Sunday, 20 September 2009

Cool aquarium videos on Youtube - The Nature Aquarium by Amano

These two videos are great. The first is by Takashi Amano, the Guru behind the Nature Aquarium. I am really inspired by his great works of art, and try to bring as much of his insights and teachings into my aquascaping... I have to admit that dragging around big pieces of wood, meter long roots, and 80 pound pieces of stone feels different than his elegant aquascaping. In his books he has several examples of planted aquaria in which he keeps Discus fish. I would not recommend releasing an Amphilophus chancho or amarillo into one of his creations, but do recommend to have a look at his books. His books are expensive, but I have never seen more beautiful and high quality aquarium books. If you click on the image below you can read more about the Nature Aquarium World by Mr Amano.

The building and aquascaping of a fantastic, LARGE, Amano tank:

Video of Mr Amano feeding Pterophylum altum / Angel fish:

Another cool video I came accross, features one of the biggest public aquariums in the world, in Japan, the Kuroshio Sea:

Introducing massive Jaguar cichlids (Parachromis managuensis)

These massive fish came from somebody who tried to keep them together with a couple of Parachromis motaguensis in a 2m long tank. It didn't go that well and I offered to help out.

This couple is really amazing, especially if you consider the size of the female: she is even more massive then the male. Both are 40 cm / 17.7 inch long.

In this video they meet the boss of the tank, the Amphilophus chancho:

This video shows the couple checking out the new tank:

Cichlasoma salvini & others

I really love this fish. Bas Pels was so kind to provide me with the most stunning full grown Cichlasoma salvini couple I have seen so far. I am not the best photographer, but I hope you can appreciate these pics:

Another nice pic is from the male Parachromis loisellei and the male Amphilophus chancho:

Fish videos - featuring Amphilophus chancho, Parachromis loisellei and more

Here are some more videos of the fish in the 1440 liter/381 gallon tank:

Parachromis loisellei feeding:

Loisellei male facing off with the chancho female:

A big loisellei male being teased by a 2 inch convict:

1440 liter / 380 gallon Central America tank => THE FISH

In this post I'll tell a bit about the fish I kept in the 380 gallon Central America tank. Initially I populated the tank with convicts / Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum. I introduced two strong couples into the tank, which I got via the chairman of the Dutch Cichlid Association, Willem Heins, ( who originally collected them in one of the Nicaraguan Crater lakes. These Central American lakes remind me of the great African Malawi and Tanganyika lakes, as they are the home of many interesting species of Cichlids. I can really recommend The Cichlidroom Companion for more information and some great articles.

Within days the the two couples had offspring, and within weeks the tank was crawling with tiny convicts. Ideal I thought, as I intended to keep Parachromis loisellei and managuensis. In their natural habitat these predatorial fish love convicts, so I was not worried. About two years later I understood I was wrong: the little ones were almost always able to hide between the roots and the rocks, and they turned into a pest when it came to reducing the offspring of the loisellei and other breeding fish.

Willem also provided me with a fantastic couple of Amphilphus chancho, which he personally collected in Nicaragua. The male is 35+cm/14 inch+) and the female approximately 23 cm/9 inch. Below the video of this stunning fish:

Here are two pics of the Amphilophus chancho:

Below you can see a video of the Parachromis loisellei and the Amphilophus chancho:

In the next post I'll add some more videos.

1440 liter / 380 gallon Central America tank => the setup

This post is a bit more technical. It gives insight into the setup of the filter system + pump.
It also shows the materials that I used to cover the back and the bottom of the tank.

In this image you can see the two inflows: one is used for fresh water, and the other one is the outflow of the filtration system:

This picture shows the other side, from the filtration compartiment. The right connector is a so called GARDENA connector.

This picture shows the filtration inflow, and the Trespa plate I use to protect the bottom of the tank:

In this image you can see the filtration area filled with blue material:

I changed one of the three blue elements every month. You just pull it out, put it in a bucket, clean it in the shower, and then put it back in.

In the last compartment I had an OceanRunner 3500 (900 gph), which had enough power for this tank. More on this pump here. I can really recommend this pump for INTERNAL/SUBMERGED use. For external use I recommend an Eheim with similar power, as they tend to leak a lot less.

In the filtration department I also had two electric heaters of 300 Watts. Two, because one was the back up for the other: I simply put its temperature limit 2 degrees lower then the other one.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

1440 liter / 380 gallon Central America tank

After having had a great time aquascaping and maintaining smaller tanks, I acquired my first Big Tank in 2006.
The Tank measured 250x80x70cm which is approximately 98.4x31.5x27.6 inches. The thickness of the glass was 12mm = .47 inch.

This tank obviously needed some lights and a pump, so I added 2x 70 Watts HQI, and a Ocean Runner 3500. Then I went out to collect rocks, and wood. For the final touch I added Microsorium pteropus.

These videos might give you an even better impression:

And a second one I made a year later:

Hope you enjoy the pics and the movies!

My first tank and catfish

Hi all, my name is Tom Mulders and I live in a small village in the Netherlands, next to Amsterdam. I have been a fish nut since the age of 7, when I got my first tank. I will never forget the fish that came with it: an American catfish (Ictalurus nebulosus / brown bullhead). After it had eaten through the gold fish, it started to outgrow the tank (50x30x30 cm). I finally had to release it into the wild, when the tank got damaged (me dropping a rock in it when changing water: learning lesson 1: gravity under water is still gravity). The best spot I could find at the time was near Roermond, in the river Maas.... 

In all my ignorance I helped contribute to some real fauna destruction, some 27 years ago, way before I read Tijs Goldschmidt's book "Darwin's Dreampond".

This very accessible book describes in a colourful way the destruction of the Victoria Lake cichlids by the introduction of non-native species. It also elaborates on evolutionary development of the many different cichlids species inhabiting the great African Lakes. You can read more in the reviews on Amazon: Darwin's Dreampond: Drama on Lake Victoria

Some 4 years later there was a big news article in the local press, showing a picture of a proud fisherman who caught a full grown American catfish at the exact same spot I had released it... Looking at his size and belly, I am sure it must have had the best time ever :-)

Around 2004 I started with a new tank, which measured 150x50x50cm (59x19.7x19.7 inch / 99 gallon) in which I kept a fantastic couple of the Parachromis Loisellei. I really loved these fish!!!

Here is a video of the loiselleis feeding on small (dead) fish:

And here are some pics of the Parachromis loisellei male:

And an image of the Parachromis loisellei female:

Hope you like them!