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> New Frontosa Keeper, New to keeping Frontosa
post Jun 12 2011, 09:09 PM
Post #1
tfoster7189

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I picked myself up 11 Frontosa (six bar with blue coloring) today that range anywhere from 3+ inches to 5 inches. I have read some articles on them, but is there anything special that I should know, that some of you on here that have kept them for awhile might be able to clue me in on. I cuurently have them housed in a 48"x18"x24" 90 gal. tank. Eventually they are going to get move to a 110 gal. that measures 60"x18"x24". The hobbyist that I got them from told me to feed them sinking pellets because they will ingest too much air if they are fed floating pellets. Is this true?

I am hoping Neutrinoman and Heather will chime in here with some expert advice for their care.


This post has been edited by tfoster7189: Jun 12 2011, 09:10 PM


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post Jun 13 2011, 04:56 PM
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Crowned

 






Congrats!! th_38326493.gif

Do you know what variant they are?


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post Jun 13 2011, 09:52 PM
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tfoster7189

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Thanks for the reply CROWNED!

I forgot to ask. I know that they aren't even close to F1's or F2's. I know that lot of people that raise them in their tanks, are really looking for wild caught, F1' or F2's. Is there any way to identify the subltle differences in the variances?




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post Jun 13 2011, 10:25 PM
Post #4
Crowned

 






This Link should help.


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post Jun 14 2011, 12:30 AM
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neutrinoman

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Congrats on the new fronts. icon_thumbsup.gif

Hope this helps:
Fronts are typically pretty hardy fish ime. Typical African tank conditions should be ok but from what I've seen they're pretty adaptable (like most cichlids). Water needs to stay clean, ph should be over 7 (no doubt some tank raised lfs fronts are kept in ph at 7), temps are probably ideal at mid to upper 70s. Feed a quality food, but you don't want to overfeed them; imo they should have flat bellies, not a rounded lower profile.

There are two conditions they seem susceptible to. One is what hobbyists call float (not bloat, they're not prone to getting bloat). Symptoms are similar to a swim bladder problem but it's a different problem. Severity can vary from simply bobbing mildly from side to side to having a difficult time staying underwater or at a certain level in the water. This is usually stress related, sometimes due to being bullied, but can also be due to other causes of stress. Treatment usually involves epsom salt, limiting or temporarily suspending feeding and trying to remove the source of stress if possible. Sometimes females (usually young ones ime) may temporarily take to holding air bubbles as though tumbling eggs and can show similar symptoms. (btw, this is not related to floating foods-- see below)

The other problem they sometimes have is becoming egg bound. Some females may have difficulty releasing all their eggs and they can become impacted and infected. Difficult to treat but treatment usually involves fairly heavy epsom salt and there are some meds that sometimes help.

Even your 110 will eventually be small for 11 fronts. Many people end up thinning out the extra males as they reach breeding age and keeping one or two males along with females.

QUOTE
The hobbyist that I got them from told me to feed them sinking pellets because they will ingest too much air if they are fed floating pellets. Is this true?
Some people believe this, but from my experience it's really a myth. I'll mention several of the reasons I say this.

1) Of the total @ 12 years I've kept fronts I fed floating pellets for probably 8 or 9 of those years with zero problems as a result. These days my pellets are sinking pellets, but I still regularly feed (floating) freeze dried shrimp (usually mysis) and zero problems from that.

2) Even when feeding a sinking pellet, I've had some fronts that come to the surface to get them before the other fish and before they sink, some I've had feeding with their mouths sticking well out of the water, as if to catch the pellets as I drop them in-- zero problems. In fact, one of my males sometimes plays a game where repeatedly he goes to the surface, grabs a mouthful of air, then releases bubbles at the bottom with a little pop (I sometimes think he's trying to get my attention when he's hungry)... again, zero problems.

3) If ingesting or gulping air was really the bugaboo for fronts some people make it out to be (some frontkeepers reason that since they are a deep water fish they're somehow physiologically incapable of handling it if they accidentally gulped some air while feeding at the surface) you would be taking a big risk every time you netted them to move them to a different tank or to strip eggs (something some of the same frontkeepers who believe in the ingesting air myth will do routinely and without a thought) or to measure their length.

4) If they couldn't handle gulping air they would not survive jumping out of the tank and not being rescued immediately, something fronts seem to survive remarkably well, even after being out of the tank much longer than would kill most other fish. (jumping when startled is common for them, always a good idea to keep a good lid on the tank and not to leave gaps they could jump through)

5) Fronts eat smaller fish in the wild, one of their primary reported food sources being cyprichromis, a colorful and (for any decent sized front) bite-sized fish that they can easily swallow whole-- with the swim bladder, an air filled organ (more technically gas filled, typically oxygen). In other words, in their natural habitat/diet they ingest air on a regular basis!

All of that said, in nature they would tend to be mid-water feeders and they will also sift sand looking for food when hungry, which makes sense since in the wild they also reportedly eat shrimps, molluscs, etc. So surface feeding my be less natural for them for behavioral rather than physiological reasons, though I read some time back there's a part of the lake (Kavala, I think) where they supposedly come to the surface and follow fishing boats for scraps, but any I've had pretty much go wherever the food is, as I mentioned above.

