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Tank 4: 161 gal African tank

Picture of African tank

This is my fourth largest tank and has been devoted to large African fish
- several Polypterus species (bichirs), an African tigerfish, and a Synodontis catfish.

Tank Size (LxWxH) Approx 7x2x2' (84x23x24"/213x58x61cm)
Volume Nominal: 161 imp gallons/192 US gallons/725 litres
Actual: 136 imp gallons/162 US gallons/612 litres (+ 27 UK gal filter volume)
Filtration Home-made external filter box - 24 x 12 x 28" (61 x 30 x 71cm), powered by Hagen PRO4 powerhead with Quickfilter cartridge. There are triple pre-filtration sponges (course, medium, fine), and the main biomedia is highly porous Alfagrog rock. In addition, an Eheim 2010 internal filter is used for extra circulation. There is also a large airstone to help maintain a high oxygen level.
Heating Heated room
Lighting Low - fluorescent room lighting only.
Substrate Thin layer of aquarium sand
Decor Bogwood, large smooth rocks, large artificial plant
Background 3-D effect artificial background
Water parameters Temp=26oC ; pH=7.0-7.2 ; GH=4 ; KH=2
30% water change every week.
Fish stock Polypterus delhezi (10")
Polypterus endlicheri (10")
Polypterus mokelembembe (9")
Polypterus (palmas) buettikoferi (9")
African tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) (12")
Synodontis decorus (10").

Polypterus mokelembembePolypterus buettikoferi
Picture of Polypterus mokelembembe Picture of Polypterus buettikoferi

This tank has a very large capacity filter to cope with the waste load from large predatory fish. The external glass unit has a capacity of 27 (34 US) gallons and essentially functions like a sump except that mechanically prefiltered water is pumped to it by a powerhead with prefilter cartridge and flows back by gravity. However, unlike a sump, almost 100% of the capacity is filled with media.

The African tigerfish makes a stunning centrepiece for this tank, cruising slowly or hovering almost stationary in the water until food is thrown in, which results in lightning-fast lunges! The tank also houses several of my large Polypterus collection. Also on an African theme, is the Synodontis catfish - a lovely specimen of one of my favourite Syno's - S. decorus.


Tank 1
(Leiarius pictus)
Tank 2
(Siamese Tigers)
Tank 3
Tank 4
Tank 5
(Wolf Cichlid)
Tank 6
Tank 7
Tank 8
Tank 9
Tank 10
Tank 11
Tank 12
Tank 13
(Wolf Fish)
Tank 14
(Planted Tank)
Tank 15
(W. African)
Tank 16
Tank 17
Tank 18
(Wolf Fish)
Tank 19
Tank 20
(Nano Reef)
Tank 21
Tank 22-26
Tank 27
(Nano Planted)
Fish House
(Setting up)
Previous Tank Setups and Fish:
Southeast Asian Planted Tank Malawi Mbuna Tank
Tanganyika Tank Malawi 'Haps' Tank

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The Tropical Tank Copyright © 2000-2022 Sean Evans This website was last updated on 20th November 2022