Please help: A Nicely Planted Kribensis (P. pulcher) breeding tank at *my* work
I'm a noob to planted tanks, but not exactly a noob to aquariums, and I absolutely love the little Kribs, Pelvicachromis pulcher. Over the years I've had many pairs of these fish lay eggs, and indeed I've even managed to raise a few babies here and there without really trying. Tonight, I took in a proven male/female pair, and I'd really like to try to not only breed these fish, but really do it right, and raise the fry. I would also like to do a nicely planted tank as I think these fish do well with some plants, and I want this tank to look very, very good.
Now here's the catch; Despite having a degree in biology and chemistry, I currently am a store manager for a local chain of Lawn & Garden/Pet/Equine/Wild Bird/ Etc. stores located in my part of New York State. Because of my background keeping aquariums as well as reptiles, dogs, cats, and other animals I am VERY active in our store's pet department. Currently, our live animals consist of about 50 or so fish tanks (all fresh water), a dozen or so reptiles like bearded dragons and ball pythons, a handful of basic birds, and then the obligatory bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, mice, rats, and more. Definitely no live dogs or cats, though we sponsor adoptions, and we welcome them in the store. We are far from one of the real nice, contemporary pet stores, we are more old fashioned, and to make matters worse our building is old and is constantly fighting us, but I want everyone to know that I work my butt off making sure we are keeping our tanks and cages as clean as possible, and our animals in the best condition as I possibly can.
Anyway, as a diversion from my sometimes mundane work day (and hey, I don't take smoke or coffee breaks at all), I want to set this adopted pair of Kribs up right, both to breed them and raise the fry, and to hopefully have a nicely 'scaped tank, BUT where ever possible I want to use products that we sell at our store. I want to keep the Kribs with plants, and have them breed, and in this case I do want to try to raise the fry, and I want it to look great. I feel like since I'm at work a good ten hours a day, this is a great chance for me to be absolutely on top of the tank and plants, and the fry, feeding them as often as necessary. I also live about a half mile (that's right, a half mile) from my store, so even on my days off I can swing in there to care for the tank and fry as needed. I will also set up a series of grow out tanks if this pairing is successful, and considering I work for a chain of pet store, I have plenty of homes for the babies. This is not, however, any sort of get-rich-breeding-kribs scheme, this is just for my fun while I'm at work, but I know that the babies can be distributed around our 16+ stores, so no problem there.
Again, I'm just looking for advice on how to best keep this pair of fish in a tank that looks really, really sharp. I know from years of experience that these fish will basically spawn at will if given the chance, and I know they are pretty good parents. My plan for breeding them is to let the fry be with the parents until about a week after free swimming, then move them to their own tank. So tank wise, right now I have a 10 gallon going, fluorescent bulb old fashioned hood, sponge filter, pool sand bottom. I want to upgrade the light for sure, and hopefully get some plants going. My Kribs are not full grown and would fit into a 10 gallon just fine, but now I'm wondering if I should upgrade to a 20 long, or maybe a 29 to give some extra height for the plants. What would you guys do? I need to pin down a tank size so I can order a light.
For lighting, I want to grow plants, not algae, and I want it to look good, but I'm not going crazy here. I'm thinking a Beamswork DA FSPEC (their most powerful model??) What would you guys think?
For filtration, I would be tempted to go sponge filter for fear of filtering fry to death. However, I'm only going to leave the fry in this tank for about a week after free swimming, so for sake of the tank itself and growing plants, wouldn't a canister filter be best? I'm thinking about a cheap SunSun for this one, what do you guys suggest?
Substrate: This is one where I want to work with what we have at our store for sure, and we have basic aquarium gravel, basic aquarium sand in a variety of colors, nice pool filter sand, Eco Complete, CaribSea brand substrates, and some kind of fancy AquaSoil that eludes me right this second. I'm really leaning towards pool filter sand because I've never used it personally, but I think what we have at our store looks good (we have used it in our basic fish tanks at the store), and I can get it basically for free (ripped bags we can't sell). We also have a wide variety of potting soils, if you guys think that wold be a good idea (soil plus sand cap), we have a nice, basic potting mix that does not have perlite in it (no white puffy balls floating around), and I can get these for free too. Though i worry that soil is messy no matter what. But what do you guys think? Best substrate for Kribs?
And for plants, this is a big subject that I know little about. I'm really a noob at the plants themselves, though I know I want this tank to look as good as possible. One idea I have is that I have a perfect, proven clay flower pot that is split up the side such that the fish can get in and out of it easily. This flower pot has spawned many broods of Kribs over the years. My idea is to glue some kind of moss or another appropriate plant to the top (inverted bottom) of the pot, making it a nicely planted cave structure. After that, I'm lost, plant wise. Low light Crypts, Anubius, Swords? Is there any kind of carpeting plant I can grow in a 29 gallon or a 20 long with a 30" Beamsworks? So what are some of the best plants to use with Kribs? Are some plants Biotope specific for Kribs, which I think would be really cool? Is there any type of true carpeting plant I can keep with my proposed Beamswork, SunSun, pool sand, etc.?
Basically, any help or advice on how to keep and breed Kribs, and how to have a nicely planted tank would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance for your help!
Aquariums. They keep your sleeves wet.
Last edited by Detritus; 11-15-2017 at 03:43 AM.
Reason: Typos and Grammar