In a tank, though, they may be hesitant to feed at the surface if they're accustomed to sinking foods, though ime if they like what you're serving well enough they'll go for it wherever it is. Also, it's not unusual for some to take a while after being transported to a new tank before they settle down and eat much.

Cyphos.com is also a great place to learn more, but if you're not ready to join another forum feel free to ask if you have more questions!


This post has been edited by neutrinoman: Jun 14 2011, 12:33 AM


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post Jun 15 2011, 09:34 PM
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tfoster7189

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Thanks for that link CROWNED.
If I was going to make an educated guess from the photos, I would say that they are the Burundi variant.

Neutrinoman,

THANKS for the helpful info. I was really worried abt. feeding them the Hikari floating pellets that I have because the guy that I got these fish from showed me one of his other fish that he said had air trapped in it's abdomen and they were waiting and hoping for it to expell it. He specifically told me to feed sinking pellets and not the floating ones because of this. Whith what you have told me, I think that I am going to give it a shot and see if they will take it. The didn't seem to like the NLS food that I was giving them at first, but today they seem more acceptable of it. happy.gif It could have been, as you stated, the stress of being moved or maybe it just took some time for the bag buddies to wear off. Whichever the case, they are doing much better now.
I figured that they would eventually outgrow the 110. All the more reason for me to talk the wife into letting me get another 220! We did briefly discuss the thought of turning our basement into a fish room eventually.


This post has been edited by tfoster7189: Jun 15 2011, 09:50 PM


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post Jun 15 2011, 10:11 PM
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tfoster7189

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I'll try and get some pics. posted of my Fronts. later this week. Hopefully you guys can confirm what type of variant they are. Again THANKS you guys for the help! smile.gif


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post Jun 16 2011, 11:54 AM
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neutrinoman

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QUOTE
the guy that I got these fish from showed me one of his other fish that he said had air trapped in it's abdomen and they were waiting and hoping for it to expell it.
Well, I won't say never, but there are a number of other reasons this can happen other than floating food and it's quite easy and somewhat common to misdiagnose the actual cause of a problem. (I will say that occasionally too large of a pellet might cause problems for some fish imo.) If this was a frontosa, it's most likely the float condition I mentioned, most often caused by stress, occasionally caused by food but floating or sinking is not the issue-- the only time I temporarily had it was sinking pellets, turned out I had to go easy on any hard pellets (no matter floating or sinking) until they grew a little larger. If it was another species besides fronts, could be bloat or another problem.

Years ago I went through a phase of feeding Hikari to fronts, more due to the bigger sized pellets than for any other reason, but never had a problem with bloat, float, trapped air or anything else as a result. But imo there are better foods for fronts. I went through a phase of feeding NLS also, and it's a good food imo.


This post has been edited by neutrinoman: Jun 16 2011, 12:15 PM


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post Jun 16 2011, 12:04 PM
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neutrinoman

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Just to add this thought on the floating food bugaboo. It's easy to have a problem, then blame floating foods, then change to a sinking food and have that appear to fix the problem, then go on ever after thinking floating pellets are bad and never realize it was more likely the ingredients in the food or a particular combination of ingredients in the combination of foods being fed that are actually the problem. People should really pay more attention to what's IN their food than whether it floats or sinks: peas and soy bad combo for fish

...I meant to post the above link in a food discussion in another thread, but didn't do it right away and forgot which thread it was... so here it is. Also, note the quote below from the article... one of the reasons I'm not too keen on soy, especially soybean meal, as a fish food ingredient and no doubt a potential cause for blaming something like floating foods for a completely different problem that's known by science but unknown to most hobbyists. A little like medieval medics blaming certain illnesses on "bad humours"... jmo grin.gif
QUOTE
"In our project we studied saponins in particular, which are well-known anti-nutrients in soybeans," explains Dr Hillestad. "Fish feed with relatively moderate proportions of soybeans with saponins intact can trigger serious intestinal reactions in salmon. Saponins cause irritation of the mucosa and leakage in the intestinal membranes."



This post has been edited by neutrinoman: Jun 16 2011, 12:22 PM


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post Jun 16 2011, 12:09 PM
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neutrinoman

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Also: Study with soybean meal
Note: entertitis mentioned in the excerpt below refers to intestinal inflammation.
QUOTE
Lilleeng used soya meal as the source of his ingredients, which is known to contain a series of anti-nutrients and to disturb the intestinal function of salmon. Lilleeng showed that intestinal immune defences become activated immediately feeding with soya commences. He also showed that enzymes normally associated with protein digestion have abnormally high levels of activity in the intestines of salmon with enteritis as a result of soya feeding.

It's interesting to note that NLS recently stopped using soy as an ingredient, though according to one of their representatives this may take a while to show up on their labels.


This post has been edited by neutrinoman: Jun 16 2011, 12:11 PM


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