Blockhead cichlids

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20 Apr 2016 10:59 #1 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
After a bit of deliberation I've decided my next setup will most likely be for West African Blockhead cichlids; lots of bogwood and rocks , few plants and a good bit of flow. Anyone have any advice?

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20 Apr 2016 18:15 #2 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
Advice on Blockheads is:
If you see some good ones then buy them.

Tank bred and raised ones give you so much of a head start than starting with wild caught.

Have plenty of hiding places and visual barriers. Be prepareed to separate fish if things get too aggressive.

For tank raised, good well conditioned and mature tap water will be fine.
Neutral or near neutral pH will work; medium to soft water.
Bog wood will help.

Good filter flow; nice bouncy water.

I would recommend that the biological filtration system is up-to-scratch.
Bacteria in a bottle to help.

As always, I would suggest having a nice solid phase adsorbing agent such as ammonia adsorbing zeolite, JBL NitraEX, or PolyFilter to make sure spikes in nitrogenous waste can be mopped up on initial introduction to the tank.
I do not recommend using Prime to do such mopping up though.

Awesome fish.............one of my all time favourites.

ian

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20 Apr 2016 20:07 #3 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
Great stuff. Makes me even more certain they're what I want.
For the filter I'm going to be using my good old reliable overhead sump with possibly a few powerheads in the tank. I got a stonking big piece of bogwood last week that practically divides the tank into three sections and rocks courtesy of Killiney beach. And I have a tank on standby for any evictees.
Hopefully I'm now all set. Are these guys fish that like the kind of mental flow rates that hillstream loaches love? Or do they just enjoy a healthy bit of turbulence?

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20 Apr 2016 22:28 #4 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
A gentle bit of turbulence is good.
But they will do OK (ish) in a standard filter rate.

ian

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21 Apr 2016 09:10 #5 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered)
My fella/girl has done fine for a year now with bog standard filter flow....Probably best to add a power head though and maybe a bit of extra aeration if your in the process of setting up a new tank...

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23 Apr 2016 20:05 #6 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
I'm going to try for a bit of extra flow. Partly because of the blockheads, partly because in the tank I've just set up there's a branch with Bolbitis attached and it grows better with some flow. The wavemaker I have doesn't seem to be cutting it though.
Is the flow an oxygenation thing? or do they just seem to prefer the turbulence?

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30 Apr 2016 19:42 #7 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
The main thing is well oxygenated water.
But the turbulence would be close to their natural waters (the reduced swim-bladder is part of their adaptations).

ian

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01 May 2016 00:11 #8 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
To be honest, I'd say I'm doing good for oxygenation as it is. The overhead sump adds extra surface area and the water as it returns into the aquarium causes surface agitation. But for me, there are other reasons to have the extra flow.

a) I like the idea of creating a natural environment... more for my satisfaction than theirs.

b) Because of all the rocks and bogwood there's not a lot of flow sweeping from end to end of the tank and I think a lot of debris will gather up under them. Good flow will help prevent that.

c) The only plant I have in the tank it some Bolbitis attached to bogwood, and it really does grow better in good flow.

Maimiheat apparently has a few for me to choose from so hopefully I'll have that sorted next week.

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01 May 2016 00:19 #9 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
Certainly, I find Steats do so much better in high flow.

Not onlt will the Bolbitis love it, it will also help keep white spot at bay.

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01 May 2016 00:56 #10 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
How does that work? Parasites have trouble with the flow?

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01 May 2016 13:15 #11 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
Less competition from other species of fish.

The greatly reduced swimbladders in blockheads means that they are more of a deadweight that fish who want to go bobbing in the middle of the water with having a proper swimbaldder in highly turbulent waters.

Blockheads also have poor "hearing"............so you can call then "blockheads" and "deadweights" and they probably won't get too offended.

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01 May 2016 13:16 #12 by igmillichip (ian millichip)
..and for the white spot, there needs to be a stationary phase off the fish to complete the cycle: so a good flow of water around the tank will disrupt the life cycle of the white spot.

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01 May 2016 22:02 #13 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)

igmillichip wrote: Less competition from other species of fish.

The greatly reduced swimbladders in blockheads means that they are more of a deadweight that fish who want to go bobbing in the middle of the water with having a proper swimbaldder in highly turbulent waters.

Blockheads also have poor "hearing"............so you can call then "blockheads" and "deadweights" and they probably won't get too offended.

Ah, but can they lip-read? :whistle:

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01 May 2016 23:36 #14 by igmillichip (ian millichip)

LemonJelly wrote:

igmillichip wrote: Less competition from other species of fish.

The greatly reduced swimbladders in blockheads means that they are more of a deadweight that fish who want to go bobbing in the middle of the water with having a proper swimbaldder in highly turbulent waters.

Blockheads also have poor "hearing"............so you can call then "blockheads" and "deadweights" and they probably won't get too offended.


Ah, but can they lip-read? :whistle:


Now that is another topic of discussion !

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