A Trip to Tedís Fishroom

By David L Banks Jr, TFCB

TFCB September, 2011 

When I travel for work, if I have time I always try to fit in some fishy visit.  Whether it is simply checking out the local fish stores, even if it is just a Petsmart, or looking up a fellow fish hobbyist, seeing things in different areas of the country can be very interesting.  I knew I had a project coming up in the Milwaukee area, and had hoped it might fall around the time the American Cichlid Associations annual convention that was being held in Milwaukee.  Unfortunately that didnít work out, but I did schedule the trip 5 or 6 weeks later.  I knew this trip might not have much free time, but I had sent Ted Judy an email and set up a time to go visit him on the day I arrived. 

Ted and Mike Hellweg were in the midst of their breeding competition being documented in TFH magazine.  Well, in the magazine it seemed like they were right in the midst.  This was Sept and the actual breeding competition was over, but because of the lead times needed for the magazine, there were still almost 4 months left in the competition in the magazine.  Both Mike and Ted are well known breeders of a wide variety of tropical fish and have been top breeders in their local clubs for years.  Check out their blog about the competition at

I had visited Mikeís fishroom a couple of times years before, but have only met Ted once or twice before at fish conventions.  I had seen Tedís web site, which he had added a lot of conversations and breeding info.  Ted was the chair of the ACA convention in Milwaukee, and with the breeding competition and other commitments has decided to take break from the web site, so there is currently very little info on the web site, but keep an eye out for when he gets back into it.  (note: Ted has started adding back in info to the web site since I started writing this, check it out)

Since Ted had completed the TFH breeding challenge and the ACA convention was over, he decided it was a good time to re-arrange his fishroom.   The fishroom basically took his entire basement, with additional space for a work area and washer and dryer.  This was spacious fishroom, unlike some that you can barely move thru, there was plenty of room to move around, view the tanks and for storing his fish related items; spare filters, food, etc.

He was using the Poret foam filters that are available from Swiss Tropicals ( ).  These are blocks of foam that fit as a tank divider at one end of the tank, air lift tubes move water to the other side, then water flows thru the foam and all over again.  This gives a great surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow and provides great filtration for even very large tanks.  I have one of these filters setup myself and am amazed at the bio load it can handle easily.

Tedís fish collection was quite varied, but at the moment contained many Tanganyikan cichlid species.  He had a local breeder that specializes in them, so he has easy access to these interesting cichlids.  He also had cichlids form other parts of the world, livebearers, catfish, rainbowfish, killifish and a nice assortment of both common and not so common community type species of barbs, danios, rasboras and tetras.

One of his ďsecretĒ weapons of breeding many of these smaller eggs scattering fish was his rack of smaller tanks.  He could separate out a pair or breeding group into their own small tank and raise the fry in that tank after the adults had been removed and the eggs hatch.

Ted was experimenting with a cure for bloat, and internal bacterial infection that affects many rift lake species that eat almost exclusively plant matter.  He had 2 Tropheus dubiosi that had come down with bloat, and moved them each to their own 20 gallon tank.  One he was not treating with anything, just maintaining the tank.  The other was going thru a treatment of squirting a solution of Epsom salt directly into its mouth and down its throat.  This seemed to be working as the one undergoing treatment was improving.  I also had a Labidochromis lemon yellow that had developed bloat, and tried this method of treatment.  It did work, however I didnít have a spare tank to keep it in, so had to net it out of the 70 gallon tank each day.  After the fish started eating again, I stopped the treatment since it was not an easy task to catch it, and Iím sure added extra stress to everyone in the tank.  Unfortunately this fish never fully recovered, and ended up dying eventually.  It is always best to avoid bloat by keeping up with water changes, feeding plant based foods to those that require them, and the addition of some Epsom salt to tanks that house these fish.

While at Tedís he also showed me his sonís tanks.  He is really trying to foster the appreciation of the fish hobby with his son.  His son is interested in a variety of thing, and of course his interests are still changing and Ted really tries to accommodate these new fish interests.

Overall this was a few hours well spent on my business trip.  I always learn things when talking and visiting with fellow fish hobbyists whether they are an advanced hobbyist like Ted, or someone just starting out.  Everyone has different ideas and interests, and everyone has something to share.  This sharing of your hobby is what makes a local fish club such an important part for anyone in the hobby. 

Just wanted to add an extra thank you to Ted, the barbeque ribs were great too!

Photo descriptions( and links ) click on thumbnails for larger pictures.:


1.      Ted with his secret weapon


2.      Mixed species tank


3.      Right side of 1 rack


4.      Left side of same rack


5.      Tropheus duboisi community tank, with poret filter


6.      End rack, 2 bottom left tanks house the dubiosi with bloat