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Hobbyist Gallery - Toronto Zoo Malawi Tank

This aquarium photo was submitted by Nicholas Callas (USA) during his recent visit to the Toronto Zoo.
 
MCH Verdict

This was one of the very rare tanks that required us to take two different views - contradicting each other. As hobbyists we were definitely appalled by the sight of thousands of fish almost like "fish packed in a can". Therefore we wouldn't recommend it. On the other hand, as a "board of judges" we would have to give this tank a quite high rating since it meets most of the criteria set by us. Our comments..

In reality, while actually diving in the lake I've seen reef crammed like this tank therefore from a theoretical point of view it is not 100% wrong (even if, even in the lake, this is rather the exception than the rule!). However, in a tank things are, for a number of good reasons, quite different: water chemistry/changes/quality, overstocking, crossbreeding, filters and the other equipment are items to be kept in close control. Thus, for evident reasons a tank (no matter how big it is) will never reproduce the "real thing" .. Aesthetically speaking I am not fond of this type of tank.

My impression of this public aquarium is that I don't know where to look first.. Although this tank could have a great show potential through it's size and the extensive use of huge rocks, in the end  it's is totally ruined by the overcrowding. The amount of various Mbuna and Utaka is an absolute overkill and leaves the visitor very confused (such a setup must absolutely be avoided at home, as no filter system can keep the water parameters in control). At our club (ABCV) we have an original name for this aquarium: bubblegum tank!!

My first impression was a negative one although I had a difficult time to explain that in terms that would be in accordance with the rules that we have set for all tanks. It is true that in terms of points this tank would score high although I don't like it and it should never serve as an example for any hobbyist. I admit that there are some huge rocks but the problem is the preposterous number of fish in it. I wonder what was the idea behind it - perhaps to show the visitors as many Malawi cichlid species as possible.... However, when judging this tank one has to keep two things in mind. First, this tank relies on a huge filtration system so it is not something to be tried by the average hobbyist. Secondly, this high number of fishes may be also encountered in nature too, but the fish may move the next moment to another rock or even to a new area. On top of that, you will not find so many haps among mbuna or better still, not that many mbuna would survive amongst so many haps. Therefore, to me, even the selection of species is wrong.. 

 
Overall rating by MCH :  Not Awarded

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