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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 180g heavily planted tank that has been set up for 2 years now. The current stocklist includes:

12 Congo tetras - Phenacogrammus interruptus
30 Rummynose tetras - Hemigrammus rhodostomus
15 Cardinal tetras - Paracheirodon axelrodi
10 Harlequin rasboras - Trigonostigma heteromorpha
15 Otos - Otocinclus affinis 'niger'
6 Sidthimunki loaches - Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki
8 Corydoras loxozonus
a few dozen Amano shrimp

Since I set it up I've always had a few blue rams, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, but they're getting old, and the orignal group of five is now down to two. It's time to try something else.

I'm looking for something that will add a bit of color and personality like the rams did. The tank is large enough and densely planted so it should be possible to keep a few of anything small and relativley peaceful. With the exception of the sidthimunki's, everything in the tank is fairly common. Something rare or unusual might be fun.

I like the idea of other S. American or African dwarf chiclids, but I'm open to ideas. Whatever it is must be peaceful, but I can tollerate a little spawning-time aggresion.

There are some new W. African dwarf chiclids coming on the scene. Anyone know where to get these?

The tank is reconstituted RO with GH 5, KH 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone.

xdoomsongx - I love discus and will probably convert the setup to a discus tank someday.

jmontee - I've had peacocks before and they're pretty unusual fish. They only lived about 4 or 5 months though. Maybe I should try again. I'm worried that I'd never see them though.

Jan - Do the butterflies have a tendency to jump? I do need a little activity in the upper layers, but most fish that live there often try to go flying. The back of the tank has a pretty large opening. I absolutely love angels, but they've always intimidated congos in my tanks. Someday I might try altums in the tank though.

TexGal - Red congos? That might be interesting assuming they could be found.

ed seeley - Nanochromis transvestitus is one I've never seen or heard of. West African chiclids are absolutely on the list. I really admired the recent article in TFH about some of the pelvicachromis species:





Where can you find W. African chiclids? Anyone know?

Aaron - I love rainbows and initially tried to find a school of praecox for the tank. I got 8 and all of them promptly died in quarantine. They're actually almost impossible to find around here. I also worry that they'd not find the soft water to their liking. Anyone know where to get these guys?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow. Nice fish Aaron!

I'm really impressed by some of the newer species starting to come onto the scene. Rehoboth's has some VERY nice West African chiclids. Thanks Ed. I'm almost tempeted to set up my 20g just for them. Hmmmm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Thanks ingg & Jan.

I tried calling the guys at Rehoboths. Their website looks great but they wouldn't really give me the time of day. It seemed like I was annoying them by calling.

I'll try these other guys.

The more I look at the W. African chiclids, the more I want some. The photos of these fish are absoloutely stunning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
OK,

Ryan at twofishguyz replied. It looks like I'll have some Pelvicachromis taeniatus "Moliwe" on the way next week. These photos are from Erik Olson at "The Krib."





We're definitely spoiled when it comes to the Internet. Can anyone remember what it was like trying to find rare species 10 or 20 years ago?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Yeah, they're very much like regular kribs in behavior, but perhaps a bit harder to breed (which might be a good thing!). Males get about 3" in length, females about 2-1/2". The one thing that's interesting is that the females are almost more colorful than the males - pretty rare among fishes. I ordered 6 of them, 3 males & 3 females. If/when they pair off I might move one pair to a smaller breeding setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
They arrived in PERFECT condition and I must say, I'm astonished at how beautiful they are. Truly amazing colors. They're already displaying to each other and combing the substrate for food.

I have a couple of photos so far that don't do them justice:



 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Jan,

Do they make those caves in any bigger sizes? I looked on Aquabid for a minute or two. Most of what I saw looks too small to even hold two of these fish. The females aren't too big, but the males are almost as big as a full-grown congo tetra male.

ed,

Just today I'm noticing a bit of territorial behavior. One female in particular has the most brilliant yellow accents set against a rich, deep purple background. Simply amazing. I'm in danger of becoming a Westie nut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
So one of the females has developed a deep purple coloration and a big 'ol gut. She's also taken a liking to a particular area of Blyxa around the base of a large Lagenandra meeboldii 'pink'. I'm still waiting to receive some appropriate spawning caves. For now, I added a small glass jar which is partially burried in the substrate - not ideal, but it's what I have. Waiting. Watching. These fish have been cleaning up a little thread algae in the tank with gusto too. What great fish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
So a pair of the 'Moliwe' have clearly claimed the front left corner of the tank as their own. They've been chasing away all of the other fish & shrimp for the past week or two. The female is an incredible deep purple and she's looking a little plump.

