also, is this worth it? I already have a high pH (hovers around the 8 mark) and the water is hard, which in turn buffers it I believe. Here is a link to the manufacturer's site.
 

KevM

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First of all, let me congratulate you. That is a brilliant size tank for Multies. Most guys just want to cram so much into Tang tanks and then wonder why they're having problems. Second of all, great choice of fish. They are full of character and are easily one of the most interesting species to watch out there. 

Things you need to know:

- Fine sand is best because they really do move it about. I have found that I can minimise the impact of their bulldozing ways by putting a layer of flat slate under the shell-bed so that the sand doesn't just get turned into massive hills. I was pretty chuffed when Dr Wolfgang Staeck said he had discovered the same thing during his talk about shelldwellers at the SCCG last month. I prefer 0.5mm-1mm pool filter sand because it is fine but heavy enough to not get kicked up into the filters, etc. Don't worry about sand that buffers or anything. Your water is hard enough and there are more efficient ways of buffering than leaving it up to your substrate.

‚Äč- You will need to provide a minimum of 3 shells per adult fish. These guys are very¬†choosy about their shells and there will be squabbles that can lead to the rejection of a group member if there aren't enough shells.¬†For the smaller shellies (like Brevis and Multies, etc) it's hard to beat escargot shells. They're a great size, cheap and do the job perfectly. Any shell with a round opening of around 5cm will do, though. It's best to use light shells because they like to move them around.

- You say you're not interested in breeding but you need to be aware that you don't have a choice. These fish are prolific once settled. They're also one of the more interesting species to observe in this regard because they are one of the few alloparental cichlids. Starting with a group of 6 should be plenty to start a group. If you're really lucky all of them will be tolerated by the dominant pair, however, you need to be ready to remove any rejected males. You will know if you see one because it'll be nipped and as far away from the shells as the dominant male can drive it. It'll usually take refuge behind equipment or just float up by the surface in a corner. Make sure you remove any you see because once they've been rejected, they won't be accepted back into the group. 

- Your foot-print is pretty big for Multies. A species tank would allow you to throw in 6 of them and as many shells as you can afford, and then watch the tank fill up over time. It would be a very rewarding experience and with enough filtration, that size tank could support a colony of dozens, quite easily.

- In regards to diet, you really can't beat a good staple like New Life Spectrum. New Era Rift Lake Red is also very good for them. I would advise you feed those two as the staples and then add the odd treat of live or frozen food (live baby brine shrimp being my personal favourite for them). Dainichi Krill pellets is also a good food to feed them.

- A Fluval 306 is a good filter for such a tank.

Fire away if you have any more questions and let me know if you're interested in a load of Escargot shells. I have over 200 for sale (as a bundle) at the moment.
 
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tomtomtom1230

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KevM said:
First of all, let me congratulate you. That is a brilliant size tank for Multies. Most guys just want to cram so much into Tang tanks and then wonder why they're having problems. Second of all, great choice of fish. They are full of character and are easily one of the most interesting species to watch out there. Thanks, that's really good to hear! Are they easy enough to sex? I know fish like live bearers and cockatoos - for example - are fairly simple. There are obvious visual indicators. 

Things you need to know:

- Fine sand is best because they really do move it about. I have found that I can minimise the impact of their bulldozing ways by putting a layer of flat slate under the shell-bed so that the sand doesn't just get turned into massive hills. I was pretty chuffed when Dr Wolfgang Staeck said he had discovered the same thing during his talk about shelldwellers at the SCCG last month. I prefer 0.5mm-1mm pool filter sand because it is fine but heavy enough to not get kicked up into the filters, etc. Don't worry about sand that buffers or anything. Your water is hard enough and there are more efficient ways of buffering than leaving it up to your substrate. Fantastic news, at least I'm not going to be paying for substrate that's less than useless! I'll cruise Amazon on my lunch break at work today and see if I can find a couple of bags for a reasonable price. How deep do you recommend I make the substrate? 2 - 3 inches because of their habits with the substrate perhaps? Would they appreciate plants or would a rock wall type construction be more appreciated by the fish?

