29G South American

March 2005

Brief Description of Tank
This tank has been up and running from April 2004 to January 2008. Implementing lots of the suggestion and ideas I got on Cichlid-forum.com - such as an UGJ system, black substrate, and a background made from real rock - has made it an absolute pleasure to watch and maintain!

More info can be found at:

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=43880 and:


3/12/9 Update - I just wanted to tank everybody for their comments on this tank. I also wanted to let people know that I broke down this tank in January 2008. It's main inhabitants, the B. Rams, moved into my 75G Geophagus tank, and a 125G Tropheus setup moved into the place of this 29G.

2/28/5 Update - I have lost all tetras (16 neons and 9 hatchets) to an unidentified disease (possibly NTD). A combined Coppersulfate (Mardel CopperSafe) and raised temperature (88F, 32C) treatment proved ineffective. Rams and otos seemed unaffected by both, the disease and treatment. Rams spawned for the first time during the treatment period with a large number of eggs and almost 100% fertilization rate. Eggs hatched after 2 days, but wigglers disappeared overnight, probably due to Copper.

4/10/5 Update - Rams fry of the 2nd spawn disappeared after having been free-swimming for a little over one week. No idea why, but at least they got a little further than the first time, and I hope that they might pull through in the 3rd attempt. The parents appear just about ready to spawn again, and they currently get plenty of water changes and red blood worms. I have also introduced some bristlenose plecos with long-fin gene that I got at a fish auction. There were 3 with long fins and 3 that just carried the gene. The long fin ones were very small and did not survive the move into my tank. The other 3 are doing great.

4/10/5 Update - Rams have spawned again in the same spot. Everybody please keep your fingers crossed that the little ones make it this time. Third time lucky?!

4/26/5 Still not happy with the latest attempts of a full tank shot, but upon popular request I just oploaded a new version anyhow. It does give a better view of the tank with large pieces of driftwood on both sides and some smaller rocks in the middle. You can also see quite a bit of the background. BTW - rams fry of the 3rd spawn are still going strong - continue to keep fingers crossed ;-)

General Information
Filtration Eheim 2217 driving 6-jet UGJ system
Air Pump Aquaclear 301 venturi powerhead
Heater Hydor ETH 201 external heater
Lighting All-Glass 30" Fluorescent Aquarium Reflector, 20 W
Substrate 3M Color Quarz, black, T-grade
Rocks Flagstone, Wood
Background Flagstone siliconed to back of tank, gaps filled with substrate.
Plants Java fern, Java moss
Feeding Once daily, varying diet of Tetra Spirulina flakes, Hikari algae waferes, Wardley spirulina discs, frozen red bloodworms, live Daphnia, and in Summer live moskito larvae.
Other Filtration over lava rock and filter floss. Weekly 50% water changes, treating with Tetra AquaSafe.

Water Parameters
Temperature: 83F, 28C pH: 7.0 gH: 6 kH: Nitrate Level: 5

Fish List
4 Mikrogeophagus altispinosus (Bolivian Ram, Ruby Crown Ram)
3 Otocinclus vittatus (Dwarf Sucker, Oto)
3 Ancistrus sp long-fin gene (Bristlenose plecos long fin gene)
2 Caridina japonica (Amano Shrimp)

