Here is a video of a recent aquarium makeover I did. The tanks are two 350-gallon monsters set side by side so that they look like one long 700-gallon tank. These aquariums have been running for several years, and were not very well maintained. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), the previous keeper was unable (or unwilling) to keep the filters clean, and the owners went looking for someone else to do the job. I apologize for the iPhone video. I did not think about documenting the project when I started, and the phone was all I had with me when I realized I should probably make a blog video.
Dave Herring is the owner/operator of a long-established aquarium maintenance company in Indianapolis: African Adventure. I knew Dave casually as another ‘fish guy’ when I was doing the retail aquarium thing in Bloomington and Indianapolis over 20 years ago. I ran into Dave at the ACA convention this past July. He was wearing a t-shirt that I designed and sold at the Louisville ACA convention… back in 1992!
Dave built himself an awesome fish house on the back end of his garage, and he is justifiably proud of it. He invited some friends and I over for a visit on the Sunday of the convention. Dave is also the leader of a rock band, and he built a ‘party’ room for his band to perform over the fish house. Dave’s fish are probably the rockin’est cichlid in the midwest. Here is Dave’s fish room. Enjoy!
The Africa Live exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo is one of my favorite galleries to visit, because it features aquariums dedicated to most of the major (or at least famous) freshwater ecosystems that are of interest to aquarium keepers. And those displays are LARGE. Most zoos/aquariums have Lakes Malawi and/or Tanganyika exhibits, but most are not on the scale of what you will see at the San Antonio Zoo. But it is the West African river display that (in my biased opinion) takes the cake!
Scott Carlson is a hobbyist in the Quad Cities area (Iowa/Illinois) who I have known for a while from American Cichlid Association conventions and other aquarium events. Having the chance to visit his fish room was a real treat. Scott’s room is great for viewing fish. It is set up like a store: dark room, lights directly over the tanks and clean glass. He filters the tanks with sponge filters. One of the filters in each tank is usually powered by a water pump that creates current. The others are powered by air that is provided by a linear piston air pump.
The vertical PVC pipe with a strainer that can be seen in a couple of the tanks is a part of the water change system. Scott uses gravity to drain water out through that pipe when he urns a valve over a drain in his floor. There is a water delivery spigot over the tanks that he attaches a hose to in order to refill the tanks. I had a lot of pictures of the system, but I lost the images in a tragic laptop file accident. The problem was between the chair and the keyboard. At least you get to see Scott’s pretty fish….
Mike Schroeder is a member of the Quad City Fish Keepers, the Quad Cities area aquarium club that invited me to give a talk at their January (2011) swap meet. Mike invited me in to see his fish room and let Mathew and I take pictures and video. Mike was described to me by another Davenport-area hobbyist as ‘the guy we all blame for our Lake Malawi cichlids’, because for many years Mike managed a local store that heavily promoted cichlids. Mike is heavily invested in Lake Malawi species, and he breeds a lot of them. He covered three tables at the QCFK swap, and I am told that what he brought was only half of what he usually brought. Here is a glimpse of Mike’s fish room:
This peacock is very uncommon in the hobby. I purchased six juveniles in April, 2010, at the Columbus Area Fish Enthusiasts’ workshop. The fish were donated to the club by Steve Lundblad, an expert on Aulonacara. Steve has colonies of almost all the peacock species and locations, at least those that are available. I bought the fish for my son, Matthew, who is really into the Lake Malawi cichlids. He raised them well, but it turned out that there were at least 4, more likely 5, males in the group of six. This video shows the most dominant male. The ‘female’ in the video is, in my opinion, a confused male that will not color up in the presence of the larger male. We have another fish that is most likely a female, but she does not appear in the video.