Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Discussion about cichlids from Madagascar and India
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sidguppy
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Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:25 am

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 :lol:
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 :shock:

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 :roll: 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 8)

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 :lol:
"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"
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Vincent Fu
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by Vincent Fu » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:32 pm

Cichlids of the genus Ptychochromis do behave somewhat like Thorichthys or Geophagus in sifting sand. I think they would be a terrific addition to your tank. They are relatively easy to breed and seem to have good availability (in the U.S. at least).

http://www.cichlidae.com/gallery.php?ge ... chochromis

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by Nuchal Man » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:35 pm

Ptycochromis might work in a tank that large with the paretroplus, but the paretroplus are super aggressive compared to the ptychochromis. I also recommend adding a little (Tablespoon/10 gallons) salt to the tank for Madagascan fishes. They tend to beat up on each other, and the salt helps keep the damage to the minimum. It also triggered a few of my my Ptycochromis species to spawn.

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by ciclasoman » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:41 pm

Greetings:
seems to me you have a set up most of us would envy!!!! Clearly Paretroplus species require lots of swimming space such as what you have available- you should be able to get away with up to 15 maculatus. I would not recommend adding Paratilapia because this species will put a bit of stress on maculatus. Ptychochromis will do great- either oligacanthus or better yet grandidieri. You can add other fish such as rainbows, live bearers- cyprinodon- any fish that does well in hard warm water. I have raised several species of Malagasy cichlids without salt- you must observe clean water changes every 7 days (30-50%- paretroplus are a bit sensitive to NH3). I have an acrylic 350g with 6 maculatus in my garage, unfortunately with summer temps the water is a constant 86 degrees so the fish stopped reproducing- try keeping the water between 76 and 82 degrees. Paretroplus will sift and move large amounts of sand, though not quite as much as satanoperca. I observe strict quarentinee of new fish- up to 4 weeks because if Ich rears its uply face most malagasy fish will likely die.
Good luck

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:04 pm

Today I went on a shopping spree

the last few weeks I found new homes for most of my Tanganyikans

the only ones to stay are the catfishes (5 Synodontis granulosus and 3 Phyllonemus typus) and the 1 Tanganyikan cichlids that will stay for a while, but leave when the Mada's grow are 6 halfgrown Cyphotilapia gibberosa Zambia Blue.

my new arrivals are 11 Paretroplus maculatus ranging from 6-12 cm and a nice pair of Ptychochromis grandidieri wich are about 11-13 cm or so.
they do fine so far. very active fishes

and the colors are stunning..... :shock:
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:17 pm

some attempts on pictures:
Image
a detail of my Madagascar tank (not all fishes are Madafish)

Image
Paretroplus maculatus group

Image
Paretroplus maculatus and Ptychochromis grandidieri
"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"
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Tom Williams
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by Tom Williams » Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:59 pm

Nice looking tank and the Fronts make good Paretroplus tankmates IMHO. Good luck with them!

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:05 pm

how used to people are they?

Image
very :lol:
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:16 am

more pix to give you an idea how the tank looks.

there are several pictures taken without flash to show the REAL colors.
these are easy to spot cause the fish are blurred :lol:

Image

Image

Image

Image

now 1 with flash; find the differences :roll: :mrgreen:
Image

Image
Paretroplus geophagus :wink:
"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"
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:00 pm

as of today it looked like both grandidieri sprouted little pink weeners :lol:

they sure went into a digging frenzy.
we'll see what happens. hopefully they do their thing somewhere within my limited photographic skills.
:wink:
"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"
Jean-Luc Picard

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by Michael Kwist » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:53 am

Nice pic's Lex.
I hope that they get around these fish so more people would like to keep these mada's ;) And the pink weeners are also good news ! 8) :mrgreen:
Greetings Michael.

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:56 am

they sort of wasted the eggs, but it'll be OK
they're probably in a "practice mood". I've known Central American or West African species to waste several batches before they got it down pat.

this week I sold my frontosa's.
6 healthy growing frontosa's went to a big tank from another Tanganyikan enthousiast who was greatly surprised at the colors and we both were surprised by 1 female who held fry in her oral cavity and kep them there while being transferred to a bucket.

but never fear, I replaced them.
yesterday I picked up another species for the showtank and 1 for the small 200L tank.
the first is Paratilapia polleni, the second Ptychochromis oligacanthus 'Nosy Be'. both are matching pairs (!).

Image
not amused while in the bag

Image
already fully colored up 30 minutes after release!

the inhabitants in my 315G are now:
11 Paretroplus maculatus
2 Ptychochromis grandidieri
2 Paratilapia polleni
5 Synodontis granulosus
3 Phyllonemus typus
and coming soon
1 Pterygoplichthys joselimaianus. this will be a temporary guest.
most of the fish are small and due to food leftovers and not enough grazing I have a huge algae explosion that needs to be vacuumed away. :lol:

and that's it. other Mada's will be in my other tanks.
there's now a small pair of 2" Ptychochromis oligacanthus 'Nosy Be' and in the long run I'd like to get Katria katria or Paretroplus nourissatti.
but with those 2 I definitely don't want to rush.
plenty pretty madfish to enjoy already.

a total of 3 tanks max (save a fry tank of course)
no more. that'll do just fine. ;-)

if the Nosy Be grow fast enough then maybe I'll switch and put them in the big tank (they have to be polleni-proof ofcourse, so at least 3-4"); then the 55G will be the breeding tank for the grandidieri where they can do their thing without being disturbed by catfishes or any other fish.
I can switch around a bit.
"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"
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:39 am

Bad luck....

the big tank does fine; all the fish in the pictures are growing up healthy, feeding fine, doing all kinds of diggery and rivalry behaviour.

the tiny pair of young Nose Be however are goners.

first the male managed to tear up his female. I didn't spot her, thought sher might be hiding with a cluitch of eggs.
but yesterday I found her, fins all scrapped, a nasty mould on what was left of her caudal fin....

