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Hobbyist Gallery - David Hallett

 
 
 
DAVID HALLETT, UK, e-mail: David Hallett
 

The tank is 489L (142 US Gal) the dimensions are L46"xD30"xH24" The sand is play pit sand which I just cant get a picture which reflects its true colour. Most of the rocks were collected from one area, however at the front on the right hand side there is some ocean rock which the tank inherited from one of its previous incarnations. It doesn’t quite match the more natural looking rock. The heaters are hidden in the right hand edge of the tank and you can just about see the filter pipe running up the right hand corner, I've done my best to hide it all but its not yet invisible. These fish are all my breeding stock which I sadly don’t have time to rescue fry at the moment.

I have used your site as a constant reference and tried to base the aquascape on photos of the lake. I have had one problem since setting up in this tank I had a huge algae outbreak both on the glass and in the water, since then I have reduced the lighting by 1/3 and added carbon to the filter and the plecostomus which cleared up the tank in about a week to the crystal clear state it is in now. This tank has been setup on a very limited budget the tank was second hand was cheaper than a new 2' tank, the stand is concrete blocks 1" wood base with the home made wood surround to make it look prettier. Unfortunately the glass is not in pristine condition with several marks on the outside but for the money its fine. The rocks were dug out from a farm yard and sterilised before use. This particular setup has been running 6 months. Filtration is a big Rena filter, I cant remember the model number but it was rated for a 600L tank, which I think is fine with the very low stocking levels. Media is mechanical biological and carbon etc.

Water Parameters are as follows:

PH 7.8

GH 11

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate >10

Water changes are low around 10-20% fortnightly but seem to be doing the job. Lighting now just 2 flourescent tubes 1xbluemoon 1x triton (formerly 2)

Fish

2xAdult Maylandia lombardoi

3xAdult LABIDOCHROMIS CAERULEUS

3xAdult Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos

1xJuvenile CYRTOCARA MOORII

1xJuvenile Cyphotilapia frontosa;(awaiting breeding group to join him in a frontosa setup)

3xSynodontis eupterus

1x12" Gibbiceps  plecostomus

All the africans and synodontis have been living together in relative peace for about a year now the pleco has only been in the tank for  couple of months to control algae and will probably find his way back to my 1000l rio negro setup.

MCH Verdict

I like the shape of this tank very much. Especially the 75cm depth makes it extremely attractive for building a neat & cozy Mbuna rock pile! These rocks are stacked very well and look really neat. Indeed, another visit to that farm would do wonders in my opinion. Cichlid choice and stocking level also looks very good, and except from the annoying thermometer sticker, the absence of technical equipment is also a relief. I also would like to suggest to use only one light tube close to the front, which would add more "depth" to the tank. I'm also happy to see that we don't need a large "budget" to build a very inspiring tank Very nice...

Low in cash (according to the owner's statement) and a good result ... I like this tank since it is a direct proof of the fact that you can go the "cheap way" and at the same time be rewarded by the results you get. This being said I would like to add some comments about the tank: Nice aquascaping even if - to me - the overall look is a bit too bright, I guess this is because of the light being reflected on the sand. I would also remove the Cyrtocara moorii since it is always better not to mix haps with m'buna. Nice to know that some people go an extra mile to hide the technical stuff. The wooden furniture reminds me of my new tank ... All in all a good job.

This is a tank showing a sand / rock combination which I like (and recommend). Stocking levels are OK, maintenance could be a bit better but it is on the right side. I personally prefer 30% water changes on a weekly basis and I think this is the bare minimum to ensure the well being of the livestock and less fluctuations of the water parameters. As far as the inhabitants are concerned (since the Frontosa will leave this tank) I like the combination. The volume is OK for the number and kind of fishes he has in there. I would prefer more females / male but even this ratio can work without problems especially in this understocked tank. It is obvious in the photos that there are many hiding places for the fish he keeps and that those crevices are used by them. The presence of C.moorii doesn't harm this setup very much since it is basically a calm fish and not a predator. Aesthetically, it is nice to look at and the blue background adds to it. The fact that he tried and partially succeeded to hide the technical stuff gives this tank an additional bonus. In brief it is a correct tank, everything is in order and I like the Spartan look!

Overall rating by MCH :  80/100

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