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All Fish Added To The Aquarium, Julidochromis, Compressiceps & Multies

By King of DIY on

Joey Mullen: The tank is now set up and ready to receive the fish. This is a Lake Tanganyika, African themed aquarium.

Let's take a look at the stocking and let me explain what we're doing here. Well, currently, and obviously, we are temperature acclimating the fish. They've been in these bags for over 24 hours and I'm going to explain something really important that we have to do to ensure their best chance at survival. Right now, I'm just acclimating them to the temperature of the aquarium. The fish that we got are some ragani, also known as the julies.

We've got some multifasciatus shell dwellers, also known as multis. It's going to be difficult to see them right now. Then, of course, we've got some gold-head compressiceps. These guys aren't looking too good but I hope they survive and do well in this aquarium. Now let me explain the stocking. First and foremost, the layout of the tank. Shell dwellers need their shells, I made sure they had at least three each.

They will create territories in each one, they will create homes and they will breed prolifically once established. I then started to create this rock pile. This is mainly for the ragani, these guys right here. Hopefully, they will spend most of their time darting in and out of all of these rocks as they are not a shell dweller. They won't bother with the shells but perhaps might go after some of the fry which will be interesting to see some natural predator instincts in some of these fish.

Then, of course, the compressiceps. What I'm hoping here is these guys will more so be more of a feature fish and fill out the mid-section to bottom. This will be heavily active near the bottom of the aquarium. The fish could actively swim around the entire tank or the entire scape offering visual blocks. Meaning that if a fish needs to escape, it easily can escape the visual line of the fish chasing it. I've also added in some java fern mats just to increase the height of the actual scape.

Now over time, all of these plants are going to grow and expand and shoot off additional leaves and they're just going to completely fill out this rock work and I think it's personally going to look absolutely stunning. With any luck, the shell dwellers will remain over on this side, the ragani or julies will remain within the rock work, and the compressiceps will fill out the rest. At least that's the plan. At the very least, this is going to be an absolutely fascinating aquarium to follow along with the progress. See how everybody reacts.

Did we plan this out properly? Is the stocking compatible enough or will the scape make up for those compatibility issues? I think we're going to do okay. My only fear is the compressiceps are not doing well after that 24 hour flight. I know many people are saying, "Get them out of the bags." I want to temperature acclimate them so as not to shock them. Anything else as for pH or water hardness or anything like, it doesn't matter. Fish are immediately impacted by temperature. As for pH, they could be shocked if it's dramatically different but it takes weeks to actually acclimate to pH.

When it comes to freshwater fish, here's how you have to get them out of the bags. First, I think we need to discuss what's actually going in the bags and why I do it the way I do. First and foremost, what I'm going to do is cut the bag open and dump the fish immediately into a net. That water is going to go below through the net and dump into a bucket. I don't want this water within my water, reason being, cross-contamination. Now, while the fish could be carrying parasites, pathogens or something else that might contaminate the aquarium, this is an empty tank. I'm introducing them into a tank that has no other fish so this is almost like their quarantine. If one of these fish is sick, I can treat the whole tank. It's pretty much a quarantine tank.

Now if these guys were being added to a tank with established members, I would quarantine these fish for four to six weeks, I would medicate if necessary but quarantining is just the time to monitor the fish and behavior, make sure they're active and healthy and they're not going to contaminate and destroy the rest of your aquatic life. With that said, I've said it a number of time, these guys have been in the bag for about 24, maybe 25 hours at this point. What's going on in that bag is what's important and that's why I get them out immediately.

I'm not going to open the bag and drip acclimate. These aren't coral. What's going on is simple, these guys are breathing, they're producing oxygen or carbon dioxide and, of course, ammonia waste within the water. What's all actually happening within a closed, sealed bag though? Well, we know that when we add carbon dioxide to a water column, what happens? The pH will drop. Now what happens when the pH gets below neutral into the acidic levels? Well, that ammonia that they're creating is no longer nearly as toxic when it's actually alkaline, above seven.

Right now, they've created a ton of carbon dioxide within the bags, the pH has dropped, the ammonia in the bag isn't as nearly as toxic. If I open this bag, immediately we're going to get a gas exchange. Oxygen is going to enter the water column and because that carbon dioxide is now gassing off, what happens next is the pH of the water is going to rise dramatically fast, like almost immediately. What happens next is that ammonia within the bag comes immediately toxic.

Now, what a lot of people would do is they'll open the bag, they'll drape it over the side, they'll add a little bit of tank water, acclimating them that way. Don't do it that way, you're going to give your fish the least amount of chance. This is the tried and true way. I acclimated thousands of fish this way and never had one actually die from the acclimation process.

Now we're looking at these compressiceps. Look at them. Just laying around in the bag. They're active when I come over to it. The back one is where I'm concerned. We got a few laying down. Let's see if you guys can see this. Julies are doing fine. These guys are going to be fine, I believe and the multifasciatus, the shell dwellers, are going to be fine. These guys are the ones that keep laying down and looking weird but these guys are absolute stunners. Let's get them all out of the bags. They've acclimated for about 20 minutes. The temperature within the bags is the same as the water.

