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.

Continue reading this post…Sand 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.

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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?

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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.

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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 temporalis 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 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 temporalis. 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.

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An impulse buy? Maybe not

Aqueon 20g long glass aquarium. Photo courtesy of the author.

Over the past few days, I’ve encountered a scenario that I’m not prepared to address. As you know if you’re a regular reader, I have a breeding pair of Telmatochromis temporalis in one of my 75g tanks, and they are prolific breeders. The female has long since outgrown the shells in the tank, so she no longer uses them to spawn. Instead, she sets up shop pretty much wherever she wants in the tank. She has plenty of alternatives for egg laying and, a couple of weeks ago, she chose a closed, ceramic tube to lay them. The problem is that the tube lies right in the center of the tank.

Continue reading this post…An impulse buy? Maybe not