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Hello, and some biotope-setup questions.
February 26, 2013
11:28 pm
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Entomancer
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Hey.

So I've been lurking around here and using the resources (easily some of the best, if not the best, on the internet), and decided I might as well make a profile.

I'm from the US. More specifically, I'm from Oregon, near Portland. I've been keeping fish since I was quite young, when I spent my time pestering the owners of a long-defunct local pet store.

Anyway, I made this thread because I recently made room for a new tank, and I wanted it to be a relatively strict biotope setup. I've had fish on and off for a pretty long time, and I have an excellent fish store in Portland (wetspottropicalfish.com) with an amazing selection of livestock available. A lot of you guys seem to be from "across the pond", and let me tell you, you're damn lucky you guys don't have the huge retail chain pet stores over there. Those businesses (which, really, don't care much about anything except dog/cat products, since those sell more) moved into my area in the early 90's, and all of the smaller stores pretty much evaporated. That said, only the really amazing stores are left, but they're somewhat far apart.

Anyway, I've never really done a strict biotope setup before. I've always liked the fish of the Amazon basin, and I was searching around to see what kind of biotopes from the region could be emulated in aquaria. I also (with the help of your resources) aquainted myself with the genus Nannostomus, and I found that I very much liked N. mortenhaleri. Luckily, my fish store carries these, and even better, they seem to be found in the biotope I wanted to emulate; a "floodplain"/oxbow lake with dense plant growth.

The part that I'm not so sure about is what other fish I should include. The tank is 30 gallons (~120 L) and I already have some substrate in it (mostly sand, with just a bit of clay and some small-grade aquarium gravel mixed in) with some dead oak leaves to help get the nitrogen cycle running. I know that I want a large piece of rootwood to be "suspended" such as to create the illusion of tree roots stretching into the water, but from there I'm not sure.

More specifically, I'm not sure how much space a small school of N. mortenhaleri would need; I was also considering adding some Apistogramma sp. to the tank (i.e. 1 pair), but I don't know much about how those two species would behave with one another. I also wanted some tetras (not sure what kind) and possibly some benthic fish (Corydoras sp.?), but I'm not sure if that would be overdoing it for a biotope setup like this, or if the behavior of any of the other fish would disrupt the others (territoriality, etc.).

I was also wondering what kind of plants would work well here while still staying "within the biotope". I would assume that Echinodorus and Hydrocotyle would work here, but I also wanted some epiphytes for the wood idea I had; the problem is that while I have plenty of Taxiphyllum and Microsorum at home, those aren't even from the same hemisphere as the Amazon. Does anyone have any ideas for epiphytes that would fit?

What do you guys think, am I going in the right direction?

 

February 27, 2013
8:16 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Entomancer said 

A lot of you guys seem to be from "across the pond", and let me tell you, you're damn lucky you guys don't have the huge retail chain pet stores over there. Those businesses (which, really, don't care much about anything except dog/cat products, since those sell more) moved into my area in the early 90's, and all of the smaller stores pretty much evaporated. That said, only the really amazing stores are left, but they're somewhat far apart.

Oh but we do! In the UK two in particular are attempting, and largely succeeding, to aggressively dominate the market. One is, admittedly, a dedicated aquarium brand but either way, it's not good for the independant stores.

The set up you suggest sounds very good and quite similar to photos of the natural habitat of N. mortenthaleri.

If you haven't already perhaps peruse our profile where you'll find information about sympatric species in the 'Habitat' section and its behaviour towards its own and other species in 'Behaviour and Compatibility'.

I'd also recommend a look at this link.

Can you please specify the dimensions of your tank? The overall surface area will be important in determining how many fish it can support.

Very nice intro by the way, welcome to the site and thank you for the nice words!

Cake or death?
February 27, 2013
5:00 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Entomancer said
A lot of you guys seem to be from "across the pond", and let me tell you, you're damn lucky you guys don't have the huge retail chain pet stores over there. 

 

Hi there,

as bad and sad as it is that the big chains "kill" the individual shops, here's something to take into consideration too.

As Matt has already pointed out, we, on this side of the "pond", are faced wirth the same development, if not quite as drastic as you might be. Here in Germany there's mainly one chain, which has made it's way into the ornamental fish market. When I say F****n**f at least our German Members will know which I mean.

But if I look at my ratio of losses in newly purchased fish, exactly that chain should be the only shop to buy from in the future. The following table reflects my experience:

1. reputedly best LFS in the city where I live : losses > 50%

2. wholesale dealer                                  : losses < 10%

3 said chain                                           : losses < 2%

That is, with about an equal number of fishes bought at the respective outlets!!!

Actually, the only reason I am not buying exclusively at the "chain" is, that they carry mostly the run of the mill stock and nothing out of the ordinary. Worth a thought, innit? :-)

I'll give my opinion about the biotope setup once you told us the footprint of the tank! ;-)

Regards

R.

 

 

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
March 4, 2013
12:45 am
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Entomancer
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January 25, 2013
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Gah, I forgot about the footprint, how silly.

It's "standard", so that means about 75 cm long, 30 cm wide, and 45 cm tall. Sorry I didn't reply to this sooner, my laptop is broken, and school/work is eating up most of my time otherwise.

