Sorry, but I must boast! My Lamprologus ocellatus
spawned and now have free-swimming fry out of their mother's shell.
Several months ago I set up a 20 gallon Walstad tank just for these fish. Really, I just hoped I would be able to observe their fascinating behavior and did not expect to spawn them successfully. If you aren't familiar with these great little cichlids here is a good article about them: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/l_ocellatus.php
The usual Rift Lake tank is a sterile moonscape. Here in Texas the fashion is stark white limestone with lots of holes in it and black gravel. If a little algae appears on the stone to soften it, most people take it out and pressure wash it. That's fine if you like it, but I was determined to have an attractive planted tank AND Tanganyikan cichlids, if only small ones.
So how do you combine a soil substrate with fish that love to dig? The front 2/3 of the tank is 2" of Safe-T-Sorb (STS), with no soil underneath. This is where most of the shells are, and the only planting is Hemianthus glomeratus
. Surprisingly, it grew very fast and covered large areas of substrate.
The back 1/3 of the tank has 1" of mineralized topsoil and 1" of STS. This part is heavily planted with Eleocharis vivipara
and Cryptocoryne wentii
'Red". The soilless front of the tank is divided from the soil section in the back with an irregular line of large stream pebbles, up to softball size. These are closely spaced to discourage the fish from digging in this area. Planted in the small gaps between these stones are two clumps of Ludwigia repens
--all new Walstad tanks need fast growing plants to soak up the excess nutrients.
I've had some minor algae problems; one bout of mild green water and a little hair algae. Reducing light, adding some floaters, and a few doses of Excel have the algae under control.
I will try to get some decent photos up soon. The plants are not very mature yet, and I was going to wait a while before starting this thread. But the baby fish made me do it now.