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Old 06-16-2011, 05:14 AM   #1
hydrophyte
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110 Native Wisconsin Riparium


110 Native Wisconsin Riparium

...West Africa idea nixed in favor of native Wisconsin biotope...see below...


Yeah Baby!: 110 West Africa Loose Biotope.

This is like a pre-journal for a new setup that I am cooking up. It is intended for a local museum still just tentative. But I hope to find out if they approve the proposal in the next couple of weeks.

This is going to be a "loose" West Africa riparium setup. There are some especially fantastic fish and plants that live in West Africa rivers. The idea for this display is that it will be educational but also make a visual impact. I want to use some of the most interesting and dramatic semi-aquatic aroid plants for the above water area, so I will cheat a little bit with a few plants from other regions.

Here are some things that I will need to resolve:
  • Aquarium shape/size - This will be a high-humidity ripairum setup, so it will use a relatively tall tank. A standard 90G (48 x 18 x 24) might work well, although it could also be nice to have something even taller, such as a 110 XH (48 x 18 x 29).
  • Plumbing - I need to decide between a drilled bottom with bulkheads through the floor and filter pipes.
  • Lighting - I will need to research this a lot more but I want to consider special lighting effects. Can anybody tell me about dimmable LEDs?
  • Livestock - There are a lot of great fish possibilites. African butterflyfish would be fantastic in a setup like this and there are a few cichlid possibilitiest too. There will be 30-50 gallons of water volume to work with.
  • Plants - I have a bunch of ideas.
  • Interactivity - This thing needs to be really engaging for the museum visitors. I wonder about a monitor with a loop of video from West Africa aquatic habitats(??).

Like I say it will be probably a couple of weeks before I know about funding but it always takes me a long time to figure out this kind of stuff so I want to get a start.

Look at this fantastic West Africa aroid...

Lasimorpha senegalensis

I think I can get that one.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:15 PM   #2
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Some of the same plants that I have going in my 56 column are candidates for using in this setup. I only have the 56 set up in a provisional way, but it will be good for growing on some of these plants. Here is a shot of that tank from last night and I include a species/variety list too...


  • A. a NOID (??) crypt sort of similar to Crypt. wendtii 'Mi Oya', but that grows especially nice emersed
  • B. Anubias barteri 'Narrow Leaf' (I think ???) on a trellis raft
  • C. leather fern
  • D. Lagenandra meebodi 'Pink' - this plant is really great. It will probably gorw up into a really big impressive thing.
  • E. Pilea grandifolia - all-purpose midground plant for growing on trellis raft
  • F. Anubias afzelli
  • G. Spathiphyllum 'Golden Glow' - a peace lily that is lime green and makes nice contrast against darker green plants
  • H. Woodwardia sp. "aqua fern" - this is a new one, so far growign well
  • I. Crypt. cordata
  • J. NOID Schismatoglottis - this is one of my favorite plants
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #3
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If you want my opinion I would really recommend a 110 XH as the 30" height really gives the above water plants some room to grow and show there size. Also allows for about 10-12" of water room for the fish once you figure in the substrate level.

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:16 AM   #4
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Yep you are right. That L. senegalensis plant is going to reach up pretty high wnad will need the room and I will also include one or more of those larger Anubias.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:18 PM   #5
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Unfortunately the West Africa idea only got a lukewarm response, so we are going to try to recast the project as a native Wisconsin riparium that will emulate a coolwater stream.

There are some really fantastic fish that we could include in a setup like this, but the plant selection will be more limited. Many of our native streamside/marginal plants are seasonal and require a winter dormancy, so they are not such great choices for permanent aquarium setups. However, there are a number of plants that I can use as "stand-ins" that will create the same general grassy streamback feel that you see along typical Wisconsin trout streams.

I thin that a standard 90 or 110 XH would also be good choices for this idea. The latter shape will leave more room for fish. Normally I would want to do this sort of grassy riaprium setup in a shallow, open-top setup, but since this is in a museum it is better for it to be fully enclosed.

This setup would include a nice grassy riparium planting in combination with a killer undrewater hardscape with no plants. This excellent little setup by George Farmer gives an idea of the great effect that you can get with a few artfully arranged stones...

YouTube: George Farmer, White Cloud Mountain Minnow Biotope
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:16 PM   #6
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I think that I have linked it here before but this directs to a pdf poster that I put together a few years ago as part fo a summer science camp that I taught. The student participants and I caught some really great native WI fish...

http://hydrophytesblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/scratch-ssp-09-poster-iv.pdf





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Old 06-28-2011, 04:07 AM   #7
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This is one fish that I would definitely want to get into this setup, a stoneroller (Campostoma).