Also, I forgot to add that I was also thinking about Carnegiella sp. (maybe the marbeled sp.?) for something interesting for the upper portions of the tank. I have lots of Limnobium sp., so perhaps I could use some of that to help them feel secure. I was thinking about placing the frogbit next to the end of the rootwood, so that it doesn't get bounced around by the filter flow.

So, again, does anyone have any idea of some epiphytes that would fit the biotope that I could attach to the wood?

 

March 4, 2013
8:19 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Would bromeliads work perhaps?

Cake or death?
March 5, 2013
6:45 pm
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Entomancer
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Huh.

You know, that's an inspiring idea, but I'd be concerned about space (some bromeliads can get big) and I think I would have to keep the water pretty low (as in, low for the size of the tank) in order to avoid waterlogging the roots and accidentally killing the plant. Maybe if I'm rich someday, I'll just turn an entire room into a big walk-in fishtank with a walkway and tropical plants growing all over the walls.

If I had a huge tank to play around with, it would work, and it would look amazing, but in a tank this size, I doubt I could do bromeliads. I was thinking more in the vein of mosses/liverworts.

I found some "subwassertang" at a local shop last week, and I was trying to figure out what the heck it actually is (it looks for all the world like freshwater kelp). Apparently, it's actually a species of fern that never exits the gametophyte stage of its life cycle. It looks kind of like a liverwort, only bushier, and according to what info I was able to dig up, there are species native to the biotope I'm trying to base the tank on.

I got quite a bit of it, and I was planning on using it for my nano, but I have so much that it could almost fill the nano, so I might spare some and attempt to grow it epiphytically on the wood by allowing the wood to just break the surface of the water.

Depending on what other plants I could find out about that match my biotope, this may allow me a good surface to put a few different epiphytes down. 

 

March 8, 2013
9:32 pm
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Catre
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Is it Loma fern? (Lomariopsis Lineata)

March 8, 2013
11:50 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Catre said
Is it Loma fern? (Lomariopsis Lineata)

I believe so Catre. The German word is however always misspelled in the english language due to the fact that letters are used, which don't exist in that language. These are the letters "ß", which is pronounced as a sharp "s" and the "ü" which is a socalled "Umlaut". The entire word "süßwasser tang" meaning freshwater kelp, "süß" actually meaning sweet. Since the englisch qwerty keyboard supports neither ß nor ü, the correct way of writing would then be "suesswasser tang". I thought that might be of interest to some.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
March 13, 2013
12:13 am
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Entomancer
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Rüdiger said

Catre said
Is it Loma fern? (Lomariopsis Lineata)

I believe so Catre. The German word is however always misspelled in the english language due to the fact that letters are used, which don't exist in that language. These are the letters "ß", which is pronounced as a sharp "s" and the "ü" which is a socalled "Umlaut". The entire word "süßwasser tang" meaning freshwater kelp, "süß" actually meaning sweet. Since the englisch qwerty keyboard supports neither ß nor ü, the correct way of writing would then be "suesswasser tang". I thought that might be of interest to some.

Regards

R.

Yeah, that's the one.

The store that I bought it from had it labeled as "subwassertang". I figured that it was German or one of the other European languages, but I have little knowledge of them, so I wasn't sure.

When I got around to looking up the plant to try and find the scientific name, I did a Google search for "subwassertang", but got results with the word "susswassertang". Your explanation makes perfect sense.

And yeah, I also found shortly after that it is indeed Lomariopsis sp. Strange plant...it really does look like freshwater kelp, but it is a fern that never transitions beyond the gametophyte stage of its life cycle. It's almost like how some animals are neotenic and never get past their larval/childhood forms...

Anyway, the tank is probably cycled now. I haven't tested the water yet, but I added some duckweed just in case there's any extra nitrogenous wastes that need to be mopped up. There are also some copepods that mysteriously appeared in the tank; I had collected some dead leaves from a pond for some salamander larvae that I am raising, and I put some of them in there, so I bet there were a few clinging to the wet leaves. I think I might try to keep them alive while I finish the tank; it would be pretty cool to be able to introduce the first fish and have live food already there for them to snack on.

The next steps will be to find a suitable piece of root-wood for my "tree root" idea, and to finalize my plant selection...

March 13, 2013
4:00 am
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BillT
Eugene, Oregon
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The entire word "süßwasser tang" meaning freshwater kelp, "süß" actually meaning sweet

 

I like word explanations.

Interestingly, in american (if not more widespread) aquaculture the term "sweetwater" can be used for good quality freshwater. Also many place names.

Bill Trevarrow [email protected]
November 28, 2013
2:19 am
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Catre
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February 4, 2012
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Catre said Is it Loma fern? (Lomariopsis Lineata)

I believe so Catre. The German word is however always misspelled in the english language due to the fact that letters are used, which don't exist in that language. These are the letters "ß", which is pronounced as a sharp "s" and the "ü" which is a socalled "Umlaut". The entire word "süßwasser tang" meaning freshwater kelp, "süß" actually meaning sweet. Since the englisch qwerty keyboard supports neither ß nor ü, the correct way of writing would then be "suesswasser tang". I thought that might be of interest to some. Regards R.

 

 

 

I remember learning about the changes to German spellings in class. For a native english speaker the idea that the rules could be changed by a committee seemed surreal!

I love speaking German and really want to visit there!

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