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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure if I'm happy with this or not. As most of you know, I'm into a pretty natural look when it comes to aquascaping. This tank is an 80 gal (48x18x23.5) that I'll be putting in my office to replace the current 30 gal. It will house a few scalare angels, a school of pencilfish, and probably a group of hatchets as well (going for stream or river edge in Guyana). Anyway, I collecte some wood this morning. I want to give the illusion of where some shrubs have grown out into the river/stream a bit. Here's what I currently have (in the finished product, the substrate would be a bit deeper, so the wood would'nt be so high off the substrate):



Here is a shot from above, so you can get an idea of what parts of the tank the wood takes up:



Most of the planting would be in the back left area of the tank, and allowing it to spread around a bit in front of the wood and a little toward the right. I like providing a lot of structure for the fish to interact with, hide among, hunt around, etc. and this is what I observe in the native waterways that I've snorkled in: fish tend to congregate in large numbers around cover, etc.

Anyway, I'm not sure I'm happy with it...but I am interested in your thoughts.
 

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It's hard to tell but if you start by cutting or breaking off some of the branches it might help a bit. Probably some of the thinner branches to start and then i think some of the remaining branches should be of different lengths.
 

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There is one thin branch I would break off in the front center of the tank and a couple in the back of the tank. Otherwise I think it will look great when planted. The wood in the back right is really eye catching and adds depth to the tank.
 

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Urkevitz said:
There is one thin branch I would break off in the front center of the tank and a couple in the back of the tank. Otherwise I think it will look great when planted. The wood in the back right is really eye catching and adds depth to the tank.
I agree with a few broken branches. ironically, all those "identical" feeling long branches feels un-natural to me LOL.

Keep up the work!

I'd LOVE to see what you would do if you did a blackwater biotop with wood and leaf litter to boot :).
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the input, guys! Gomer, I agree with you that all the uniform branches look too identical and 'unnatural' (why is it that it looks so good on a riverbank, and looks completely 'fake' when you put it in the tank?!).

I just made another trip down to the river and came back with another haul. Here is how I tentatively have it setup:





There are two pieces in there, and the larger piece of the left I will need to adjust and make it project more toward the front to add some depth...but overall this is MUCH closer to what I had in mind--fish congregating around riparian vegetation toward the riverbank (see the middle pic, second row from the bottom: http://www.finarama.com/gallery/amano.htm).

Comments or suggestions?

Gomer, I have contemplated just going blackwater and adding a bunch of leaf litter in there. I'm a pretty strict biotope aquarist, and I currently have a few Nannostomus harrisoni...which are native only to Guyana. So, guess what region I need to stick to? I also have a few P. scalare as well, and figured I would top it off with some hatchets (marbled or river) and then just increase the size of the schools. The problem is that plants native from Guyana aren't all that available in the hobby. I have a bunch of stargrass that I figured I would just put in there and grow a bit...which I still might do. Otherwise, I think I'll try dumping a bunch of leaf litter in there (my neighbor has a magnolia tree and HATES cleaning up the leaves). Or I might put some type of Sagittaria spp. in there to replicate a few patches of river grass that would probably be found creeping out from the bank. Plants definitely won't be dense as light would be minimal, so there will just be a few isolated patches of growth. Here is a pic from a local waterway that kind of shows the type of growth pattern I'm thinking of:



Now I have to plan the big switch of taking this out and setting it up at the office...
 

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The second installment looks much better. I would go with leaf litter, and perhaps some Mayaca fluviatilis in the back corner. Stargrass growing up to the surface and spreading like a mantle can also look very impressive. Another good plant would be Phyllanthus fluitans, which is native to the Amazon Basin.

Do not rule out Echinodorus species. I am sure there is one native to Guyana.

One fish I'd recommend for a Guyanese blackwater biotope is the glowlight tetra (H. erythrozonus). They are native to the Essequibo.

Carlos
 

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I think the tank looks excellent as it is. I can see where the inspiration has come from; the amano pictures. I must say when I saw the angelfish and neons I thought it would be a cool idea to have a proper biotope tank design like this. So I applaud what you're doing here.
 

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If you are going for a Guyana biotope, you will most definately need to add some things:
1) Include a series of religious and cultural ornaments in the background to emphasize the diversity of Guyana in the following ratio:
Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%;
East Indian 50%, black 36%, Amerindian 7%, white, Chinese, and mixed 7%
While thes ratios do not reflect the Golden Ratio, it is accepatable in this instance to deviate.
2) Chances are that your equipment (filters, heaters, lighting, etc) includes perdominately english language labels. You will need to etch or tape translations onto your equipment in Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu so as to accurately reflect the language diversity of Guyana
3) On the front of the aquarium, tape a "I <heart> Georgetown" bumper sticker. (Georgetown, capital of Guyana)

OK, weak attempt at humor. Seriously, looks like its going to be awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Spent much time in Guyana, Osteomata? I can't tell if it's a good thing or bad thing... :D

Thanks, neil. Part of this was inspired by Amano's pics, but a large part is what I've seen snorkeling in local streams and rivers in my area. Shrubs (mostly red osier dogwood) line a lot of the waterways around here, and I've noticed that many of the smaller fish take refuge in the branches of the shallower parts of the river. Around branch and logjams, I've seen large schools of up to 3-5 different species of fish all crammed together in the cover. When I noticed the shrubs in Amano's pics and some other pictures I was looking at of various other waterways, I knew this is something I wanted to try and replicate. It doesn't look like you're "down deep" at the bottom of the river, but provides a somewhat equal scale of size, water depth, etc. (i.e. the water's surface in the tank is actually where it would be in the biotope). I'll keep you guys updated as it progresses.

Comments still welcome!
 
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