Wow have not updated this blog in 2.5 years, so much has happened but I will try to summarize.

First and foremost, the aquarium and house are no more, a tragic fire on 8/28/2014 took our house, possessions and beloved pets including 4 dogs, 3 parrots, 2 cats and all the fish in my aquariums.

The night that changed our lives








10 month update

10 month update

Aggressive couple Xilo and beautiful Red devil(Labiatus)

Vieja group shot, black belt cichlid and heterospilia facing off, they are all not too aggressive though, mostly posturing unlike the Amphilophus


Other unlikely couple, Amphilophus Sagittae and the little but rowdy Amarillo

The two bosses, male Trimac, my favorite fish for color, size and personality and the male 14″ Argentea


2 that have colored nicely, Paratheraps Hartwegi and Carpintis Vontehillo


Couple of group shots, if you compare this from when I first put the fish in Nov 2011, they have grown a bit, tank is getting a little crowded and I might have to rehome a few.

Will try to take a video soon.  Till next time :)

5 Month Update 4/25/2012

amarillo 4″, a bit shy still but bulking up nicely, cool little hump

sagittae 10″ has gotten taller, hump has grown a little

xilo 7.5″ has gotten bigger, thicker and much meaner, used to be so mellow

alfari 5.5 ” or so, nice streamers, very interactive and cool fish with nice blue spots

blackbelt has not grown much around 4.5″ maybe female?

hartwegi 5.5″ got thicker and a little bigger great vieja!

the always showy 12″ male argentea

rescued jaguar about 10″ very mellow

very cool and active zonatus 7″ fast grower and aggressive

the beautiful red devil about 10″ now

Cleaning Time

About once a month, I do a 75% water change. It’s actually pretty easy, I take the mag7 pump I use for the auto water drip system and put in the tank to drain about 500 gallons of water. Then I take my python water changing hose to fill from my garage sink at around 78 degrees. Lastly, I add seachem safe to the tank to remove chloramine.

Here is a picture of the water filling up….note my daughter in the background giving our parrots a bath :D

I’ll post a video next week of the tank.

My New Favorite Fish: Amphilophus Trimaculatus

aka the Trimac. This is a base fish breeders use to create the cool flowerhorns out there. In fact, it’s hard to find a pure trimac with all the cross hybridization of trimacs and Vieja’s in their attemps to produce better hybrids like flowerhorns. Luckily, I got mine from a reliable source, Jeff Rapps from Tangled Up in Cichlids, his fish are always top notch.

Mine has grown from 3.5″ to a very stocky 5.5″ and is very interactive. He recognizes me and reacts to me differently than other people who approach the tank. He’s also a favorite of my wifes, especially the red eyes. I’m hoping in a few months he will even let me pet him :D

Everyone else has grown a bit too to the point that the tank seems really full. This is a bad picture during my weekly cleaning of the glass but you can see for yourself:

Cheers until next time.

3 month update

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.

Maintenance schedule:

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.