Well first I’d like to state that I’m honored to be nominated for TOTM but in my honest opinion my tank pales in comparison to the past and more than likely future winners. My main focal point has always been the fish rather than the actual environment, although this is slowly changing thanks to a couple of members here like 5×5 and Mogurako being the biggest influences in these new directions; such as photography and soon to be attempting plants again.
I started this like a lot of members here when I received my first tank on April 5th 1982 for my 8th birthday. This was a 20g high with an under-gravel filter and white gravel containing a mixture of fish and a male crab, the addiction was instantaneous. The fortunate thing our current members is they now have a way to research information, something that I didn’t have the luxury of all those years ago. When I started, I had old library books from the 70’s to read and even more outdated information from mom and pop local fish store employees/owners who were looking to make some money or were just as uneducated as I was. So I’ll leave out the dirty details, dead fish, and countless other errors, but let’s say I made nearly every mistake that could possibly be made. So fast forward 30 years and literally thousands of fish later, my wife still gives my Mom dirty looks and takes some light-hearted shots at her for starting this addiction, basically comparing me to a drug addict needing a aquarium fix!
Right now, I keep anywhere from 12-20 tanks totaling around 600-1000g of water in my fish room; this varies based on needs such as which species of Cichlid fry I need to grow out or setting up tanks additional tanks for quarantine purposes.
I currently specialize in breeding Central American cichlids mainly in the Cryptoheros, Thorichthys, and Vieja genus. This has changed and evolved over the years, going from New World to Rift Lake and back. The majority of the fish I currently keep are wild caught species as this allows me to breed and distribute rare first generation fish which are not commonly seen, allowing a new generation of aquarist to be aware there are nearly 3500 species of Cichlids currently, not just the common fish people tend to see at the big box or local fish stores. I would also like those who are interested in rare and endangered cichlids to check out the C.A.R.E.S site, as this lists the species affected by the devastation and destruction caused from deforestation, pollution, agrochemical run-off, overfishing, global warming, and political unrest, all to the great misfortune of those fishes that remain in their natural habitats: http://www.carespreservation.com/
The other passions in my life are racing Motocross, shooting sports (as I own a gun store), bass fishing, and I’m a huge Xbox gamer. So that’s enough about me let’s get down to why your even bothering to read this!
The tank itself is a 150g reef ready with dual overflows made my Aqueon.
This a two stage approach, the first is a Sea Life Systems AquaPro 200 Wet/Dry filter that is pumped back into the tank via a Quiet One 6000 return pump.
The second stage is a Fluval FX/5 canister filter modified by cutting the downspout off, it’s packed with Biomax and a medium pad.
Two Eheim Jager 300W heaters, one in each overflow so they are not visually seen in the display tank.
This is done by a 72″ Aquaticlife T5HO that uses 8 36″ 39w bulbs that are a mixture of Aquaticlife 10K and Coralife Colormax bulbs. This tank unfortunately does not house any live plants thanks to the current inhabitants most of which have a hatred for live plants, so the lighting schedule is merely for my enjoyment.
This is the common run of the mill white pool filter sand.
The main focal point is the large manzanita stump which measures around 60″ long and roughly 17″ tall. The other décor is simply silk flowers purchased from the internet along with a few clay pots for spawning purposes.
This is pretty basic since there are no live plants to contend with, a 60% water change performed every 7 days. This schedule keeps my nitrate levels at a consistent 10-15ppm measured prior to the water change. The PH is a rock steady 7.8 thanks to being on my own private well. The other positive aspect of a private well is that I don’t have the slightly added expense of using a water conditioner such as Prime since my water doesn’t contain any harmful additives such as chloramine.
The inhabitants of this tank changes somewhat frequently depending on what needs to be a larger tank whether it’s due to breeding or aggression issues. Its current inhabitants are listed below.
- A breeding pair of Cryptoheros cutteri.
- A breeding group of Crytoheros honduran sp. with some grow outs born in the tank.
- A breeding pair of Thorichthys maculipinnis.
- A resuced male Vieja synspila.
- A large male Herichthys turquoise sp. which would be my centerpiece so to speak.
- A large school of Puntius denisonii(roseline barb).
- A large school of Hyphessobryson anisitsi(buenes aires tetra).
- A single male Ancistrus temminckii(bristlenose pleco).
- A single male Panaque nigrolineatus(royal pleco L190).
The task of feeding this rowdy group is done with New Life Spectrum products fed exclusively; no other supplements or food sources are used. The food being fed are 2 and 3mm Thera +A pellets, Freshwater H20 flakes, and H20 10mm wafers.
The schedule of feeding is performed daily with the exception of Sunday which is done to ensure their digestive tracks are clean, this helps prevent digestive issues.
Feeding in my opinion is sort of an art form and is something that I truly believe takes a little time to master, the majority of most new hobbyist tend to overfeed using low quality foods, which is a recipe for disaster.
I again wanted to say thanks to the moderating team and powers that be for selecting my tank for the TOTM award and to the rest of the members of this forum for actually taking the time to read this (or maybe you didn’t) and putting up with some of my abuse over the last few years! I have learned a lot throughout the years and I hope to continue my education and to help those who want to become an aquarist rather than someone simply saying I have a fish tank. I’d also like to share my top 3 tips for success even though they may seem like common sense but here they are anyways, perform lots of water changes, feed a high quality diet, and keep the stress to a minimum (both yours and theirs).
I’ll conclude this with a list of cichlids I’m currently keeping in my fish room, feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
- Wild caught Crytpoheros septemfasciatus.
- Wild caught Cryptoheros nanoluteus.
- Wild caught Cryptoheros panamensis.
- First gen. Cryptoheros sajica.
- First gen Cryptoheros mynrae.
- First gen. Cryptoheros chetumalensis.
- F800 Cryptoheros honduran sp.
- Wild caught Thorichthys pasionis.
- Wild caught Thorichthys aureum.
- First gen. Thorichthys maculipinnis
- Thorichthys meeki.
- First gen. Herichthys turquoise sp.
- Wild caught Vieja synspila.
This is merely a small sample of the nearly three hundred species of cichlids that I’ve kept over the past 30 years.
Thanks again to everyone here at Aquarium Advice!
Filed under TOTM.