"The Darkness" - 30 gallon Amazon biotope - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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"The Darkness" - 30 gallon Amazon biotope

Here is my version of an Amazon biotope. I started this tank to give my Sterbai Corydoras a more natural habitat than where I had them. The goal was to create a muddy bottomed, driftwood strewn, shallow river bed in the Amazon basin.

I wanted to have only South American species in the tank but had to make substitutions because I couldn't source many things. I used Black Diamond blasting sand for the substrate, Manzanita wood pieces, and currently I'm using oak leaves to provide ground cover and leach tannins. It's not quite a blackwater tank, but I plan on letting whatever tannins leach into the water stay there.

Flora:
Amazon Frogbit
Red Root Floaters

Fauna:
7x Sterbai Corydora
5x Ottocinclus
5x Ghost Shrimp
multiple MTS
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Last edited by fishhes; 01-23-2015 at 03:37 AM. Reason: admin;
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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The tank is still a work in progress. I set it up in stages and added different species as needed throughout the cycling process. It has been operating for around a month and still has the new tank symptoms to work through. Right now the tank is accumulating brown diatom algae and lots of driftwood fungus.

I have an AQUARIUM.

Last edited by fishhes; 01-19-2015 at 02:37 AM. Reason: e?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 06:02 AM
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Looks good...I like the roots from all the frogbit, and the driftwood looks nice.

What light are you using? In the second pic, its a Finnex, but the first one is different. Is the Finnex a Planted+ or a regular fugeray?

And I know it's not an Amazon native, but this driftwood layout would look really good with various crypts planted among the branches and then given a year to fill in. My cories love rustling through my dense crypt plantings.

Also, any plans for other species to fill the water column, or is this tank dedicated to the sterbais? They are one of the most beautiful cories, but too expensive for me to get a school for any of my community tanks right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art by Stef* View Post
I did have a bluegill once that ate cooked pasta and bologna rinds as a treat.
Then again, that fish would probably bite on a cigarette butt.

-Stef*
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 04:44 PM
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why the leaves?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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I might change my mind in the future, but I don't have any plans to add other species of fish at the moment, other than what is necessary to keep the tank clean (ottos, snails, etc). I wanted an environment that the cories would feel safe enough to breed in so I don't want any other fish that could eat the eggs or fry. In my mind I picture an aquarium with ten to twenty schooling Sterbais cruising around, depending on how successfully they breed. Any extras I would sell.

You have a sharp eye to notice the light switch. I was using an Aqueon LED light, but changed over to the Finnex Planted+ when I realized that the plants did better with the light intensity. I might change back to the Aqueon though to slow the growth a bit (my frogbit has seen some insane spread in the last two weeks).

I am adding leaves to try to replicate the mucky river bottom that corydoras live in. To more accurately model their habitat I should have used a thick layer of mud. If I had an anaerobic layer of mud it seemed like it would be horribly difficult to balance the water parameters in an enclosed system so I used black sand and leaves instead. I have access to oak leaves so I have been using those, but I might try using some almond or guava leaves in the future (if I ever feel rich enough to buy leaves).

I have an AQUARIUM.

Last edited by fishhes; 01-19-2015 at 10:22 PM. Reason: e.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-07-2015, 12:56 AM
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I love my panda cories!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-10-2015, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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filthy.

The driftwood snot has started to clear up a bit and the floating plants are growing strong. The red root floaters have a deep red to the roots. The frogbit are collecting a lot of filth on the roots that looks kind of nasty, but the shrimp love it. I barely even see the shrimp anymore because they are always hanging upside down in the root canopy. Three of them are pregnant so they must be enjoying themselves!

I found a stowaway on a plant I put in another tank so I stuck it on the driftwood to see if it would grow. I think it is a Brazilian Pennywort but I am not sure. It is growing.

The corydora seem to love the tank setup but they are still kind of shy. I have never had ottocinclus look so healthy as the five in this tank, they all have fat bellies and a dark green complexion.
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I have an AQUARIUM.

Last edited by fishhes; 02-11-2015 at 01:08 AM. Reason: \e.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-11-2015, 06:41 PM
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This is a cool start to your tank, I'm interested to see how everything turns out!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks! This is my first shot at a biotope themed aquarium. I am sure it could be a lot better, but I am happy with the way it is coming along.

I am finding it interesting how the driftwood and floating plants effect the water parameters. The driftwood has lowered my PH to a level these fish enjoy and the floating plants use all the Nitrates. I can use my tap water without needing to dilute it with RO water and my Nitrates always test 0 ppm so the tank barely needs a water change.

I am still new to the hobby in general (this is my second tank) so I am still learning and this tank kind of feels like a science experiment.

I have an AQUARIUM.

Last edited by fishhes; 02-12-2015 at 02:32 AM. Reason: e.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 02-12-2015, 11:01 AM
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Those roots are crazy! I haven't been able to get my floaters to grow an extensive root system.


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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Here's a couple of update pics of the tank over the last few months.

Everything is running pretty well in this tank. The floating mass of plants keeps the Nitrate levels at near zero so the only need for water changes is to remove the detritus whenever it builds up. The fish population is still all Amazon species and presently includes:
7 Sterbai corydoras,
9 Neon tetras,
2 Ghost shrimp,
3 Ottocinclus,
1 Albino bristlenose pleco

There are MTS snails in the tank however, as well as some Assassin snails I introduced to complete a few contracted hits on the MTS.
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I have an AQUARIUM.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 01:54 AM
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Nice looking tank! I love how you have the driftwood.

When I had my blackwater tank I used a combination of Indian almond leaves and oak. I got over the paying for leaves since they lasted me forever. I did use 2 or 3 times the amount of oak though since they gave off less tannins. The combination of the two were nice since they had different shapes and colors. Not sure if you're still considering it at this point since I'm late to the show.

Are you trimming the roots of your frogbit?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! This is my second tank that I have up right now and I think I like it best.

After my last water change I didn't replace the leaves that I had at the bottom. I'm not sure if I will. They seem to dirty up the water when they rot and leave tiny particles covering the sand that eventually get the filter clogged up. I like the look of them but it certainly increases the maintenance needs because I was needing to flush the pre-filter every two or three days to keep it from clogging.

No, I haven't trimmed the roots of the floating plants at all. I removed all the Red Root Floaters because they rot very easily and leave a lot of gunk on the root systems of the Frogbit. I think the rotting process gave off lots of good nutrients that fed the Frogbit so they are growing less aggressively now. The tetras might be nibbling on them too, I'm not sure.

I have an AQUARIUM.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 10:03 PM
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What did you use for background?


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-29-2015, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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What did you use for background?
I frosted the outer rear wall of the tank with that cheap aerosol stuff and then added some black backing board to the back of the tank. It was a cheap method to darken it up and still have some contrast in the color pattern.

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amazon biotope, amazon habitat, cory habitat, corydora, sterbai cory

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