Orinoco Flooded Forest Biotope Aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Orinoco Flooded Forest Biotope Aquarium

I'm planning a 40 gallon Rio Orinoco biotope for my next tank and would like some feedback.

So far, the stocking I'm thinking about is:
2 German Blue Rams
10 Red Phantom Tetra
10 Marbled Hatchetfish
15 Cardinal Tetra
5 Corydoras habrosus

Give or take a couple fish.
According to aqadvisor this only puts me at 75% stocking level, so I could take some suggestions on additional species.

I was planning on using a sand substrate, possibly with root tabs, and leaf litter.

I think I want to keep the lighting subdued with either Limnobium or Salvinia floating on top and Echinodorus and Brazilian Pennywort as the primary plants, should this work?

I want to use mopani stumps or something similar to simulate the submerged bases of tree trunks, are there any good online stores for sourcing wood like this? The only place that has had anything was Ebay.

Any guidance or suggestions are welcome
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 09:46 PM
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Drs Foster & Smith have Mopani driftwood, but I don't think they have stumps.

I've read in several places that a substrate grains size of 1-2mm is best for plants as it allows the right amount of water circulation, but doesn't trap food where corys can't get it. I like CaribSea Peace River Gravel, but it is expensive. It has rounded grains that are cory-friendly.

Most Echinodorus prefer or require bright light.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 10:11 PM
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Drs Foster & Smith have Mopani driftwood, but I don't think they have stumps..
They don't have stumps but the large size I got from them today is massive. About 20" x 13" x 4" to 5" thick. The large is about 3 times the size of the medium.

I have a PhD in crazy.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Most Echinodorus prefer or require bright light.
According to a couple of sources I looked at, I though Echinodorus bleheri required between low and medium light :/

Do you have any suggestions for plants that would fit the biotope? I don't want the tank to be terribly heavily planted but I do want some vegetation.

Also, I have a 10 gallon Thai biotope that uses play sand from Home Depot and I really like the look of it. Great color and I like all the small gravel mixed into it. Since I don't plan on moving the plants around much, I'm thinking on making this new tank dirted and then cap that with the sand. That way I can also mix some peat into the dirt to help lower pH and overall it should be lower maintenance in the long run. I think that this would work, my only concern is being clumsy and punching holes in the cap with driftwood or something.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-28-2015 at 05:11 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 11:36 PM
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For more fish, are Farlowellas from the Orinoco? I know they are SA.
Otherwise, perhaps one of the Peckoltias (wood eating Loricariads) Some have really nice markings, and are not too big for this tank (quite a few may reach 3-4")

I would be cautious about combining Cories with Rams.
Cories do not seem to understand about the territory that Rams claim, and may end up hurt or killed if the Rams are particularly territorial.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-26-2015, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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For more fish, are Farlowellas from the Orinoco? I know they are SA.
Otherwise, perhaps one of the Peckoltias (wood eating Loricariads) Some have really nice markings, and are not too big for this tank (quite a few may reach 3-4")

I would be cautious about combining Cories with Rams.
Cories do not seem to understand about the territory that Rams claim, and may end up hurt or killed if the Rams are particularly territorial.
According to PlanetCatfish, Farlowella are native to the Orinoco! That would be a super neat addition!

One of the reasons I wanted Cories was that I wanted something that would forage through the leaf litter and be adorable, is there anything that would be a better replacement? or am I better off having the Rams as the only bottom feeder?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:20 AM
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I would actually select Cories and skip the Rams! But that is just me.
If you want the Rams, then you could try the Cories, but be ready to remove them if the Rams get too pushy (if they start cleaning off their nest-rock, watch very carefully.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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I would actually select Cories and skip the Rams! But that is just me.
If you want the Rams, then you could try the Cories, but be ready to remove them if the Rams get too pushy (if they start cleaning off their nest-rock, watch very carefully.
I was thinking about Rams because I wanted a centerpiece fish of some kind, something with a bit more flash and personality than a school of tetras. Given the biotope I though cichlids would be the best option. There are some other cichlids from the same habitat but they are generally too big and too aggressive. Would there be a better centerpiece fish or should I just do away with that idea all together?

EDIT: After doing some research, what about Dicrossus filamentosus or an Apistogramma from the habitat such as A. hoignei? My only concern is choosing a species that's impossible to find, as I'm having an issue trying to find some specific Betta species for my Thai tank and it's driving me insane!

Last edited by brwagur; 10-27-2015 at 12:42 AM. Reason: More information
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brwagur View Post
I was thinking about Rams because I wanted a centerpiece fish of some kind, something with a bit more flash and personality than a school of tetras. Given the biotope I though cichlids would be the best option. There are some other cichlids from the same habitat but they are generally too big and too aggressive. Would there be a better centerpiece fish or should I just do away with that idea all together?

EDIT: After doing some research, what about Dicrossus filamentosus or an Apistogramma from the habitat such as A. hoignei? My only concern is choosing a species that's impossible to find, as I'm having an issue trying to find some specific Betta species for my Thai tank and it's driving me insane!
I was gonna say a kribensis, but i just remembered that they are from the congo river. Mine does fine with tetras, a dwarf gourami, cories and a couple flagfish. He does get a bit nasty around feeding time though.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by brwagur View Post
According to a couple of sources I looked at, I though Echinodorus bleheri required between low and medium light :/

Do you have any suggestions for plants that would fit the biotope? I don't want the tank to be terribly heavily planted but I do want some vegetation.
The Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants by Peter Hiscock lists bleheri as a bright light plant.

I think the problem is that most plants from the Orinoco are bright-light plants. I couldn't find any low-light plants from that area.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Dang, I might have to fudge the biotope a little bit then as far as plants are concerned, because I really want to have some broadleaved plants in there :/ Honestly, though, if the plants will tolerate moderately low lighting (maybe around 2 WPG, even though that's a terrible rule of thumb) then that's fine, I don't need them to grow like crazy. What about spathiphyllum? I've found some articles about the aquatic vegetation of the upper Orinoco but they were all behind pay walls
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 10:21 AM
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I think you should switch from trying to create an Orinoco biotope to just being inspired by the Rio Orinoco. Mopani driftwood is from Africa, so that isn't true to the Orinoco already. Look for low-light plants that resemble Orinoco plants, but don't worry about where they are actually from.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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I suppose that's reasonable, but I would still want to stick to plants from South America.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:42 PM
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Bacopa caroliniana is a low-light plant from Central America. Most low-light plants I'm aware of are from Africa or Asia.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-16-2015, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, quick update because I actually decided to do this! Albeit with higher light (eventually) and a loser "biotope-ish" interpretation of the scape.

I've got a 50 gallon tank filled and cycling, substrate is sand over a mixture of topsoil and peat. I'm trying to emulate what I'd imagine a backwater/shallow area of the river to look like. The only plants in right now are some dwarf water lettuce and some jungle vals around the heater and filter intake.

As soon as I have the extra money (hopefully in the next month or so) I plan on getting the Finnex Planted 24/7

A couple of questions, still:

-Since the tank is only 18" deep, are there any sword varieties that will give me some nice volume without taking over the tank?

-My actual stocking is still up in the air, are there any larger cichlids from the region that could work in community tank this size? I was thinking on a pair of Festivum but I'm also thinking about sticking with just dwarf cichlids.
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