Malawi Biotope: The rubble zone

The 15th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014

germany Germany. Alexander Görz

Volume: 1400 L
List of fishes: Labidochromis hongi, Labidochromis caeruleus, Cynotilapia afra Gallireya Reef White Top, Melanochromis maingano, Labeotropheus trewavasae, Pseudotropheus zebra Red, Dimidochromis compressiceps, Sciaenochromis fryeri, Synodontis multipunctatus
Biotope description: The aquarium shows a cross-section of the rubble zone of Lake Malawi. In detail, it points to the location at which the gravel zone passes into the sand Zone. After I had seen numerous underwater photos of Lake Malawi, I have picked out the appropriate stone material. My choice fell on basalt rock. This is similar to the rocks of Lake Malawi and is therefore ideally suited. I have installed stones in different sizes from 60 kilograms to 50 grams. Right beginning I placed the stones almost to the water surface so there are many caves now. These stones fall off to the left into the sand zone. As substrate I used quartz sand of different grain. There are 125 kg total. The back wall is covered from the outside with a black film. Through this film a custom lighting gives a great depth. I have co-developed the light with a friend. It was made from programmable LEDs, we can adjust color and brightness of individual areas. This results in a very natural impression of the aquarium. Professionals like the light so much that we decided now to bring it to market. We have founded our start-up company. We have set the lighting so that all stones have an algae growth. The mbuna cichlids eat these algae very well. The volume of the aquarium is 1400 Liters. The aquarium is filtered by a Fluval FX5 and Eheim 2250. In addition, I use 3 flow pumps, each with a capacity of 8000 liters per hour. They are differently controlled by timers. I have also installed an automatic water change. With an automatic pouring machines I control the supply of fresh water. My biggest concern was to set up the aquarium as naturally as possible and thus to offer the fish a nice biotope.