Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
August '04

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August '04 - Arend Bloemink's 360 L Malawi Cichlids Tank. (Netherlands)

The highlights of African Rift-Lake Cichlid tanks are usually the wonderful colors and behaviors that these types of fish display, but creating an interesting aquascape for these tanks can be quite challenging. So I'm sure that cichlid enthusiasts will be as impressed as I was by this awesome Malawi aquascape submitted by veteran Dutch aquarist Arend Bloemink. Instead of the usual rock wall occupying the entire background, this very long tank (almost 2 meters) set up in January 2002 was creatively decorated so as to have three distinct ambiences. Two short fluorescent tubes and a light-colored background were used to create a bright, open-water center, which is sided by two darkish regions formed by a slope of rocks on the right and a shaded bamboo field on the left. If I was an African Cichlid, this is definitely the kind of tank I'd like to live in! :-)

Owner:Arend Bloemink, 58, from Nieuwegein (Netherlands), 10 years of fishkeeping
Setup:January 2002
Dimensions:180x40x50 cm
Volume: 360 L (nominal)
Filtration:2x Eheim filters (1 includes heating) filled with synthetic cotton-wool and ceramics
Lighting:2x38 Watts: Dennerle Color Plus and Denerle
Substrate:3 cm layer of washed sand and small pebbles
Decoration:All kinds of stones, pebbles and rocks; some dead bamboo
Water:Temp 25C, pH 7.6
Fauna:About 40 Cynotilapia afra (of all sizes), Labidochromus caeruleus, Crytocara moorii
Flora:2 Anubias
Maintenance:Water change 35% twice a week (tap water)
Comments:About 10 Years ago I started with a South American Discus tank. Then, 5 years ago I moved to an apartment and had to start all over again, so I changed to less demanding Malawi Cichlids. After having experimented with some different species, of which the Moorii and the Caeruleus are the last survivors, I got 8 Cynotilapia afra from two different breeders. These Cynotilapias are very prolific breeders! Apart from that, they are very lively. Three dominant males are ruling the tank, each one has his own territory.

A nice tank, full of life, there are breeds of every size. Plants are not very succesful, since the Afras like to take bites out of them. They are fed 2-4 times a day with cichlid flakes, green peas, mussels, shrimp, sepia, mosquito larvae and fresh white fish meat.

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

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Photos taken by Arend Bloemink and displayed here with his permission.

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L