Last month, Fishkeeping News visited 24-year-old Liam Roberts and his fish house. An avid breeder of cichlids amongst other things, Liam’s space is enough to make the mouths of even the most experienced aquarists water.
Liam, who is self-employed in the social care sector states he spent over £8000 on his fishroom which contains over 60 aquariums currently. A familiar train of thought amongst hardcore hobbysists, he states, “The fish room was a simple decision. I love fish, I’m fascinated by fish and I wanted more fish. I was also told by my lovely wife-to-be that I can’t have any more tanks in the house”. Clearly the fishroom would be a natural progression.
Liam’s fishroom was built by himself. At 8ft x 20ft, it isn’t short on space. Water changes are carried out using the syphon method, with old water piping straight into an underground vat, later to be recycled in the greenhouse, adjoined onto the fish house. To top up aquaria, HMA can be pumped in directly via a smart piping system, connected to most of the tanks. Alternatively, Liam also has a hot water tap.
FKN: Liam, evidently you are a fish head. Where did it all start?
L: I’ve always had a keen interest in aquatics and nature from a young age, keeping sticklebacks in tubs and such. I got into fishkeeping properly around 2014, when I started my first job and had an income, so was able to purchase my own tank. A Fluval cube if I remember rightly, which changed to 200l tank, then to a 450l and then six tanks in the bedroom.
FKN: Evidently breeding is a huge passion of yours. Which species kicked it off?
L: Rainbow cichlid (Archocentrus multispinosus,) was the fish I first bred, by accident. They were in a community tank so fry slowly disappeared.
FKN: Looking through your tanks there are numerous fish with fry and eggs. Things seem to be going well. What is your biggest achievement to date?
L: That’s a tricky one. I’m leaning towards Amatitlania siquia, formerly Cryptoheros sp. “Honduran red point”. They are the first fish I have spawned and raised fry to a sell-able size/age.
FKN: And which species that you currently keep are you most excited about working with in the future?
L: Betta channoides, Apistogramma sp. D47, Apistogramma sp. D21, Apistogramma pantalone and Gold Ancistrus. I’ve never bred a plec before!
FKN: That’s an incredible set of fish. Most would be green with envy. But what fish would you love to keep if you could?
L: A breeding pair of Uaru amphiacanthoides. I often find myself fascinated by their presence.
FKN: Top tips?
L: Read and listen. Get stuck in and do it right, no half baked attempts. Join a fish club too. They have a wealth of knowledge. In terms of the fish house, go and visit as many as you can. Chew hobbyist’s ears off. They will have a long list of things they wish they did better or different. Take a note pad and a pen, write it all down, go home and lay out your plans.
FKN: Liam, thank you ever so much for giving us the tour and taking time out of your busy schedule to talk fish. We wish you the best of luck with all your aquatic endeavours and hope to visit again soon!
*All images Copyright Max Pedley. Images may not be reproduced without written permission from the owner.