User Comments
Feb 21, 2005
That tank is awesome! I checked out those other sites to get the whole tank picture. That background is great!
Feb 21, 2005
Very cool
Feb 21, 2005
beautiful pics of the rams!!!
Feb 22, 2005
Beautiful fish and tank, well done.
Feb 24, 2005
Roger Akers
nice rams very pretty i like the feeder neons to j/k
Feb 25, 2005
I think your fish are happy in there. Looks like the fish in the picture on the left is smiling!
Feb 28, 2005
isnt Eheim 2217 too strong for a 20 gallon?
Feb 28, 2005
Many thanks for all your comments! How rude to call my neons 'feeders' ;-) Unfortunately all my tetras are now gone, due to a mystery disease. It will teach me to quarantine any new fish in the future. Regarding the 2217 being too strong, it's actually a 29G tank, but even for a 20G I think that a 2217 could work well. The only time I would consider a filter being 'too strong', is if the outlet creates such a current in the tank that the fish have difficulty maintaining their position and look uncomfortable. That's definetely not the case in my setup - in fact, the powerhead I run for aeration creates the main current in the tank. The outlet for the 2217 is actually my UGJ system, and the jets are so gentle that the rams spawned right in front of one of them to safe themselves some trouble in fanning the eggs! A large filter will safe you a lot of trouble in maintaining it, because you won't get clogged up pipes and you don't need to clean it out as often - which also helps maintain good bacteria. The only drawback is price, but I got this 2217 second hand on eBay for about $50 :-)
Mar 1, 2005
Congratulations on TOTM! :) Beautiful tank and very pretty rams!
Mar 1, 2005
grandmaster fish
great looking tank. Can i ask how thick are the pieces of slate are that you used for the background? Did you "split" the pieces yourself? Congratulations on TOTM!
Mar 1, 2005
Nice setup, love the Rams they are so cool.Congratulations on TOTM.
Mar 2, 2005
Very nice!
Mar 2, 2005
Freaking awesome! Nice photo shots too! Noticed that one of your pics is in the photo contest... nice and crisp!
Mar 3, 2005
TOTM – wow! I am flattered. Many thanks, I consider it quite an honour to have my little setup selected as Tank of the Month on this forum, from which I have learned so much! Many thanks to all of you.
Mar 7, 2005
Awesome tank. I'm now thining about giving up on mbuna in my 29 and going for something like this. Where did you get your rams from and how much did it cost?
Mar 7, 2005
I realize that people had good success with some of the more peaceful mbuna in tanks as small as 29G, but when I had some in a 200L (about 50G) some years back, I found it still was a bit too small. I find the bolivian rams much better match for a tank that size. I got mine from somethingfishyinc.net - the only site sponsor that's local to me, and the greatest fish store I have ever set foot into. From memory, thye were about $8 each, and they were fully grown in top shape with excellent color.
Mar 7, 2005
Good job making tank of the month!
Mar 9, 2005
great tank! Congrats! The pictures are wonderful. Could you share what type of camera and photo editing software you're using. Greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
Mar 11, 2005
i really like this tank. great job and congrats on totm.
Mar 17, 2005
smaller tanks are easier to take care of....easier to make look good
Mar 17, 2005
Six Fish
Beautiful ... tank and Rams! We have been considering getting some Rams for our 20 gallon, and now I want them even more!! Congratulations on TOTM, you really deserve it!
Mar 31, 2005
Beautiful Tank and some very high quality photos. Sorry to hear about your Tetra losses, hopefully all is well and you're back on track. A very worthy TOTM!
Apr 12, 2005
y ddraig goch
Wonderful tank, congratulations on the TOTM award that seems to be running and running.....:-) do you have a full tank shot somewhere?
Apr 12, 2005
Yes, I am going for record of longest standing tank of the months. It's mid April by now and I am still going! ;-) Regarding a full tank shot, it's a work in progress. I haven't been able to get a shot that I found good enough to upload, but there will be one some day, and it will be on this site! My last attempt was with 3 flash units all above the tank, and the slides are still in the camera.
Apr 15, 2005
I plan to set up a ram tank this summer. Any tips? My experience is limited to malawi mixed right now, but after seeing pics of your rams I have decided to go for it.
Apr 24, 2005
I really enjoy a nice setup with rams and this one IS nice!
Apr 28, 2005
gorgeous! By the way,i think someone touched on my question ,but anyway,can you tell me the process of how you silconed the rocks to the back? I've thought about the "quicrete"mixtures and all the painting over with more coats,but your way seems quicker,and even looks better to me.im about to get a 125 gall. and i might do the silcone thing on the inside back also.Let me know how you did it please,and how long it took to dry... pfzone@aol.com
Apr 29, 2005
finally a full tank shot... haha! Looks awesome as expected. Best of luck on the continued aquarium photography and Ram fry.
Apr 13, 2006
You totaly deserved it looks so natural and looks like somthing you would find in a zoo this is a awsome tank and rams rule! ><>
Apr 29, 2006
Nice tank. Excellent photos. It's really great to see pictures actually sharp and in focus.
Feb 18, 2008
I hope my Ram tank looks half as good as yours.
Oct 28, 2008
Awesome tank dude!!! What kind of camera you used to get the picture of the fish so crystal clear like that? I feel like I can reach out and touch them.
Oct 28, 2008
I just realize the amazing lighting effect. How did you set up please and is it two different spot light bulbs ? My 30 gallon tank I have to use the long white bulb
Feb 26, 2009
I love this
Mar 12, 2009
All i have to say is WOW!
Mar 14, 2009
I love it. Just love it. Super nice.

Last Updated: March 12, 2009

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