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Newbie Looking for Advice

brindlehound

New Member
Hello, all. It's been years since I was last on a fish forum, but I felt this would be a great place to get some practical advice. I've been keeping tropical fish for over a decade. Recently, it came time to tear down and restart my 20 gallon tall. We have hard water with a somewhat high pH in this area (GH: 150, KH: 180, pH: 7.6 out of the tap), and I want something other than livebearers or my staple, bettas.

Enter my growing curiosity about small species of African cichlids. I could definitely use some advice on suitable species (if any) and their requirements. Looking forward to hearing from those wiser in the topic than me! I'm sure I'll head over to the Old World species talk soon with specific questions.
 

FishEggs

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hello and welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get plenty of suggestions. Have you looked into shell dwellers?
 

brindlehound

New Member
Hello and welcome to the forum. I'm sure you will get plenty of suggestions. Have you looked into shell dwellers?
Hello and thank you!

I'm interested in the shell dwellers, definitely. Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone nearby who has them. We don't have an LFS in this area. Mail order is a possibility, but due to the cost, something I would prefer to avoid if I can.

What shell dwellers make good matches for the kind of setup I can offer? I'm not really sure what specific species I should be looking at.

Thanks!
 

brindlehound

New Member
We don't have an LFS anywhere in the county. Please forgive me if I don't give a location. I don't share that information online as a rule.
 

CSnyder00

Bearded Wonder
Staff member
We don't have an LFS anywhere in the county. Please forgive me if I don't give a location. I don't share that information online as a rule.
No problem. I know many LFS are no longer in business, but usually you can find one. I have to travel over a half an hour to find a good one.
 

CSnyder00

Bearded Wonder
Staff member
What shell dwellers make good matches for the kind of setup I can offer? I'm not really sure what specific species I should be looking at.

Thanks!
To better answer your question, there are several keepers in the area that breed shellies. chriscoli chriscoli aka Christine breeds Neolamprologus multifasciatus, which is a pretty hardy little fish that can be kept in tanks as small as 10-20 gallons. We have one who is breeding Similis, but just getting started. There are others I’m sure but my point is that you can find them in the area without the need for an LFS. If you have a 20 gallon tall, shell dwellers would be very nice. You could also keep a top swimmer with them provided you want to have activity at the top of the tank. There are several species from the rift lakes that stay off of the floor. The issue would be keeping the stock light enough to sustain decent water quality in a 20 gallon tank.
 

DiscusnAfricans

President
Staff member
Red fin caudopunks could be an option too, as long as a 20 gallon is enough room for them. I've never kept them, so I can't say, but Christine has kept those also. They're just more of a 'semi shell dweller' I think because they'll gladly inhabit rock caves as well. They'd probably occupy the height of the tank better than a true shelly would. I'm not sure if there would be an appropriate top dweller that would be fine long term in a 20H, at least for a rift lake fish.

There are other rock dwellers that could be a good fit too, rift lake fish that could be fine in a 20H. Some species of julidochromis can do ok, some neolamprologous (daffodil, brichardi, etc.) and one species of chalinochromis might work too. Things would get crowded after they start breeding, but that's a good problem to have and can always be solved.
 
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