I immediately removed the male, added salt and a broadband antibiotic.
the male didn't like the move. I just found him, fins are all scrapped too, lost his balance. the female is succumbing to the moulds, pectoral fins are detoriating

they lasted less than 1 week (!!)

bummer. :(


i feel really stupid cause it was probably all caused by them having a tank all by themselves without a bunch of "boxing balls" to act as lightning rods.
and I got a load of Poecilia in another tank.
it would have been no problem to add those

man, do I feel stupid.
and sad, cause these were 2 very pretty lil fishies.
"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"
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sat Sep 27, 2008 1:22 pm

update on all Madafish:

the big tank is doing great.
there's a bit of a problem with the Paratilapia's (see HERE )
but things are slowly getting better.

the other fish are doing fab! I've had eggs so far from 2 pairs of Paretroplus, a few batches from the Ptychochromis and indeed even 1 from the Paratilapia's.

the frontosa's are gone now for some weeks. in the bucket 1 of the females was holding eggs!
she kept her mouth shut, so the new owner probably now has fry as well.

the other tanks are 1 300L/80G wich currently holds Tangs, and a 210L/55G wich holds a group of Bedotia, some wildform Poecilia salvatori and a breeding pair of Etroplus maculatus (see HERE ).
the last ones are growing. once they're Paratilapia-proof they will make the move to the big un.

I had to remove the L001. it was very very unhappy in the big tank, didn't like the water, the fish, the algae.
maybe some barb or gibby or Ancistrus would be better. personally I'd like some barb. it's more of an "old world fish" that a Loricariid.

SG out :wink:
"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"
Jean-Luc Picard

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:50 am

and another question for the experts

is it my imagination or are these fish not exactly the worlds' fastest growers?
it's a pun.

they're like frontosa's......sssllloooowwwww

just wondering, cause they eat like pigs. totally voracious gluttony at feeding time and they're all so ridiculously tame that have have to push fish from my vingers when I feed them or end up with a Paratilapia or another one chomping onm my vinger

I'll bet I can just take them out of the water by hand (didn't try it of course) like a Koi.
:lol:
"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"
Jean-Luc Picard

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sun Oct 12, 2008 4:19 pm

I went to Nancy today and I came home with:
Image

Image
baby Paretroplus damii; tnx to Michael Negrini and his 2 friends; who introduced me to 2 friends from Greece/England who breed this fish.
:mrgreen: :D :wink:

ps after some searching turned out to be George Reclos and Marina Parha :oops: :wink:

they survived the journey to my home just fine; I did 2 waterchanges on the way home (I brought 4 buckets with a total of 50L pre-treated water, plenty bags and 3 styrofoam boxes) and now they're already settling in and eating a bit.

it was a 900km drive in 1 day, tough, but definitely worth it.
Last edited by sidguppy on Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:24 am

update:
all fish are doing fine, including the damii

a while ago I discovered something; Malagasy fish go absolutely berserk on insekts......

my other animal-related hobby includes the keeping and breeding of several tarantula, scorpion, huntsman spider, cockroach, phasmids and other invertebrates.

now I do have a number of spiders but they can't eat up with the prolific breeding of the roaches.
so as an experiment i fed a bunch of them to my fish.
I can do this because i breed my own and know what they eat, wich is well washed fruit, vegetables, catfood and the like. no toxins. it's safe

the fish went WILD! berserk! especially the Paratilapia's and Ptychochromis go in a total feeding frenzy when I feed them with insects

anyone else want to try this, I feed the following species with good results:
Nauphoeta cinerea (a roach)
Blaptica dubia (roach)
small nimphs of Byrsotria rothi (roach)
Grillus bimaculatus (prairie cricket)
"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"
Jean-Luc Picard

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by treehuggingfishlover » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:24 pm

LMAO- I have a trio of juvenile Paratilapia Menorambo, they are less than 2" (about 3-4 months old).

The other day a fly got under the hood and they went absolutely beserk. They were even jumping out of the water trying to get it :)

I love the picture you linked earlier with a pic of their teeth- WOW. :shock: Hope they stay away from my fingers...

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by treehuggingfishlover » Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:27 am

My husband just pointed out that the fish whose teeth were showing was a piranah... lol

I'm not sure if my Paratilapia are bleeker or polleni, but they are getting bigger (comparitively speaking) and darker. The dorsal spot is still a prominant feature, so they have a way to go before they're grown....

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Re: Changing from Tanganyika to Madagascar and questions!

Post by sidguppy » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:58 am

this week I found this (again)
Image
now if they only would remember 2 things:

defend it! the catfishes managed to steal it at noon....

fertilize it......fertilized eggs are pink. I've seen fertilized spawns too in my tank.
this is sloppy business.
"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"
Jean-Luc Picard

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