I'm going to introduce the multifasciatus first, the shell dwellers. They are the smallest and could be preyed on first so I'm going to try and get them to come down to their shells just like that. That was a perfect introduction. Go on in there guys. Don't get caught in the net. There. What did they do? They went directly for the shells. Let's see if we could find any. It doesn't look like we're going to see any right now. This is perfect. There's one in the back there.

Yes, this is absolutely perfect. Now, these shell dwellers are going to get multiple times bigger but they will be able to occupy these shells for life. I do see some of them in the back there if you guys can see them as well. I want to introduce these guys first, of course, just because they're so small, to make sure they get to their shells before we introduce some of the bigger ones. Now I don't want to cause any confusion like I'm adding fish to a freshly set up aquarium.

You guys will remember that all we did was take all of the biological media responsible for the nitrogen cycle that's housing all of that bacteria from an established aquarium and put it on this one. The substrate is also established as well. It's basically like I did a massive water change and then add them to the tank. Otherwise, we would've had to cycle the aquarium properly which can take four to six weeks minimum, and I've shown you a multitude of ways on how to properly do that.If you don't cycle your aquarium, your fish will die.

We're pinching the top to ensure that no oxygen is getting in the bag. Then tip it up, put it over the net, and just like this. These are the julies. Aren't they pretty? I'll give you guys two shots here. Let's make sure that they can go this way. I want them to come this way. There they go. There's some of them. Go on out of the net guys. Seconds in, they're acting normal. These guy's mouths aren't big enough to eat the [unintelligible 00:08:52] but you'll never know, they could just attack and kill them. It does look as though most are coming over here.

Now we'll do the second bag of these guys. Out of all of the fish, I would say, the ragini here are doing the best, then the shell dwellers followed by the compressiceps. Once again, we'll try to get them over to the rock work here. Guide the net down like that, back it out, let them swim into it. For the most part, they're going into that rock work. There are some over here as well swimming around the shells. Look at that little shell dweller right there. See him right by the rock where he is. Then some are within the rock work hiding.

Keep in mind, we literally just added these fish. We got a shell dweller way over here. You're way out of your territory my friend. Let's see what the julie does in the rocks. It swims right by. It doesn't care. Of course, these guys are just newly introduced to the tank. They're just going over their territories. They'll lay down. They're not too excited about this right now but, of course, they do need time to acclimate. This tank is going to be absolutely fascinating to follow along with. I can't wait. Let's move on to some of the compressiceps. See what happens there.

Here's the first bag of the gold head compressiceps. Let's see here. These guys are stressed. They're not actively swimming out of the net as I had hoped. Unfortunately, losses can happen. It's not very common for me to lose a lot, but again, I'm not entirely confident with these guys, but hopefully, with luck, we do get a pair or a trio. We'll see what happens. Yes, this little guy. Most are doing fine. Look at the weird look on this guy. This guy is laying down a bit, so we might lose a couple. Unfortunately, it happens. They were in the banks for 25, 26 hours, but the tank is to the proper temperature. They were temperature acclimated. Of course, this is ammonia free as well. Tons of plants to help soak up the nitrates. We'll see how this tank goes. We've got one more bag to add though.

This is the type of stuff that I love to show on my channel, which is the real deal. I could sit around all day and hide things and hide deaths and not show you losses and act like this never happens. Then, when it happens to you, you're at a loss like, "Why I'm such a failure?" No, there are things that happen within the hobby and it happens to everybody. The internet is just a weird place where some people pretend that they are what they are not simply to build their image. I don't care about that stuff. I care about the real deal.

Yes. These guys, certainly, are pretty, but I think we've got-- Oh, boy. We might have a couple that might not make it. In fact, I think there's one right there. I think, overall, we've got 20 of these guys and we might lose maybe five of them. That guy doesn't look too well. We've got a floater in here. No, he's breathing. You're going in. Go on in. Rest at the bottom of the tank. There, he moved. Oh, please. Yes, you should be okay, maybe. Long flight, long time getting here, guys. I think you're going to be okay. He's not doing so fantastic and neither is he or he, but we looked at the bags and we were expecting something like this. Ultimately, these are the biggest fish in the tank. They will get the biggest and they are more of a feature.

When you order fish, especially this quantity, you do need to account for DOAs, which is dead on arrival. Most, every shipping place or every place we could buy fish online, will have a dead on arrival policy, so you could typically get your money back. For me, once thrown in the aquarium, it's in my hands. That tank is appropriately set up and acclimate them properly. That's on me, not the company, but something like this, the flight is quite long. We've got a few.

I think they'll do okay. I'm going to leave them alone. We'll dim the lights. I think this tank [chuckles] is going to look a heck of a lot more active once the fish acclimate to their surroundings and, of course, become more comfortable within it. It's interesting to see the julies over here but, of course, some of the fish are already going inside the rock crevices and whatnot. That's pretty interesting.

