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Tankmates for Crenicichla regani

Discussion in 'Other South American Dwarf Cichlids' started by illumnae, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. illumnae

    illumnae Member 5 Year Member

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    I recently purchased 2 pairs of C. regani and, having read the article on Mostly Cichlids that 6 adults can be kept in a 20 gallon tank, decided to keep both pairs in my 13 gallon lightly planted tank in office. I don't intend for them to breed and so I don't think I will encounter the levels of aggression that will stress them out. They are currently in a 15gal quarantine tank, and are not harassing each other in the least. In fact, I see them chilling next to each other alot without chasing each other away.

    Anyhow, the juv pencilfish I was keeping in the quarantine tank with them mostly ended up as food. Hence, I'm wondering what tankmates I can keep with them. As the tank is not very large, I'm limited to nano species. Do you think ember tetras will make a non-snack tankmate for them? Unlike the pencilfish their bodies are broad and not streamlined/easy to swallow.

    I'm also thinking of keeping a couple small corydoras with them.

    The tank is very well filtered (with an Eheim 2215 full of biomedia) so don't worry about the stocking levels..I'd just like to know what's suitable and wont' be eaten/bullied
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Hmm, 4 predatory/territorial cichlids - with the potential of the males growing over 5"/12.5 cm - in a 13 gallon/50 L tank - sounds a bit much to me. I would be afraid of the formation of a pair or a dominant fish that would make life hell (or worse) for the other cichlids. Still, it is your choice. Personally, I go by the old saying, "if it can fit in the mouth, then it will". My suggestion is something more deep bodied/high backed, something like a Serpae tetra size and shaped fish.
  3. dwarfpike

    dwarfpike Member 5 Year Member

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    I introduced ember tetras to my dwarf pike tank (38 gallon - 36"x15") a while back, becuase embers are tall bodied and knew the dwarf pikes could not swallow them.

    And they didn't, they pounced the embers ... caughting them by the head and crushing the skulls sucking out the good bits. Eight of 12 I introduced were dead before I could even shake off the stunned inaction and reach for a net. Two dwarf pikes took them out in nothing flat. To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

    Even something the size of rummynose tetras are in danger, as Mr. Wise suggested, larger bodied tetras tend to be safe. I've had luck with lemons, pristellas, serpaes, ect which just won't work in that sized tank.

    And a 20 gallon long is the smallest I'd keep regani in, larger tanks for the other dwarves.
  4. Apistomaster

    Apistomaster Member 5 Year Member

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    I wouldn't try any Tetras much smaller than Black Phantoms with C. regani but I have kept them with Rummy Nose. They aren't all that predatory towards adult Tetras except as you have already discovered, some small species. Once they have become well fed and acclimated I think they revert more back to their normal role as fry predators. I was able to keep adult pairs of Apistogramma borelli with mine for a year then I removed the Apistogramma and the Dwarf Pikes lived with adult Heckel Discus.
    Even in tanks as large as 75 gallons it can be a challenge keeping Dwarf Pike groups intact. They are quite aggressive amongst themselves and the outlook for those kept in small tanks is poor. You will only end up with one large male.
    Only mated pairs are sort of compatible and the process of obtaining mated pairs has always included some losers. Dwarf Pikes reserve nearly all their aggression for their own kind. A 55 gal is the smallest size tank in which I would attempt to maintain a mated pair. I'm sure someone can cite an exception to my general experience with C. regani, C. wallacei and C. compressiceps.
    C. compressiceps is by far the most difficult species to keep in groups that I have tried. I never could get a compatible mated pair and I have tried 2 groups of 6 in the past. They are a favorite among the Dwarf pikes to me when it comes to looks but very challenging to keep together. I like all the others as far as disposition goes.
    The size of tanks you propose to use are suitable for Apistogramma species but not for any Crenicichla species I have tried.
  5. illumnae

    illumnae Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experience. I was basing my decision off the article I previously mentioned, but after reading your posts, have decided to just keep 1 pair in the said tank. Will relocate the other pair perhaps to my breeding rack and try to breed them instead of putting all 4 into the office display tank =)

    In terms of tankmates, I doubt I'll be able to fit large tetras into the tank. I may opt for some fanciful suckerfish and cories instead such as zebra otos and small corydoras (not the pygmy ones, my LFS has some beautiful 1+ inch corydoras duplicareus for sale now) instead.
  6. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I wouldn't put either of the fish you just mentioned in with them, as they are likely to make a snack of the Otocinclus, the Cories might be all right as long as they are big enough not to be obvious food. Like the other posters have said you really need a bigger tank with lots of plant cover and caves (half coconuts, slate caves or lengths of tubing) to keep them, as even as pairs they can get quite aggressive to one another (although they are much less aggressive than the other Crenicichla sp).

