The lifestyle of N. multifasciatus revolves around snail shells, which they use as homes and spawning sites.
To provide hiding places, I purchase
escargot shells from my grocery store
and rinse them in aquarium water before
sinking them in the tank. Any store that
has a gourmet food section is likely to have
escargot shells, and they make great homes
for the multifasciatus.
You can also use empty shells from apple
snails or mystery snails that you may find
at your local fish shop, but sometimes these
are quite small. Hermit crab shells or even
small sea shells that you can pick up at the
shore would work provided you clean them
very well in aquarium water before use.
I prefer escargot shells because they are
big, which makes it easier to see when there
are fry in the shell opening. There is no need
to arrange the shells in any specific way in
the tank because the fish won’t leave them
where you put them anyway. If you cannot
find adequate shells, small PVC elbows will
do, but cap one end to make them more
Perhaps the best reason to keep
multifasciatus is to watch their fascinating
antics. They are very particular about their
environment and are constantly sculpting
it to suit their needs. They dig by scooping
up mouthfuls of substrate and then spitting
it out. They can completely change the
landscape of a tank overnight.
Tropical Fish Hobbyist www.tfhmagazine.com