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Marco Isidori’s Fish Room

by Francesco Zezza

This site – as many of our visitors know - has a section dedicated to hobbyists who may submit their tank(s) to be presented there. I have to say that many of them are really fantastic either inspired by MCH pages or not! But now I’m going to tell you about a friend of mine that – believe it or not – still doesn't surf the net … This friend is Marco Isidori who was our (Stefania and myself) teammate in our trip to Lake Malawi in 1999, he is a devoted cichlid addict keeping mostly Malawi cichlids, some Victorian cichlids and – every now and then - some species from central / south America. This article is about him.

Marco – like Stefania and me – is a very good scuba diver (although not an instructor), has kept some reptiles in the past and likes cacti and carnivorous plants, too. Can you guess why we became friends?

For reasons beyond the scope of this article, he has only one tank in his house (a 300 liters tank) and many more tanks  assembled in two racks in the basement. A short "technical" drawing is provided below in order to show you how extremely rewarding results can be reached even in a really limited space … but – as usual – let’s begin with some pictures:

Didn’t I tell you that Marco was member of the crew of our Malawi adventure in 1999 ? Well … a man has to admit his faults!!! Out of the three owners of the same batch of wild caught Fossorochromis rostratus (Marco, George and Francesco) Marco was the one and the only to succesfully spawn them. In fact he did it many times, in a 300 liters tank! In the picture above some of his sub-adult specimens are shown.

This – slightly blurred - picture shows a wild caught Aulonocara stuartgranti"Cobuè" male, again in the 300 lt tank …

and here comes a (male) Sciaenochromis friyeri

This is a picture confirming Marco's success with those wild caught Fossorochromis rostratus ...

Now let’s enter Marco's fish room, with a picture showing the first rack. I must admint that I do not agree with the fact that many tanks are NOT aquascaped. Quite common in fish rooms run by massive cichlid breeders - as Marco. Marco has succeeded in – routinely – selling his fry to a few shops in the area he lives, which helps him to cover the cost of running those tanks. I wish I could do the same … Please have a look to details: everything is clear, neat, and wisely arranged (you can see the details in the following drawings). All in all: let’s go pro! BRAVO MARCO!!!

And the story goes on: another shot of the Fossorochromis rostratus breeding pair …

Here are the, previously, promised drawings of Marco's racks (two units hosting, each one, four tanks). Before you comment on the drawings please keep in mind that the original ones were done by Marco's hand..

RACK 1: shows the smaller tanks.

RACK 2: shows the Bigger tanks.

The tour has been interesting, isn’t it? Let’s go on with a fish (not a cichlid) quite common both in Lake Malawi and in Malawi tanks.

An adult Synodontis nyassae (a second specimen is in sight in the background) the only Synodontis species living – as far as we know – in Lake Malawi. We found both of them in the Tanzanian coast and in Cape McLear area. Finally, another cichlid from Lake Malawi. A Placidochromis phenochilus (most probably the Tanzanian morph). The beautiful fish shown in an adult male. Fry from this fish are usually available from Marco, I wish I had more tanks …

And now for all of You interested in central American cichlid … the fishes shown below are Nandopsis salvini (F1 specimens) from Rio Usumacinta (Mexico). A truly remarkable fish … but, also, a particularly nasty fellow. Be very careful when choosing their tankmates: just forget adding a second adult males in the same tank  unless you have a really huge tamk!

A single specimen is pictured here

and a pair, which was later successfully bred follows:

Now our short visit has come to an end. I hope You have enjoyed visiting Marco’s fish room the way I enjoyed it. And do not forget the "key point" of this visit: availability of little room is NOT a real problem provided it is correctly used, just as  Marco did it! Why don't you give it a try?!?!?

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