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Ophrys bremifera or Re-joining the hobby

by George Pastrikos

The following message was addressed to Andreas Iliopoulos, who is responsible for the Greek version of MCH and is presented here exactly as received:

To start with I would like to congratulate you for the very good work you have done in MCH. It shows a dedicated and devoted man who loves his work. Please let me add some words about me and what I want from you. My name is George Pastrikos, aged 42, married with two children (twins, a boy and a girl), and I am a businessman in the prêt-a-porter field. I was born and live in the island of Rhodes. My experience with fish keeping started twelve years ago when I visited the house of an Italian friend and saw a magnificent tank. It was the first time I saw such a beautiful tank and the idea of setting up one myself stayed in my mind. I had a love for nature since I was a little boy.. The public aquarium of Rhodes [one of the first in Greece] had already worked in the subconscious level – so I was practically ready to enter the hobby. I soon had a 250 liter tank (100x50x50). I faced all the usual problems that come with the “beginner” stage but soon, probably because I like to investigate things in depth, I resolved them and we (me and my wife) were enjoying a beautiful American cichlid tank, decorated as every tank resembling a south American river should be. I spent many hours searching for relevant books and studying them. Internet didn’t exist then and my knowledge soon exceeded that of the petshop owners. The dream lasted for three years only. Increased professional duties due to my father’s death, the relocation in a new home, the miscarriages of my wife and last the arrival of my two children left the dream in a stand by mode. This stand by mode lasted for nine years and now we (me and my children) are ready to start a new beautiful tank. This time I decided to keep African Rift lake cichlids (Tanganyika and Malawi – if they are compatible) which I discovered towards the end of my first aquaristic period. I discovered them late only because the local petshops never bring fish like that, only the usual, easy selling species. The space in our house allows for an 684 liter tank (190x60x60) or, alternatively, a 540 liter tank (150x60x60). Since I want to construct it myself I would like to help in order to create this “monster” tank safely. Although I have read every single article in MCH I haven’t found any information on how to use silicon to glue the glass panels together, what should the glass thickness be or what should I pay attention to in order to accomplish this task. If such an article exists please let me know, otherwise send me a short message with the highlights.

By the way, I am sending you a photo of a wild orchid (Ophrys bremifera) which grows in Rhodos island,  taken by me on the Mount Attavyros (one of my hobbies is to take photos of the wild flora and fauna of Rhodos island). Please take into account that each flower is sized approximately 15 mm and this photo was taken with a macro lens.

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