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Cyphotilapia Aquascaping Discussion of rocks, substrates and tank decor.


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Old 06-17-2006, 06:32 PM
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Default What do Frontosa need in a tank?

This is an article I recently completed. It is based on the observations of both my WC and F1 Cyphos and information gathered whilst researching the net and books.
It works for me so I thought I would share it with you.
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In his book entitled; "Back to Nature Guide to Tanganyika Cichlids" 2nd edition, Ad Konings describes the natural habitat of Frontosa as being:

"The sediment-rich rocky habitat at depths ranging between 10 and 100 meters. Most individuals are found between 40 and 70 meters."

What does this tell us in regards to the tank requirements of the Frontosa?

1. The Frontosa comes from a rocky habitat but one rich in sediment.

2. The Frontosa comes from considerable depths in the lake's water column.

3. The Frontosa comes from areas that are naturally low in lighting.

4. The frontosa comes from an environment where there is no water current.


All these aspects should be considered when establishing a species tank for Frontosa.

Let's look at each one by one.

1. The Frontosa comes from a rocky habitat but one rich in sediment.

When establishing your Frontosa tank use rockwork that mimics the structures to be found in their natural environment i.e. with caves, nooks and crannies.
Bare in mind though that Frontosa tend to be a flighty fish and for this reason you need to make sure the rocks you use are of a somewhat rounded nature so as to ensure minimum harm to the fish during times of flight.
The Alpha males will take up residence in a chosen cave so ensure that the caves are big enough to accomodate the biggest males in the tank. The nooks and crannies will be used by fry to avoid the unwanted attentions of larger fish. If you create some caves that are not quite big enough for the Alpha males but just right for the females, they will use these caves during the gestation period following spawning. The sub-strate should be of a subdued colouration, I use black pea sized gravel and lighter colour gravel in the back corners of the display [not breeding] tank. This deters the Frontosa from continually hiding in the areas of the tank where vision of them is limited.

2. The Frontosa comes from considerable depths in the lake's water column.

This tells us that the environment is stable in temperature due in part to the fact that there is no water movement [4.] It also tells us that the tank needs to have a reasonable depth of water, although primarily bottom dwellers the Frontosa do spend a considerable amount of time 'Cruising' the water looking for both food and potential females to add to the Alpha Males Harem. A minimum depth of 2' is suggested, however if you can get more water depth the better the Frontosa will like it. This is another reason that some breeders keep the level of sub-strata to a minimum thereby allowing more water depth. You should also avoid too much in the way of Bubbles in their tank as these fish [Particularly wild caughts] can be prone to what is known as 'Float' which can be caused by them playing with the bubbles and ingesting them to the extent where they are unable to swim correctly as their swim bladder becomes too oxygenated [a side note: This can also occur from feeding live 'Feeder' fish to them].

3. The Frontosa comes from areas that are naturally low in lighting.

Lighting is amoung the most important factors to getting your Frontosa to settle and breed.
It needs to be subdued to an extent where the fish are visible but not subject to intense light. Some keeper/breeder do not have any lighting on their Frontosa tanks, instead they rely on the rooms lighting.

My breeding tank is 6'x2'x2' and I have 3 different lighting options set up on it.
1 x 3' Darlbarb
1 x 18" flouro
1 x Single globe 'Desk Lamp' type light.

With this combination I can adjust the lighting to give the best of all possible results. I can use all three and still get a light that is not too hard on the fish, or I can use them individually. The later is an option I use fairly extensively as it allows me to observe any holding females without them become stressed. As was mentioned in the article re stripping, this is an important aspect of the breeding process as you need to know fairly well where the female will be located come the early morning stripping session.

