Amazon Biotope in the Works
I've recently re-set up my old aquarium that I had to take down after my mum killed off all my fish when I left for college. The tank set-up including filter and heater are about 7yr old and still in perfect working order other than my filter sounds very choppy and loud :(. So, I'm in the process of setting up my dream tank of an Amazon biotope. Now when I say biotope I'm looking to make a superficially generalized biotope, meaning I want all plants and fish to be from the Amazon, but they don't have to actually be from to same section of the Amazon as I know there are different plants and fish that grow in different areas of the Amazon river.
*36 gal SeaClear acrylic aquarium
*Aquaclear 110 filter
*heater (can't remember the brand)
I set-up the substrate so that the plant food substrate went from the back to middle of the tank, which was then covered by sand. It was awesome looking when I first set it up, but due to the cory's digging around the bigger particles of the plant food have made their way up. You can still only see sand looking directly from the front, so it works. I got the naturals sand.
1 Rubber Lip Pleco
12 Cardinal Tetras
6 Golden Pencil Fish
3 Bronze Corys
2 Wild Type Angelfish
*Giant Amazon Sword
*Narrow Leaf Java
*Dwarf Hair Grass
*java moss on driftwood
*SeaChem Acid Buffer
*API pH down
*API Amazon Extract (not blackwater extract)
Because I'm aiming to create a biotope I've done my best at replicating the water condition to be soft and acidic with a pH of 6 and a kh of 71.6. This is not an easy achievement due to my tap water. The tap water where I live is god awful city water, it has chlorine, the kh is off the charts (when I used the API liquid test, I used 16 drops in the test tube of water and it NEVER went yellow). So I use a mix of dechlorinated tap water with RO water that I get from a fellow aquarium fan. The tap water is then additionally treated with Seachem Acid buffer, which supposedly also softens the water by particulating the minerals in the tap water and makes them precipitate out, which then gets sucked up by my filter. The tap and RO water are set to the proper pH before being added to my tank. A water change seems to take FOREVER, it takes at least 4 hours while I wait for all the chemicals to settle to be sure that my tank won't have any water swings. Of course the reason for the RO+tap mix is to keep some minerals in the water to keep it buffered enough so the pH doesn't suffer any bad swings and stress. All in all it is a pain to regulate a soft water tank where I live. I also keep peat in my filter, that was more to make a blackwater effect, but it hasn't worked yet :/
Last edited by FreakyFishie; 01-29-2013 at 07:59 PM.
My tank looked terrible when I first set it up. I didn't rinse the substrate well enough so it made my tank water opaque for a good two days.
Setting up the tank:
My tank was cycled with three angelfish. I'd bought 3 in the hopes I could get a pair, which did happen and so now I have two angelfish because they were beating up on the other one really bad so she got rehomed with a friend. I normally wouldn't cycle with fish, but I had seen the angels in a pet store up on MA when I visiting on school break and that's what made me decide to set my tank back up. They came down to GA with me on a 20hr car trip and doing GREAT almost 2 months later.
After the water cleared a bit (it took two weeks) I began playing with planting it. My first plants to go in were not biotope correct which is why they have now been replaced. I didn't know at the time of purchase that Monda Grass is NOT an aquatic plant, learned the hard way. They were good for place holding and putting the fish at ease though. The big Anubias has now been replaced with java fern and went to the same friend as my other angelfish.
Last edited by FreakyFishie; 01-29-2013 at 07:57 PM.
Quote from seachem: "Although pre washed, (flourite) may be rinsed before use to remove residual dust."
An good product nonetheless, try adding some fine filter floss to your filtration system.
Last edited by madagascariensis; 01-29-2013 at 08:01 PM.
Keep in mind when you see all the fish I currently have in my tank, this tank was up about 2 months ago. It was cycled before being stocked except the angels I used to cycle it with. I started out with live biomedia for my filter from a friend and asap planted place holding plants, so it was cycled and producing acceptable nitrates with 0 ammonia and nitrite within two weeks, I was amazed it cycled so quickly.
Pics of the fishes:
My cardinals hiding out in some Mondo Grass
cardinals and pencil fish schooling together by the java fern and amazon sword
here you can really see the pencil fish, they're very skittish so hard to get good pics of
one of the three bronze cory's
Last edited by FreakyFishie; 01-29-2013 at 08:11 PM.
My angels though are my pride and joy of the tank. I don't know if they count as "typical silvers" as I don't see many of those with the colorings mine have. I don't know if they're wild caught, but I do think there's a good chance that they're F1's or F2's from a wild strain due to their behaviors and how vivid they got once I got my water settled down to be soft and acidic as it did not start that way.
The Angel Fish:
This is Primer, aptly named because she's my prime angel
Primer is a total cam whore, she loves to be in pics, this one is from as soon as the water cleared, she's grown by at least a third since
Striper and Primer chilling behind some driftwood. Striper is the fish in front with the double stripes.
Spook and Primer, Spook is also a female I believe. She has AMAZING coloring for a black angel fish. Under her black is bright green and blue which shows vividly in the right lighting. She is the fish I had to rehome.
Last edited by FreakyFishie; 01-29-2013 at 08:25 PM.
Well I must have done something right with this tank because my angels started spawning. Unfortunately the eggs were duds so I'm just waiting to see if it was a first spawning blunder or if I have a F/F pair. I'm okay with either of those options though I don't aim to breed.
This is when I figured out the Primer and Striper had paired up
Primer tending to her eggs
Here's a short video from when my angels were spawning and protecting their eggs, their colors are so vivid!
This is just awesome fun, my angels will eat their flake food off my finger :3. They're a little skittish about it, but the more I do it, the more comfortable they seem to get.
If you click the upper 2 pictures it'll show the video in a separate window or tab.
How the tank has changed in the past two months, it looks so different from when I set it up to now.
Couple weeks ago:
So I realized I've done so much in my tank and haven't really updated about it. It's starting to really come together, I remembered I had some driftwood I had picked up from a freshwater reservoir. After playing with it's placement I'm finally happy. I have a Kessil a150 Amazon Sun in the mail that I just CAN NOT wait to get, my cabomba has been so sad under my single t5. I hope to get some red and purple cabomba and some jungle val, which will finish off my plant needs. I'm also planning a major filter mod on my Aqua-Clear 110, so let's see what happens :D
So being an artist I decided to do a rough sketch of where I'm hoping to take this tank, all the plants I want are accounted for in my drawing, but not all the driftwood.
Ultimately the ending plant list will consist of:
Amazon swords, java fern, dwarf hair grass, red+purple cabomba, jungle val.
Continue to next post for fishie pics :3
And the moment you've been waiting for:
If you're wondering what the white string is, I couldn't find my black thread, but I tied a piece of dry driftwood down to help it become water logged and put it roughly in it's place.
I had asked my LFS if they could order in whiptail plecos and they said no, then I go in randomly and see a tank full of them! So I picked up two. One is very active and the other not so much and prefers to hide