Inspirational aquariums: A thing for Redheads

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The Internet allows the world to view some of the finest aquariums and Nathan Hill picks this notable set-up from among them.

In setting up this tank, the aquarist wants to give us the impression of Central America, complete with desolate landscaping reminiscent of a Mexican river.

The plants are a little out of place, being the tough African Anubias and the addition of the unmissable loricariids won’t be to everyone’s liking. I’m a little unsure about what looks like a giant danio in the background, but things at least seem to be peaceable enough.

Lighting looks to be quite intense, suggesting that maintenance may be in high order to keep algae in check, and, given the redecorating tendencies of the Redhead cichlids (Vieja synspila), the plants may not stand much chance of staying attached to any one point for too long.

Admittedly, it lacks the pizzazz of a brightly coloured, wave action reef tank brimming with corals, but for the fan of cichlids this’ll be a tank to relate to, and maybe even something you’d want to rig up at home for yourself.

What you would need

Tank: A braceless 150 x 45 x 45cm/60 x 18 x 18” aquarium, available for around £300.

Cabinet: This looks custom made, so expect to pay another £250 here.

Filtration: Any system would need to be big to cope with the mucky fish and a Fluval FX5 would be wise, at £366.99. A surface skimmer attachment for about £5 has also been added.

Heating: A single 300w heater is taking care of the temperature for you, and if wanting to copy this set-up a single Eheim Jager would suffice at £25.70.

Lighting: This effect can be achieved with a single 120cm/48” T8 luminaire available from Arcadia, priced at £214.99.

Substrate and décor: Wood and substrate could be pricey, given the sizeable chunks of wood. Budgeting for a rough £100 could be wise.

Fish: What a mixed bag! At the top end, you have a large Royal panaque at around £75, where young Vieja synspila can be picked up for around £8.95, although adults command a much higher price. All in, I’d estimate a fish value of around £150 for this tank.

Total: Excluding sundries and hidden costs … £1412.68

Check out some of our other inspirational aquariums:

Modernist approach

Low maintenance island tank

Planted pico

Zebra plec breeding set-up

Calming moss tank

Rocky cichlid tank

Fun iwagumi

Classic nature aquarium

Medium sized reef tank

Posh nature aquarium

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