Hobbyist Gallery - Wendy Robertson


Wendy Robertson,  South-Ayrshire, Scotland, UK. E-mail:

I am a married mother of 3 boys, well 2 men and one teenager,residing in South West Scotland.(UK) I have all ways dreamed of owning a fish tank and was delighted last Oct when my husband bought me an early Christmas present. Question was what to put in it? whilst waiting for my present to arrive I did a lot of research and decided I would love to have Malawi cichlids, great but nearest good stockist is an hour away, never mind, lots of car trips planned !!!. I cycled my tank in 5 weeks with 5 yellow labs, (if I was to do it again I'd do fishless cycle) however I kept up lots of small water changes and didn't lose any fish and now after 4 months I have completed my stock for now, till I get another tank any way.


My tank measures 48L"X24H"X18D" which equates to 65imp gallons (120 X 60 X 44 cm, 300 liters). PH 7.5 Ammonia 0 nitrite0 nitrate0. I do a 25% clean every Saturday along with substrate hoover.Lighting consists of 2X florescent tubes, 1 white,1blue, on for 12hrs though I tend to switch white one off in the evening and just run with blue one.1, 300w heater set at 78f. Substrate sand, though I would like to add darker sand or something to take the brightness of bottom, its really hard here to find what I want, having to order off Internet.Filtration consists of 2 X Eheim Ecco 2233 external filters, housed under unit, I have spray bars on the return pipes for extra movement to surface, also I can tell at a glance if flow was to slow down or stop working.Rocks consist of tuffa rock, holey rock, ( I tend to buy this whenever I see it as its hard to find here) and rocks I picked up at beach and rivers, well washed and boiled for several hours.       


I have the following

Labidochromis Caeruleus 1 male 3 females & 1 juvenile

Cynotilapia Mbamba 1 dominant 2 females & 2 sub dominant, (will probably take these back soon but for moment all well with them)

Melanochromis Johanni 1 male 1 female

Pseudotropheus Acei 1 male 1 female

Synodontis Multipuntatus 1

and finally Sciaenochromis Fryeri 1 male and 1 female.(the male was bought by mistake but has turned out beautiful, i asked local fish shop about him and they suggested a female for him) Will see how things go with them.

I feed them twice a day, morning pellets, afternoon flake, I also prepare peas and courgette which I cook briefly then freeze in ice cube trays and give twice a week, sometimes also I give shrimp. The catfish gets pellets left at night, along with cucumber and courgette.


MCH Verdict

Great tank for the fish that live in it, as there are many hiding places and caves for them. Inhabitants are perfect for each other, and the Sciaenochromis fryeri won't do much harm to the lightning fast Mbuna fry. Maintenance and lighting also sounds correct. The absence of plants and the usage of sand makes the picture complete. The sand could be a bit darker indeed, but it doesn't really bother me. What bothers me more is the stacking of the rocks. Of course the 18" depth doesn't allow much flexibility, but this wall of rocks does look a bit odd to me - at least. The background can be seen through the cracks, and the different colour of the various stones also doesn't add to the natural appearance in my opinion.

Looks good! This has been my first impression when I first looked at this tank (especially when I consider this is her first tank). A nice rock “building” with lots of crevices (future fry will appreciate all of them!) even if the top line seems (to me) a bit ... how can I say ...  too "uniform" as far its "profile" is concerned. OK, I admit that probably I am too fussy! Also the chosen sand is nice to look at, even though I would prefer something a bit darker. Stocking level is correct (I think there is still room for a small number of grown-up fry by the tank's inhabitants !). At this point I think that one pair of piscivores should not be that much of a trouble according to my experience. A low survival rate is still to be expected. The tank could be a bit bigger but, all in all, it is not that bad (in fact I would choose a tank of this size if I were to keep m'buna !)… Filtration is also on the right side as we can see in the filter compartment (two Eheim units!). Swimming room looks correctly used and fishes seem to thrive … Thus, this tank is the evidence that, provided you are careful at the beginning, you can have a NICE tank even with in your first attempt.

Well, this tank shows a bit more imagination in aquascaping and a nice background is added too. I would prefer a purely "rocky" picture as a background but still this one blends nicely with the rockwork. Moreover, the use of a large number of rocks creates  enough crevices for the inhabitants and ensures that some of the mbuna fry will survive. Sand was also chosen as a substrate which is a nice change from the crushed coral ones. The stocking level is about right and when the two C. mbamba are removed it will become even better. The presence of the piscivore hap (S. fryeri) is a weak point of course as this will reduce the survival rate of the fry in this tank, however, its relatively small adult size doesn't disturb the overall picture too much. The absence of plants and bogwood is a plus for this particular tank since the space is not ample and the current configuration makes the best use of it. The technical stuff is not out of sight but still they are nicely arranged in the back corners so they are not distracting. The height of the rockwork is also a plus in this tank - I just hope she has somehow secured the stones in place. This stone on the top (right side of tank) wouldn't allow me to sleep well at night. Overall a nice tank which definitely reflects the fact that the owner searched for information before setting it up and spent some time during aquascaping it. As a personal taste, I like this type of lighting. The filtration is adequate for this type of tank and stocking levels and the maintenance schedule is on the right side, something reflected in the measurements - although the pH could be a bit higher.

Overall rating by MCH :  78/100

Back ] Up ] Next ]

Site Search 


Malawi Cichlid Homepage © 1999-2006. All rights reserved.