Hobbyist Gallery - Srdjan Prazic

Srdjan Prazic, Serbia, e-mail:

I e-mailed you in march this year about the issue concerning mysterious cichlid I had bought. Soon it turned out not to be a mystery. The problem was solved and my Malawi tank has shown a quite progress since then. So I would like to describe my tank in its present form. Tank : 190 lit. 120 x 35 x 45 Filtration : External canister filter Ehim Profesionel 2226 Eheim spray-bar providing air. Heater :  Jagger TSRH 150 ; 150W Light : Currently 1 x 20W Gro-lux, and planning to add another one. Substrat : sand Rock work : Stones from local river. Background : Made from two-component foam (placed behind the tank) Water changes : weekly 50% Plants : none Population:

      Pseudotropheus Acei   4x

Pseudotropheus Ndumbi gold 4x

Maylandia zebra 8x (one big male and 7 juveniles)

Labidochromis caeruleus 4x

Ancistrus sp. 3x

Original plan was to put just 3 different species in 1M + 3F ratio, and I did that. But  soon I've got as a present from another aquarist an adult male of Maylandia zebra, and I had to adapt fish and myself to the situation. And that meant to provide some females to this big guy, and aditional hiding places for other cichlids. Generaly speaking, I couldn't give him away because it was a gift. And, since my tank is not very big, I was afraid for other cichlids at first, cause I'd added an agressive one, but he wasn't a problem at all and everythig was fine. Few days ago I put in the tank 7 juvis of Maylandia zebra and hopefully I'll get from 7 juvis 4 females. Since march till this day my fish spawned 5 times. Ps. Acei and Ps. Ndumbi gold. I raised 50 little cichlids which were donated to my hometown friends and my aquarist friends on the forum which I'm member of. I'm sending you pics of my tank and some of my pets so you could see what it looks like today. Photos of the tank and its left and right side are taken without a flash. The reason is more natural look, because with the flash on background looks pale and unnatural.Photos with the species of the cichlids alone were taken with flash on, and  you can see on them how the background became pale. To take picture of a fish especially cichlid is a hard work and needs patience. Although I've taken a pile of pics, I chose only the best ones. All of them are taken with Canon PowerShot A75. Aditionaly Photoshop was used to ajust light levels. I wanted to share all of this with you. I'm thankfull to you and your friends from MCH team for all the articles and beautiful pictures. Along with websites in my country I'm visiting regularly MCH and I'm still learning. MCH is the place with lots of people with open-handed help to share their knowledge in keeping and raising Malawi cichlids with others.

MCH Verdict
Two hundred liter or 55G tanks are very popular among cichlidkeepers. They are a reasonable step-up from the usual community aquarium. Making a nice show tank of them can be a real challenge though, as their relatively small size doen't allow much manoeuvring with rocks. Srdjan did a good job with the river rocks he used. The combination looks very natural to me, and my only comment is that he could have provided even more dark hiding places. My experience tells me that several brick walls won't stop an unleashed dominant Mbuna male though. The background on the outside is also a very nice and a clever way to obtain as much room as possible for the fish, especially in extremely shallow tanks like this one. This really works provided that the rear window is kept clean all the time and when the lightning is kept a bit dim and away from that background. Our local club Daphnia also uses this kind of backgrounds with their glass tanks on each show. One obvious advantage is the absence of chemicals leaking into the aquarium, so you really don't have to worry about paints or components that can harm your fish. The green spray bar is a disturbing element that should be avoided. A small trickle filter above this tank could resolve this and add some more aeration at the same time what's always beneficial. The Mbuna selection in this tank look very good. I only hope that the fish will behave when they reach their adult size though. The photo's are also worth mentioning. It's indeed nearly impossible to make good "flashless" pictures with a smaller digicam, but Srdjan seems to master the essential techniques though as his pictures look fairly good. A good tip is to take tank pictures without flash right after the lights have been switched on. That first minute the fish will not be moving very much, so then you can take sharp pics at 1/6th to 1/15th of a second, provided that you have the camera mounted on a tripod (the evening before?), powered on and ready to shoot 10 pictures in a row. All in all despite the size, this tank looks very good and it's equipped with very good material and first rate fish. 

The overall appearance of this tank is really good (it is a pity that the green pipe is in sight in the upper left corner). Despite the fact that I don't have many rounded stones in my tanks I do like them although in the long run the whole system would result in lack of hiding places in the long run. I also enjoyed (a lot) the «self made» back panel and I'd like to know more on its «behind the tank» position ... Technical supply is (at least to me) «top quality» which is usual brands like them are used. I also like the lighting (even though the use of Photoshop is mentioned). I am a bit puzzled because according to my experience one single lamp should result in a much darker environment (how much Photoshop was actually used?). Anyway, I would recommend a second lamp (and I would give a try to a blue one). Water changes, as mentioned, are more than enough ! Let's come to the fish now: very correctly, only Malawians (and more specifically only m'buna) are kept ... and judging from the pictures they are all in «top notch» conditions. My only concern are the Labidochromis caeruleus sp. "yellow" which are possibly «too mild» to stand the other tank-mates in the long run; Pseudotrophes acei are said to be «messy» - at least - fellows ... but, definitely, there's nothing else to add! This tank has been correctly built, equipped and aquascaped; it is maintained in an excellent way and the results are clearly seen: well kept fishes (eagerly spawning) are swimming in an environment that fits, almost 100%, their needs ... it's a work of art!

The first impression I got when I saw this tank for the first time was very positive. Although I was able to notice some (minor) faults here and there, the first impression is still here. This is a medium sized tank with an owner who knew exactly what he was looking for and - equally important - had the skill and the patience to do it. The maintenance schedule is excellent, the filtration on the right side and the aquascape is breathtaking (especially if you take into account that this is a self made "rockwork"). The population is a bit high but he knows it and I am sure that he will take care of this problem if it ever pops up. I would prefer a little bit more light but in this particular setup I wonder where to put it. Perhaps closer to the back of the tank so the excellent background is lighted more. However, this could lead to algae problems and the back glass has to stay crystal clear otherwise the whole impression is lost. In the tank you will find rocks and sand which is what will make those m'buna happy. The selection of the stones was a really good one. Rounded, with pale colors they make a really nice interior. The pile on the right is exactly the same color with the background which is a great plus. The spray bar could be attached on the side glass which would make it less visible. All in all, a really nice tank.

Overall rating by MCH :  83/100

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