Please help: A Nicely Planted Kribensis (P. pulcher) breeding tank at *my* work - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 03:06 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Detritus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Please help: A Nicely Planted Kribensis (P. pulcher) breeding tank at *my* work

Hi guys!

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!

-Detritus

Aquariums. They keep your sleeves wet.

Last edited by Detritus; 11-15-2017 at 03:43 AM. Reason: Typos and Grammar
Detritus is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 03:05 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
I can see this working very well and being something to discuss with any folks who have some time and show an interest. One of the things I look for in LFS is how much actual interest is shown in the hobby. Can't fake love?
So I would go for the larger tank if space available but then also, there was a time when more than 20 WAS a large tank and the 12 gallon might fit better. Tossup, there? Smaller means shorter depth so less light works fine and it is easy to over shoot on lights. We read about lights so much that it seems to be a primary item when it is only one of many points to work to balance out. Too much light needs more ferts and then that requires more CO2 so that one can get involved with pressure CO2 which I would not recommend at this point. Do not feel pressed to go full bore until we learn to ride the bike?
What looks good/great is a personal item. My thoughts? A 12 or 20, smallish lighting, and then some simple plants. I've gone back to simple on a 12 long and loving it over the big tanks as it gives me so much more for less. Small swords, a few crypts and then add interest with Java moss glued to some wood to make a vertical item. I basicly dislike the clay pot but they are handy and do the job. I might go for gluing Java fern or moss so thick it is almost totally hidden? I love the fern waving in the current but then some of that will depend on how the fish feel about leaving it alone. I'm willing to let them choose decor in their house if they really insist! I'm a definite canister fan and liking the Sunsun. You can alway throttle the flow down and one way to get less flow is covering the intake with a simple sponge. So simple to cut a slit in a block of foam and just press it over the intake. No need for special shape but I like the Aquaclear pore size as it seems to be right for filtering with a size that stops up less often. Pretty easy to slip off and rinse but why create work if it works better than some. I don't sweat the sub as none seems to be a big factor for my simple stuff. I like a mix of pool filter, small gravel, dirt that gets spilled and some Flourite left over from other tanks. Nature is randon and rarely does the uniform flat surface so I go for randomness.
PlantedRich is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-15-2017, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Detritus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Hi, PlantedRich!

Thank you for your advice! The only reason I use the flower pot is for them to breed in, it's just what I've always used. I was planning on gluing some kind of moss on it to largely hide what it is, like you mentioned. I'm definitely not planning on getting into pressurized CO2 on this tank, but I may try one of the DIY versions just to try it, and again, because I'm there at work all day I should be able to keep up with the DIY reactor. But that's down the road, for now just good lighting, substrate, and water.

So what would you suggest for a light? I Have been thinking Beamswork as I'd like to try one anyway. I'm also leaning towards 29 gallons just to have a little more fun with.

Also, for breeding, am I OK to leave the male/female pair in the tank alone, or do they do better with a dither fish or something like that?

Thank you very much for your help!

Aquariums. They keep your sleeves wet.
Detritus is offline  
 
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-16-2017, 01:56 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
Fish can be so much different that there is no one sure answer on dither fish. But I generally find having some smallish fish around is good. Not one like a catfish who works nights and may do away with eggs but one who is just there to present more of a mental threat than an actual one? It seems we often do better at forming pairs when there is more reason to have a pair. One will be busy at the nest while the other patrols the area and watches the perceived threat. I'm not sure it is required with kribs but I like the idea of giving them just a touch of reason to be more paired. With the wide range of fish that you could have available, I would do some as it will also add interest to the tank with more action. But do look at some which do know when they are not allowed in the area. Cories are one which just don't seem to understand and they just bumble around at random which is not really good for them or the pair!

I'm liking my Beamworks but have no good idea on which for that tank. Likely to be others with better thoughts on sizing. But I might add that lighting is one of the things I like to keep flexible as it is often something that needs to be adjusted, either more/less time or moved higher/ lower to change the intensity. Try to avoid setting something so that it is a real job to adjust as that can allow you to make a bit more mistake when buying the light if you can adjust it.
Personal favorite on that mounting might be electrical conduits bend to hang over the tank as they can move up and down reasonably easy? Lots of different ways to go on lighting.
PlantedRich is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Detritus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Hello again!

