Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
September '07

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September '07 - Monteiro Junior's 1600 L Malawi Cichlid Aquarium. (Brazil)

Here's a huge, mature and exemplary setup of African cichlids, recently redecorated to gain a very natural layout. Also notable is the very simple filtration system, compensated by partial water changes of 10% daily!

Owner:Monteiro Junior, 34, from Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, 20 years of fishkeeping.
Dimensions:250x80x80 cm.
Volume: 1600 L (nominal), 1400 L (effective).
Filtration:4x internal modular filters.
Lighting:4x40 W Philips fluorescent, 2x Super 90 and 2x Blue, about 10-12 hours/day with two separate photoperiods.
Substrate:Gravel imported from Malawi.
Decoration:Basalt rocks without piling, only large rocks.
Others:Digital thermometer.
Water:Temp 26C, pH 8.0-8.1, KH 22, GH 8.
Maintenance:Water changes 10% every day, filter cleaning once a week (wool change and foam/media rinse).
Fauna: 4 Dimidiochromis compressiceps (2 couples), 4 Nimbochromis venustus (2 couples), 3 Nimbochromis livingstonii (1m 2f), 5 Fossorochromis rostratus (2m 3f), 2 Aulonocara stuargranti (couple), 2 Aulonocara OB (couple), 4 Labidochromis caeruleus yellow (1m 3f), 1 Labidochromis caeruleus white (1m), 4 Labidochromis trewavassae red top (1m 3f), 6 Labidochromis lividus (2m 4f), 3 Pseudotropheus socolofi (1m 2f), 3 Pseudotropheus estherae (1m 2f), 3 Pseudotropheus lombardoi (1m 2f), 2 Pseudotropheus cabro yellow (couple), 3 Maylandia pyrsonotos albino (1m 2f), 4 Gephyrochromis moorii (1m 3f).
Flora:2 Java ferns.

For this renewed layout I tried to recreate a scaled down version of an underwater photo I saw of lake Malawi. It took me four years of planning the change, until I finally took two days to work on the rocks, cleaning and chipping them into the desired shapes. The previous layout was made of common rocks and some marine dead rock, which bothered me a lot and caused problems such as discolorations on the fish and dark spots, especially concentrated in the abdomen and below their mouths. I'm also planning an UGJ (under gravel jets) system. The setup is really going the way I want it. As I said before, I wanted to recreate an aquascape of the Malawi, and now the fish live as if in the lake. The new rocks are immense and heavy, there are no caves except for those they dig up. They've divided their territories and share the rocks, one part for each, for example, separate algae grazing areas on the same rock. There are no fights, everything's going on in harmony, but let's not forget the size of the tank. Whoever reads this and has smaller tanks, keep this in mind: in small tanks that's not how it is. I hope you like it and opt for a natural layout as well.

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

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Photos taken by Monteiro Junior and displayed here with his permission.

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