Demetris Koutsoulaftis - the hobbyist next door
When I met Demetris several months ago, I was attracted by his low profile appearance as well as the fact that we share the same two hobbies: fish keeping and photography. Why did I call him the "hobbyist next door" then ? Simply put, he is the kind of guy who is mainly interested in keeping a tank with healthy fish and plants, will spend a lot of time to keep it in prime condition, invest both money and labor in it but still, resist the temptation for many / huge tanks. He will be happy if his fish breed (and many of them have done so) but will not pursue this nor make it the "task of his life". In my opinion, he is as happy as I am and loves his fish and plants as much as most of us do. After reading the specifications of his tank you will agree with me that "next door" doesn't mean "average". It just means the nice guy who keeps his fish, enjoys them a lot but doesn't make a great fuss about it. I asked him for some photos of the fish he keeps now (or has kept in the past) along with some information about the technical stuff he uses in his 200 liter tank. He is quite involved in electronics and this is also shown in his tank.
Botia lohachata (Yo-Yo loach)
Botia modesta (Blue botia)
Demetris was born in Athens in 1957 (always nice to meet someone older than me) and attended the High Public Academy of Merchant Navy. He became a radio officer and worked in trade ships for 8 years until he got married. In 1995 his twins were born (Manos and Helen) and since then his whole life changed radically. His urge to travel around the world never left him and he is often on the go. He is now employed in a company dealing with Alarm Security and Control Systems as a technical training manager. His other passion is photography with a portfolio consisting of thousands of slides from Greece and around the world, and maybe a million of negatives because he worked like a freelance photographer every time he came back from his trips (mainly focusing on Sport activities, including Acropolis Rally, XII European Games in Athens Olympic Stadium and other happenings).
I would like to note that some of the photos in the first setup tank are copied from a video camera. He uses a video camera in every setup which means that he has one VCD and two DVD from his tank setups. All the other photos were scanned from his prints.
Barbus schwanefeldi (Tinfoil barb)
He started with a community tank several years ago (keeping a large variety of catfishes among others), changed it to an American cichlid tank in between and finally he came up with a planted tank with tetras and discus.
Hemichromis bimaculatus (Jewel cichlid)
Aequidens rivulatus (Green terror)
If you are interested in the technical stuff of his last setup, here it comes:
Tank Dimensions in cm: 100x55x40 (volume total:220L,volume net 175L)
FILTRATION a) External Canister FLUVAL 403 the inlet tube used with CO2 injection for better gas dissolvement b) External Canister FLUVAL 303 for circulation and surface skimming.
LIGHTING a) ARCADIA 25W TROPICAL fluorescent Lamps( x2) b) AQUA GLO HAGEN 25 W fluorescent Lamp 18000K c) SERA TROPIC SUN ROYAL 25W fluorescent Lamp. They are turned on and off with an electronic light controller RENA TEMPO; light duration: 9hrs daily.
HEATING a) HAGEN TRONIC 200W (backup heater) b) HYDOR HEATER FOR EXTERNAL FILTERS ETH 200(Main heater) c) TUNZE (Substrate heating cable 6m long with safety extra-low voltage) 40W, 24V controlled by ABB system pro M digital time switches working time 20 minutes every 2hrs. Temperature is set at 29 degrees Celsius, constant. A temperature controller( ELIWELL - IC915), stabilizes the temperature with two outputs, one for overheating protection and the other is for cooling with a power fan motor for hot summer days.
DECORATION : First layer (bottom) consists of ½ Kg of pure laterite, next come about 10 Kg of SERA FLORA DEPOT about 10 kilo and on last come 35 Kg of black quartz substrate. The main decoration (apart from the plants) consists of mopani and mangrove roots, petrified wood and a few stones.
CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2) injection : The system consists of the following: (1) AQUAMEDIC PH 2001C (pH controller) (2) An 8 Kg pressure cylinder (3) A GLOOR type pressure regulator with flow indication (working pressure 4 bar preset), flow rate 0-16 l/min. CO2 is directed in the inlet tube of the FLUVAL 403 external canister for complete gas dissolvement (4) A solenoid valve type ACL (NC), with a coil of 230VAC 50/60 Hz, driven by the output switch of the pH controller (5) A hard PVC material of black tube for Co2 supply, from JBL, has a non-return valve (6) AQUAMEDIC bubble counter indication for this setup is 22 bubbles per minute.
PLANTS (all plants were purchased from TROPICA): Microsorum pteropus windelov, Anubias barteri var.nana, Anubias barteri var.angustifolia(afzelii), Hygrophila corymbosa (angustifolia), Hygrophila corymbosa (siamensis), Bacopa monnieri, Cryptocoryne wendtii (green), Cryptocoryne walkeri (lutea), Cryptocoryne wendtii (brown), Echinodorus x barthii, Echinodorus (Rose), Lilaeopsis brasilensis.
FEEDING : RENA TEMPO & D50 auto feeding two times daily (Tetra, Sera, and JBL flakes and bits also frozen food for Discus, from Ocean Nutrition (blood worms) and ox heart (Discus Quick type blue).
WATER CHANGE : Every 2 weeks 50%
WATER PARAMETERS : pH: 6.8, GH: <7, KH: 6, NITRITE: 0mg/l, NITRATE: 50mg/l
Some more of his cichlids..
Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus (Convict cichlid)
Thorichthys meeki (Firemouth)
Heros severus albino form
Pterophyllum scalare (angel fish)
Symphysodon discus (Blue Diamond, Red Marlboro and the hidden Pigeon Blood)
Text and photos by ©Dim.Koutsoulaftis 2005