Need recommendations for Multie 29 gallon tank

Leeman75

Member
I'm just about at my wit's end and almost to the point where I want to give up completely on my Shell Dweller tank. I've had this tank running for almost a year and 4 Multies in it for over 6 months or so. I've commented and posted a bit about my frustration with the fact that I cannot get them to breed. There's been speculation that the "breeding group" that I was sold is all Males. They are the only fish in the tank and given that they don't breed or even go in the shells, the novelty that's not really there has really worn thin. I see a 29 with 4 small fish in it as a frustrating waste of space.

So, I'm considering the following:

1. Give up altogether, admitting defeat, and just try to sell the Multis and repurpose the tank?
2. Move the rocks that are currently in the center a little to the left, add to the rock pile, and put all the shells in right side, to basically make two regions and get a couple of Brichardi for the rocks, area to the left, and top of the tank? Maybe this will cause my Shellies to actually live in their shells?
3. Buy some more Shellies with the hopes that I'll actually get some females and breeding can start? I'm most skeptical of this one working actually.
4. Add some of my other, more top dwelling fish (Gourami, Guppies, DG) to the tank for more life, color, and maybe push the Shellies closer to the shells?

Number 2 is the one that interests me the most. I think Brichardi are really cool. Number 4 is probably the safest.

I would really, really appreciate some advice. Here's a picture of the tank as it currently sits now. Notice how you can see 3 of the Shellies hovering up mid-tank...nowhere close to the shells! This is very common.


20210220_171654.jpg
 

jkkgron2

Member
If you want them to breed adding other fish species won’t really help. Are they all the same size? Males are usually larger than females, so if they’re all the same size then I’d guess they’re all either male or female. #3 sounds good to me but I would still try to get some more rocks to break up the lines of sight.
 

Flyfisha

Member
From what I have seen looking at other peoples tanks. Males and females will breed at six months of age . The difficulty other people have is the fry get eaten or die from a total lack of food.Or in one case the filter was not suitable for small fish. I believe you would have seen any fry and the likely hood of you failing to get at least some to grow is very slim.

A male will visit the shells of many females as they have a continuous string of offspring. It is said the juvenile females help raise the next generation. Not something I have seen but I have seen the juveniles allow very tiny fish to be around there mums shell with no fry being eaten.
I suggest that any breeder would dump as many males as possible in order to keep the breeding females. Unfortunately in your case you got only males . He hopefully intended to give you one female?
Only when I had 80 odd shellies in a 80 litre/22 gallon did the fry numbers slow down for some reason?

Answer .
You still have a tank of 4 adult males.
They are looking for females everyday and wait patiently.
 
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Leeman75

Member
Flyfisha said:
From what I have seen looking at other peoples tanks. Males and females will breed at six months of age . The difficulty other people have is the fry get eaten or die from a total lack of food.Or in one case the filter was not suitable for small fish. I believe you would have seen any fry and the likely hood of you failing to get at least some to grow is very slim.

A male will visit the shells of many females as they have a continuous string of offspring. It is said the juvenile females help raise the next generation. Not something I have seen but I have seen the juveniles allow very tiny fish to be around there mums shell with no fry being eaten.
I suggest that any breeder would dump as many males as possible in order to keep the breeding females. Unfortunately in your case you got only males . He hopefully intended to give you one female?
Only when I had 80 odd shellies in a 80 litre/22 gallon did the fry numbers slow down for some reason?

Answer .
You still have a tank of 4 adult males.
They are looking for females everyday and wait patiently.
This is what my thought has been but when I've asked people about adding Females, they say that any new multies will not be accepted. Is this true? Is there anything I can do to help them to be so. This is assuming that I can find someone selling multies who will actually sell me Females.
 

jkkgron2

Member
Leeman75 said:
This is what my thought has been but when I've asked people about adding Females, they say that any new multies will not be accepted. Is this true? Is there anything I can do to help them to be so. This is assuming that I can find someone selling multies who will actually sell me Females.
If you get similar sized multis and rescape the tank I think they’ll have a good chance at being accepted. The biggest issue is when you add new multis to a tank with established territories, which the old fish will defend and protect. By rearranging all the shells and hardscape it makes them reestablish their territories and gives the newcomers a better chance.
 

Flyfisha

Member
I have never added more multies to an existing tank of fish. I believe the females have a territory of just a few inches around one shell. The males travel freely between the females.

I have at times had to set up temporary tanks of adult fish as I culled out a few dozen over a few days to take to auction. I never saw any issues with aggression. They are difficult to catch needing a bottle trap to catch selected fish over a few days.

I have never seen any ripped fins or any nipped fins with the stock I worked with.

My opinion is a 20 gallon has a ton of spare space for any new fish of the same species.

I have seen cherry shrimp and other fish species killed or eaten in minutes but that is another issue. Perhaps that explains the stories you have read of?
 
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Leeman75

Member
Thanks for the thoughts. It's been challenging because every time I think I have a good direction, somebody else gives a reason as to why that won't work...including the adding of additional females.

