Author Topic: Rupert's N. multifasciatus  (Read 2822 times)

Offline Graphix

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2016, 07:28:04 PM »
Real glad to hear that! Enjoy this moment because you can be sure they won't slow down. It's always the best feeling when you've created an environment in which the fish feel comfortable enough to breed in, even if they do happen to be Multis.
Fish are friends, and sometimes food.

Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2016, 08:34:55 PM »
Thanks, Graphix. It does feel rewarding. I haven't had any spawns since I sold my ABN pleco trio. The Daffodils are apparently still ticked off about their new tank and continue to hold out on me. So, yeah, this feels real nice. Hope your fry are still doing well, btw. :)

Offline Graphix

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2016, 09:04:43 PM »
My fry are doing well, I've already spotted new fry from the other female, soon I'll be overrun!
Fish are friends, and sometimes food.

Offline jerrytheplater

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2016, 06:36:41 PM »
Glad for you Rupert. Good news indeed.
Jerry Smith
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http://www.njagc.net/wp/

Offline fish head

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2016, 06:54:07 AM »
Congrats on the new fry!  Keep up the good work!
fish keeper of 37 yrs
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2016, 10:21:59 AM »
Little recap and update.

Started with 12 juvenile multies about five and a half months ago. Lost two along the way. Now have what I believe to be 7 males and 3 females. I've got an alpha male that took over the entire middle of the tank. He's got two subdom male minions and all three females. There are two males on the right hand side with a very nice shell pit and they've pretty much been doing their own thing for months now and hold their own without problems. I was hoping one of them was just a large female, but I don't have anything to justify that hope. The alpha pushed two other males toward the far left of the tank so I gave them some shells and tensions have reduced, but not resolved.

The tank was actually quite peaceful for awhile. Then one female had fry and tensions went up a bit. Noticed last week that she now has a second batch darting around, and the other two females now have fry darting around their shells as well. So all three now have active fry. That put the alpha and his two subdoms into high gear and they are having absolutely nothing to do with anyone else getting too close.

There's about 15 fry altogether. I'm feeding crushed cichlid flakes in the morning and crushed brine shrimp flakes at night. As far as I can tell, the fry seem to be doing fine on that (and the adults seem well conditioned) so I'm sticking to the routine.

I'm gonna need more shells, ;D. I'll try to get some kind of pic to share.

Offline jerrytheplater

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2016, 06:39:53 PM »
YaHoo!! Glad for you Rupert. How soon till you get another tank?  ;D Looking forward to the photo's. Any chance of a video?
Jerry Smith
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2016, 09:07:08 PM »
Thanks for sharing in my excitement, Jerry. Unfortunately, I just logged in to share some disappointment.

Sat down to enjoy feeding the fish this evening and could only count nine of ten. Counting, searching, counting, searching, no luck. Sat and stared hoping I'd see a fish come out of a shell. And as I was staring I finally realized that the missing fish was the alpha male! Huh? At first I thought it was one of the fish that had been pushed to the far left of the tank. But no. The two fish that had been pushed to the far left had moved back to the center left and were courting the female in that area. The two subdom minions had each taken one of the other females. The two guys on the right are still the two guys on the right. I searched the floor again and moved the curtain and there he was. Ugh. Sad and disappointing.

I can only blame myself as I run an open top tank. The tank is a 40B and I really wasn't the least concerned that I'd have a multie jump. Ha. I misjudged the chance of this happening.

I have no confidence this won't happen again. So I guess I'll be figuring out some sort of cover. But I'm really bummed that I had to lose my alpha male to learn this lesson. On the upside, if I can call it that, it is really interesting to watch how the tank dynamics are changing in the absence of the alpha male as a new order takes shape. 

Always learning.

Offline jerrytheplater

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2016, 08:25:02 PM »
I'd look at the positives and see your many pairs of fish compared to one breeding male and multiple females. (Sorry about the jumper though-very unusual for Multi's. Maybe something spooked him?

Regarding the cover: Commercial glass cover out of your budget? Reptile Stainless Steel screen is another option, but you'll need space for heater and filter access. You could use Plexiglas cut to fit.
Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ

http://www.njagc.net/wp/

Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2016, 11:43:26 AM »
Yeah, unless there was some sort of coup by the subdom males he wasn't trying to escape another fish that's for sure. Something could have spooked him, but I can't imagine what. A few days before he jumped, I watched a small bug (fruit fly size) zip across the front of the tank and land on the glass. That action caught his eye and he went right after it. When he realized he couldn't snatch it through the glass he went into full on dominant display mode and was seriously agitated. So I wonder if a bug hit the surface of the water and he went after it.

I'd rather not go the cost of a commercial glass top. I've got to measure a couple pieces of glass and some old window screens out in the barn later this afternoon. Fitting around all the pipes and wires and the HOB is going to be the part that needs fiddling. I've never had great luck with plexi, but if properly supported it does the trick. I've seen some neat ideas using corrugated polycarbonate. And there's always good old egg crate. As per my usual, I'll overthink the heck out of this before making a decision. Need to do something soon though. I clench every time I see the fish head toward the surface now, lol. I'm not really expecting them to jump on a regular basis, but I'll feel better if I do something to help prevent future losses.

Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2017, 07:12:31 PM »
Not sure where the time went, but seems I'm way overdue for an update. You guys know I tend to be long-winded, but I'm gonna try to be brief.

