Good day, dear readers. We continue to get acquainted with fish from the Cichl family, and today we have on our agenda the shell dog, or the telmatohromis temporalis. For the first time this fish appeared in the aquariums of domestic amateurs in the 80s and then disappeared from sight for a long time.
Why so, let’s try to find out.
The color of the body of the fish smoothly goes from marble to almost coal black. Eyes gleam with a steel shade and below there is a turquoise touch. The telematochromis, like other members of the cichl family, are territorial fish that prefer to conquer parts of the bottom of a reservoir from other fish.
Under natural conditions, the fish can live up to 6 years, in an aquarium, if the conditions of detention are suitable, then even up to 9 can safely.
In a closed ecosystem, the telmatohromis will have its own specific territory, in which there are stone caves and grottoes. But the cichlid does not pretend to someone else’s property, as a rule, it tries zealously to defend its possessions.
Along with the telmatohromis, aquatic plants can be kept in an aquarium, but only those that have a strong root system and rigid leaves (dwarf anubias, lemongrass, cinnamon, large aponogeton species — live-bearer).
In order to successfully contain fish in a home aquarium with tap water of hardness up to 12 degrees, it is advisable to add magnesium sulfate, as in Lake Tanganyika, where the fish is from, there is a high content of dissolved salts. The active reaction of the medium in this case should range from 7.2 to 7.5 pH.
The proportion of magnesium sulfate should not exceed 15-20 g per 100 liters of water. The water temperature at the same time should be 25 – 27 degrees.
In view of the fact that lonely cichlids rarely form spawning pairs, you can try to breed in a common tsikhlidnik. This is also due to the fact that the presence of other fish in the neighborhood will slightly kill the aggressiveness of the males. At the first contact, the fish may rush towards each other, but fights may not happen at all.
If someone from the neighbors occupied the territory of the male, the organized couple will drive him out without any concessions. In the course of experiments with young telmatochromis, it was concluded that young individuals form spawning pairs with pleasure.
In aquarium sources it is indicated that the telmatohromis prefer to live and spawn in shells, therefore, in order to create the most comfortable conditions for pets, take care of a sufficient number of similar shelters in your aquarium. It was noted that producers are more willing to occupy the largest and most spacious shells of mollusks.
But there are also exceptions, when aquarists found masonry on a flat, large stone.
Both parents take care of the clutch, and this is quite zealous. The female is located directly at the clutch with caviar and rushes at any object passing by, while the male patrols the territory nearby and clutches his jaws at each unwary neighbor.
In order to preserve offspring, laying with caviar is better to be transferred to a separate 20-liter pitcher, where there should be good filtration and strong aeration with a strong flow. To disinfect water, methylene blue can be added to light blue water in the aquarium.
Three days later the larvae appear from the eggs, which gather in a dense lump near the filter. A week later, the fry are able to greedily absorb “live dust”, small daphnia and cyclops.
I would like to note the rapid growth of fry, which for 2 months already strongly resemble their parents. At four months of age, adolescents are able to eat the food that you give to adult fish: bloodworm, pipe builder, chopper.
Alternatively, shell dog can be recommended to aquarists who want to make at home a team of hodgepodge of Tanganyik cichlids, as the telmatohromis look great in the same mass with similar African cichlids. As I mentioned earlier, the telematochromis is a very territorial fish, which spends most of its time on its holdings, and leaves them only when feeding or, if necessary, to drive away the annoying neighbor.