I keep going back to the concern of wondering if the breeder didn't get the sexing of the fish right, will I have much more luck with a LFS knowing the difference? They seem very difficult to tell. I'm hoping that it's not that the breeder did know and chose to give me all males though he advertised it as a "breeding group" of 1 M and 3 F. I really hope for better in people than that.
 

carsonsgjs

Member
Leeman75 said:
Thanks for the thoughts. It's been challenging because every time I think I have a good direction, somebody else gives a reason as to why that won't work...including the adding of additional females.

I keep going back to the concern of wondering if the breeder didn't get the sexing of the fish right, will I have much more luck with a LFS knowing the difference? They seem very difficult to tell. I'm hoping that it's not that the breeder did know and chose to give me all males though he advertised it as a "breeding group" of 1 M and 3 F. I really hope for better in people than that.
Ive just set up a brevis tank and put in a m/f pair, followed 24 hours later by another 4 (3 f and 1 m, although it may be 2 of each - cant tell just yet). The male i had added the day before had, in the space of just 24 hours, decided that the entire tank was his and refused to accept the 4 new additions. He constantly terrorised them to the point that he had to go back. As soon as i removed him, the other 4 came out from their various hiding places and looks like i have at least 1 pair. No spawn yet but its very early days. Im now left with 5 and like you, im tempted to put more in to increase the odds of getting a pair to successfully breed. Im also wary of rocking the boat because as it stands, everyone seems to be getting along.

i can understand your frustration though - shellies are meant to breed and live in shells. One of mine stays behind a piece of ocean rock and i find myself thinking just get in a shell!

if you do decide to add some brichardi please update as one of my back up plans is to add a single masked julie or similar.
 

Flyfisha

Member
As I mentioned they are difficult to catch . It takes days of catching small juveniles to small to sell and bigger fish you want to keep to catch a bag of fish suitable for sale.

If you leave a bottle trap unattended over night you can kill any babies with overeating. Each time you put the bottle trap in the tank you are moving shells and sand that are somebody’s home.

Option two.
Reach in and remove ten shells into another tank. Wait until the fish comes out and try and get the shells out before the fish goes back in .
Add any fish you collect into a third tank as you continue to try and select fish for sale.
To establish Multiple tanks requires multiple water changes to avoid accilmation issues .

When you have a few fish you intend to sell you use open PVC pipe off cuts instead of shells. They will not easily breed in open ended pipes .

I sympathise with any breeder trying to catch fish for sale.


A fact .
The males swim slightly further from the shells and are potentially easier to catch. They are bigger and more likely to be chosen because of their size if you are trying to make up a bag of fish from whatever random fish you can catch on any day.

Nobody can actually tell what sex they are other than size there is no difference to see.

If you were sold small fish you would be disappointed. Small fish are potential more likely to be females.

Don’t get confused by talk of other species please?
 
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Leeman75

Member
Seems like the consensus is that the best option is to try to rescape and add some more multies to the tank. I'm apprehensive to do due to the cost of the fish (about $50 for the 4) and the concern about not getting females due to the challenge to sex them.

I'll give it a shot and hope for the best, I guess.
 

Flyfisha

Member
If you have a few places to sell offspring you will soon get your money back even if you sell for $2 each.

Enjoy the tiny fry. Update photos please
 
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Leeman75

Member
I found an ad on the GCCA (Greater Chicago Cichlid Association) website for someone who has Multies 3/4" - 1" for $5 each...which is way less than anywhere else I've seen. I reached out to him to see if he can pick out Females and explained my quandry. His reply: " I'm not good at that, but can try to pick some smaller adults."

So now, I'm contemplating that. If it get say 5-6 more smaller with the hopes that at least half of them are F, will the number of males overwhelm them? Is this a good method for trying to secure Females? The F are a little darker right?
 

Flyfisha

Member
In my opinion from what I have seen you should not have a problem introducing any fish ( edit of the same species) into that tank, especially with the current stocking level.

It was agreed by the members in my local club to keep the price of this species high.
Finding fish for $5 is a bargain.
 
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Leeman75

Member
Flyfisha said:
In my opinion from what I have seen you should not have a problem introducing any fish ( edit of the same species) into that tank, especially with the current stocking level.

It was agreed by the members in my local club to keep the price of this species high.
Finding fish for $5 is a bargain.
Thank you Flyfisha! You've been a big help! One last request for your knowledge: How many do you think I should get? At $5 / fish, I don't mind grabbing 5-6 to try to ensure that I get at least a couple of females. But I don't want to over do it.
 

jkkgron2

Member
Leeman75 said:
Thank you Flyfisha! You've been a big help! One last request for your knowledge: How many do you think I should get? At $5 / fish, I don't mind grabbing 5-6 to try to ensure that I get at least a couple of females. But I don't want to over do it.
I think 5-6 would be fine, but be prepared for loads of fry in case you get mostly females!
 

Flyfisha

Member
I also think 5 or 6 is a good number.
Fingers crossed for some tiny fry poking their little heads out of mums shell.
 
  • Thread Starter

Leeman75

Member
jkkgron2 said:
I think 5-6 would be fine, but be prepared for loads of fry in case you get mostly females!
That's the hope! I have a plan when that happens!!

Flyfisha said:
I also think 5 or 6 is a good number.
Fingers crossed for some tiny fry poking their little heads out of mums shell.
Thank you!! That would be fantastic!!

Thanks to all who have helped me figure out my fishy plan!!
 

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