I dropped in a small section of 1-1/2" PVC pipe and they were both inside within a couple of minutes. They're very, very intelligent fish. They're wild caught but are still absolutely unconcerned about my arm thrashing around in the tank.

About 10 minutes after putting the pipe in they started doing some impressive shimmy dance behavior......

Guess we'll see how they do in a pretty crowded community tank.

Here's a video of their display.

Don't pay any attention to the BBA and thread algae everywhere. Believe it or not, it's better than it was a couple of weeks ago. My favorite part of the video is when she spits some BBA out of her new nest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
milalic,

I think the PVC tube is actually a 1-1/2" coupler. It's about 4 or 5 inches long and open on both sides. The back end is pretty much burried in the substrate and closed off by a wall of plants.

Tex Gal,

So far they haven't actually spawned, at least as far as I can tell. They more or less hang out by the pipe and they still occasionally display to each other. Maybe something isn't quite to their liking. The thing is pretty much front and center and my young children are always poking their faces around to see what's happening. Besides, there are just tons and tons of fish in that tank - over 100 last time I counted.

I really suspect they'd be better off in a dedicated breeding setup. I'm not really sure I want to go to that much effort right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
I have galaxy rasboras (celestial pearl danios) in there and the congos leave them completely alone. It really surprised me. If they can get up to that size, they should be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
Well, one of the females has been hiding in her little PVC cave for the past three days. I got a flashlight and can see maybe 30-40 surprisingly large eggs stuck to the ceiling of the pipe - 3 or 4 times larger than angelfish eggs. Man, does she ever look thin. :) The male doesn't stray too far away.

Do y'all think they have a chance to raise them in a community tank that's this busy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 ·
I came back from a short vacation today. The fry are now free swimming and the mom is moving them about regularly. I think there are 20 or so but it's pretty hard to tell. She keeps them in pretty dense cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Well, today the mom let me get a decent look at the little ones. She usually keeps them wrapped up tightly in the heaviest cover available. Being a 180g tank, it's pretty hard to see everywhere. Literally, I've seen them 4 or 5 times total since they became free-swimming. Today she had them packed in around the lower roots of some Blyxa japonica. They're amazingly adept at pecking around for food. Like their parents, they seem to be perfectly happy scavenging off of the lower levels of the tank. They are growing, which is reassuring. Getting food directly to them would be next to impossible in any case.

Dad is starting to take turns once in a while, even letting mom get some food at feeding time today. When I was able to get a good look, I could see that there are still 20 or maybe 25 of them.

The fact that the parents have kept them alive for this long blows me away. Their aquarium has a dozen full-grown congo tetras, over 30 rummynose, 15 cardinals, and some other odds & ends, not to mention two other pair of dwarf chiclids and one lone surviving ram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Somehow, the two parents have managed to keep their little group of fry alive in this mixed community tank. The ability of the parents to do this is maybe the most surprising thing I've seen in the hobby.

There are still around a dozen little ones and they're becoming increasingly bold. Mom and dad leave them alone for a few seconds now and they're ranging over a much wider area. The little ones are maybe about 1/4" long now but their bellies are always nice and round. I'm not sure what they're finding to eat, but obviously it's something.

I'll try to get some photos when they get a little bigger. My camera is lousy when it comes to macro images.
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
Well, these images are pretty lousy, but they should give you some idea of the little one's size at this point. Mom is becoming a little less fussy about keeping them in a tight group. The other fish are more or less leaving the little ones alone at this point.


A photo of dad.


A photo of mom.


Mom and one of the fry.


Two of the fry. Compare them to the Downoi.
 
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