Monday, 28 December 2009

Visit to Artis aquarium Amsterdam

Once every three weeks I visit Artis, the ZOO in Amsterdam, together with my 2 year old son. He loves it, and knows all animals by name, and nickname (the mandril's name is Picasso ;-)

Although small, the Artis aquarium has some absolutely stunning setups. In the main hall they have several freshwater tanks, that I really like because of the way they used the tree roots, rocks and plants to create great depth. The use of HQI lights adds to the mystical feeling.

Some of my favourite tanks:





Another great tank is the massive Amazon underwater Forest, containing Arapaima's, arowana's, pacu's and red tail catfish:

They also keep an absolutely stunning couple of Cichlasoma citrinellum, or Midas cichlid:


If you're in an aquarist club, you can visit behind the scenes.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Massive Jaguar cichlids defending fry

Yes, the Parachromis managuensis (jaguar cichlids) have fry....again. This couple is constantly having either eggs, fry or young to look after. I think that I have at least 20 young Jaguars swimming around in the tank, in various sizes (from 2 inch to 4,5 inch). The good thing is that these young predators and the other fish ensure that not many more baby mana's will make it...  I had the same thing in the 360 gallon: I introduced 2 couples of convicts (Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum) about two weeks before the other inhabitants entered the tank, and I never got rid of them ever again. There must have been at least 40 young convicts in that tank at any given moment, even though it contained large mana's and loiselleis ;-)

Two videos:

And some other tank videos:

My favourites, the beautiful Parachromis loisellei:

And the massive male Vieja bifasciatum:

Black Arowana - Osteoglossum ferreirai

I have always loved arowana's. I tried an Australian Arowana (Sclerophagus jardini) once in the 360 gallon tank, but had to remove it within 3 days. It was so aggressive that I feared for the Amphilophus amarillo and Parachromis managuensis (both massive and aggressive fish).

In my Local Fish Store I came across a beautiful 15 inch South American Black Arowana, the Osteoglossum ferreira. South America has two types of arowana's: the Osteoglossum bicirrhosum (Silver Arowana) and the Osteoglossum ferreirai (Black Arowana), and both are known to grow over 3 foot. The advantage of the South American arowana's is that they are more relaxed then their Australian counterparts.

Asian arowana's could even be more suitable as they don't grow that big, but they are CITES protected, and very expensive to buy. It is legal to buy/own chipped and certified Asian Arowana's in Europe. Have a look at this fantastic setup by Oliver Knott.

Since my tank is 11.8 foot (360cm) and 951 gallon (3600 liter) I am confident that I can offer this fish a great and spacious life.

The only worry I had was that it would have a hard time with the big cichlids...but it adapted well, and ate from the start. I now feed it once or twice a day with fish, shrimps and mussels, and it grows like crazy ;-)

Building a trickle filter

After I, by accident, flushed the beadfilter into the tank (forgot to close one valve), I have been having issues with Blue Algae. After several large water changes it has become less and less, but it's still there. So I decided to buy/build a trickle filter. After some research I found the Bio Crystal Shower Filter. The only disadvantage is that it has a heigt of 4 foot (125cm). The available space above the tank is approximately 3 foot (90cm), so I discussed with the shop if I could have the top 30cm removed. This was not possible...

The cool thing of this filter setup is that the water trickles through the tower/filter medium, and that it never fills up with water (the return/outflow must have a sufficient diameter). This allows the aerobe bacteria to brake down the nitrates much faster then if they were submersed (more oxygen in air then in water).

So I decided to build one myself:

I bought a plastic trashbin (80 liter, 13 euros), and created an inflow and an outflow. The outflow is 40mm in diameter and the inflow 22mm. I perforated the inflow, and zig-zagged it several times to ensure that the water would trickle equally through the medium.


The pump is a 900 gallon (3500liter) Ocean Runner.

This is how I placed it above the tank. It rests on the tank, and it is kept in place with curtain wire ;-) The filter doesn't fill up with water, and the filter material is very light weight.


The filter material I used is Sera Siporax. If you intend to use this high quality filter substrate I can recommend to buy 50liters at once (and e.g. share it with friends if it is too much), as the price will drop significantly when you buy in bulk.
And on top of the medium I placed blue foam in order to filter out the biggest dirt. As the tank is not a pond (leaves) and the other filtration systems is run by a 3170 gallon (12000 liter) pump I hope this foam is enough to keep the siporax from getting to dirty.

Now hopefully the Blue Algae vanish....once the trickle filter has build up enough BIO-filtration capacity....