Aquatic Plant Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This tank was setup to replicate the edge of a blackwater river or stream in South America and the life among the riparian vegetation. The specific location and waterway hasn't been decided yet because there are two things in there that prevent it from being 'accurate.' But I may not worry about that for a little while, if at all. Here are some stats:

Tank: 90 gal
Lighting: two 80 watt shoplights.
Filtration: Duetto 100 and 50 for circulation.
Wood: (mostly) dead red osier dogwood collected from local waterways.
Substrate: Sand collected from a local riverbed. Underneath, in the back left corner, is a couple handfuls worth of topsoil/peat for the plants. The leaf litter could probably be considered part of the substrate as well. It consists of boiled magnolia leaves from a neighbor's yard, and was recently innoculated with freshwater amphipods and larvea collected from a local pond. This was to help supplement the diet of the fish and provide some organisms that would aid in breaking down uneaten food and detritus among the litter.
Plants: H. zosterifolia (stargrass)
Fish: (3) Pterophyllum scalare, (3) Nannostomus harrisoni (which I plan to increase), (3) Otocinclus sp.



I'm going a bit away from convention on this tank and trying something a bit uncommon. One of the biggest things that I felt compelled to change about this setup from normal ones is that of traditional forms of filtration--I pretty much chose not to have any. The Duetto 100 has the small sponge in it, but I'm not sure that it will have a significant impact. I am relying on bacterial populations and biofilms within the tank (leaf litter, wood, plants, algae, etc.) to take care of the nitrogen process, as well as the microfauna that will hopefully begin to establish itself and repopulate.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to try this, other than my interest and research in vivaria got me thinking about how bacteria, fungi, etc. are actually ENCOURAGED in those systems to help aid in various processes...and was curious about how that would play out in an aquatic environment. That, and I hate the look of HOB filters, can't stand the bubbles from sponge filters, and can't afford a decent canister. A combination of factors, really.

Anyway, comments or thoughts on this are welcome!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Boil leaves for about 10 minutes and they sink with no problems.

Altums would definitely be ideal, but I was lucky to see this trio of angels with such close wild/natural coloration at my LFS that I'm not going to complain too much. And, if this whole 'experiment' falls through...I'm not going to be kicking myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,920 Posts
How do you know what leaves are safe and which might not be?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Perfect setup, i couldnt think of anything better. ;-) Perfect for spawning dwarf cichlids, by the way, have you thought of adding any? :)

The tank looks very natural and the leaf litter really adds to the aquascape. Keep us updated on how this tank develops, im quiet interested to say the least.

Andrew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How do you know what leaves are safe and which might not be?
Most generally are, unless they contain some sap or resin inside that is toxic. The biggest factor is how long they 'keep' before they begin to rot. Two leaves are the best for this: oak and magnolia. They are very durable and last much longer than any other type...and they also have the added bonus of releasing tannins into the water. Since putting the litter into the tank my pH, KH, and GH have also dropped. I much prefer magnolia over oak because the shape is much more tropical in appearance. If you don't have access to either, you might try elm leaves as well, although they might not last as long.

Perfect for spawning dwarf cichlids, by the way, have you thought of adding any?
I have, but I'm not sure if I will end up doing it. I would really like to put a pair of Dicrossus filamentosa in there, or even a pair of Leatacara or Nannacara sp...but I don't know. If I do, I will be completely breaking away from any type of biotope layout or description, and that tends to bother me (i.e. knowing that those fish would never be found together in the wild).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
Looks great! So I take it you gave up on the SE Asian biotope plan?

I have been using leaves from our Lychee tree (an exotic SE Asian fruit) for years and have found that they are exceptional in the aquarium. They will easily last for a couple of years, maybe more! It is a smaller leaf too (approx 3-4") so it works well in smaller tanks. I could send you some if you like.

I really think you should seriously consider adding a dwarf cichlid. There's got to be some apisto found in the area in which you are recreating. Another alternative to Angelfish would be Mesonauta festivum. These are way under rated. Vancouver Aquarium in BC had an excellent display of these fish in a tank similar to your setup. Only thing is the fallen trees were resin:(
What river is this supposed to be?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So I take it you gave up on the SE Asian biotope plan?
Kind of. I wasn't going to be able to keep or obtain of of the plants that I really wanted to use to recreate the type of design I was hoping for. However, after testing my water parameters yesterday and realizing that the magnolia leaves had lowered the KH and GH of the water, I started thinking that it might actually work out to keep some chocolates again and get some nice tannin-soaked water for them. So I might take a 55 gal I have and cram it full of wood and leaves and see what happens.

I have been using leaves from our Lychee tree...
I've never heard of that before. I know in SE Asia they use leaves from some kind of almond tree. I would love to try some--drop me a PM or e-mail.

What river is this supposed to be?
That's the clincher--I've got a couple options. Stargrass is native to western Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The pencilfish I have (N. harrisoni) are native only to Guyana. The angels are found throughout the range for both. I guess I could easily ditch the stargrass, but it IS nice to have some plant growth in there. I am thinking about allowing the pencils to be an "exception" in the tank--Nannostomus spp. would be found in throughout these areas, just not this specific species.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,715 Posts
Why don't you get some Mayaca fluviatilis for this aquarium to make it more authentic? This really isn't a rare or expensive plant, and it comes from the Guyana region.

Ludwigia sedoides can be found in a good pond store, but it needs a lot of light.

Carlos
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Because I just really don't like the look of the stuff. Good reason, eh? :D But you're right--I might have to consider it. I think the LFS has some, actually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,715 Posts
In an already short plant list for each location, we have to further limit it by taking out the plants that are too rare to find and now the ones you just don't like. We need a little more to work with here, though, if you want plants!

Other than the Mayaca, Eicchornia diversifolia is also native to the region... there is some on Aquabid right now, actually:

http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/auction/auction.cgi?liveplantsb&1110773588

Carlos
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top