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A Conscientious Greek Hobbyist

by Manthos Vagionakis

Manthos is one of those persons who will go his way in a quite and yet very well planned manner. He will make a plan, study about it, ask many questions and get any piece of advice he can and then - and only then - he will move on and materialize it. I have known him for more than 5 years and he is always on the move for something new, anything that can make the life of his fish a bit better. One of his main problems is (guess what?) space. Space to put a new tank, space to give his fish. He is the only Greek hobbyist I know of, who has a larger ratio of tanks / surface square meter than me. I always regard myself as being on the "edge" but he is even crazier than I am. The first time he contributed to our site was with his Xiphophotus helleri - Lyretail and we have been in close contact ever since.

He got his first fish bowl (with a goldfish) 26 years ago. The goldfish didn't last long of course but it wasn't till next year when he came in contact with his true love. A photo of a Betta splendens. His first "normal" tank was an 80 liter one, set up 14 years ago which has seen many fish come and go. Seven years ago he started building more and more tanks and now has a nice selection of them. Some of these tanks are shown in this page with his comments. What is remarkable with him is that he keeps a great variety of tanks ranging from marine to planted with almost everything in between.

Sometimes you can judge a person correctly and sometimes you are simply too wrong. With Manthos, I was simply right. A couple of years ago, I asked him if he would like to keep a (seemingly) pair of Paratilapia polleni "East Coast" (small spot) since I wanted to make sure that if something went wrong with mine, I could still expect fry from fish kept by other hobbyists. Manthos agreed to keep them and so he got them. When you see this pair swimming in his 500 liter tank below, you must take into account his need for space. Manthos decided to devote his larger tank to this species, something others, less dedicated hobbyists, would never do.

It is for these reasons I decided to entitle this presentation "A Conscientious Greek Hobbyist". As I write these lines he still doesn't know the title and I am sure he will have lots of objections but hey, this is one of the privileges of being the webmaster - the final touch is always yours.

George J. Reclos

Marine Tank (100 liters). Currently housing a Clark’s Clownfish (Amphiprion clarkii), a Royal gramma (Gramma loreto) and a  Blue damsel. This tank has been up and running for two years now.

Τα τελευταία δυο χρόνια  έχω ένα από αυτά σε ένα μικρό θαλασσινό ενυδρείο 100 λιτρων με ένα ClarkClownfish ( Amphiprion clarkii), ένα Royal gramma (Gramma loreto) και ένα μπλε Damsel.

Simple, yet natural looking and beautiful. This is my idea about the correct aquascape for Madagascan cichlid tanks. The tank size is 500 liters.

MY 500 LITER TANK 

This is my largest tank with dimensions 120 x 55 x 75 cm height. Original  built for discus, but I  never decided to do so. Instead, I kept Malawi cichlids in it for about 3 years until I got a pair of Paratilapia polleni East Coast from George. After keeping them in a small tank of 100 liters for one year I decided it was time to move them in a larger tank. Most of the rocks were removed and plenty of logs took their place, together with anubias, microsorium pteropus and   valisnerias…

Two SACEM marathon 1000  used for filtration. The stand is a DIY construction  with DEXION metal, which was later covered with MDF wood.

 Two small aquariums (80 liter each) are placed under it, for quarantine, breeding and raising fry. Four 36 watt  Philips TLD fluorescent tubes are used for  lighting.

 The water parameters are : pH=7,6 KH=6, GH=12 and the temperature is kept at 26 degrees C.

At this time a pair of Paratilapia polleni (small spot), two female and one male Cryptoheros nigrofaciatum ( Convict cichlid), and one plecostomus are the inhabitants of this tank.

