Weald's new cichlid display aquarium
Blog post written by Andy | 03 July 2012 | Category: In the shop
I thought I would do a special blog this month on our new show tank I am putting together in the shop as it has caused so much interest!
For what seems like years I have been pestering Gary for a decent size show tank to showcase African cichlids...and all that moaning has finally paid off! Gary has given me a blank cheque and hopefully I won't disappoint.
I keep these fish at home, so does my partner in crime Jon (he actually has 5 aquariums on my last count!). Although we stock a selection of Cichlids at the shop and Jon and I are always recommending them to customers, people still don't see how amazing a properly maintained and stocked African cichlid aquarium can be. Hopefully when people see my new show tank it will help!
I have chosen a Juwel Rio 400 with a volume of 450 litres as I wanted something with a real "Wow" factor, something to allow me to show how big and impressive these fish can be, but more importantly, an aquarium I know to have good filtration and reliable equipment. We have been selling Juwel aquariums for years as we are really impressed with the quality and reliability or the range. As I've mentioned, I have a Juwel aquarium, Jon has his 2 main display aquariums as Juwel and even Gary's son has a 125 litre Juwel aquarium at home. They offer great value for money and come with all the equipment you need to keep tropical fish with Filter media, pump, heater and lighting all hidden away in a box in the corner. The Juwel filter has several different types of filter sponges inside to cover the complete cleaning spectrum. From carbon pads for chemical filtration, white polishing pads for small particles of dirt, Nitrate and Phosphate absorbing sponges for algae prevention to complex biological media for efficient breakdown of harmful waste products such as Ammonia and Nitrite. They are all kept in easy to remove baskets for quick and easy filter maintenance.
As I will explain in the second part of this blog, the show tank will be heavily stocked and as these fish get large, I will be fitting an external filter on the aquarium as well. An external filter is exactly that; a filter that sits outside the aquarium and pumps water through a huge selection of media and the clean water travels through pipe-work back into your tank. The advantages of these filters are firstly that all of the equipment is outside the aquarium leaving more room for livestock, and secondly, the sheer amount of filter media and subsequent volume and surface area means much more efficient biological filtration which is a real must for larger cichlid set ups.
We are going to use a new type of filter made by API called the NEXX, a new style of external filter designed to make filter maintenance quicker and easier than ever before! We viewed this filter being cleaned at a recent fish show and it was cleaned in 4 minutes without a single drop of water being spilt! We were blown away by how simple it was to use. A simple twist of a handle isolates the filter section allowing you to disconnect it from the main filter body and carry it where ever it needs to go to be cleaned. The pump continues to work, keeping the water constantly moving and oxygenated and the filter unit simply clips back on to continue cleaning. Another unique feature is the fact you can "bolt on" more filter sections to improve cleaning or to keep a larger volume of water clean. The addition of these extensions also increases the efficiency of the pump and actually improves its output! I didn't believe this so one of the manufacturers came down with a load of testing equipment and I'm happy to say proved me wrong! I will be happy to show customers the filter working on our show tank so please feel free to ask me any questions.
Trying to replicate the fishes' natural environment as close as possible, I have fitted some Juwel white rock effect backing to the inside aquarium using Juwel silicone. I have also covered the filter for continuity. I think it looks amazing - I have it at home - and I know you (and the fish!) will like it as well. Having a backing gives a greater sense of depth and creates a more natural looking environment, and as algae starts to grow on it many fish will start to graze on it. A specific family of cichlids known as Mbuna are renowned algae grazers and are naturally found in rocky areas of the lake eating algae from rocks.
I will use sand and white rock to aquascape the aquarium and I will go into detail with the "hows" and "whys" in my next blog.
The final piece of equipment will be an internal digital thermometer for more accurate temperature readings and to make sure the heater is working.
It's a lot of hard work but definitely a labour of love and it's great seeing how much interest it's generating. If you haven't seen it so far come and have a look and tell me what you think and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.
In my next blog I will be running through the maturing process of the aquarium, the aquascaping and lighting set up, and finally give a brief rundown of the fish, their habitat and behaviour and a selection of what's going in there!
Well, back to it...
See you all soon.
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