Mike’s Rifts

3 01 2010

Towards the end of what is now last year I took a trip upto Mike’s Rifts in Liverpool. In the end it was a very scarey ride. This was the weekend following the big snow in. While the area immediately around me was badly hit, the North wasn’t so I thought it safe to drive up. After gingerly making my way out of Hertfordshire, I hit the M1 and headed out into the sunshine and above zero temperatures. All was fine until I got towards Manchester and hit a blizzard. The conditions went from fine to terrible almost straight away and the motorway was becoming very dangerous with plenty of cars driving an awful lot faster than they ought to have been. The blizzard subsided and was replaced with torrential rain turning the new snow into 6 inches of mucky slush. After a few near misses and scares I finally made it to Mike’s house albeit a little shaken up.

After a nice brew we went to the fish house which more closely resembled an Aladdins Cave than a garage / shed. I can quite easily say that it contailed some of the most impressive cichlid fish that I have ever seen. Unfortunately the snow had started falling again so I could not stay long – fearing a difficult return to London. The wild tropheus and haps were especially impressive. I have attached a picture of an Aulonocara Maylandi which is probably the best Malawi cichlid I have seen yet – the photos do the fish no justice at all. Mike has an interesting approach to his tanks – they have no substrate and are filtered by a large chunk of filter sponge that covers a side panel of the tank. It clearly works, almost all of the fish were in full colour.

In the end I left with a pair of Labidchromis freibergi ‘Likoma Island’, Metriaclima patriki ‘Chidunga Rocks’, and a trio of Metriaclima pyrsonotus ‘Nakanthenga Island’. I will post about these fish individually in due course along with plenty of photos.

Mike kindly packed my fish with ammonia lock in the bags and gave me a heatpack for the polybox I had brought so in theory the fish would be safe for upto 24 hours. The drive back was indeed pretty long, 5 hours in total but the fish were all fine and are now settling in….

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