Rocks setup for African Cichlids aquarium

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This article start from the desire to share with other people my experience in setting up of a tank "Tanganyika like". My goal was to create as many shelters as possible for fish, with holes and hiding places where fish can go.

The starting point (see aquarium), probably not great but this is it, is a 200 liters aquarium called Rio 180, which had already seen, in recent years, numerous installations and layouts, in short what I like to call a "training ship".


This time, however, I decided to breed cichlids of Lake Tanganyika, and in order to provide the largest number of hideouts and caves for shelter and establish territories, I thought of setting up a rock wall entire back wall and perhaps could also mask the filter internal, not really beautiful, that stands in the right rear of many Juwell aquariums.

Problem, however, that the rocks in the tank, not easy to tackle, because we all know - even for someone experienced it - that the high weight on the glass bottom or perhaps worse than those on side can affect the integrity of the tank.

For this reason, and to try to minimize the problem, I focused on two different solutions that I tried to pursue simultaneously:

1) create a support structure (hidden) that allowed me to reduce the rocks (and weight) and used at the same time created an empty space in the back, not visible to the viewer the tank, but where the fish could also seek shelter and hiding (and why not breed and raise young by reducing predation);

2) use of stones for their character, they weigh less than others and therefore could be used without much load on the glass bottom of the tank.


The material used - all recovery - is what you see in the picture:


• light plastic boxes type of fruit to the market recovered in the home;

• network hard green plastic in roll, recovery of a previous work, the kind you use to close the windows of the cellars and prevent access to cats;

• empty packs of food for fish, all the same size, which was removed the sticker work under a jet of hot water;

• twine to secure the network.

• Purchased rocks (these are) at a garden in Rome, at the price of 1 euro / kg (at the end were used about 25 kg of material);


• a meter of corrugated PVC cables, 40 mm diameter


The choices that I decided to take are as follows:

1) already in mind other ways seen and used in other aquariums, and based on the advice of his friend John T.del CIR, I tried to create a support structure / support (and filling inside / rear) made parts plastic boxes (those of fruit, light, black plastic) and a network of rigid plastic, rolled and "filled" in with the media that could give strength / stiffness and crushing under the weight of the rocks that would later above resting.

Needless to say that the solutions are all 


"Remedy" and then obtained with the minimum cost. Therefore the media inside the network were obtained using cans of food for fish (all of the same height) of course left open on top to prevent flotation, and were included in the load-bearing "sausage" network that I went to put in the central support structure, as can be seen from the photograph below.


This solution has also allowed me to obtain a central slightly "returned" or concave or C with the two sides, which - according to my tastes - gives a pleasant appearance and provides more depth to everything.


For boxes, I cut and recovered hand side of this because with greater strength and stability under the various points where the plastic is welded, and then because so I recovered two trees for every box (at the end I used only a ), identical, presenting an opportunity to be lying on the bottom, upside down, creating an area slightly downhill, that acted as support and guidance of the rocks that I leaned over and that they should have a "drop-down."

2) lava rocks commonplace, you can find at any garden shop, of various sizes, I divided appropriately before the job in three sizes, small, medium and large. Obvious that during the "installation" I put down the big, medium and small center at the top. All this job served also to give greater harmony and a more aesthetically pleasing result at all, why not also some perspective! Moreover, the larger rocks placed at the bottom, having larger than hide well plastic structure, offer a base of support larger and safer to the elements that go to place them above, and this is true - reducing the size of the rocks and then thickness of the rock - to the upper surface of the tub!


Then, work began. First I removed the plants that were in the tub and I temporarily put them in a bowl for later reuse. You have no idea of what "green" we can produce in an aquarium until you put in your hands! Then, clean well the sandy bottom, resting one end side I made the tapes and the "sausage Central.

I pushed right items so that they could be fixed firmly on the bottom few inches to drowning in the sand. Then began the work to "pose", the longest in time, also because it required constant movement on the basis of taste and as "rose" The Rock. After about 1 hour the wall was completed, leave the tub for 24 hours and eliminated the substance that inevitably went into suspension, I reinserted a colony of Neolamprologus Multifasciatus, some plants (Vallisneria) and I took some photos on the achievement that seems acceptable. The picture you see below!.


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