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hydrophyte 11-12-2009 03:19 AM

New fish! - Tanganyika Shoreline 50G Riparium
This is like a pre-journal at this point, but I do have most of the things that I will need for this project. The idea for this display originated with a couple of new riparium setups that other members have posted, londonloco's 75-gallon Rift Valley cichlid riparium and Hoppy's 10-gallon experiment.

When planning riparium displays I have generally used tanks filled to only about 40% with water, using the golden section as a guide for a setup that will leave plenty above-water space for the growth of emersed aquatic plants and marginals. These other variations mentioned above have instead involved aquariums filled almost to the top, with the plants growing in the air space above. There are a few compelling features of this kind of riparium. For one, the aquarium will have substantially more habitat for fish. The emergent plant growth grown in this way might also have more of a presence in the room than foliage contained behind glass and lend more of a garden pond atmosphere to the setup.

With the idea of enhancing the faunal aspects of this new setup, while also creating a convincing riparium plant display, I am selecting fish with more care. I have always liked catfish a lot and I think that a small shoal of cats or a good-sized specimen would be a perfect choice as dominant fetures for this tank. I really want to emphasize the gravel, stone and/or driftwood substrates with the use of a tank having a large footprint and a relatively sparse emersed planted area. The 75-gallon riparium by trackhazard gives a good impression of the general look that I am after.


Originally Posted by trackhazard (Post 918589)

I have been having fun asking around for stocking suggestions. My preference is currently gravitating toward the pictus catfish (Pimelodus pictus), although I haven't quite settled with this species. The pictus cat is a pretty common LFS offering but a good choice for my new idea. Here are some of the useful features of this species:
  • relatively small at adulhood (~4" in length)
  • active shoaler
  • fairly active during the daytime (but primarily nocturnal)
  • attractive and with classic catfish appearance
  • hardy
  • relatively peaceful

I have a few more thoughts, but close down this post because it has already run long...more later.

CL 11-12-2009 03:22 AM

I have never seen that rip before! That's stunning, and very contemporary. I used to have a pictus. He was a cool guy. I love cats. Glass/ ghost cats are really cool too, even though they don't look like typical catfish.

Hoppy 11-12-2009 04:03 AM

I can see now that this going to be a fascinating display tank. You do come up with some great ideas! And, I can tell you that my 10 gallon experiment is looking better every day, as far as being an eye catcher is concerned. I'm having problems with the water portion, but the above water part really impresses me. I'm now sold on the idea of a riparium with most of the emersed plant mass above the top of the tank.

londonloco 11-12-2009 01:45 PM

I've kept them also, years ago. If I remember correctly (I've got a 50/50 shot on that statement) I kept them in a 45g high, three of them, they lasted more than a couple of years. They were very active, pretty fish, spikes are really sharp, careful if you have to net them, bring a plastic container to transport them in. Mine got really long "whiskers" (barbels?) on them, neat fish!

I love my rip. It's given me a new excitement with my shell dweller/tangy tank. I really like the higher water level. Since I'm only keeping Java fern on the bottom of the tank, raising the light to accomadate growing plants shouldn't be a problem.

Can't wait to see this thread continue.

hydrophyte 11-12-2009 05:18 PM

I might instead go with the somewhat similar Synodontis petricola. I found this very intriguing sales thread.

Here's a discussion about them from here from last year.

legomaniac89 11-12-2009 06:54 PM

Synodontis nigriventris would be pretty cool too. They spend most of their time upside-down, so that might make a interesting display. Phantom Glass Cats are pretty sweet too. A shoal of those would be awesome!

hydrophyte 11-12-2009 11:10 PM

I decided to go with the petricola. I am lining up the purchase and excited to get this fish. Oh and I need to clear some space too. This will be fun.

I might keep my sinlge Archocentrus cutteri with them, but this could also be a good opportunity to poke around for a Rift Valley cichlid.

J.B. 11-12-2009 11:25 PM

What a beautiful display! I'm positive you are going to get many hours of enjoyment with those S. petricola; I've 3 of them in my 125g Tanganyikan tank and they are certainly the attention getters...always on the move, all three together. Great fish...great choice! :proud:

Ashok 11-13-2009 12:02 AM

Wow. That looks fantastic.

hydrophyte 11-13-2009 12:24 AM

Hey that picture above is not my tank. It is a 75-gallon that trackhazard put together. I just linked it as an idea of the general look that I want for this new idea.

I have been pondering plant selection and a few other fish selections. Aside from the Synodontis petricola I think that this new setup will use mostly South America elements, including Otocinclus cats and Echinodorus swords. The water won't be especially hard or high pH either. I think that I will use the same water that I use for most of my other setups, which is 1/2 conditioned tap and 1/2 RO, with pH around 7.0. Does that sound OK for the S. petrocila, or do they really have to have hard water?

J.B. 11-13-2009 01:33 AM

I can't reliably answer your question, as I've never tried to keep them in a neutral pH. I buffer my water due to the the tankmates in this tank being F1 stock, so my pH is high.

However, fish can usually acclimate to a "stable" pH, regardless of its measurement.

Now that I know you're looking for a SA tank, my personal opinion is you should go with the Pimelodus pictus. It has the same general appearance but with a silvery body vice the brownish of the S. petricola, it's behavior is very similar (always busy), its adult size is the same (4.5") and it hails from the Amazon and Orinoco River basins where the water parameters are more like what you plan to create. Seems to be the obvious choice...

hydrophyte 11-13-2009 01:40 AM

You're right, but I think that I am already in love with the looks of the S. petricola. I'm not really shooting for a specific biotope--I just want to put together a healthy and engaging display. I know that my plant selection won't tightly conform to any specific biotope, although I do want to use some swords as the largest background plants.

Can I just get the petricola and pretend they are pictus?

J.B. 11-13-2009 01:57 AM


Can I just get the petricola and pretend they are pictus?

If they (S. petricola) are tank bred fish, I'd say you're probably safe since you don't plan to pursue breeding them. Generally it's only important to provide the optimal water conditions when you are dealing with F0 or F1 stock, or if you are trying to entice a fish, which hails from an acidic location, to spawn. Like I mentioned above, stable water is always good! :proud:

RianS 11-13-2009 05:36 AM

Not only will you love the looks but you'll love their personality.
I have some s. petricolas and their so fun to watch. Every time i would sit on my couch they would be swimming all over the tank or more likely running laps around my spray bar and thermometer. Like in a figure eight pattern and all 6 would be doing it.

J.B. 11-13-2009 01:37 PM

What pH are you keeping them in, RianS?

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