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How I run my Tanks

 
An Article by Francesco Zezza

360 lt. - Tank n 1, Mbuna: My biggest tank - while waiting for my 750 liter new tank - is still running on a fluidized bed filter (estimated to have a 1200 liter / hour flow capacity) and a quick internal filter (640 lt/h flow). Two lamps (fluorescent tubes, 30 watt each) and a 300 watt heater complete the technical equipment. The decoration is in the typical M'buna "fashion": sand, rocks and a tiny group of Anubias Barteri in a corner. Two small air pumps are at work (one continuously, the other one, using a timer, only at night). This tank resembles as closely as possible the environment I dived in when back in Africa (although I must admit that there are no Anubias of any kind in the wild!) Late additions have been plants I got in Lake Malawi in 1999: Cerathophyllum (possibly demersum); while some H. nyererei youngs will be removed to prevent tank from getting overstocked.
F
ishes hosted are: Pseudotropheus "Msobo" (1 wild pair, 2 F1 fry); Haplochromis nyererei (F2 pair and some F3 fry; from L. Victoria). 2 Gold Nugget Plecos (unsexed, wild; from Amazon basin).
Please see the
"Sad Story" article which will update you as far as the inhabitants of this tank are concerned.

300 lt. - Tank n 2, Utaka: This tank shows the typical "commercial" layout (it was purchased at my lfs): the filter is internal lying on the right side of the tank, and it is divided in 3 (separate) sections: heating, filter media and pump. A fast internal filter (1000 Lt/h) has been added. Heating unit is 300 Watt, lamps are 2 fluorescent tubes (a white one and "blue" one: an "actinic" lamp of the kind usually used in marine invertebrate tanks). I found that (at a price of a "stronger" algae growth) this lighting encourages most of the secretive fish to be more active.
Forecasted actions:
an internal "fast filter" (1000 lt/hr flow) is on its way (addition) to improve the tank's filtration.
F
ishes hosted are: 6 Aulonocara sp "Chipokae" (1m/5f, wild caught. One female has just released); Copadichromis chrysonotus (one pair, wild caught); Protomelas similis (1m/3f, wild wild caught); 2 Synodontis nyassae (unsexed, wild caught and 1 parancistrus sp. (? juvenile).

260 lt. (Twin tank) - Tank n 3: Has undergone one more rearrangement: The supporting equipment remains the same (unchanged since there's no reason to change something which is still working properly). This in plain words means: Two filters (flow ratio 600 lt/h, each) one on each side; two heaters (100 Watt each) one on each side; while the 2 fluorescent tubes (30 watt each, with no actinic light in use) are shared by the two parts.

Fishes hosted are: in the left compartment: 6 Aulonocara stuargranti (likely 3 pairs, wild caught) 4 Cyrtocara moori (yet unsexed) and 4 Malawi mussels. In the right compartment: Thorichthys meeki (pair, not from Rift Valley)

200 lt.; Service Tank n 1: Supporting equipment: One canister filter (flow rate 840 lt/hr), one heater - 200 watt, lighting 1X36 Watt fluorescent tube (with light enhancer), a bit of gravel on the bottom and two big roots.
F
ishes hosted are: Pseudotropheus tropheops "Black Bar" (possibly - species not yet positively identified, Wild caught, female); 1 specimen of Mbuna (not yet identified, wild caught); 1 Hypostomus punctuatus (> 35 cm); 1 Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus (> 30 cm); 1 Pseudotropheus "Msobo" (F1, male); 1 Malawi crab; 1 Malawi slugs; 1 Otopharynx marginatus (Male? - wild caught).

125 lt.; Service Tank n 2: A three section internal filter (pump flow rated at 600 lt/hr), one heater / 100 Watt, lighting 2X18 Watt fluorescent tubes, a bit of gravel on the bottom and a few rocks.
F
ishes hosted are: six (almost fry) Fossorochromis rostratus (wild caught) and an unidentified juvenile of cichlid (Tilapia sp.?).

75 lt.; Service Tank n 3: A three sections internal filter (pump flow rated at 400 lt/hr); one heater / 100 Watt, lighting 1X36 Watt fluorescent tube, a bit of gravel on the bottom and a few rocks.
F
ishes hosted are: Fry of  Malawi cichlids (wild caught) amomg them a few Copadichromis borleyi (7) and some other fry not yet identified. In addition there are also 2 Haplochromis nyererei fry (F3).

35 lt.; Service Tank n 4: One sponge internal filter (working with air pump); one heater / 25 Watt; lighting 1X14 watt fluorescent tube, "bare" bottom.
F
ishes hosted are: 8 growing fry of Thorichthys meeki (Firemouth cichlid).

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