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Shell Placement - Gold Ocellatus

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Post Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:21 am
baileyje User avatar
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Posts: 105
Location: Eden Prairie,MN
Just curious about how folks space out their shells for Shellies. I notice lots of people (especially with multis) have the shells very tightly packed and others have them spread out more. Is there a benefit one way or the other? The Ocellatus I have are very busy and bossy. I notice they fight over larger clusters of shells more than individual shells. I currently have about a 3 shell to 1 fish ratio. Considering getting some more and pack tighter groups of them.

Thoughts?

Post Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:37 pm
scott Level 3 Member
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Posts: 99
Location: Buffalo, MN
We've got 50 - 60 shells packed tightly and even some are on top of others all on one side of the tank for 8 or 9 adult and about 50 small fry multifasciatus. One larger and two small rock piles are on the other side for Julidochromis. Seems to work for us in a 4 foot 33 gallon tank.

Wish I had experience with Ocellatus to let you know what the best setup is - I'm sure someone will post on what's worked for them.

How about a picture of the Ocellatus? I've heard they are a cool fish.

Scott.

Post Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:07 pm
baileyje User avatar
Level 4 Member
Level 4 Member

Posts: 105
Location: Eden Prairie,MN
IMG_1930.jpg

Post Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:41 pm
scott Level 3 Member
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Posts: 99
Location: Buffalo, MN
Great picture.

Confirmed - cool fish!

Post Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:59 am
Passionfish Level 20 Member
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Posts: 12200
Location: apple valley, mn
In Nature, shell dwellers are harem spawners. Typical the colony consists of one breeding male and 4-6 breeding females. The remainder of the colony does not breed.
In a large tank, it may be possible to establish two breeding colonies if there is a clear area between the colonies. If two colonies are established, a breeding male may attempt to steal a breeding female from the other colony. If he does steal a breeding female shell, he will kill any fry he finds inside shell.

Non-breeding males are typically not allowed to live in shells. As they grow older and stronger, they may attempt to steal a breeding female and set up a new colony. They may never reach that stage or may be killed by a dominant male if they attempt to take an empty shell or female occupied shell.

IME tank breeding, some ocellatus males would kill their own fry once the fry swam away from shells. L. multifasciatus and similar species did not do this. As the fry grow older, it is a good idea to harvest them.
Like a complete unknown

Post Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:43 pm
baileyje User avatar
Level 4 Member
Level 4 Member

Posts: 105
Location: Eden Prairie,MN
Will the males eventually kill one another or just kick them out of the shell area?

Post Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:40 pm
Passionfish Level 20 Member
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Posts: 12200
Location: apple valley, mn
They are kicked out of shell area. They will lurk outside of shell bed and perhaps along the top edge of the tank if pressure is great. I net those fish out of the tank as their lives are pretty miserable. Once in a while, a female shows up away from the shell bed. Net her out also as male has likely rejected her.

As far as out and out killing, I do not remember adult ocellatus getting to that point. It drove me crazy to see a large number of fry at shell mouth and then the next day, all were gone. While I did not see it, it has been reported that competing male that secures female into his shell bed, will kill any other male sired fry but his own. Perhaps I had two equally matched males and while one could not chase the other away, he could not stop fry predation either.
Like a complete unknown


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