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Starting a Leptosoma Colony

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Hi guys,

I thought I would throw out a few questions and see if anyone can steer me in the right direction.

I am keen to start a colony of Leptosoma in my 5 long x 1.5 wide x 2.5ft high tank. I would like them to be the predominate fish in the tank.

I have been looking for a few weeks now and found there to be heaps of different types, however I am leaning towards the utinta. I noticed these have blue, yellow and red tails. And sometimes they are referenced as neon or fluorescent variety. The attached picture is of a Fluorescent variation


Now for my questions, and apologies in advance if they don’t make much sense:

  • My preference would be for a brighter blue or fluorescent variety, but is there any difference between these and the other utinta’s? Are these fluorescent/neon varieties some sort of hybrid or is it just selective breeding?
  • As I understand a pair utinta’s with a blue tail can throw yellow tails and vice versa. If I was to have a couple of red tails in the school would this be an issue as I hope to bred and sell some of the fry?
  • Will different types of lepto’s interbred or could I have the utinta’s and perhaps Jumbo’s in the same tank? I also have a small school of Paracyprichromis nigripinnis I would assume these will not breed with the lepto’s?

Also any advice on tank mates would be appreciated. I have a pair of leleupi which I am concerned they would eat the lepto fry. They are good with their own but I am not sure if they can be trusted. I have a few multi’s I was thinking about putting in with them? Perhaps similis? Or perhaps ventralis or would they pick of the fry?

Any advice would be much appreciated as I do not want to outlay $$ for a school only to find I will have issues with the cross breeding etc.



Edited by DanG
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Hey DanG, well thought I'd reply, I'm sure some other tanganyikan lovers will also add too

But yeah people that have the lepto utintas seem to have have little differences between them, the ones I have a more of a fluorescent purple (came from Ravi as that and that's how they look)

Other people have ones that look more blue

Won't have an issue with red tail ones, but I am yet to see pictures of ones that have very red tails, most seem like a dark orange but someone would probably disagree with me so I'm sure they look great!

and yes different types of leptos would interbreed

Best to get a group of 10-12 for a colony as a minimum starting size

leleupi would be okay, I can't comment on how they would go with lepto fry

other tank mates as you said would be shell dwellers, gobies and sandsifters which generally are fine with lepto fry

But good to have lots of hiding places for fry, as some people have experienced that lepto adults eat the fry

Edited by shon982
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SHons on the money, i also have never seen red red tailed utinta, my old colony was blue with either yellow or blue caudal fins.

In that size tanks you could have up to 40 no issues, and would look awsome,

As for tank mates, leleupi should be ok, gobies, shellies, sandsifters, and julies would go well.....leleupi will will eat any fry not theres around the rocks

If you have a few good rock piles fry may have a chance, for the leptos I will get some good clumps of giant VAL and have that in each corner the lepto fry will be able to hide amongst it.. A nice fake rock background also allows fry to hide against and in it.

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Thanks guys for taking the time to reply.

I think I will try to get a school of 10/12 German Leptosoma Utinta. I would love to have a few Orange Cap Ventralis but I have researched and found mixed reports. Some saying that the Leptosoma and Ventralis would harass each other too much and get in the way of any breeding. I am thinking about a separate 4 foot tank for the Ventralis, but would much rather them to be in my display with the leptos.

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I used to keep leptosoma mpulungu with ophthalmotilapia boops ( similar to ventralis). The leptosoma would spit in the tank and I had reasonable success raising fry. Always lose a few but it was normally enough of a protein hit to trigger the boops into breeding.

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