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February '09

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02_Malawi_Cichlid_Tank_1.jpg (36kb)

February '09 - Robert Mihalko's 650 L Malawi Cichlid Aquarium. (Slovakia)

Creating an interesting aquarium decoration to "frame" the awesome colors and behaviors of African cichlids is always a challenge, due to the limited options available. The usual solution is to pile up rocks as best as you can, but if you're truly motivated - and skilled like Slovakian aquarist Robert Mihalko - you may choose to create your own dream landscape out of styrofoam! I hope this wonderful example inspires more hobbyists out there to research and try their hand at this solution...

Owner:Robert Mihalko, from Slovakia.
Setup:September 2004.
Dimensions:180x60x60 cm.
Volume: 650 L (nominal).
Filtration:Homemade canister filter (20 L capacity, 700 L/h) plus two internal blocks of bio-foam (2x650 L/h).
Lighting:2x36 W Philips Aquarelle, 2x36 W Philips LT-D 865.
Heating:2x125 W Jäger.
Substrate:White sand.
Decoration:DIY styrofoam background and river stones.
Water:Temp 25-26°C, pH 8.2, KH 16, GH 10.
Maintenance:30% weekly water change.
Fauna:Aulonocara sp. 'Fire Fish' (7), Aulonocara steveni 'Hongi Ponton' (7), Aulonocara maylandi maylandi (6), Copadichromis borleyi 'Red Fin' (7), Sciaenochromis fryeri 'White Top' (6), Melanochromis sp. 'Maingano' (6), Pseudotropheus saulosi (2).
Flora:Just algae.

The tank was initially a mixed Malawi Mbuna tank, then a Tropheus tank featured as Tank of the Month here on your website in October '06. On my wife's wishes I changed the entire population back to more colorful Malawi cichlids. The background is home made, by carefully shaping styrofoam, then painting with epoxy resin and covering with sand. This is the third and the last 3D background in this tank.

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

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Detail of the home made internal filters with bio-foam

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Initial gluing of the home made styrofoam background

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Carving of the styrofoam into a natural rockscape

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View of finished styrofoam background

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Final setup with sand, river rocks and newly introduced fish

Photos taken by Robert Mihalko and displayed here with his permission.

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