after 9 years of Tanganyikans I'm going to switch the showtank from Tangs to Madagascar fish.
this decision came about when I went to Tilmann's shop early this year and saw a tank full of adult Paretroplus maculatus
I was blown away right there......but I said to myself it was probably not realistic because of the unavailability of the fishes and the kind of water they probably need
this because in the past after years of struggling with increasingly rare African riverine fish and South American fish I changed my approach:
instead of changing the water to match the demands of the fishes, I'd change the fishes to the water available.
makes up for MUCH easier fishkeeping! took me only about 25 years of fishkeeping to reach this level
before that I always changed the water, because I wanted to keep a certain fish nevermind the difficulties.
I grew up in a city wich has quite soft and neutral to slightly acidic waterquality. and hence I've been keeping South American catfishes, characins, cichlids etc with ease.
once I moved home to another town it became increasingly hard to keep certain species. my SA and African catfishes usually did fairly OK (but Parailia for example did not), but keeping species like Pelvicachromis or dwarf Crenicichla became very tricky. so after a long time I ditched all of my riverine fishes and went Tanganyika, because the tapwater here suits Tanganyikans, Malawians and Central Americans just fine.
Ofcourse Tanganyika holds many pretties as well (Tropheus, Featherfins, Xenotilapia etc) and also because Tanganyika also exports catfishes (still my fisrt love) and other non cichlids.
it's much easier to set up a Tanganyikan biotope tank with non cichlids (eels, killi's, catfishes, even barbs) added to the cichlids than, say Victoria or Malawi.
so now, when this Madagascar cichlid caught my eye, the last thing on my mind was to revert into making mistakes and going back to having to treat every bit of water that goes in the tank.
we have first rate quality water here, but it's moderately hard (about GH 11) and alcalic (pH 7,9-8) with a carbonate hardiness of about 6-7.
then I started to read anything I could find about them.
on this very site there's a breeding report about Paretroplus nourisatti and the waterparameters mentioned in there are almost a perfect match to what I have here for tapwater
if one of the experts breeds his extremely rare Madafishes in water that comes out of the faucet right here
it should be possible to keep P maculatus for me as well.....
This is the plan:
the tank is about 1200L/315G.
the decoration is already in, large rocks, a few roomy caves (inhabited now by Cyphotilapia frontosa/gibberosa from Zambia) fine sand, subdued light, a huge whopping biofilter and a bunch of fish that have to go, save a few.
a pair of Paratilapia bleekeri that I can get this week.
a shoal of Paretroplus maculatus (I want to get 10 or so, ratio 1/1) that I'd buy in Germany
my 5 Synodontis granulosus, wich I really want to keep because of their beauty and because they don't bother cichlids and are quite tough themselves used to territorial companions.
I don't want to keep more than 3 different species of cichlids in there. and I DEFINITELY don't want to take risks of hybrids....so despite P menarambo being also pretty (and yes, seen em too in the flesh) I won't dare to keep these with their close kin maculatus.
I might want to add a few large pieces of wood, haven't had wood in tanks for 9 years
and now after this loooooong and windy introduction
a few questions:
am I making some bad mistakes? good plan, bad plan?
is for example Paretroplus in with Paratilapia not a good plan?
also: is there a species of Madagascarian that chews sand? as far as I know Paratilapia eats small fish and Paretroplus is a bit of a herbivore (both not a problem with feeding).
is there a Madagascar cichlid that behaves for example like Thorichthys or Geophagus or one of the many Ectodines from Tanganyika?
a herbivore, a carnivore and a sandchewer would be a perfect match IMO
and final question: is anyone aware of native CATFISHES from Madagascar being exported or the possibilities thereof?
Gogo and Ancharius, not 5 foot long Arius species, mind
"And he piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it"