Mangrove Forest! Brackish Riparium
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:34 AM   #1
hydrophyte
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Default Mangrove Forest! Brackish Riparium

I have a concept in mind for a new setup. I want to do mangrove trees and other brackish-adaptable plants as a brackish riparium.

Most of the information that I run into on the Internet regarding brackish planted tanks describes certain aquarium plants that seem to be able to withstand brackish water, such as Java fern, Anubias, Valisneria and certain others. However, I see scant references to these sorts of plants actually growing in estuaries or mangrove swamps out in nature, so it might be possible that many of them are not such good representations of that sort of habitat. In contrast, there are several riparium plants that could be grown above water in a brackish riparium that might make a more authentic representation of a mangrove swamp or estuary. I already have several such plants established in riparium planters...
  • black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
  • white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)
  • leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium)

I had all three of these going in my 50-gallon tank, but I have since moved them around. Here is a quick shot showing the black mangrove and the leather fern pretty well.



These specimens that I have are all currently growing in (hard) freshwater, and I imagine that for best results I would need to slowly adapt them to brackish water. Here is a list of additional brackish species that I think I might be able to get a hold of to try in riparium planters...
  • red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
  • buttonwood ( Conocarpus erectus)
  • ciliata crypt (Cryptocoryne ciliata)

Well I'll write again later with some more ideas and information. I don't even have a tank size picked out for this project yet. I might start adapting the plants in a 15-gallon or whatever, and then move up to a 40 breeder or 50-gallon tank.

There is some fun research to do on fish selection too. There are a lot of great brackish fish possibilities.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:57 AM   #2
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So does anybody have any ideas for cool brackish fish that would work in a 30 or 40 breeder?
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:09 AM   #3
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Hi Devin, glad to see this thread going.
Small schooling fish will be great if you can find them.
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:54 AM   #4
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So does anybody have any ideas for cool brackish fish that would work in a 30 or 40 breeder?
a group of 5-6 red chromides would be awesome!
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:12 AM   #5
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Hey Abdelkrim your new project inspired this idea.

Hey I plan to get your pending 2nd box shipped out tomorrow.

I might use sailfin mollies. A small group of those might fit in a 40.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:21 AM   #6
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Hey Abdelkrim your new project inspired this idea.

Hey I plan to get your pending 2nd box shipped out tomorrow.

I might use sailfin mollies. A small group of those might fit in a 40.
Thanks, once I am done planting I'll post a video of my set up. the leather fern start taking off already, and the mangrove is adapting well to the water. so far I am at 1.004 SG.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:25 AM   #7
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I haven't been into a saltwater tank in a long time. What are you using to measure specific gravity?
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:35 AM   #8
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I haven't been into a saltwater tank in a long time. What are you using to measure specific gravity?
I am using a simple hydrometer by InstantOcean, it reads from 1.000 to 1.032 avoid buying hydrometers that starts reading above the brackish end, or you can get a more accurate tool, the refractometer.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:53 AM   #9
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Alright well now I think it might end up being orange chromides (Etroplus maculatus) and/or celebes rainbows (Telmatherina ladigesi).

I ran into something kind of cool while asking around. I read that threespot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus) can live happily in brackish water. Wouldn't that be cool to have a damselfish in a planted tank?!
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:23 AM   #10
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I ran into something kind of cool while asking around. I read that threespot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus) can live happily in brackish water. Wouldn't that be cool to have a damselfish in a planted tank?!
Never heard of that, it sounds cool though, just like having molly in reef tank.
I came across this site that shows some small fish species that can live in brackish water: http://www.seriouslyfish.com/kb.php?t=ps&s=brackish
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:06 AM   #11
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it would be cool but i think what would be cooler woulf be the celebes, bumble bee gobies and maybe celebes halfbeaks.

now you got me thinking about a brackish tank...
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:59 AM   #12
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Hey thanks for linking that Abdelkrim that is a great list.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:11 AM   #13
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Here is a fun observation for my little black mangrove trees that I have, still growing in fresh water.

Black mangrove trees do not develop stilt roots the way that red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) do, but they do grow these pneumatophores.



Pneumatophores probably help the mangrove trees to improve oxygen uptake in strongly anoxic substrates. Cypress knees might have a similar function.

It takes a while for the pneumatophores to develop. I only began to see them a few months ago on my plants, but I have been growing them in riparium planters for a couple of years. You can see that the tree has a pretty substantial little trunk about 5/16" thick. At first I thought that they were just wayward roots, but they kept growing and it was clear that they were the pneumatophores.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:59 PM   #14
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This shot shows the foliage on that 2-year old black mangrove plant.



Nothing too remarkable about the leaves on this plant... Like most kinds of mangroves, black mangrove has leathery leaves.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:48 PM   #15
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I am starting to move stuff around to make room for this setup, so this won't be a "pre-journal" for much longer.

I have some fun fish ideas in mind!...
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