    I'd be tempted to dither them with bigger tetras as well, although not in that tank, where I'd keep them as a pair on their own (or maybe with some female Guppies?)

    cheers Darrel
  7. Apistomaster

    Apistomaster Member 5 Year Member

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    The group of species of Crenicichla that make up the dwarf species are an unusual class of small predatory Cichlids. I think their is some consensus that they are somewhat specialized predators of Apistogramma fry. That information also provides some insight as to what their aquarium habitat should be. Basically they need aquariums set up as if for Apistogramma but much larger tanks are required.
    I believe it when I read that your C. regani ate some Ember Tetras but I have offered them feeder guppies and they left them alone. I was able to maintain a colony of Cherry Shrimp with my C. regani. My Apisogramma borelli regularly spawned when I kept them with C. regani but I never saw any of the borelli fry survive.
    I have read of some breeders successfully breeding one of the smallest Dwarf Pikes in only a 20 gal long. Those were a species I haven't yet kept, Crenicichla notothalmus which I believe is the smallest known Dwarf Pike Cichlid species. I remember that the account cited them beginning to breed at a young age and far less than their maximum size. This could explain why they were able to breed them in such a small tank.
    I would love to get my hands on a group of C. notothalmus to see for myself if they truly can be kept and bred in a modest sized aquarium and besides that, they are also an attractive species which grows an extended anterior dorsal fin rays.
    I provided number of 4" clay flower posts, water logged bamboo sections and many lengths of 3/4' PVC pipe sections. I kept them in both bare tanks with wood and potted Amazon Sword Plants and also in the 75 gal tank with Caribsea's Torpeodo Beach white quartz sand which is a nice grade of sand because it is not fine enough to greatly reduce the perfusion of oxygenated water into a substrate up to 3 inches deep. Whenever I use the finer sand blasting white coarse sand or pool filter sand I rarely allowed more than a one inch thick substrate layer.

    They are an an interesting group of Cichlids and despite the fact that some reach 5-6 inches I consider them a dwarf Cichlids because their small size is a stark contrast from their larger relatives which commonly reach lengths of 12 to 20 inches. These larger species are very predatory and will eat any fish they can possibly swallow.

    I don't think any of the dwarf Pikes will bother Otocinclus but I suppose there is always an exception.My experience with them not wiping out Cherry Shrimp convinced me that those were not an animal they typically eat in the wild. Of course Cherry Shrimp never occur in South America but there are small or juvenile native shrimp species.
    I also successfully kept them with Ghost glass Shrimp which are probably the better choice as a shrimp tank mate than the cherry Shrimp
  8. dwarfpike

    dwarfpike Member 5 Year Member

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    Both Cr. regani, Cr. compressiceps, and Cr. notophthalmus have successfully been bred in a 20 gallon long, though both the compressiceps and notos had to be paired in a much larger tank. Out of the four species of dwarves I've kept (the three above plus the undescribed cf. wallacii from Colombia), regani were deffinately the most peaceful amoungst their fellows by a long shot.

    I'd love to find the two smallest species, Cr. urosema and Cr. heckeli (2.5" on the heckeli) ... though both are rapids species and act much like compressiceps from what I have been able to gather.

    illumnae - I've read the same article you have about having the several regani pairs in a 20 gallon long, but if I remember right it was chalk full of pvc pipes and other hiding spaces. Regani might pair bond in a 20 gallon long, but I wouldn't try it in anything smaller.
  9. illumnae

    illumnae Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much everyone for the valuable insight =)

    Based on everyone's feedback, I may scrap my idea of putting them in my office tank and instead obtain a nice pair of apistogramma for that tank instead.

    I may move the 2 pairs of C. regani I have to my breeding rack setup and give each pair a 20g tank to themselves and try to start up a breeding programme instead.
  10. dwarfpike

    dwarfpike Member 5 Year Member

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    T'would be the best idea really. Regani might be more peaceful than the others, but they are still pike cichlids. :biggrin:

    Do you know which river system they are from? Regani are very variable and probably will be split up into differant species once someone takes a good look at them.
  11. apistodave

    apistodave Member Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Regani

    i WAS RECENTLY AT jIM eLLENBERGERS PLACE IN sAN jOSE WHERE i SAW SOME VERY NICE FULL GROWN rEGANI-THE MALES WERE AROUND 6 INCHES and the females around 4. I thought about getting some and decided against it because I only had 40's to put them in--guys think about the fish! THESE THINGS DONT BELONG IN ANYTHING SMALLER THAN 50-IF THEY FIGHT=WHERE DO THEY GO--AND ALL CICHLIDS FIGHT.