Hobbyist Gallery - David Erwin
David Erwin, Ontario, Canada e-mail:
My experience : First attempt was 15 years ago when I bred Aequidens pulcher. I am currently breeding Melanochromis johannii, Pseudotropheus flavus and Cichalasoma nigrofasciatus
Tank : Established in April 2004, 24” by 24” by 72” (183 x 61 x 61 cm) 180 gallons (680 liters). 60 gallons rockwork and 120 gallons water.
ojective : create a room divider viewable 360 degrees
aquascape: grey gravel, black silica sand, rocks from lake Ontario
water chemistry: pH 8, KH 8, GH 12, achieved with epsom salt, baking soda, aquarium salt, occasionally seachem cichlid salt. Nitrate 5 nitrite 0 ammonia 0.
Water changes : 30g 3 times monthly
heater : 300 w submersible in sump
filtration : wet/dry sump with particle filter , foam pad, act.carbon in tray, fluidized sand bed, 5 micron canister filter, UV sterilizer 25 w, grunfos pump 15 g/m,
lighting : 4 x 40w 48" 2 aquaglow 2 aquamarine 14 hours on
Livestock : melanochromis johannii 3m 5f and 10 fry, pseudotropheus flavus 3m 3f and 10 fry, synodontis multipuncatus x 2, bristlenose 1f, cichalasoma nigrofasciatus 9 in total (I have 3 breeding pairs. originally used to set up aquarium and build confidence. they were also free. They have produced over 200 fry that made excellent food for the africans. eventually they will go away as malawi stock increases.
hindsight : join something go somewhere and ask questions, l only did the first two what you see is my second and final attempt at aquascaping and water filtration.
foresight : no. 1 responsibility is providing the best water quality possible. The result is healthy fish with the
testimonial : I spent many weeks researching and MCH has the best info. l started knowing a little and in 4 months I was already breeding my fish. the “Hobbyist gallery” was my inspiration. thanks david
This tank is meant to be viewed from 360°. To my humble opinion the tank should be at least 80cm or better 100cm deep instead of the 60cm to give a total freedom in decoration and attain the obtained goal. Now the rocks are stacked in an elongated heap, which looks a bit “forced” to me. With a deeper (custom built?) tank there could be a more irregular rock design, which would add much to the natural look of it. All this doesn't mean that David didn't do a good job with this aquarium. The technical equipment is carefully hidden and only the inlet and outlet of the sump is visible. Furthermore, the technical specifications of the filter look excellent to me. Of course the presence of the Cichlasoma (Archocentrus) Nigrofasciatus is not recommended, but this minor "problem" will be solved as they will be removed in the future. They could be exchanged for another Mbuna species what wouldn't even cause overcrowding... unless these fish start breeding like crazy of course... Nice tank!
I'm puzzled too ... the technical stuff is a proof of careful planning for a task which is anything but easy: A tank that has to be viewable from all four sides ... This being said I appreciate the successful effort to hide (in an excellent way) all the technical stuff (are they hidden in the canopy?). The stocking level is actually low but forecasted to grow and the expected removal of C. nigrofasciatus will fix one of the "black spot" of this tank ... I appreciate - a lot - the "state of the art" technical equipment in use and the white / actinic light of this tank. The result of all the points mentioned earlier could be summarized as follows : a tank set up correctly, supported by excellent technical stuff, hosting two happily breeding colonies of M'buna ... What puzzled me is simply the "moon-crater like" appearance. If I was asked to give a suggestion this is the point I would investigate (i.e.: some "green" - Vallisneria? - coming out, here and there, among the rocks?). The main issue is that the tank is correctly set up and supported and the fish thrive.
I must say that I was a bit puzzled. When I saw it for the first time it game me the impression of a least inspired tank. Then I read the details David sent us and I started to evaluate it higher and higher. Building a tank which is to be viewed by all sides is one of the most difficult tasks. You have to hide almost everything and in this aspect the tank is almost a complete success. I like the combination of actinics and white lamps - always adds a bit to the color of the fishes (especially mbuna). The tank is definitely understocked at the moment and will probably create a colorful display when all the species are added (and the C. nigrofasciatus are removed of course). The decoration could be a bit more inspired but with this kind of tank there is really very little you can do. Perhaps make two piles instead of one - this would create a more pleasant / unusual look. The supporting system (filters, UV lamps etc.) is excellent - perhaps the heater is a bit small for this kind of tank.. especially if we take into account it is located in Ontario, Canada. Assuming the new world cichlids are gone, I would rate it as a well thought of, nicely built tank with a good supporting system and a good maintenance schedule. The presence of all this fry clearly indicates that this tank will be a successful one. The weak point is the "uniform" decoration which seems to lack inspiration.
Overall rating by MCH : 68/100