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Lamprologus ocellatus, sys.     5/31/12
Hi Neale
I have acquired a pair of the above and will get another female to complete the group shortly. At the moment, they are alone in a 60 litre, planted, former community tank with a gravel substrate. The tank was populated by 12 x 2" fish since October last year. At the fish shop the Ocellatus were kept at pH 6.5. Hardness, I don't know. The community was moved the same day the Ocellatus were introduced.
<I see.>
Prior to releasing the fish, I drained the tank down and filled it back up with fresh water buffered to pH 6.5. I'm now acclimatising them back to their desired hard water conditions using your article on pH and hardness, doing a 20% water change weekly using the rift valley salt mix. I just want to double check that, 1: the salt mix is appropriate and 2: there is nothing else I've overlooked.
<Likely not. Do check the pH and hardness levels. If the pH is around 7.5-8, you should be fine, but I'd also check the general hardness. These Tanganyikan cichlids are very sensitive to soft, acidic conditions.>
Old aquarium ornaments are in there as "shells". The real thing will hopefully be coming this weekend after a long beach comb. Any shells from the beach will be boiled first.
Now, I know these little guys want sand, and I wish I'd been more organised to put some in BEFORE I got them but I have fine gravel in there at the moment, about 2-4mm. I have no spare tank to house them while redecorating.
Is it feasible to remove the plants to another tank and change the substrate with the fish in or is it best to leave well alone?
<I'd probably move these fish to a bucket while redecorating. Cover it so they can't jump out.>
Also, would you have any recommendations on a species of surface dwellers that would take similar conditions? (And not get beasted by "His Majesty, the King of the Barrel Ornament"). I was focusing on soft water fish before so I'm a bit clueless in that regard. Just one small shoal is all I'm after because I want to keep the focus on the Ocellatus.
<Endler's Guppies seem to work well with Shell-dweller cichlids. They're happy with the hard, alkaline water and stay near to top most of the time.
Any small livebearer could work, but anything too big (like Platies, say) will be viewed as a threat by these nervous cichlids, and they'll hide all the time.>
One more thing - I removed my Amanos and cherry shrimp from the tank because I'd read that Ocellatus' wild food is mainly crustaceans. Would they be safe to reintroduce, assuming water quality compatibility?
<Not 100% sure, but I'd risk the Amanos at least. The Cherries might be eaten though.>
Once again, thanks for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Cichlid Question! 12/20/11
Guys & Gals,
<Hey Dan>
Thanks for all you do for the hobby and help us all care for our aquatic animals. All of you are a great help to us out here who love the hobby but don't have a lot of experience. My question is pretty simple and straight forward (hopefully). Can you tell me what type (name) of the cichlids that are contained in this picture?
<Mmm, yes, Lamprologus brichardi...>
Which one is the female and which one is the male?
<Mmm, likely the bottom fish is female, the larger a male>
I know at least one is male and the other is female because the other day I had little babies all over the bottom of my tank. Again thanks for your help and any assistance in helping keep the babies alive and what they eat would be much appreciated.
<Best to have you search WWM, the larger Net re. Congratulations! Bob Fenner>

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