Thanks for the help! I am definitely sold on Beamswork, mostly because of their low cost, but also because I'm intrigued. I'm going back and forth on tank size, however. A coworker mentioned to me that there's a district manager that has in the past expressed extreme dissatisfaction with anyone trying to breed fish. Now, this company is a little old fashioned and somewhat goofy, so this is believable to me, though why that would be, I don't know. But, I also think that story may have been a little bit of a stretch, and if anything was meant more for the part-time kids (who should be doing anything but playing with fish). I don't think they'd give me a hard time about this, especially since by all accounts I'm doing a great job with the department, but for now I may try to fly under the radar by sticking with my 10 gallon. Or, I could try to make a spot for this at home and do it right.......

Still thinking about things here, but thank you for stopping by and offering your help, I very much appreciate it!

-Detritus

Aquariums. They keep your sleeves wet.
Detritus is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 05:28 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Triport's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Central Coast of California
Posts: 1,287
Go with sand instead of gravel. While they do not require it to breed they prefer to dig a little tunnel in the sand to make their nest. Probably with the help of some rocks or under a piece of driftwood for shelter. So sand, some rocks, a nice small piece of driftwood or two. Anubias or Java fern attached to the wood.

Because of their digging (they will make big hills of sand and move things around) you will want any plants to be very sturdy and not too close to the areas they are most likely to make their caves (under or by the rocks/wood). Cryptocoryne and Aponogeton are perfect and can also handle low tech/low light tanks. Stay away from stem plants.

Here are my Moliwe kribs with their young.

ETA: my original pair did fine with tank mates in this 46g tank but some will apparently murder all their tank mates when they have young. So keep that in mind.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bm7J8PC7no


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Triport is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 04:29 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
jr125's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: SDak
Posts: 722
I have a 125 that is currently housing 4 separate groups that my original pair have produced since about the first of the year. Other inhabitants are 4 Pearl Gouramis, 6 Tiger Barb, 4 Rainbowfish & 2 Yoyo Loaches. LFS will take them off my hands for store credit when they get to about 1 1/2 inches(not fun to catch in a planted tank, he suggests a homemade fish trap next time). Took most of the first brood in 3-4 months ago but still have half a dozen or so that eluded capture. Second batch is about ready now. I'll give them a couple more weeks and try the fish trap idea.

There was some serious protective behavior going on with the first batch and each new batch since then seems to require less and less real aggression from mom & dad. The others seem to have been trained to leave the newbies alone. They eat side by side etc. I'm not na´ve enough to think I haven't lost any to predation but I am really surprised at the survival rate. I'm sure having them in such a large tank that is relatively lightly stocked has a lot to do with it. Lots of plants, caves and other hiding places.

The pair have used the same spot for each brood, the inside of a large resin stump decoration that is totally covered with Java fern. I think your clay pot covered with that or something similar would work great. Besides a ton of Java fern in the tank there is a lot of various Anubias, Anacharis, some Crypts, Crinum Natans, and some floating Pennywort.

I have a foam sleeve over the intake for my canister filter and that keeps the tiny ones from getting sucked in.

When I got the original pair I really wasn't expecting such a high success rate at reproduction. Still not sure that in the long run this is what I'm going to be happy with. For now I kind of like what's going on. All seem to be getting along, there is lots of tank space for the other large fish in the tank which I really like, and the original pair seem just fine with the large population of other Kribs as long as they obey the ground rules, so to speak. There must be at least 40- 60 Kribs in this tank. I'll keep thinning out the population and see where it goes.
jr125 is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-17-2017, 05:00 PM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 61
I always get excited seeing what the LFS has brewing in their 'display only' tanks - you know a place is good if they even have a display tank.