4. The frontosa comes from an environment where there is no water current.

This has been said to be the single most important factor to consider when attempting to get your Frontosa to breed.
Although frowned upon by most Rift Valley Cichlid keepers/breeders, under gravel filtration is ideal for the Frontosa breeding tank.
These fish do dig though and you need to check that the filtration plate is always covered to the correct level.
One tip is to make a double filtration tray by using an additional layer of 'Egg Crating' and position it on top of the tray. this method does allow the fish to dig but they can only reach the depth of the egg crate and not the filtration tray proper.
You can use external type filters but the flow must return to the tank in such a way as to not cause excessive water current. This is because the milt of the male is said to be fairly weak in make up and tends to disperse before the female has the chance to gather the eggs following fertilization.
I run a Aqua One 750 canister filter at one end of my breeding tank, under gravel in the centre area and a power filter on the other end.
When I notice the prelude to a spawning I turn off the power filtration thereby greatly reducing the water flow but still maintaining suitable filtration. [Remeber to clean the power filter medium before restarting it as it will tend to deposit un wanted 'Dead Culture' into your tank otherwise.

If you follow these simple guides then i am sure your fish will be happier and this in turn will lead to successful spawnings.

In the end it all comes down to whether you wish to breed your fish, or merely have an atractive tank to view.

Cheers
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:33 PM
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nice work mate this should help a lot of people ,the idea of a undergravel filter may supries a few people but we know how well they work hey mate.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hilly
nice work mate this should help a lot of people ,the idea of a undergravel filter may supries a few people but we know how well they work hey mate.
hilly
Thanks hilly, yep ain't that the truth

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Old 06-17-2006, 07:51 PM
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You obviously worked very hard on that article, and it was time well spent great job
I like how you bring up important points such as the danger sharp rocks pose and an Alpha male's appreciation for "caves".
For my part, I disagree with undergravel filtration being a good idea. I also don't think keeping or spawning Cyphos require a few of things you mention... such as "subdued colored substrate" and it's effect on "deterring fronts from hiding". But we all have our opinions on what's best for our fish
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Old 06-17-2006, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherInNH
You obviously worked very hard on that article, and it was time well spent great job
I like how you bring up important points such as the danger sharp rocks pose and an Alpha male's appreciation for "caves".
For my part, I disagree with undergravel filtration being a good idea. I also don't think keeping or spawning Cyphos require a few of things you mention... such as "subdued colored substrate" and it's effect on "deterring fronts from hiding". But we all have our opinions on what's best for our fish
Thanks HeatherInNH

I can only write about methods that I have used or seen in action, I too did not believe that under gravel filtration was an option with any Cichlids let alone Cyphotilapia until I saw the manner it has been used in 3tfroni's fish room.
The results are quite beyond beleif but those of us who have been lucky enough to view this room and his fantastic variant collection are now more the wiser for the experience.

As you say though, in the end it comes down to personal beliefs and practices, but I beleive that the only way to advance is through trial and error.

Cheers
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Old 06-18-2006, 01:07 AM
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wow..awsome infos!!! thanks!!!
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Old 06-18-2006, 10:02 AM
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Nice read, good job...and I agree it all boils down to best practices. Whatever works
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Old 06-18-2006, 12:16 PM
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very good information concerning fronts

i once had a undergravel filter on my old burundi tank. I honestly dont think that they work as good as people say they do. When i went to move from my old house i had to break down the tank and when doing so i found that the undergravel filter wasnt doing its job. I had two 802 powerheads on each end of the tank and when i took the undergravel filter apart it was the most disgusting ive ever seen. All the waste was piled at the bottom of the tank. I thought the use of undergravel filter was to get rid of the waste located under neath the sand???? Therefore i stopped using the undergravel filter. My mpimbwes love to dig JMO of course.


very interesting research you have posted and thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 06-18-2006, 01:43 PM
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Water. That's where I'd start.




LOL




Sorry but very informative thread, thanks
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Old 06-19-2006, 09:24 AM
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Good info... but I still don't see me using any undergravel filters in my Frontosa tank's future...

The day of the UG filter has passed for me... and I get them to breed just fine using a combo of cannister, sponge and HOB filters.


Other than that, I positively agree with everything else.
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