Solitary Rift Lake Cichlid?
Everything I've ever read about Rift Lake Cichlids and every picture I've seen of Rift Lake tanks indicates that people like to do extensive rockwork and then pack tanks to the gills to avoid aggression. It makes a lot of sense and the tanks look great.
The thing is, any large tank I get in the near future will likely be a mixed community setup, not an African Cichlid tank. However, I absolutely love these fish. Is it even possible to keep a solitary specimen of any of the smaller species (such as shell dwellers) in a smaller tank? What about a mated pair? I've read about several species being something of harem brooders or that the fish get aggressive towards their partners after spawning. Is this always the case, or are there any species that exhibit spousal loyalty along the lines of my Kribs that would be suitable as a pair in a smaller tank?
One day I'd like to do a bigger Rift Lake tank, but in the immediate future I just don't have the room for a project like that.
I believe PAIR is the key word. many of the smaller species such as rams, keyhole cichlids, flag cichlids, panda cichlids are difficult to pair up without providing a group . I also believe it is possible to keep just one of anything but then you do not get the coloration changes that take place during spawning or the chance to see them as they would behave normally in the wild or at least as near as one can simulate their normal enviornment. One can also purchase Pairs of many of the species you are interested in but that does not always insure a mated pair but rather they provide a male and a female which may or may not get along all that well. Sometimes you can find mated pairs in LFS by observing them closely . Other times you can find them online. :)
That's a good point about the color. My kribs would definitely be less colorful if I only had a single speciment. However, I've seen more than a few of the more brightly colored African fish at the LFS in tanks by themselves that still had stunning color. Are color changes for African cichlids more gradual?
I believe maturity and to a lesser degree mood IE spawning behaivor play a large part. But then take the german blue ram. Due to forces beyond its control ,very young rams often display coloration reserved for older specimens. :wink:
You can keep a pair of the smaller shellies in a tank as small as 5.5 gallons, though 10 is better, and with a 20 long, you could keep several pairs of multiple species if you plan it out properly. I currently have a 20 high with 2 male, 4 female, and countless Neolamprologus multifasciatus (or maybe N. similis - they're hard to tell apart) fry. They seem to be thriving.
+1 for the shellies. You could definitely keep a pair of them in a smaller tank (although I don't know about 5.5G, that would depend on the breed). You'll just need to be prepared to rehome the young when they breed.
I don't think I'd have a problem rehoming fish such as multis, as I have several good local fish stores in the area that would gladly take fry.
I don't think I'd go as small as a sub-10 gallon tank, so multis would definitely work. Are there any other species that would work well in a tank that size?
Sorry for all the questions, but even after doing a lot of research, it's been hard finding out answers to these questions as I haven't found anyone that keeps so few Africans.
If you can get a 15 gallon long - 24x12x12 (like a shortened 20 high), and a half dozen Lamprologus stappersi, you would have the prettiest tank ever. Set up a row of rocks along the back and plant dwarf sags behind them, then put all your shells (at least 10 for 6 fish) out front. That'll keep the fish from messing with the plants. Use coral sand or silica sand with coral in the filter. Escargot shells are the perfect size (though the nanny state won't let you sell them for food use in this area anymore - grumble, gripe, kvetch) but Murex shells have been working for me (got them from a craft store), and tulip shells are more or less the same shape as the snails endemic to Tanganyika.
You might be able to do the same thing with Lamprologus ocellatus (which are easier to find), but they're more aggressive, so be ready to bail out the extra fish if there isn't enough territory for everybody (though a 15 ought to give enough footprint for at least 2 pairs, 20 long for three almost guaranteed).
Wow, the stappersi look amazing. I really like that tank idea as well. Could I keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails in the tank to keep the sand sifted, or would the fish eat them? I'm not sure how shell dwellers usually acquire their shells in the wild...I don't see why they wouldn't resort to violence.
1077, every fish you named in your replies were South Amereican. The OP is asking about Africans.
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