Shell dwellers for a High Impact Desktop Aquariumon October 12th, 2010 at 12:27 am
Whether it’s your old algae infested tank on your desk at home or your new aquarium you’ve talked your boss into letting you setup at work. This is one setup that even the people who call you the “crazy fish person” will enjoy.
First lets talk about these shell dwellers. Lamprologus multifasciatus or called Multis for short are a fish that max out at 2 inches in an aquarium with females even smaller. They’re also called shellies because they spend their lives in shells.
They’ll constantly be moving them, flipping them over, redecorating the tank to get those shells just right. There are many other shell dwellers, however Multis tend to be the easiest to care for and most readily available.
To keep these guys happy, you need a shell bed over top of sand. The aquarium size should be a minimum of 10 gallon, with a 20 gallon long being ideal. You can always go larger, but then it might not fit on your desk. They’ll also need a filter and heater like most other fish. Make sure you get a prefilter for the filter intake. Something like a sponge or netting over the intake will keep small fish from getting sucked up. I generally use a sponge on the intake. Your pH should be roughly 7.5-8.5 range. I’ve kept them in lower pH as well, however they did not breed for me.
Ok, so we know what they are and how to keep them, but why keep them? These guys are full of energy. They have the nickname of bulldozers as they’re constantly rebuilding their houses. One morning you’ll come in to see all the sand stacked up into one corner. Then by lunch time it’s spread back out. If this wasn’t enough to watch, they breed really easily. They will constantly have babies for you. I know, you’ve had babies before and they got eaten. Not the case with Multies, they’re colony breeders. They protect the young, and raise them up. Often times you’ll have many generations breeding in your tank. Between the constant movement of décor in the tank and the ever present baby factory going in there. You and everyone else will spend lots of time studying them.
The tank mates I recommend keeping are Maylasian Trumpet Snails (MTS), a small bristlenose pleco, and a small schooling fish for the upper levels of the tank. Danios work great for this as they’re fast and don’t venture to the bottom of the aquarium. This will add another level of activity to the tank. Nothing is more funny than watching a Multi pick up a snail and drag it across the tank, because it got too close to it’s shell.
So enjoy your own little private show or impress all your friends at work with your fish keeping ability. Either way you’ll have a blast!
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