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sarcare 11-15-2006 06:46 AM

Biotope Plant Suggestions--East Meets West (sorry long post)
Lately I've been wanting to try my hand at a biotope aquarium, though I'm a bit daunted by getting the plants right. Also I can't decide what biotope to try.

So, I have a kind of crazy idea for my 20g. Right now it is divided in half with a betta on one side and a ram on the other. These fish actually come from very similar water types--at least as far as I can tell. Blackwater streams with a fair amount of plant matter to hide in, and not too much current.

I'm thinking an east meets west, two biotopes in one tank with a divider.

On the right side:
1 Male Betta
Rotala sp
small Hygro sp
Java fern? (I'm not sure on this one)
crypt parva (I think)
possibly hairgrass
Hardscape: rounded rocks, branchy bit of wood (small)

On the left side:
1 Male Ram
Bacopa australius
Elatine triandra
I'd like another green plant that fits in this biotope, one that will work as a corner plant, without getting too big for the tank.
Hardscape: more rounded rocks, cave like bit of wood (fairly small)

In between there is a divider with two sheets of net that I've filled with Java Moss. I'm not sure if it would go in either biotope, but it should grow out to be a nice natural looking boundary.

Any thoughts? Once the moss grows out the two fish wont be able to see each other, so they should have less stress. Without any tank mates the tank wont be overstocked. I'll post pictures of the tank soon. I'm expecting a package of plants Thursday, some of which will go in the tank!

Aussie_hippie_2 11-16-2006 09:57 AM

I like the idea. Good luck on it.

AndyT. 11-16-2006 10:27 AM

Sounds very creative... I like the java moss divider idea! I don't see why it wouldn't work, although I will say, living things have a way of doing what they want rather than what you want. Be interesting to see how this does over a year or so.

sarcare 11-17-2006 03:33 PM

I have not gotten my plants yet, but I've taken clippings from my other tanks to add to both sides. I have camboba and brazillian pennywort on the south american side, and rotala, hygro, java fern, and crypts on the other. The fern wall is still in its infancy, I'll try to get some pictures as I go along.

AndyT. 11-17-2006 04:00 PM

Please do! I think it will be cool to watch.

sarcare 11-20-2006 04:03 PM

Ok, here are some pictures to give ya'll some idea of the layout and the plants so far. The fish are hiding in the plants--which actually are very good at disguising them, which I imagine is partially because in the wild they'd have hidden in these types of plantsl.

Here are two shots of the tank straight on:

Here is the "east side":

It is hard to see the other angle, because there is a house plant on that side and a table. Here is the occupant of this half--by the time I got around to taking pictures of this tank he was tired of posing, and just wanted to hide. His name is Mao and he isn't normally shy.
I know for the true biotope it should be a wild type betta, but this guy is just right for me.

Here is the "west side":
The cave is a nice hideout for the shy Che, who hides in the plants or around hhis cave.

I'm not happy with the plant arrangements or the rocks, but it is a nice start I think. The wood I think works for the biotope and the fish like it. When I get my new plants I'll post more pics!

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