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August '05

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August '05 - Joel Baloro's 340 L Nature Aquarium. (Canada)

This month's tank is an example of what many consider the ultimate freshwater achievement in the hobby. And what a prime example to be followed! Thanks to the research and dedication of its owner, filipino-canadian aquarist Joel Baloro, virtually every detail of this setup is impecable: perfect size tank for 5 Discus, perfect combination of companions and clean-up squad, perfect water parameters, and a perfectly balanced Amano-style aquascape!

Owner:Joel Baloro, 35, Filipino-Canadian, living in Vancouver (Canada), 10 years of fishkeeping.
Setup:May 2002
Dimensions:122x46x61 cm
Volume: 340 L (nominal)
Filtration:Eheim 2028 Pro
Lighting:4x65 W compact fluorescent by Coralife @ 11 hours/day.
Heating:300 W Ebo Jager
Substrate:40 kg of Red Sea Flora Base.
Decoration:3 pieces of iron wood.
Others:9 W UV sterilizer Turbo-Twist 3x on timer with lights; 4.5 kg cylinder compressed CO2 @ 2 bubbles/second.
Water:Temp 28C, pH 6.2, KH 1, GH 3.
Fauna:3 Turquoise Discus, 1 Marlboro Red Discus, 1 Pigeon Blood Discus, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Hemigrammus bleheri, Otocinclus affinis, Crossocheilus siamensis, Caridina japonica.
Flora:Bacopa caroliniana, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cyperus helferi, Echinodorus parviflorus 'Tropica', Echinodorus tenellus, Eleocharis acicularis, Eleocharis parvula, Eleocharis vivipara, Glossostigma elatinoides, Microsorum pteropus, Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov', Rotala walichii, Vesicularia dubyana.
Maintenance:1/3 water change twice/week conditioned by Aqua+.
Comments:I only feed frozen bloodworm and frozen brine shrimp. I hand feed the fish with a very small tweezer so that every morsel is eaten before it reaches the bottom. I never vacuum the substrate allowing for "natural" fertilizer. Setting up this tank took me years of preparation, but maintenance is made simple by an army of janitors. This janitor team consists of trumpet snails that keep the substrate aerated, Oto's that eat soft green and brown algae, and SAE that eat hair and brush algae.

With a little patience and research anyone can create this tank. If it doesn't happen the first time try and try again.

I was first inspired by a book my wife, Margot, gave me as a Christmas present. It was "Nature Aquarium World" by Takashi Amano. And it is such sites as The Age of Aquariums that keep me fueled. Please keep up the great work.

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

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Photos taken by Joel Baloro and displayed here with his permission.

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