‚Äč- You will need to provide a minimum of 3 shells per adult fish. These guys are very¬†choosy about their shells and there will be squabbles that can lead to the rejection of a group member if there aren't enough shells.¬†For the smaller shellies (like Brevis and Multies, etc) it's hard to beat escargot shells. They're a great size, cheap and do the job perfectly. Any shell with a round opening of around 5cm will do, though. It's best to use light shells because they like to move them around.¬†Escargot shells look nice. Ideally, I imagine I could provide a variety. I can get hold of oyster shells if they are safe? Are there any other types of shells I could provide that would be safe for them? I'll see what I can get in from my LFS if I get the all clear from you and the other guys on here! I'll also double check with them today and see if their supplier can do them. I know they do the open water tangs, however I feel like¬†multies are going to give me more personality!

- You say you're not interested in breeding but you need to be aware that you don't have a choice. These fish are prolific once settled. They're also one of the more interesting species to observe in this regard because they are one of the few alloparental cichlids. Starting with a group of 6 should be plenty to start a group. If you're really lucky all of them will be tolerated by the dominant pair, however, you need to be ready to remove any rejected males. You will know if you see one because it'll be nipped and as far away from the shells as the dominant male can drive it. It'll usually take refuge behind equipment or just float up by the surface in a corner. Make sure you remove any you see because once they've been rejected, they won't be accepted back into the group. Perhaps I phrased it poorly; breeding these fish isn't a priority for me but it'd be really nice to see and experience their establishment within my tank!

- Your foot-print is pretty big for Multies. A species tank would allow you to throw in 6 of them and as many shells as you can afford, and then watch the tank fill up over time. It would be a very rewarding experience and with enough filtration, that size tank could support a colony of dozens, quite easily. Off the top of my head, the Fluval 306 provides nearly 10 times (if you include displacement etc) the tank's volume in litres per hour turnover. I hope that's enough! xD

- In regards to diet, you really can't beat a good staple like New Life Spectrum. New Era Rift Lake Red is also very good for them. I would advise you feed those two as the staples and then add the odd treat of live or frozen food (live baby brine shrimp being my personal favourite for them). Dainichi Krill pellets is also a good food to feed them.

- A Fluval 306 is a good filter for such a tank. Cool thanks, this confirms my assumptions about the filtration. Somehow, the 206 (rated at only 780 lph) didn't quite seem enough whereas the 306 allows for a little breathing space, I hope. Do they require salt in their water at all or are they 100% freshwater fish? I'm not sure how brackish (if at all) Lake Tanganyika is.

Fire away if you have any more questions and let me know if you're interested in a load of Escargot shells. I have over 200 for sale (as a bundle) at the moment. How much do you want for them? I'm based in the UK, so if you're in the US, sadly, shipping wouldn't be an economic option for me.
 
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tomtomtom1230

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Ooooh, just thought of another one: what temperature do they require? Being in shallower waters, I imagine that the water would be warmer for multies than that of the Tangs that live in deeper waters, although this might not be a correct theory. I also may have misinterpreted some of the info I've read about them.
 
Many thanks for the plethora of information given already!
 
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tomtomtom1230

tomtomtom1230

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Just incase they cruise these forums, a big thank you to Meres Park Maidenhead Aquatics. They've managed to source 7 multies for me in just one morning. A little more expensive than I would have hoped but they're well kept and from a breeder in the UK and I'm quite happy to pay a bit more.  My first experience with a Maidenhead aquatics store. I will certainly be taking myself there more often!

I can't wait! I got some sand on order. It's from a company I've not dealt with before, but it's through Amazon so I'm Ok with it I guess. It's silica sand with no funny chemicals etc in it and it's the colour (off white)I want! So I'm not complaining
tongue2.gif
I just have to source some shells now, and I'll move some media over from my other filter an hour or so before I add the multies to my tank! Escargot shells I think will be a 'staple' shell. I guess its Ok to use washed, untreated (i.e.: carved, polished or painted) sea shells of varying sizes and shapes? I live inland and can't physically go and pick some up without a 5 or 6 hour car drive but I could get a friend to boil some up and post them to me. I'd then rewash, boil and rinse the shells again before adding them to the aquarium. If however, this is too risky then I don't mind going 100% escargot shells. Just thought it would be nice to have a variety ^^
 

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