Hobbyist Gallery - Walter Deproost
Hobbyist Gallery - Walter Deproost, Belgium
This aquarium is submitted by ourselves, as we think that's it's clearly a reference tank, an example of how a Mbuna tank should be decorated to let the cichlids thrive!
The owner, Walter Deproost, is a cichlid enthusiast in heart and soul. His tank contains a wide variety of wildcaught cichlids, some of them caught by Walter himself, and F1 Mbuna: Labidochromis pallidus, Labidochromis sp. "perlmutt", Labidochromis caeruleus "yellow", Labidochromis chisumulae, Labidochromis caeruleus "nkali", Pseudotropheus estherae, Pseudotropheus zebra, Pseudotropheus socolofi, Pseudotropheus crabro, Pseudotropheus sp. "elongatus bee", Tropheops sp. "yellow head" (second photo from bottom), Tropheops sp. "yellow head" mutant, Petrotilapia sp. "chitimba" (bottom photo), Melanochromis parallellus, Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos, Iodotropheus sprengerae, Otopharynx lithobates, Labeotropheus fuelleborni and also a Hap: Placidochromis phenochilus! Walter used to keep Tanganyika cichlids and large Malawi haps a long time ago, but the Malawi rock cichlids turned out to be his real passion. By now he's a real knowledgeable Mbuna expert and with several visits to the lake (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2000) he knows how all these biotopes look in reality. Walter is also the chairman of the Belgian cichlid association ABCV and knows almost all important people in the small cichlid world. Additionally he maintains two websites that are mainly written in dutch: The ABCV homepage and also his personal "Malawi verslaving"
The tank is a full glass giant with a sump underneath the stand. The display part contains about 1600L and together with the 400L sump, the complete setup reaches a total volume of almost 2000L. The decoration is dominated by giant rocks, just like in the lake. The caves that are formed, provide shelter for the fry and the wild setup of stones makes it easier for the dominant males to determine the borders of their territory thus limiting aggression. Two HQI lamps illuminate the tank and allow the large Vallisneria plants to grow. Extra aeration is provided by a trickle filter on top of the display part. As the tank is built-in in a wall, the maintenance is done in the room behind.
This tank is great!!! My only remark could be a little too much of a "yellowish hue" in lightning but, on the other hand, it's correctly aquascaped (Vallisneria doesn't hurt that much!!!) and fishes look perfectly in shape. This is (to me) how a Malawi tank should look like!
In my opinion, a reference tank. The setup of the rocks cannot be done better, partly thanks to the depth of the aquarium that allows an excellent 3D aquascaping. The live Vallisneria plants don't disturb the setup (Another species of Vallisneria grows in the lake) and make a nice colour contrast. My only negative comment is the poor mechanical filtration that leaves behind too much debris in the tank, which causes the yellowness of the water.
It is true that Walter Deproost doesn't need any special introduction and his love and dedication for Malawi cichlids is unquestionable. However, in contrast to many other people who love these fishes, he has come out with a tank which is very close to what could be characterized as "the reference" tank. I can see the (wrong species of) Vallisneria and the yellowish hue however I can also see that they match the aquascape perfectly and that the fish really thrive in there. How do I know ? Full color for the males, fry swimming happily and fish grazing on the algae as they should.
Overall rating by MCH : 88/100