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Hobbyist Gallery - Mike Hickerson

Click on the picture for a larger photo
 
Click on the picture for a larger photo
 

Mike Hickerson Vista, California e-mail: mmhickerson@cox.net

I started with a group of wild caught Kapampa (2m-5f) about 3 years ago in a 125 gallon tank. That original group has graced me with over 80 fry in the last 3 years. I kept 8 of these for myself and added them along with 2 more trios of wild caught that I acquired in October2003 when this tank was set up. Sizes range from 4 inches to 11 inches. Seeing a colony like this interact along with their beauty is truly a sight to behold. I hope all who see these pictures enjoy them and thanks for taking the time to look.

Specifics:

Dimensions:(in inches) 96 in. L x 24 in. W x 30 in. H Tank is acrylic with total of 300 gallons.

Inhabitants: Species only-- 13 wild caught and 8 F-1 Cyphotilapia Frontosa Kapampa.

Water Parameters: pH-8.2 ,KH-10 deg.,GH-14 deg., Nitrates 10-15 ppm Temperature -76 deg.F. Heating is accomplished with room heater since tank is located in fish room.

Aquascape: Substrate is “playsand” from local building supply store. There are 10 large pieces of lace rock from a landscape supply store. There are no plants and the background is a rocky cliff 3D paper.

Filtration: 1) 40 gallon wet/dry sump with mag drive 1200 gph return pump.

2) Ocean Clear canister filter with 1/8 hp industrial type Fasco pump.

3) Merlin Fluidized Bed Sand filter.

4) Lifegard 25W UV Sterilizer.

Lighting: 4 Minicompact fluorescents, each with 2x9W bulbs. One being white daylight and the other actinic blue. Total of 72 Watts lighting.

Maintenance: 25% water changes weekly with home made recipe of Epsom salt(magnesium sulfate),Baking Soda(sodium bicarbonate) and Instant Ocean salt.

 

MCH Verdict
 

This colony of 19 Cyphotilapia frontosa looks very impressive and I indeed enjoyed the pictures very much! This aquarium is very large, but 19 fish could be too much when they all reach adult size though. I'm sure that Mike will reduce their number by that time. The decoration is good, but not earth shattering though. The sand could be more dark, and the kind of rocks could have been better chosen and stacked higher for getting larger caves and hiding places, but I guess Mike didn't want to damage his acrylic tank buy putting stones against the back of it. Anyway these remarks can be considered as of less importance because my overall impression remains very positive! Very nice tank!

 

Cyphotilapia frontosa is the only Tanganyika cichlid I'm looking/hoping to keep, and possibly, breed in the future ... That been said this tank is a MASTERPIECE! Correctly aquascaped and although I agree with the statement that the sand is a bit too light but on the other hand one has to considered that C. frontosa are fish living in the depth thus require subdued lighting. However, I'm afraid that a darker sand would result in a very dark environment. I personally  I like the "blue tint" of the actinic lamps (I do the same in my main tank!). In my opinion, the tank is overstocked but for the time  being (considering the technical goodies in use and the frequency of water changes) I don't think there will be any problems with the tank as is. Of course, as the fishes grow this point should/could be reconsidered. When reducing the number of C. frontosa (8/10 adult specimens at most to me ...) I'd consider adding a few, carefully selected, Synodontis catfishes but this is a personal point of view, of course ... Possibly one of the best - ever - tanks submitted to MCH up to now.

I will start by saying that I like this tank. It is one of those tanks that I would love to see in person and not in pictures. It is a fairly large tank and the owner decided to dedicate all this space to one species. Some may say that even this tank is not very spacious for 14 grown up C. frontosa but I guess Cox will thin the population if needed. One point is that I counted 18 of them in one of the pictures submitted and then I noticed that actually there are 21 of them in this tank (according to his statement). This is a weak point even though I feel ready to forgive everything in this case. The overall look of the tank is definitely above average (shall I say "breathtaking"?) and gives the impression of a "balanced" tank with happy inhabitants.  Although the substrate looks a bit "light" in color still it is playsand so we can't ask for a better choice - perhaps a darker type of sand would be even better. I like the central rock pile since this allows the fish to swim around (actually doubling the swimming space) and also hide behind it if there is a need to. Filtration and tank maintenance are adequate and neatly organized. Lighting is very wisely selected and it is obvious that the selection of actinic blues for lighting the C. frontosa is something every fish keeper should consider. I would rate it very highly  but I am also reluctant to deduct some points because I regard this tank as overstocked at present.

 
Overall rating by MCH :  81/100

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