The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - First planted tank- Upper Rio Negro Low-tech Biotope. Suggestions please!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-23-2011, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sevenyearnight View Post
I don't know plants all that well, but the set up looks sweet. I guess I would suggest hiding the heater behind the wood.
Agreed sevenyearnight. That'll be the first thing I do.

Originally Posted by kamikazi View Post
+1 for hiding the heater, I'd also suggest a background to hide the cords and such (black is a good choice, brown might look ok for a biotope like this)

I'm assuming the brick is in there to act a weight to hold the wood down? I'd either hide it behind some plants or get rid of it as soon as you are able.
I tried a brown and a beige background, but they really made the tank seem less deep horizontally. I'll either go with white, black, or none- in which case I'll hide all the cords.

Yeah, the wood wasn't fully waterlogged. I live close to a tidal river that's tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. This particular stump was towards the high tide line.

Originally Posted by kuni View Post
I love the big piece of wood! It gives the "sunken tree" feel that characterizes the deep blackwater portions of the river. (The smaller one would look better at more of an angle)

Here are a few comments regarding a "strict" Rio Negro biotope. Disregard them if you're fine with a "loose" one.

Amazon swords aren't actually found in what people think of as the Amazon River. Crazy, I know.

In fact, while you might find a bit of Cabomba, submerged plants will be very rare in this biotope. Consider some South American floating plants instead, like Salvinia, frogbit, giant duckweed, or red root floater. Water hyacinth would also work, if you want something a bit more robust. My recommendation is to go with Salvinia and ignore submersed plants entirely. Floating plants will also be right under your lights, which means even your T5NOs will grow them nicely. Heck, double-strip T8s from Home Depot would.

Don't bother with any carpeting plants at all. You don't have the lighting for it, and they're not biotope-appropriate.

If you're cool with your giant awesome piece of driftwood being slowly nibbled away, consider a royal pleco - they chew driftwood to get at the tasty bacterial colonies inside, and they may even keep your glass clean in the process.

A school of cardinals would look fantastic in this tank. Other tetra species could work too, but cardinals are classic for a reason.

Substrate: yours will work, but some clean white river sand would be best, as the Rio Negro is known for fine white sand. Since I've just advocated removing all your substrate, I'll point out that for moving substrate out of a tank, nothing beats a small shop vac. You might add some dried oak or katappa ("indian almond") leaves to the bottom to improve the look. Skip cory cats - very few are found in blackwater habitats.

Those are my suggestions - good luck!
Thanks Kuni! BTW, which direction should I tilt the secondary piece of wood. Top to the left or right?

I actually got a few Salvinia leaves, probably attached to the Cabomba. I'm going to try to leave the submersed veg for now, and restrict the Salvinia to the left side where there's no SAV.

Won't a Farlowella be equivalent to a royal pleco?

I'm totally in agreement about the cardinals!

Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
That's not true, we caught at least 3 or 4 species in the Rio San Martin, including tons of C. hastatus. At night they'd be schooling in the thousands in the shallows.
Laura, did you see any C. habrosus, or would C. hastatus be more biotope appropriate?

So it might be cheating, but there's a distributary of the Orinoco that connects it with the Rio Negro. It's called the Casiquiare Canal. I just spoke to one of our visiting scientists from Venezuela, and she was pretty sure that the Casiquiare had a good mix of flora and fauna from both watersheds. Can anyone speak to this? A 'Casiquiare Biotope' would give me a little more leeway into plants and livestock.

Thanks all!
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