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Tangs or SA Dwarf Biotope

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Hi guys,

Some of you who follow my threads would know I keep a South American Dwarf (Apistogramma, corydoras colonies, tetras, pencilfish biotope) biotope tank. I have recently lost a substantial amount of interest in them. The tank just does not excite me like it used to. I used to LOVE watching my apistogrammas flair at another and show off and watch my tetras and pencilfish school in the tightest school weaving through the melaleuca but have faced a problem. I think I am bored with the tank in general.

Here is the current tank;


Now I have TONNES AND TONNES AND ABSOLUTELY TONNES of melaleuca laying in the garage, so here is the question.

Should I rescape the tank to maybe bring a new lease on life, or should I go for tangs. Do a tang biotope. The tank size is 3 foot by 20 inches by 20 inches I believe.

I was considering something like this;

2010 AGA Aquascaping Contest


The background and rocks are easy to accomplish, its just a matter of preference. I have been soft water, planted tanks for so long this would be a whole new journey for me and part of me is so keen but other part wants to keep soft water.

What is everyones opinions? Rescape SA DWARF BIOTOPE or do a TANG BIOTOPE.

I was considering stuff like ochrogenys makola or ndole bay, neolamprologus brichardi, Neolamprologus caudopunctatus, neolamprologus similis, neolamprologus leleupi, leptosomas, nigripinnis , julidochromis marlieri, julidochromis transcriptus, or gobies. Ofcourse cannot place all of them in there but gives you an idea of the sort of fish I like and would opt for one of those.

I wanna know, how does everyone go with keeping these guys in summer as I know they like cooler waters around the 24 to 28 maximum, I am assuming a chiller is now a must?



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I got rid of my apistos maybe a year ago in place for africans.

I love my africans and will keep them long term but I'm also craving some SA's again.

Its like anything hey, variety is the spice of life. My interest changes between my tanks and fish too over periods.

My answer - keep the SA's and get another tank :)

But if you have no room or dont want another tank, then yeh, go for it. Get those Tangs. Cuz you can always go back to your SA's down the track.

Something new will be exciting for sure.

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When you do your SA tank please do come to me for some wood if you dont already have some. More than happy to help you out there ;) I got some big 5 and 6 foot pieces too.

I am just worried as the temps in the office in summer nearly reach 28 29 degrees and am worried that is too hot for these guys? I would run no lighting during the day to cool them down but worried 28 may be too much?

I am just sourcing a background and rocks at the moment for the tank, then off comes the bracing for the background and yeah. Not going to use one of those dodgey backgrounds most of us in Aust use, trying to source a proper one like in the picture :)

In terms of pH Shon, just use very fine coral sand mix with normal sand and some calc carb in the filter? I dont really want to use buffers or do you have to? Sorry for the noob questions thought its best to ask the experts :)

PS my mate Jeff said basically the exact same list you said via PM of fish for the tank haha! :P

I am assuming you love the tangayikans due to their personality a lot? And also their beauty? I just am finding the personality of SA dwarfs boring and geos are too big for the tank haha so I am kind of stuck in a situation. Will tangayikans excite me do you recon?

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Sand looks the best (bunnings one) but you can mix coral sand if you like

But to be honest, it is a myth that calcium carb, dead coral etc increase pH, it doesn't increase kH either

You water would need to be pretty acidic before it would even start to dissolve into the water, the minor increase people see is just due to the tiny fine dust particles of the calcium which dissolves easily

Best is to use some Buffer and Salt

Definitely because of personality rather than colour, it takes a true admirer of them to notice their subtle colours and see exactly what some tang lovers see

very very interesting fish to watch, always doing something, flash colours on and off, so you'll get the excitement when you least expect it of seeing beautiful colours

Come over and check out my tanks if you like, Uni holidays are soon :D (well I count my holidays once lecturing period ends :P)

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Man seems like ur pretty set on getting these guys, if you wanna get rid of the pencils ill grab them for the new tank of mine to put in with my endlers and what apisto's u got in there?

And maybe even some of your cory's :P And man i have cal carb lying around so if you want some in the filter i am guessing that would work, but i would probably go something different to the 2215 or 7 u have on there atm just so you can have more room.

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Also they're just like having a SA tank with different lay out... they have fish equivalent to them that fill niches in the tank nicely

instead of wood you use rocks

sand stays the same

water is on opposite ends of their scales

instead of tetras theres leptos and nigripinnis

instead of geos theres featherfins

instead of corys there sand sifters

instead of apistos theres gobys/other rock dwellers

instead of plecos theres shell dwellers


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