First setup for "La mia Africa"

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My dream has finally become reality!

Taking advantage of the 'excuse' that the time available is less and less, that all aquarium plants (above) requires time and hard work .... I thought that the solution (?) could be a nice change from my previous 'Tropical World' in a Malawi habitat. Well, thanks to my friend George K. , with passion and patience worthy of the best aquarium .. one evening we looked at in the face and the word 'we do?' looking at the aquarium on one side, 40 kg of fine sand on the other, and finally 100 kg of rocks just bought in a nursery ... We said, 'Come on!' I say only that the operation started, among the 'blessings of his wife' at 20.30 to finish to 03.00 at night!

Yes, you read right! We emptied the first tank half water, plants and roots, and then ... slowly ... We raked away all the gravel medium that was present .... not really never ended! After emptying the filter, I switched back to try to clean a little 'water (too turbid to allow the construction of the rocks) and spent 45 minutes during which we provided a rich dish of pasta with chilli ... We have come back to finish the final work. I must say that the placement of rocks, which are essential for a production Malawi, has required much time and so much study, time in which one of two positions, the stones, and the other from a distance expressed its' no, do not go ', or' try to move closer to the bottom ', etc.. Well, after some serious fear due to rolling just avoided some rocks just settled for 20 Kg .. we got to the final result, which is what I show you below. Well, a lot are also the two 30W fluorescent tubes from one another and from 12,000 K actinic (which serves to give a blue color which brings out the beautiful colors of Malawi cichlids). Essentially I am very satisfied.

Here are the features of 'techniques' of the tub.

RIO 180 (150 liters net) 

2 filters, 1 internal Juwel (Perlon wool and razor clams), 1 external Pratiko 100 (which function only 'organic' to enforce the first (because the fish are very dirty) and then working as a backup first, in the unfortunate event that it should stop. I have also installed the APC UPS 600VA by guaranteeing autonomy to the pumps in case of excessive shut-off power supply. Fine sand specially purchased, color brown, 40 kg, I left 'fall' from having set up the rocks and assured myself that the placement was as stable as possible. I did not use any rubber mat between the rocks and the bottom (glass) aquarium. The rocks I bought about 80 cents / kg  near my house, limestone or not is not important, the values of hardness of this habitat should be particularly high. In the middle I placed a plant of Vallisneria Gigantea that in addition to making a good impression and be very resistant (My Africa - complete setup has gone from very soft water with pH = 6.5 to tough and pH greater than 8), resists quite well to the cichlids that I have provided.

And so to the end: the entry of new residents. Given that I have rearranged from scratch an aquarium, and then the filter was already ripe and running, I simply waited a few days after departure in order to stabilize water values based on these guidelines: Ph = 8.2 Kh = 14 GH = 12 T = 25C at this point, study the compatibility between mbuna and non-verified that a 180 lt gross it is only right to welcome the cichlid rather demanding in terms of space, I decided on three species (each represented by a trio 1M + 2F) rather different and, in particular the risk of hybridization would not make waves (fairly easy in some cases). The choice fell on Aulonocara Stuartgranti COBUE, Labidochromis caeruleus, Pseudotropheus Saulosi.

Pictured to the side, you can see the male of A. Stuartgranti on parade vs. female (immediately above). For the record, after about two weeks after in the aquarium, this couple has been reproduced, and the female incubated the eggs in the mouth first and then fry for about 4 weeks. Unfortunately, perhaps because that was the first time, or maybe I do not know what else one day the female had nothing in his mouth, and there was no sign of fry in the tank .... Similarly, even a pair of P. saulosi formed, it is coupled. The female has the eggs into your mouth for about a week, then obviously not fertilized, has well thought of eating them! As if all this were not enough, at the same time, I bought a very beautiful female Lab caeruleus to complete the trio (initially the only party with only a couple). Sar was the stress of transportation and placement in a tank, but after 48 hours I noticed that he was hiding behind a rock and its scales were ruined under the effect of white dots, projecting the effect was to create as spread of small lacerations on the skin of the fish. ICTIO or not, I immediately followed the advice of a great lover of African cichlids and, among other member of the CIR, Francesco Zezza. While predisposed the thermostat on my heater (200W) at a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, I prepared a solution of salt and water (from kitchen) at the rate of 100g per 100 liters of water. I then proceeded to slowly pour the contents into the aquarium, and I started waiting. (I recommend it to slowly pour the salt in the tank, checking the water conductivity!) To my amazement, when I feared that by now there was more to be done for poor female Lab and saw her lying on the bottom always more suffering, and full of bruises caused by this disease, after 72 hours of starting treatment I started to see improvements: sometimes went out to eat, began to swim quickly, in short, had taken a very similar behavior to that of a healthy fish!! When I write 12 days have passed since the beginning of treatment, which will last another two days later which will gradually lower the temperature and make a good exchange of water .... I can not claim to have saved (and to have avoided an infection in the aquarium), but certainly none of my people has shown signs of being unwell, and the 'sick' now swims like a rocket from one side of the aquarium courted by boy! Finally, I must say that the experience with African cichlids is just beginning, but the differences with the rest  of Aquariums lived up to now are enormous, but also full of surprises and excitement every day! (The treatment is successful, the fish are fully recovered!) In March 2007, the inhabitants of this pool were transferred to a more comfortable environment, ie a 330-liter aquarium that I set up with the same rocks, but I with 2 external filters and a heater (given the size) of 300W. This tank I called 'My  Africa 2'! The tank above, however, was reorganized with a pond in Central American (hence the name 'Central America') and hosts, from the same period, small (currently 2 cm) of Thorichthys Maculipinnis, wonderful and colorful cichlids Central America (Mexico).