If you’re a seasoned (experienced) aquarist, you can stop reading. This post won’t provide anything new or interesting. However, if you’re new to the hobby, read on.
Back in 2016, I posted about shells for shell dwellers. In that post, I showed a variety of shells that are readily available and in which your shell dwelling fish would take up residence. Since that post, I have discovered a few other things that might help your shell selection decision.
Thanks to the fine folks at Aquarium Life Support Systems and OASE Living Waters, I recently received one of OASE’s BioPlus Thermo 200 internal canister filters to review. I am really anxious to unpack this thing and get it going. I have used internal filters before, but never one this large. Recommended for aquariums up to 55g , the 200 is the largest of the three sizes in the BioPlus Thermo line.
Whether you’re familiar with OASE or are just now learning about them, they make solid aquarium products. If you’re interested in an external canister filter, see my review of their BioMaster Thermo 350.
Back in August, I posted about a nice way to feed shellie fry. I have subsequently improved upon that method. The syringe and water line tube work great…until they don’t. What I discovered is that, over time, the tube end that connects to the syringe will “stretch” such that the connection point isn’t airtight. What happens is 1) air gets in between the tube and the syringe, preventing a good suction and 2) just a little bit of air will allow whatever food you’ve been able to pull into the tube to invariably flow back out before you can remove it from the food source.
Many of my previous posts mention the equipment that I use. However, I wanted to explicitly mention a company named Sicce. This Italian aquarium products manufacturer produces filters, pumps, heaters, etc. Though lesser known in the United States compared to companies like Hagen (Fluval) and Eheim, IMO Sicce’s filters and pumps are as good or better. If you’re a regular on Facebook, you have probably seen an increase in posts about them and the number of LFSs carrying their products. Though they have been in the states for a while, they are making a big push into the home aquarium market.
I use Sicce pumps and canister filters almost exclusively. I have for many years. In fact, all of my larger tanks are filtered by Sicce canisters.
If you want to venture out of your comfort zone and try some products you haven’t before, give Sicce a try.
I’m increasingly seeing a lot of new or inexperienced cichlid keepers asking about adding live plants to their tank. Live plants work for many cichlids but not all. Why? Some species dig them up and others simply eat them. For Lake Tanganyika tanks, I did a post a few years ago about plants species you might look at if you’re considering a biotope set-up. So what about plastic plants you ask?
For the canister enthusiasts among you, OASE North America has released a new, larger external canister filter as part of their BioMaster line. I did a review of the BioMaster Thermo 350 back in January of this year. At that time, the largest filter in the BioMaster line was the 600, rated for aquariums up to 160 gallons. OASE recently released the 850, suitable for 250 gallons.
If you keep multiple tanks, Pex pipe can be one of your best friends. It is a very versatile tool to have in your cichlid keeping toolbox. That toolbox post is four years old now, but I still use every item listed there. I could probably add a few more items, but that’s a post for another day. Here I focus on Pex pipe or tubing.
Feeding fry in any kind of tank can be a challenge. Whether a community tank, species only, or even a small segregation tank, getting food directly to the fry can take some effort. Such foods as baby brine shrimp, crushed flakes, and infusoria are great options. However, since these foods can be so tiny for fry intake, any little bit of water movement can quickly carry them away from the fry. As a result and like regular fish food, they can easily foul a tank if enough is not eaten. Unless you’re using a breeder box in which the fry are confined to a really small space and tank current is reduced, you need to get creative. Either that, or you need to simply power off the filtration.
A little over a year ago I picked up a 30g rimless tank (called Symbolic) by Mr. Aqua. At that time, I had intended to make it a species-only shellie tank of ‘Lamprologus’ ocellatus “gold”. I got the tank set up, cycled it with some existing media, and was off to the races. But as the saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” which is exactly what happened. My plan didn’t pan out for a variety of reasons.