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My Tropical Marine Tank

By Ibrahim Khalil

ikhalil@ccc.gr

I would like to start this article by first saying that I am by no means an expert and my tank is far from being a perfect one. I am just an average hobbyist with a passion for keeping fish.  My story with fish started almost the traditional way. That was about ten years ago. A goldfish in a bowl, three weeks later the goldfish moves to a five liter aquarium. A month later I get my first “real” tank, a 200 liter freshwater aquarium. Don’t ask me what kind of fish I kept in it, many types but I had no clue about where they came from, what their water chemistry should be. I just got the fish that I liked their appearance and color. All I remember is that one time I got a pair of discus with several neon fishes. Fish kept dying and I kept getting new ones. I just thought that was how the hobby goes. This carried on for about one year when I realized that things were not going well. Thru all that time I only had one book about freshwater fish (the only book I managed to find in Athens). I then decided I had to try something different. I decided to go for saltwater. I knew that saltwater is more difficult but I thought if its more challenging may be I would have better chances of success. After consulting with an aquarium shop the tank was transformed from freshwater to saltwater. Yet the same cycle started again, fish in tank, fish dies, new fish, fish die again…

All that period I missed one important element that is crucial to the success of any type of aquarium… READING. All that time I had that one and only one book and I always thought it was enough. I was wrong. Things started to take a different turn (into the right path) when I first got connected to the internet. That helped in two ways. First I got access to numerous articles and forums on fish keeping and second I was able to find and order very important and valuable books. The more I read the more I realized how much of the basics I missed. Every day I surfed the internet for more information, ,and every time I finished reading a book I just ordered another one. After some time I felt that I had the confidence and the necessary knowledge to start something “big” (at the scale of that time) and I really felt that it would work this time. I decided to go for a 200 gallon saltwater tank. I did a major investigation on the internet for the available filtration methods and equipment and once I decided on the equipment to be used I immediately started my venture. The tank was built in-situ and it took about three weeks till it was finished. The tank was filled with water (and salt) in August 1998 and was cycled with a clarki clown fish.  The methodology for filtration and lighting has changer several times since the tank was commissioned. In the following paragraphs I provide some information on the tank, its components, how it evolved as well as its small population of fish and corals. 

The Tank    

The tank measures 2 m (length) x 0.6m (depth) x 0.7m (height). All sides are 12mm thick except bottom which is 15mm . It sits on a steel base which is about 80cm high. The sump and most of the equipment are located under the tank.

Chemistry

Salinity  :  1.022 – 1.023

PH         :         8.1 – 8.3

Alkalinity:      8 – 10 dkh

Calcium  : 375 ppm

Nitrate   : below 12 ppm

Temperature : 25-26 deg. C

Continued in next page

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