I know a lot of them are just laying down right now, but this is the type of fish that actually does that. Look at this little bunch. They always lay down when they are stressed or nervous or something like that. The compressions are not a hardy or easy-to-keep fish. These are more challenging fish, with the others in this tank being far more easier, but I did want to do a mix, do something different, do something interesting and give you guys something fascinating to follow along with.

48 hours later, we have 100% survival rate. Everybody has settled in, looking fantastic. They are accepting food. I'm going to give you guys a closer look at the tank now. Let me know what you think. I love it. Overall, the stocking looks to be compatible even though we're so soon into it but, most importantly, the scape of the aquarium works. We have what we planned actually happened. Shell dwellers are dwelling within their shells. The Julidochromis or the julies or the ragani are pretty much sticking to the rock structure within the cave systems and really just exploring the entire aquarium. I do see some of the julies come over here and check out some of the shells, but they stay mostly to the bottom 25% of the tank and always within the rock structure as planned.

As for the gold compressiceps, so the gold head compressiceps, once again, these guys are doing the same thing. They never hide, yet they always stay close to cover. They do venture out the highest in the aquarium, going so far high as probably to 75% of the top unless I'm feeding and then everybody comes to the surface. For the most part, the shellies never really do. You've got to make sure you're dropping food over them. Overall, this tank is an absolute success. I've got to say I cannot wait to watch the progress of this, see how the fish develop over time, see what happens, see if there's any more compatibility issues. Of course, as the tank matures, things could potentially change.

Now, of course, I always stand off the side here and a lot of the fish come over here and hide, but when I'm not around they definitely act more natural going to their habitat. See the julies follow me a little bit, but I absolutely am thrilled with it. Look. As you could see here. Let me just adjust this for you guys. We've got a couple of the compressiceps back there. We've got another one up pretty high, just exploring that, just overlook. I do find that a lot of them come back here and then swim up and overlook their new territory and what everybody is going through.

Pretty much, most likely, going to be the boss of the tank where the julies will be their annoyance, and then, of course, the shell dwellers will be these innocent little guys just looking to reproduce over time. We don't have any adults in this tank, but the multifasciatus, these shell dwellers, are definitely going to mature the fastest within months. I would say within 60 days we'll see fry. With some water changes and good food, it's pretty much guaranteed. They do enjoy. Look at the chromis or the julies, swimming within the plants, hiding within them. This guy just swam in there and he's laying in it.

I just love watching this tank. There's so much activity and life. I know if we stand back here, it's the opposite like, "Joey, this tank is empty." Well, not really. We do got a ton of tiny fish in here, but this is a tank where you come up and you observe it slowly and watch for it and see what everybody is doing. The more you look at it and the more you watch and the longer you stay still and the more they get used to you, the more fascinating this tank becomes.

I absolutely love this aquarium and if you guys do too, make sure that you let me know in the comments section below. What did you think of it? Did you think this tank is the right stocking, the right scape? How do you feel? I definitely just wanted to do something different, something with some tiny fish, some cheap and easy-to-find scaping supplies. You guys will remember this is just rocks from around my local area. I've used them in several tanks now. These are just escargot shells. They're considered extra-large snail shells. Got them on Amazon. This is just a pool filtration sand and then we have Anubias that I've had for years. A couple of years that I propagated and cut it the rhizome myself.

Then, of course, some Java fern that I just got recently, but I'm going to be able to propagate that as well. It looks like one of the Anubias fell off, but that's fine. I've got to stock it back in wherever over time, and these are going to attach to the rocks. They don't need anything else other than that. Even though we did plant some of the Java fern within the substrate. We just want to make sure we don't push the sand or the plant in past its rhizome in the sand but, other than that, a very easy to maintain aquarium. Once this grows in, these plants will contribute to water quality as well, producing oxygen and removing nitrates from the aquarium.

I think this is going to be an absolutely fascinating tank to not only follow along with the progress but certainly rewarding as well. This, even though right now, it's my favorite aquarium, wait till you see the others. If you can't wait to see the other aquariums as well, you're not subscribed to this channel yet. Make sure you do so you don't miss these videos. I can assure they're not only inspiring and they'll turn out to be educational, but these are aquariums that you could potentially do at home as well. Maybe it's on a larger scale or maybe it's on a smaller scale but, the bottom line is, I just want you to find more inspiration and potentially even get into the hobby if you're not already.

About King of DIY

Joey is THE King of DIY, and when he built his gallery of aquariums he chose the Custom Aquariums rack system with 120-gallon tanks...a lot of them!

Joey Mullen is also known as the king of DIY, uarujoey or the DIY fishkeeper on social media. Providing education and inspiration for aquarium enthusiasts on YouTube, he is also the author of The Ultimate DIY Handbook; for the DIY Aquarist. His channel is about educating all levels of fish tank hobbyists who are passionate about caring for fish and keeping an aquarium of their own. Joey's aquarium rack systems were custom made by our professional fish tank engineers, here at Custom Aquariums.

Please watch the King of DIY's videos for some helpful information and great tips on diy aquarium keeping.

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