I visited the COAST aquarium club in southern California a few weeks ago, and one of our tour stops was Dr. Anthony Mazeroll’s fish room. Dr. Mazeroll is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Soka University of America. His work on wild fish genetics and environmental impact of humans takes him all over the world. His fish interests are just as broad. He has a huge DIY aquarium in his living room that is full of Lake Tanganyika cichlids. His fish room has a fish diversity from fancy bettas to wild discus. Dr. Mazeroll is a man truly dedicated to tropical fish, both professionally and as a hobby. Enjoy….
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!
Jim Cormier was my host when visiting the New England Cichlid Association in February, 2012. We had plenty of time to kill between my arrival in town and the meeting, so im took me to see his fish room. My assumption was that we were going to his house, but that was not the case. Jim’s hatchery is located in rental space inside an old industrial mill. I wish we had places like this in Wisconsin! I would love to double the size of my room and have it ‘off site’. Not that I dislike having my fish room in my basement (very convenient), but just think about how easy it would be to ‘get lost’ if the aquariums were on the other side of town!
Here is a video of my 75-gallon Lake Tanganyika community tank. I am really into keeping cichlid communities, especially groups of species from locations with a lot of different cichlid species. Lake Tanganyika is interesting because there are so many fish with different forms and lifestyles, which makes establishing a community of several pretty easy to do. In this case, there are only two species in this aquarium that have close to the same niche. Do you know which two they are?
I previously posted a video showing the Lake Tanganyika shell-dweller Lamprologus ocellatus ‘gold’. They share a 50 breeder aquarium with the larger and upper space-oriented Paracyprichromis nigripinnis. This is one of my favorite ‘cyps’, because is stays a bit smaller than the Cyprichromis species and is not as aggressive. And they are strikingly pretty. A showing male is a dark pink with neon blue edges. They really stand out in a tank. This species is a mouth brooder, but my fish are just getting to the size that I expect them to start spawning. Hopefully there will be some females with eggs soon.
One of my Lake Tanganyika communities pairs the shell-dwelling Lamprologus ocellatus ‘gold’ with the more open-water Paracyprichromis nigripinnis. The shellies are a lot of fun to watch because they are very territorial and do not realize that they are small. The tank is a 50-gallon ‘breeder’ with a matten-filter wall (Poret foam) that is air driven with two lift tubes. The substrate is mostly white silica sand mixed with a little bit of darker fine gravel for contrast. The gold ocellatus dig quite a bit, and I keep them busy by stirring up the sand every water change.
A friend of mine, Rick, recently sold his house and will not be able to set up his new fish room until after his new home is built. I do not look forward to the day when I have to tear down my fish room. Lots of work… and a depressing chore to boot! I offered to keep a few of Rick’s fish for him until he can get set back up, and one of the species he has deposited with me is the Lake Tanganyika cichlid Julidochromis regani. Rick brought a colony of six fish over, and I pulled out these two fish to keep separately as, I hope, a breeding pair. Rick has had the fish for a couple years, but had never seen a spawn. The larger of these two fish is pretty robust, and based upon some research I think that it is a female. Apparently, the females of this species that get larger and thicker. I chose the largest of the more slender specimens, that was also very colorful, in hopes that it is a male. The last clue that they may be a pair is that they get along. The larger ‘female’ tolerates the smaller ‘male’, and they often forage together in the front area of the tank (where I can actually see them). All of the other Julidochromis species I have fight all the time, so I have to assume that if they are not breeding they would be fighting. Please take look and let me know if you think that these two fish at least have the potential to form a pair. Are they at least male and female?
One of the Lake Tanganyika communities in my fish room combines a small colony of Tropheus duboisi and a pair of Lepidiolamprolugus hecqui. The L. hecqui is a really cool shell-dwelling lamp that does not get as large, or as nasty, as the more familiar Lepidiolamprologus species (L. kendalli, for example). I started with six of them, but a pair quickly established their dominance and I had to remove the others. This video is from the pair’s first spawn. I will shoot a new clip soon to show how much they have grown in the past six months.