ΕΝΥΔΡΕΙΟ 500 ΛΙΤΡΩΝ

Αυτό είναι το μεγαλύτερο ενυδρείο μου με διαστάσεις   120 cm x 55 cm x 75 cm ύψος. Αρχικά  ήταν κατασκευασμένο για δίσκους, αλλά ποτέ δεν αποφάσισα να το χρησιμοποιήσω για κάτι τέτοιο. Αντί αυτού είχα για αρκετό καιρό ΜΑLAWI κιχλιδες (περίπου 3 χρόνια), μέχρι που πήρα ένα ζευγάρι Paratilapia polleni East Coast (με μικρές κηλίδες) από τον Γιώργο. Ύστερα από την πάροδο ενός χρόνου σε  μικρό ενυδρείο (100 λίτρων) αποφάσισα ότι είχε έρθει ο καιρός για αυτά να μεταφερθούν σε μεγαλύτερο ενυδρείο. Οι περισσότεροι από τους βράχους αφαιρέθηκαν και αρκετοί  κορμοί πήραν την θέση τους μαζί με anubias, microsorium pteropus , και valisneria.

Δυο SACEM marathon 1000 χρησιμοποιούνται για την φιλτρανση. Η βάση είναι μια δικιά μου κατασκευή από DEXION που αργότερα ντύθηκε από MDF ξύλο. Δυο μικρά ενυδρεία 80 λίτρων το καθένα , τοποθετήθηκαν από κάτω  για να χρησιμοποιηθούν  σαν καραντίνα και εκτροφή. 4x36 watt λάμπες ΤLD χρησιμοποιούνται  για το φωτισμό. Συνθήκες νερού : pΗ=7,6 ΚΗ=6, GH=12 - Θερμοκρασία 26οC

 Μέχρι αυτή την στιγμή ένα ζευγάρι Paratilapia polleni, δυο θηλυκά και ένα αρσενικό Cryptoheros nigrofasiatum (Convict  Κιχλιδες) και ένας πλεκοστομος είναι οι κάτοικοι του ενυδρείου μου.

THE TWIN TANK PROJECT

The original idea for this project of twin tanks came out of my will to have as many species of fish as possible in my home , while at the same time, the space that I can afford was not as much as I wanted .

So, I decided to skip an 140x40x50 cm (250litter) tank which would fit nicely in there and use 2 breeding aquariums (80x40x50 each ) instead. Then I would make a suitable furniture , since those aquariums  would be fully planted. On of the biggest problems with most aquariums is that they cannot give you enough space to put the number of lamps a planted aquarium needs, so I had the opportunity to sit down and think how this construction should be made.

I also used DEXION as the infrastructure and then extented the two back legs of the furniture until they reached a little less above the height of the aquariums (about 60 cm ). Then I constructed a rectangular framework (160 x 45cm ) and connected it to the legs. On this framework I placed two sheets of MDF ( 80 x 40cm each) which would later support 4  fluorescent tubes (2 Gro-lux , +2 sunlight; 18 Watt ea.) in each one of them. The whole construction was then covered with MDF sheets.

Just below the tank I placed one breeding – quarantine aquarium (60 litters ) so I didn’t left any space unused .

Both tanks utilize the same CO2 cylinder (7 litter capacity) which is equipped with two outlets. Both tanks are fertilized daily with P.M.D.D .The filters used are a FLUVAL 204 for the left tank and an EHEIM 203 for the right tank. .

The fishes that exist in the right aquarium are  8 Betta pugnax (5 Male + 3 Female), 1 yo-yo loach and 2 apple snails.

Temperature is set at 25C, pH=7,0 KH=6 and GH=12

In the left aquarium I have one pair  of S. discus, 4 Trichopsis vittatus, 3 Corydoras aeneus, 4 Hemigrammus helleri, 5 Otocinclus affinis and 2 apple snails.

 Temperature is set at 27C, pΗ=6,8 ΚΗ=6, GH=12

The species of  plants in both aquariums are as follows :

Anybias barteri, Aponogeton crispus, Aponogeton madagascariensis, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Chladoflor, Crinum natansCryptocoryne petchii, Echinodorus amazon,, Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia , Echinodorus osiris, Sagitaria subulata, Salmolus parviforus, Nympahea lotus , Eleocharis, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Hygrophila difformis, Limnophila aquatica, Ludwigia repens, Rotala rotudifoliaBolbitis  heudelotii, Java moss…..

