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The Driftwood

by TFH Magazine on August 16, 2011 at 5:57 am

By David E. Boruchowitz

David's 450-gallon tank.

When I give presentations at clubs or conventions, my favorite part is always the question-and-answer segment. I really enjoy touching base with hobbyists, hearing their concerns and bouncing ideas back and forth. Since I mentioned my 450-gallon setup in my May 2010 editorial, many people have asked me about it, so I thought I’d start off the blog with a report about this tank and the story of The Driftwood.

At the American Cichlid Association Convention last year in Milwaukee I wanted a gigantic piece of driftwood that was for sale for the tank. Since the herbivorous fish precluded any plants, I needed an impressive centerpiece, and this wood was perfect! At more than 5 feet long, it was hardly going to fit in my carry on, so I gave up. However, the astute saleswoman went and asked Ray “Kingfish” Lucas if he would truck it back to New York State for me. Kingfish quickly agreed, I bought it, and we loaded it into the back of his truck. He lives only a couple hours from me, so we agreed we’d find a mutually available time for me to drive up and get it.

Well, we started playing date tag—his proposed date was no good for me, my proposed date was no good for him, and so on. Finally he said he’d take it with him on a trip to a show in New Jersey, and I could pick it up along the way. Well, that didn’t work, either, so he wound up hauling it back home. This went on for months.

Finally, in October we both went to the Potomac Valley Aquarium Society Catfish Convention in Virginia, and at long last I got my driftwood, which had traveled from Milwaukee to Buffalo, then to New Jersey, then back to Buffalo, then to Virginia, and only then finally back to my place.

Much thanks to Ray for his generosity and patience!

I love the wood, and so do the fish. My large Burmese cat Mystus leucophasis lives in one furrow in the wood, and various other fishes make their homes in or under it. The Ancistrus sp.  (bristlenose pleco) graze it, and two catfish schools, one of Pimelodus pictus and one of Horabagrus brachysoma (sun cats)share the cavern made by a large concavity on the right end.

The other inhabitants include two arowanas Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, a large school of tinfoil barbs Barbonymus altus, a smaller school of one of the silver dollar species, and several species of Central and South American cichlids.

Posted in David E. Boruchowitz and From the Editor by TFH Magazine on August 16th, 2011 at 5:57 am.


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2 Replies

  1. Thank you for sharing information about your 450 gal tank. I love your choice of a having a large school of barbs in the tank. What a terrific show they must put on. I would love it if you could share some information on how your filter and do water changes on such a large aquarium. I know you like massive water changes and therefore I would think you must have designed a method to make the process fast and easy. I would also love to know what type of filtration you chose and why. I’m sure I’m not the only reader of TFH who is interested in these topics. Perhaps this would make a great future article!. Thank you for a terrific magazine. I look forward to reading it every month. John

  2. You’re right! I designed the system for water changes. There are two 1 1/2-inch drains in the bottom of the tank. They are teed into a 2-inch line that goes to the pump. To remove water all I have to do is turn off the pump and open a valve. The tank will drain completely in about 10 minutes. No auto refill yet—I refill with a garden hose.
    The filter? It’s a self-cleaning UGF! There is a grid on the bottom of the tank, covered with fiberglass window screen. The gravel sits atop that.
    There are six 3/4-inch return lines that blast the water from back to front. With about 4000 gph, there is a substantial current.

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