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Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:12 am
by Lee Nuttall
From the age of 12 i decided to have my first aquarium, a small 2ft tank with a couple of T meeki in there. I've always liked central american cichlids and dreamed of having a large tank. 21 years later i was able to fufill that dream.
The problem with large tanks is that you need a suitable place to install one, there is nowhere in my house that was suitable. So i decided to build a heavy duty shed and install the tank inside. First job was to isulate the shed, this was done with thick sheets of polystyrene which i attached to the wall and roof of the shed with silicone.
Electrics were next, these were run from the main box in the house. So far so good, building the stand was the next job.

As the shed had a wooden floor i knew that this was a problem, how would the floor stand the weight of the tank and concrete stand. The shed was built on a reinforced concrete pad, at least 7" thick, so the best thing to do was cut a hole of the tank dimensions in the wooden floor. This would then allow me to build the stand directly on to the concrete pad. I knew i wasn't going to have a sump built, so i decided to build a very sturdy stand from concrete blocks.
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This would then have a sheet of marine plywood laid on top and a thick sheet of polystyrene to cusion the tank.

Background
The background is made by a company called "back to nature". These can be very expensive to buy, but IMO they're worth it. These backgrounds allow you to hide everything behide them, so as not to ruin the illusion with a heater or filter pipe. You can also create a filter from the background, saving money buying a filter or building a sump.

My tank is 8ft long, the longest background is 6ft. To get round this problem i ordered two types of background, this would then allow me to cut and hopefully splice the two backgrounds together. I carefully cut the backgrounds to the correct size and then siliconed the joints together. This can be quite difficult, so i had to match it the beat i could.
I dont think it turned out to bad, i tried to hide the joins by pressing sand into the wet silicone.

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The background was then installed. I decided to use the background as a filter, this works in a simular way to a sump. A inlet hole and an outlet hole is drilled through the background. Water is drawn through by a pump through the inlet through all the media then back out the outlet. The tank is filled and ready for adding fish.
These shots were a couple of hours after filling.
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Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:15 am
by Bennyvis
looks very nice :)

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:34 am
by Lee Nuttall
Decoration

Deciding how to aquascape was a bit of a headache. I suppose with the background i was 50% there. I've always been a big Paratheraps/Vieja fan, their size and colours are an exciting combination. On deciding to keep some of these species, plants are a definate no no. So the only options are rocks and bogwood.
Here in England the bogwood thats sold, tend to be small shapeless and expensive. I needed big root type branches for the look i was after, this prompted me to go in the field and source it for myself. From my knowledge the only safe wood to use is oak and beechwood, i didn't have the time or wanted to risk using other types of wood.
Luckily those two species of tree are very widespread in my area. I stumbled across a fallen oaktree, full with dead and well weathered branches, so these were taken home, cleaned and prepared ready for the aquarium. Rocks aren't to much of a problem, these are best brought from a stone merchants. The rocks i used are a mixture of paddle stones and river rock, these give a more natural look, unlike grey slate.
Unlike planted aquaria, you can't really do much with rock and wood. The best thing to do is make little area's for territory and for fish to escape and retreat, the tree roots would add shape and structure to the layout. After a couple of years of experimenting with different layouts, The photo below is the latest result.
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Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:02 pm
by Bas Pels
nutty wrote:
Unlike planted aquaria, you can't really do much with rock and wood.
Funny

I would have written
unlike in planted tanks, now one has the opportunity to really appreciate rock and wood

Rocks and wood are harder to combine to something acceptable than plants are, but personally I like the results better - if a little masterpiece has been made. Still, piling up stones for 20 years I'm still learnig, and wood is rather new to me. So if a tank looks good, I will not change it for a year - or more

And sometimes I even add a plant, or two (one every few feet or so)

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:19 pm
by Lee Nuttall
I really like the rock and wood look, as you say with a bit of time and imagination, something special can be created. I've seen a lot of stunning layouts by some of you guys over in the netherlands, and these setups inspired me to create something a bit closer to nature. My problem with planted aquaria, especially Takashi Amano style, is that you would never find anything like that in a river system. I'm just a sucker for authenticity. :lol:

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:03 pm
by Lee Nuttall
The former occupants.


Paratheraps synspilus (female)
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Paratheraps zonatum/guttulatum? I never really identified this fish, perhaps he was just a variation of P.zonatum. :?
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Vieja maculicauda
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ex Cichlasoma pearsei
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H. nicaraguense (male) I eventually had a spawning pair.
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Face off between male nic and C.sajica (male)
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My old Cryptoheros cutteri pair
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Archocentrus multispinosa (female)
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Spotted silver dollers, these were great to use as dither fish.

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As the thread states the above fish have all been moved on. I'm starting a new tank project with some Vieja regani and T pasionis. I'll update progress as the new occupants are introduced.

I hope you liked the little insight of my aquarium, thanks for looking. :)

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 11:45 pm
by FIREFLY
very nice :)

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:06 pm
by Nuno Landeck APC 188
Uauuuu Very, Very nice....Wher do you buy the fish´s??

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:57 am
by SweterdJ
Cool! Veri nice pictures!

Re: Cichlid tank 1

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:29 pm
by GeraldKyle
Where are the pics?