ΔΙΔΥΜΑ ΕΝΥΔΡΕΙΑ

Η αρχική ιδέα αυτών των ενυδρείων  γεννήθηκε από την ανάγκη μου να έχω όσα πιο πολλά είδη ψαριών γίνεται  στο σπίτι μου, όπου ο χώρος που μπορούσα να διαθέσω δεν ήταν αυτός που θα ήθελα.

Έτσι αποφάσισα αντί για ένα ενυδρείο 150x40x50 ( περίπου 250 λίτρα), να χρησιμοποιήσω  δυο ενυδρεία εκτροφής που είχα (80x40x50 το καθένα) και να φτιάξω ένα κατάλληλο  έπιπλο αφού αυτά θα γινόντουσαν αποκλειστικά φυτεμένα. To πρόβλημα με τα περισσότερα ενυδρεία του εμπορίου είναι ότι δεν σου δίνουν αρκετό χώρο για να βάλεις τις λάμπες που χρειάζεται ένα φυτεμένο ενυδρείο, έτσι εδώ είχα όλο το περιθώριο να σκεφτώ πως θα έπρεπε να γίνει όλη η κατασκευή.

Χρησιμοποιώντας και εδώ DEXION προέκτεινα τα δυο πίσω ποδιά του επίπλου μέχρι να φτάσουν λίγο πάνω από το ύψος των ενυδρείων (στους 60 πόντους), και φτιάχνοντας  ένα παραλληλόγραμμο πλαίσιο (1,60x45) το συνέδεσα με αυτά. Εκεί επάνω στηρίχθηκαν δυο ξύλινα MDF (80x40 cm το καθένα) όπου  στερεώθηκαν αργότερα  4 λάμπες 18xwatt (2 Gro-lux + 2 sun light) σε κάθε καπάκι.

Όλο το έπιπλο ντύθηκε με  ξύλο MDF . Στο κάτω μέρος του επίπλου τοποθέτησα βέβαια ένα ενυδρείο εκτροφής-καραντίνας 60 λίτρων , έτσι δεν έμεινε χώρος ανεκμετάλλευτος….

Τα δυο ενυδρεία τροφοδοτούνται από μια κοινή μπουκάλα CO2 (7 λίτρων) η οποία έχει δυο εξόδους. Γίνεται καθημερινή λίπανση φυτών με P.M.D.D

Τα φίλτρα που υπάρχουν είναι , στο αριστερό ενυδρείο ένα Fluval 204, και ένα EHEIM 203 στο δεξί. Τα ψαριά που υπάρχουν αυτή την στιγμή είναι στο δεξιό ενυδρείο , 8 Betta pugnax (5 αρσενικά +3 θηλυκά) 1 yo-yo loach και 2 apple snails. Θερμοκρασία 25oC, pH=7,0 KH=6, GH=12

Στο αριστερό ενυδρείο, 1 ζευγάρι  S. discus, 4 Trichopsis vittatus, 3 Corydoras aeneus, 4 Hemigrammus bleheri, 5 Otocinclus affinis και 2 apple snails. Θερμοκρασία 27oC και το pΗ=6,8 ΚΗ=6, GH=12

Τα είδη των φυτών που υπάρχουν και στα δυο αυτά ενυδρεία είναι :

Anybias barteri ,Aponogeton crispus , Aponogeton madagascariensis, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Chladoflor, Crinum natans Cryptocoryne petchii, Echinodorus amazon,, Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia , Echinodorus osiris, Sagitaria subulata, Salmolus parviforus, Nympahea lotus , Eleoxaris, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Hygrophila difformis, Limnophila aquatica, Ludwigia repens, Rotala rotudifolia Bolbitis  heudelotii και Java moss

Photo of the left "twin" tank.

Photo of the right "twin" tank.

In this photo you can see the DIY construction which allowed Manthos to install 4 fluorescent tubes for each tank. The aluminum foil sheet provides a cheap but effective reflector.

A male Paratilapia polleni East Coast (small spot) and a Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus in the 500 liter tank.

A general purpose tank housed under the main one.

The female Paratilapia polleni East Coast in the 500 liter tank.

Text by Manthos & Stamatia Vagionaki, Photos by Theodoros Exarchos

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