Hi all, sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been about three months since I added the fish (11/15/2011) and everyone is doing great for the most part. I’ve had several people ask me about how much time/effort I have to spend keeping up with the tank. Due to the auto water changer, it’s pretty easy to maintain.
Automatic: The auto water changer cycles about 5.5 gallons an hour to maintain nitrates at roughly 10 ppm. With the heavy stocking and feeding, I think that’s pretty acceptable. Water bill rose about $15 a month which is also reasonable in my opinion. I would highly recommend an auto water changer!
- 1 hour to vacuum the bottom which gets really dirty. That’s one thing I would have done differently during setup is to go with pond filter sand (PFS) and taken my chances with the acrylic scratching. Several people advised me to do this but I guess I was just stubborn. Maybe someday I will convert it over.
- 15 minutes a week: Clean algae off acrylic. Being 8 feet long and 30 inches high and two sides viewable, it’s a ‘chore’ I don’t like to do, even if it only takes a few minutes a week. I think I’m going to bribe my 11 yeard old daughter to do this lol.
- 5 minutes to cut out filter pads to prefilter detritus before water flows into bio media of the wet/dry system.
- 10 minutes a day to feed fish twice. I could use my automatic eheim feeder but I like to interact with the fish when I feed it and they seem to recognize me over other people.
Growth in 3 weeks has been great, probably due to the auto water changer and large tank size. The fastest growers are easily the Pearseii and Zonatus who are both almost 6 inches, they started at a little over 3 inches. The others all have grown about 1.5 to 2 inches.
Here are a few updated pictures, note I adjusted the intensity to 50% white and 100% blue and it brought out the color a bit. I’m going to add a little more white later.
My favorite Vieja to date, Vieja Bifasciata or commonly known as the Bifa. Great combination of attitude, size and color.
Mystrey fish lol, Jeff Rapps indicated it’s a black belt but it doesn’t look like my other black belt I have. Still a nice fish that is relatively peaceful.
Check out the Raphael catfish I got to help clean up. I rarely see him as he hides 99% of the time during the day and comes out at night due to his nocturnal nature.
Fastest grower and beautiful but aggressive fish, Vieja Zonatus who is pushing 6.5 inches now and seems to get bigger daily
Amphilophus Amarillo who is developing a cool little hump
Half tank shot, removed a bit of rocks to give the fish more room. I experimented with alot of rocks, very little rocks and determined a good balance between swimming room and hiding places. However, I seem to make changes weekly as my wife can attest to
Big boy male Argentea who is stunning and still the boss of the tank. Good thing he’s not too mean and only occasionally shows his dominance.
Carpintus Escondido aka Texas Cichlid although it’s really from Mexico. Great color, slow growth and tends to try to start fights but always backs down after lol
Beautiful Amphilophus Alfari getting some nice streamers.
Trimac has grown a bit and used to be very aggressive but has settled down a little. They are supposed to be terrors so we’ll see how he does as he gets bigger. My family loves his red eyes.
These two ‘guys’ are characters, Red Devil (labiatus) and Amphilophus Xilo. I was told they were two males but the lovebirds seem to have paired up and are always moving the gravel and pretty aggressive to anyone who comes near their nest. Note the second picture, I was rearranging some rocks and the xilo took a bite out of my hand drawing blood and leaving a scar lol.
I will try to update the blog more often and take a video and some more equipment pictures this coming weekend. So far, I’m really enjoying this aquarium and its inhabitants.