Some new fish

I visited my LFS yesterday and picked up some new fish, specifically the following:

  • 2 x Lamprologus ocellatus
  • 1 x Chalinochromis popelini
  • 1 x Neolamprologus cylindricus

I already have 4 x L. ocellatus from a different line. Of those, I’m only certain that there is one male in the group. The other three are still too small to accurately sex. The two I purchased today are even younger, so I have no idea what their sexes are. My plan is to have at least one breeding pair from the two lines. Time will tell.

The popelini and cylindricus are both young as well. I added them to a 75g Tang community tank that already has the following (all still very young, except for the Telmat and tetras):

  • 3 x Altolamprologus compressiceps Kasanga goldhead (unsexed)
  • 5 x Julidochromis ornatus (unsexed)
  • 1 x Lamprologus signatus (male)
  • 1 x Lamprologus ocellatus (male)
  • 1 x Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell” (male)
  • 5 x Black skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) as dithers

I mentioned above that I already had four L. ocellatus, which includes the one listed above in the community tank. The other three are in a 30g square tank, which they occupy alone.


Fish room or workshop?

Those hobbyists who have a room dedicated to multiple fish tanks usually call it their fish room. Often these rooms don’t necessarily house show tanks, in the sense that the tanks aren’t set up as home decor. Instead, they house tanks of all sizes, racked rather than on individual tank stands.

I don’t have a fish room like that. All of my tanks, except quarantine and breeding tanks, are in rooms in my house as part of the regular decor. They’re all show tanks. However, I do have what I call a fish workshop. Instead of being dedicated to tanks, this room is dedicated to all of my equipment and supplies. I posted about the workshop shortly after moving into the house my wife and I bought earlier this year. Even my initial arrangement in the new workshop was light years better than what I had previously, which was a fish closet.

Well, I’ve redone the workshop since that post back in March. Why a workshop? If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you might recall my philosophy on supplies. I am a just-in-case person, which is reflected in the photos. Yes, that’s a black 75g stand against the wall in the first photo below. What’s inside the stand? Spare canister filters, seven of them to be exact.

Read moreFish room or workshop?

Hobbyists and species preservation

A shout out to Benjamin Hopp, the admin for the African Rift Lake, Victoria Basin, and Madagascar Fish Species Facebook group. He shared an interesting article yesterday about how hobbyists are contributing to efforts to save rare fish from extinction. Titled, Basement Preservationists: Can Hobbyists Save Rare Fish from Extinction, the piece includes comments from Greg Steeves and his participation in the CARES Program.

If you want to learn more about CARES, visit the website. You can also read the interview I did with Greg back in August of 2017.

Just a few fry

If you recall my post last month about moving my breeding pair of Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell” to a brand new tank, that didn’t work out. Before I could get the new tank set up, I noticed some fry hanging around the domed cave when it was in the 75g. Because the pair had clearly spawned again and the female was staying in the cave, I was able to move her and most of the fry all at once to an existing 20g. Though I didn’t want to put them in a tank with substrate, I had to get them out of the 75g community tank to restore some harmony.

Read moreJust a few fry

Sand and power filters DO mix just fine


Canister filter impeller and sand. Photo courtesy of the author.

If you’re using sand as a substrate, you’re using power filters, and you keep destroying filter impellers because of the sand, you’re doing something wrong. I regularly hear of hobbyists claiming they can no longer use power filters because of impellers getting fouled by sand. Even if your tank is stocked with sand sifter cichlids (e.g., eartheaters like Gymnogeophagus or Santanoperca species), using power filters should not be a problem.

Read moreSand and power filters DO mix just fine

Don’t make it a nightmare

Here’s the scenario. You’re setting up a new cichlid tank or redoing an existing one. You have this great idea for creating lots of unique caves with densely packed rocks. After nearly an hour, you have it just right.

A few days later, you start to do a water change and it hits you. How am I going to clean around and under all these these rocks?

75g tank densely loaded with rocks and decorations. Photo courtesy of the author.

Read moreDon’t make it a nightmare

Money and being a successful fish keeper

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What does it take to succeed keeping cichlids?

Whoa! That’s a big question, so let’s start from the beginning – defining success. Success is subjective and thus can be defined in many ways…and usually is. For the sake of this post, let’s presume success, in the context of fishkeeping, simply means achieving the goal of keeping your fish alive. What does it take to accomplish that task?

Read moreMoney and being a successful fish keeper

Master hiders

Julidochromis marlieri juveniles, approximately 8 weeks old. Photo by the author.

Weekly water changes are part of my maintenance routine. I typically do them on Sundays. However, I got behind this week so did them today. For the tanks with lots of rock work, I completely remove the rocks monthly. I don’t remove all the rock at the same time, but rather all the rocks in half of the tank one week and all the rocks in the other half another week.

Read moreMaster hiders

That was fast

Have you raised fry from different species? Ever notice how some species grow much faster than others?

In addition to several other tank members, I have a breeding pair of two different Tanganyikan species in a community 75g – Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell” and Julidochromis marlieri. The disparity in growth rates for fry from these two species is staggering. The Telmats are very slow growers compared to the Julies.

For two species that reach roughly the same length at maturity, the Julies grow ~3x faster than the Telmats. Within three months, the marlieri fry will be nearly 3/4″ in length whereas the Telmats will be just over 1/4″.  Although I provide food suitable for fry only, I don’t segregate the fry in any way. They have equal amounts of shelter from adults in the tank. Food is provided in their general proximity, and it’s every fish for his/herself.

If you aren’t familiar with Julies, or marlieri in particular, see the photo below of my adult male.

Adult male Julidochromis marlieri. Photo by the author.

I have two adult male T. “temporalis shell” cichlids, but they’re in different tanks. Below is a partial photo of one of them. They’re about the same size, ~4.5″ long.

Partial shot of adult male Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell”. Photo by the author.

Steve Rybicki interview


 Steve Rybicki

When I started the blog several years ago, one of my goals was to make it as comprehensive as possible. By comprehensive, I meant I would try to include information about all cichlids, not just what I keep or have a lot of experience with. To meet that goal, I knew I would have to get information from other sources. Hence, the interviews. By interviewing hobbyists, breeders, business people, and other experts, I can share with you information from a variety of people who have the experience I lack. This leads me to angelfish. Though they are quite popular in the hobby, I’ve never kept them. So I contacted an expert.

Steve Rybicki has been breeding and selling fish for several decades. In 1987, he and a friend started a tropical fish business called Angels Plus. In 1996, Angels Plus became the first online retailer dedicated to angelfish and for 32 years it is has been a full-time hatchery that specializes in show-quality fish, housing over 400 tanks.

Thankfully, Steve was quickly onboard for the interview. Let’s get going.

Read moreSteve Rybicki interview