Ended up using egg crate for a makeshift cover. Thought I'd posted an image, but apparently not. Not 100% jumper proof by any means, but I feel like it's lowering the risk. Went back and found an image....Lift the hatch to feed. For everything else I just take it off.
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Let's see. I now have home grown fry old enough that females are starting to move in with the males who were doing without. Noticed this happening early last week. I'm excited about this. Started with little juveniles a year ago (got my fish mid-May 2016). They grew up, had fry, and now I have my own females old enough to start "leaving home" and claiming mates. Having a blast with these fish. Looking at the tank today, I'm pretty sure that one male who has been single this whole time is getting ready to spawn with his first female and will be taking in at least one more female if not two before long.

I've been messing around with spraybar placement. Kinda sticks out like a sore thumb at the moment. Not sure if I'll keep it where it is, but it definitely needs a good cleaning, LOL. I love the anubias in the tank but am not pleased with the brush algae that came with it. My hydrogen peroxide dip apparently lasted a bit too long on one half and I've had to prune it to a few leaves. Looks kinda sad but it's recovering nicely.

So, hmmm, a year in and still enjoying these fish and the tank tremendously. Some pics....

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Offline jerrytheplater

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2017, 10:25:09 PM »
You are really going to be overcrowded now!! New tank needed.
Jerry Smith
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Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2017, 08:06:39 PM »
I think so, Jerry, I think so. Iím going to move some along to other local fishkeepers. Some Iím going to move into a 20 long. The rest will stay in the 40. Iíve been talking with someone local who breeds J. ornatus, and plan to add them into my mix in a month or so. Excited to gain personal experience with the combo. 
 
Really glad to have warmer days again so I can drag tanks and supplies out to the picnic table and be as messy as I want cleaning and repainting a tank or two. Also more pleasant to get down in the creek and hunt up some rock for the ornatus. No matter how many times Iíve done it, I still get excited setting up a tank for new fish. 

Offline Rupert

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2017, 03:34:59 PM »
A general note on multis, especially multis and their shells....

There always seems to be questions about shells and how to place them. Seems like a natural question. I had them when I started and still think about it a year after first putting some in a tank. Rather than burden someone elseís thread with my verbosity I thought Iíd put up a link and some comments on one of the studies I found that has continued to influence my approach to shells for multis since I first read it. Whether you take the approach of randomly sinking shells or methodically placing them; I donít think we give our fish or ourselves as fish keepers due respect without accepting that shells--their numbers, their quality and their placement--make a difference to our fish.
 
So hereís one of my favorite studies about shells and multi behaviorÖ.
Here's the link to the full pdf: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/283/1822/20152359.full.pdf

The social and ecological costs of an Ďover-extended' phenotype
Lyndon Alexander Jordan, Sean M. Maguire, Hans A. Hofmann, Masanori Kohda
Published 6 January 2016.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2359

"Abstract
Extended phenotypes offer a unique opportunity to experimentally manipulate and identify sources of selection acting on traits under natural conditions. The social cichlid fish Neolamprologus multifasciatus builds nests by digging up aquatic snail shells, creating an extended sexual phenotype that is highly amenable to experimental manipulation through addition of extra shells. Here, we find sources of both positive sexual selection and opposing natural selection acting on this trait; augmenting shell nests increases access to mates, but also increases social aggression and predation risk. Increasing the attractiveness of one male also changed social interactions throughout the social network and altered the entire community structure. Manipulated males produced and received more displays from neighbouring females, who also joined augmented male territories at higher rates than unmanipulated groups. However, males in more attractive territories received more aggression from neighbouring males, potentially as a form of social policing. We also detected a significant ecological cost of the Ďover-extended' phenotype; heterospecific predators usurped augmented nests at higher rates, using them as breeding sites and displacing residents. Using these natural experiments, we find that both social and ecological interactions generate clear sources of selection mediating the expression of an extended phenotype in the wild."


A male's group of shells is part of what makes him attractive to females. (Kind of like having the biggest house on the block with the nicest lawn and most expensive car. Or if you remember ZZ Top, cause every girl crazy Ďbout a sharp dressed man.) But the same factor can also make the other guys on the block dislike you. And if youíre a multi, dislike you enough to swim over and throw a punch. Appearing especially attractive and having all the females wink at you comes with costs. Fascinating stuff really. These little fish have developed a more complex social structure than a casual glance might suggest.

In practical terms for our tanks, if you have more than one male in your tank, allowing them similar numbers of shells can create a different dynamic than giving one male 15 shells and the others only 5. There are bunches of other studies out there--buffer zones, territorial markers, factors influencing immigration, factors driving aggression--the behavioral dynamics of these fish are intimately related to their shells. How and where we place them can have an effect on the tenor of our tank.
 
At the end of the day, there is absolutely nothing wrong with randomly sinking shells. (Itís pretty much what I did too before I got hooked on these fish and started digging through Google Scholar.) And there's always lots to be said for K.I.S.S. and casual. But if you find yourself fascinated by these fish (as I admittedly have) you can find studies that peel back layers of behavioral complexity and sophistication that make these fish a tremendous joy to keep. And gives you a whole new appreciation for the relationship they have with their shells--and how where we place them can effect their behavior. Watching them becomes not just a passive activity, but an active engagement. IMHO they are really underrated fish. Certainly may not be everyoneís cup of tea. But if you find fish behavior interesting at all, I think a tank of multis is totally worth the time, effort and expense. Just really rewarding on lots of levels.

Offline tabendall

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Re: Rupert's N. multifasciatus
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2017, 06:58:28 AM »
I know this is an old post but really enjoyed reading your description of moving your fish!  I lost my bristlenose pleco breeding male years ago because I was redoing tanks and thought I had checked my driftwood closely before moving it into a bin to be put in another tank.  Hours later I caught my cat playing with him ... heartbroken.  :(

Anyway, my real reason for posting is this - can you tell me more about this tape to trap hard water deposits?  I've never heard of that!