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Hobbyist Gallery - John Salakidis

John Salakidis, Thessaloniki, Greece. E-mail: sallako@otenet.gr

Μalawi mbuna Tank

Dimensions (in cm) 90x48x40, total volume 172 l, net volume 135 l

Inhabitants:

3 labidochromis caeruleus (electric yellow labido) 5cm each

4 cynotilapia afra red dorsal 5cm each

4 pseudotropheus socolofi 3cm each

Plants:2 anubia barteri and some hornwort

Water parameters

pH:8.2,  GH:19, KH:10, NH3: 0, NO2: 0, temperature 27oC

Aquascape: Sand from the sea, a lot of stones creating many dark caves.

Filtration:

A) internal filter containing filter floos, sponge, ehfisubstrat run by a Sacem pump wnds 400 (420lt/h)

B) internal filter Hydor pico (350lt/h)

Heater: one jager 150w

Maintenance : 30% water change weekly

MCH Verdict

Given the size of this tank, this is the result of a job done very well !! One hundred and seventy two liters could be regarded as a rather "small" volume, especially later, when these cichlids reach their adult size. The lack of technical elements that would spoil the general view, the usage of sand, the good looking (nicely selected) rocks - all contribute to the natural appearance of this tank. I've seen many larger tanks that are decorated in a much less inspiring way, and the presence of the plants, although they don't really belong in a Malawi setup, add a nice colour element in this tank on its whole. The nicely created caves invite you to take a closer look, in the hope of seeing some fry that use them for shelter. Finally, the small sandy area in the front adds that something "extra".

This tank is - in my opinion - the kind of tank that could be used as a proof of the fact that , sometimes, size doesn't count! The tank is nice, correctly aquascaped, with fish happily swimming ... everything seems to coexist in harmony. One of the main problems with this sort of tank is the fact that generally (at least for my taste) a small tank easily falls in the "already seen that tank" category simply because there is very little you can do to create something “different”. On the other hand this particular aquascape says "something" to me, which means a lot. I can see only one possible weak point (for the future) : Eleven adult M'buna (even if wisely chosen among the "best mannered") could result in some fights.

It seems to me as a very nice work for a miniature tank. He has only members of one flock - mbuna (which we generally rate as a plus, but for such a small tank is a MUST) and the overall appearance does create the feeling that I would like to own this tank. The use of sand and rocks is - of course - the aquascape of choice, not to mention that - at least in the photos submitted  - there is no sight of ANY technical equipment (a common pitfall in many submissions). The use of plants is a minus but there are very few and they do not distract the viewer from the main point of focus which is the fish. The stocking level is exactly "correct" - even if he had one more fish in that tank I would call it overstocked – so full points here. Water parameters are excellent for Malawi cichlids and the filtration is 6X the water volume / hour which is on the spot. Water changes are more or less what I do in my tanks so I can't be negative on this one. It gives the impression that this guy DID read a lot before setting it up - not to mention that - as he said - most of this information came from MCH - which proves that some people can benefit from this particular section.

Overall rating by MCH :  80/100

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