Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
March '04

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March '04 - José Antonio's 125 L Tanganyika Paludarium. (Brazil)

Paludariums are becoming ever more popular among aquarists searching for novelties, but an african cichlid paludarium is certainly still a rarity. A very creaative idea, competently executed due to the vast knowledge and experience of Brazilian hobbyist José Antonio about african cichlids.

Owner:José Antonio dos Reis, 37, from São Paulo (Brazil), 23 years of fishkeeping
Setup:April 2003
Dimensions:50x50x50 cm
Volume: 125 L (nominal), 60 L (effective)
Filtration:DIY undergravel jets
Lighting:4x20 W fluorescent PL 6400K, photoperiod 10 hours/day.
Heating:Visi-Therm 100 Watts
Substrate:Lower layer: 7 cm sugar size Aragonite. Upper layer: 3 cm river sand
Decoration:Pink Trumpet Tree logs/sticks and neutral rocks
Water:Temp 26°C, pH 8.4, KH 14, GH 20, NO3 0, O2 7 ppm
Fauna:2 Lamprologus ocellatus 'Sumbu Violet', 1 Altolamprologus sp. 'Sumbu Shell', 3 Apple Snails (Pomacea bridgesi), 2 Fiddler Crabs (Uca sp.)
Flora:Submersed part: 5 small bundles of Microsorum pteropus. Emmersed part: bromelias and ferns (don't know the species)
Maintenance:Partial water changes: 10% every 15 days with deionized water, adjusted with Cichlid salt. Supplements: Tetra Cichlids Vitalonce a month.
Comments:This setup was born from the ideia of setting up a completely different African Cichlid tank from the usual, it was inspired in the rainy season at lake Tanganyika, during which the water level rises beyond the margins and it invades a vast extension of the land.

The greatest difficulty in maintaining a paludarium like this is it's enormous water evaporation rate. To solve this I used a water replacement box adapted to the lighting hood. Since the selected species require water parameters that don't fluctuate much, the replacement water needs to be adjusted to the same parameters as the paludarium. Maintaining Tanganyikan species in reduced water volumes requires constant monitoring of the water parameters, and small volume water changes, since the water is replaced daily. Another important factor is the lighting, which should be brighter than in normal aquariums because it's at a greater distance from the surface. The photoperiod shuold also be longer in case the paludarium doesn't get much natural light. The greatest difference of a paludarium from an aquarium is its maintenance routine. It's more troublesome due to the reduced water volume and for being a little unstable with repect to temperature and pH fluctuations.

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

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The Apple Snail Squad

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Altolamprologus sp. 'Sumbu Shell'

Photos taken by José Antonio and displayed here with his permission.

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