Superb Tanganyika sand sifters community for the advanced aquarist!

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Jack Stone, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. Jack Stone

    Jack Stone Stone Aquaics Sponsor

    Jan 2, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Cape Town
    It all starts with:

    Altolamprologus sp. Shell Sumbu x 6 = R1470
    Callochromis melanostigma Magara x 7 = R2240
    Cyprichromis leptosoma Yellow Head Kekese x 15 = R5925
    Julidochromis regani Kipili x 2 = R320
    Xenotilapia ornatipinnis Pearl Burundi x 6 = R2130
    Neothauma shells x 20pcs (1 bag) = R299
    R12 384

    The average adult size per fish is around 10cm but this community should be provided with adequate floor space and sand to impress you and your guests.

    The varied alluring courtship rituals of Lake Tanganyika will be on display in this aquarium. Gold and silver sand sifting males will construct small nests in the aquarium sand which they defend with pride and vigor.

    Passing females are lured in by males reflecting light and pushing spectacular dominant coloration to signal their strength. Ready females may exclude themselves from the school to practise courtship with their respective males who may reciprocate with even more elaborate displays.

    To keep the aquarium busling, a group of the most colorful "sardines" on earth. Open water fish are used as visual indicators for sand dwelling males, shell dwellers and rock dwellersa who watch their behaviour as an indication of whether or not there are any predators nearby. To observe the difference in behaviour with vs without these species is quite amazing.

    Shaking things up a bit we've included some specialist shell dwelling fry hunters, they spend their time check cracks and crevices for any small fish they can eat. These hunters are defensive animals equiped with natural "switch-blades" on their flanks, mouth and body not built for a fight.

    To add to the tribal look and provide something different it terms of behaviour the rock dwelling species of the tank will not be seen as often as the rest. They can often found hanging out upside down in their caves.

    Setting up this tank could not be easier!

    We recommend a floor space of 200cm x 60cm and a height of at least 60cm for this community. Basic filtration with medium flow rate and a water temperature of 25 degrees celcius is ideal.

    This aquarium MUST be decorated with a fine sand substrate, rock work and shells. Not only does this provide the aquarist with a natural looking aquarium but it provides the fish with the comfort and "equipment" to show their natural behaviours.

    The substrate should be the same consistency as beach sand, you can use 100% silica kids play sand.

    The rock work should not be aquarium safe and should be arranged so as to provide each species and fish in the aquarium their own space.

    With this in mind, we pack tall rocks along the back of the aquarium for the open water species, pick a corner to build a more complex rock feature for the rock dwellers, scatter some "boulder" rocks to form territorial boundaries for the sand and shell dwelling species.

    Shell terrirories in Lake Tanganyika are divided into "littoral" and "shell beds". We will be creating mostly littoral shell areas scattering shells all around the base of the aquarium in groups of 1-4 shells interspersed by the "boulder" rocks around the tank and at the base of the tall rock work.

    Take care to keep enough space for the open water species to use most of that tall rock work. Finish it off with a few well placed rocks to hide anything you may not be happy with in terms of viewing but keep A LOT of open sand!

    For more great Tanganyika cichlid community aquariums get in contact with Stone Aquatics - we are happy to taylor a community to suit you!

    Xeno ornatipinnis Burundi.png




    Cyprichromis leptosoma yellow head Kekese.jpg


    Neothauma-small (1).jpg

    Neothauma-small (3).jpg

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