These things are really neat. They are minnows (Cyprinidae) but they look a lot like suckers (Catostomidae). I think they are probably easier to keep in a tank though than suckers are. Suckers eat a lot and they also get big.

I think we have two species of stoneroller here in WI. I am not sure what this one is. I caught it a couple of summers ago in the Kickapoo River.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:28 AM   #8
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Hi,

I don't mean to hijack your thread - but it's a pity you abandoned the West Africa project...

Here is a picture of s stream running along Limbe botanical garden in Cameroon:



And here is how I tried to replicate the biotope in my tank:





Some stalks of the Cyperus are pushing the 2 meter mark...

Again, apologies... but I wanted to show that there is a lot of potential in a West or Central African set up with emersed plants... how about doing both types of tank?

Greetings from Nairobi

Margit
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:41 AM   #9
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Hey Margit thanks for responding into this thread. That is a cool setup that you have with the emergent plants. What kinds of fish do you have in there?

Cyperus are really useful riparium plants. We have a dwarf garden selection here, 'Baby Tut', that I use a lot in riparium setups.

Hey what is the tall reedy plant on the left side of this photo?

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Old 06-28-2011, 05:03 AM   #10
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Hi,

I don't know the name of the plant. We can buy a similar (or maybe identical) grass here in Nairobi... but they call it bamboo, which it isn't...

I currently have four Polypterus delhezi (between 20cm and 30cm); there are also a few feeder guppies and a truckload of snails... I still hope to get Tetraodon schoutedeni (should take care of the snails...), Ctenopoma acutirostre (bye bye guppies...) and a pair of Hemichromis.

The tank's dimensions: 120cm x 80cm x 50cm (nominally 480 liters/125 gallon). Since there are no planters here (and would be too small for the Cyperus anyway), I partitioned a section along the back panel and filled it with local organic garden soil:






The Syngonium and Epipremnum just got tied to bits of wood that stick out of the water. I will still do that with a peace lily.

The rest of the tank just has a thin layer of river sand (between 0.5cm and 3cm). There are some Echinodorus, which thrive even though I just wedged them between rocks and wood; some Java ferns, Java moss and a single Anubias nana... it is so difficult getting plants here... There's also Salvinia and Pistia.

I used plenty of leaf litter (guava, mango and Indian almond) to get the water dark...

Finally, here a picture of two of the poly boys:



BTW, if I had a native American tank, I'd go straight for bowfins...

Cheers

Margit
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:40 PM   #11
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Wow that is a great setup and those Polypterus are super cool. I bet those emergent plants keep the water nice and clean.

We have bowfins that live in the lake here. Just the other day I saw a large (~70cm) fish just down the street in the water.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:19 PM   #12
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Hi, thank you...

I forgot to mention: I do not run a filter. There's only a strong powerhead (2,000 liters per hour) for circulation. It has a puny sponge at the intake... definitely not providing biological filtration. I even use scalding water to clean it.

The Cyperus provide most of the filtration. Above the substrate, they develop long, feathery root systems. I don't think I have problems with excess nutrients - there are no algae on plants, rocks or wood. Only a few on the glass. The fish are doing fine without any signs of discomfort; they even started some mating rituals.

The only equipment I use is a heater (Nairobi gets rather chilly at night), a powerhead and a single fluorescent, so I can enjoy the tank in the evening. The main light source is the sun....We do have frequent power outages; the system is designed to function like a natural pond, even when the technology fails. Because the tank is much deeper than it is high, there is a large surface area for gas exchange. Frequent small water changes is pretty much the only maintenance I do.

I think you could have a lot of fun with native plants... just think of the bullrushes and other bog plants you could keep. Think of a perch lying in ambush between the reeds... and you could keep a bowfin until it outgrows the tank...Please, I'm a photo addict. Hope you post plenty of set up, plants and fishes...

Cheers

Margit
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:59 PM   #13
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Yes I'm sure those Cyperus must be doing very robust biological filtration, especially with that natural sunlight that they are getting.

Since it will go into a tank onlu partially-filled this riparium that I am doing will only hold about 120 liters of water, so I am just using smaller fish in it, nothing that grows to bigger than 10cm or so.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:25 PM   #14
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being born in northern illinois, (i know its not WI) this thread has perked up my interest. i look forward to pics!
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:39 PM   #15
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Yep there are a lot of amazing fish possibilities. The Wisconsin/Upper Midwest area has some of the greatest fish biodiversity of any temperate area on earth.

It will be a while before I have any pictures of the project rolling but I do have a few more reference pictures to post I will try to dig some more up.
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