I would do something that scales to the size of your fish - you want the right amount of space relative to the fish and their behavior - there is a sense of scale you are looking for. I've seen some BIG Kribs though - like 4-5" long. If you expect them to get to that size during this display - then definitely go bigger - 29 if that is as big as you are willing to go (I'd think as large as 40 gal for a pair of full 5" Kribs). If you think they are going to remain 2-3" then I'd go 20gal. Rimless with a nice sleek lighting overhead is also a nice look imo.

You can always switch to a sponge filter if / when they breed and fry become free-swimming. Your store would be pretty unique if there were fry - I've never once seen this in a fish store I've visited.
Amazon swords, Anubias, some Jungle Val, Aponogeton, I'd stick with shades of green. All of those would be pretty nice along with some good looking wood chunks / root looking driftwood, and a little open area in the front for the fish. Carpeting plants seems like overkill - I'd go natural looking gravel and sand. On breeding enclousures, a clay pot might be visually distracting if you are looking for a sharp display. You might do research on other more natural looking options - rock caves, under a log.

Sounds like a fun project and good way to keep engaged at work. Seems like a district manager would be all about it - especially if it helped spark youngsters interests in fish (and the high cost equipment) as they walked through the store.
benstatic is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-18-2017, 12:06 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PlantedRich's Avatar
 
PTrader: (2/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 12,048
All folks have differing ideas and how managers feel about fry is likely to vary. There is the group who want children to watch fry and then there are those who feel it is just too real for them to learn about death. And death is certainly a part of breeding in most cases. The human animal is about the only one who expects to do full scale population growth and get away with it! Nature will certainly do some culling in any tank, so some managers may worry that point if they are not involved in letting kids learn the whole story. And then may also have some really strange ideas about letting fish breed. Some may assume it is a really time consuming item.
I'm often asked, "Do you breed your fish?" Heck no! I let them do it all!
PlantedRich is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-18-2017, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Detritus's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Hey guys! Thank you all for the great replies and advice, especially on plant suggestions. Yeah, I know from years of keeping kribs here and there, that they spawn without problems all on their own if given a chance. I do think a sand bottom would be best, that's what's in there now, and it looks good, I just need to add a little more of it to anchor plants in. I don't think I want to use any soil because I know it will get turned up and look messy in time, at least in my opinion. Would you guys suggest I put some root tabs in with the sand? Or perhaps use a liquid fertilizer? I know that none of these plants are really very demanding, and they are all genera I've had in the past, except for Aponogeton, that is new to me. Is there any lower light plants that have some red in them? I am currently growing what I think is a type of red Ludwigia in my cichlid tank, but it's really only reddish at the very top. And I do NOTHING to or for the plants in this tank, I just let them (and the algae, honestly) do it's thing. But would this plant be more bright red if it got better/higher lighting, or fertilizer of some kind? In this proposed Krib tank, I'd love to have a little patch of red or two, I think that's a great look against the green of the other plants.

And, is there any kind of small foreground plant I could use, or will the Kribs destroy that? Would it be possible to have a truly carpeted area, or do those plants need a little more light or nutrients than I'm talking about here?

As far as the flower pot, as unnatural as it may be, I'm going to try it because it's what I've used in the past, and I know they make a great breeding cave for Kribs. I have one in particular that is cracked down its side just right, that I think it will look fine with the fish and hopefully babies swimming around it. I am definitely going to try and attach some moss all over it, I think that would look very good too.

Thanks again for all the help, I really appreciate it!

-D

Aquariums. They keep your sleeves wet.
Detritus is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-19-2017, 10:51 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Triport's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Central Coast of California
Posts: 1,287
Carpeted area I would say no. They will destroy it. But Crypt parva is a good choice for a small foreground plant. If they uproot it you can just stick it back in. And it does fine in low light/low tech.

Off the top of my head red plants generally need brighter light. There is a red version of Aponogeton crispus but it is not that easy to find.

I wouldn't use root tabs just because of the digging action. For my lower light and low tech tanks I tend to just use Flourish and Flourish Trace each twice a week on alternate days. I don't use the full line of ferts as I do on my high tech/high light tanks. Seems to work fine. When I did use more ferts I got a diatom outbreak.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Triport is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome