Home Office Showpiece – Golden Valley Minnesota

A zoo quality Lake Tanganyika biotope.

This client wanted to create something that was a show stopping display!  It was just as important to have the right colors and patterns of rare fish as it was to have a 100% recreation of the African rift lake environment. With an already existing aquarium it was a matter of replacing a bunch of plumbing, upgrading equipment, giving everything a good cleaning, and building an entire new aquascape.


Home office – Golden Valley, Minnesota

Fancy and flair

We spent a great deal of time planning and tweaking the aesthetics on this project.  We wanted a solid rocky tower nearly three feet tall with the white sandy substrate and just a plant or two to create a perfect backdrop for some of the rarest fish on the planet.  Some of these fish are rarely to never seen in the home aquarium.  In addition to rarity a lot of care went into representing every color of the rainbow in the patterns and colors of the fish.  This is truly the most diverse and comprehensive Tanganyika biotope aquarium one is likely to ever see.  

Aquascape / Environment

As usual we focus heavily on creating an environment that takes care of our fish. We sourced the main center structure of rock from the same dolomitic limestone that is found in Lake Tanganyika.  A calcium carbonate sand was also used and both of these will specifically help us keep the very high pH levels that are found in this very unique lake.  Buffers and salts are also added to achieve and maintain the near exact chemistry required.  Over 400 pounds of rock went into this habitat to provide a tremendous amount of hiding spaces to give these aggressive fish every chance to find shelter or flee if attacked.

System Function

This 5 foot long, 30 inch wide, and 32 inch tall aquarium is 240 gallons with a 50 gallon sump in a maintenance room below the tank.  Powered by an energy efficient DC controllable pump, we circulate water through a few different filter pads for mechanical removal and then run through an oversized UV back to the aquarium.  LED lighting and heating are controllable through wi fi.  79 fish were introduced into this aquarium over a three month period without a single loss.


Fish List

1. Tropheus Moorii “Bemba Orange Flame” (6)

2. Tropheus Moorii “Chipimbi” (5)

3. Tropheus Duboisi “Maswa” (5)

4. Tropheus Brichardi “Ulwile” (5)

5. Neolamprologus Tretocephalus “5 Barred cichlid” (3)

6. Neolamprologus Calvus “Black” (3)

7. Neolamprologus Leleupi (5)

8. Neolamprologus Brichardi (6)

9. Neolamprologus Multifasciatus “Shell dweller” (3)

10. Julidochromis Dickfeldi (12)

11. Julidochromis Regani (9)

12. Steatocranus Casuarius “Buffalo Head” (3)

13. Lamprichthys Tanganicanus “Tanganyika Killifish” (8)


With a slow approach and the right stocking order of least to most aggressive we have been able to achieve a thriving community environment.  To date up to three different species have spawned and we have added dozens of growing baby fish to the group.  With a focus on filling all the roles and adding the right groups of fish we have succeeded in creating a beautiful showpiece community aquarium.

Comments are closed.