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African/Congo Biotopes

6088 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Zareth
Hi everyone,

After deciding I want to go biotope for my 20 gallon Betta tank in the future, I thought to myself, hey, why not do the same for my frog project?

Currently I have a standard 30 gallon set up, it's got a "natural" planted kind of look and houses my African Dwarf Frogs and a male Betta. As said above, the Betta is going to be moved to his own 20 gallon as soon as possible, so the 30 gallon will be a frog-only tank for a bit. I was thinking about adding Neons but I decided not to if I'm gonna go biotope.

Here is the tank as of now.

I would like to turn the 30 gallon into a African/Congo type biotope, and I've been doing some research but I can find little detailed info on the specifics of it. I've found one website to be quite helpful in this matter ( and I found a few ideas that I really like. Specifically these ones: Western/Central African River & South African Swamp
I'd somehow like to combine the best of these two, as the project is somewhat based around the ADF which, I assume, would be found in marsh/pond/swampy type areas near the edges of rivers/streams.

So far here is what I have planned out in my brain, try and stay with me here!

I plan to layer. The bottom lined with smooth stones (med-large) and then pouring a mixture of course sand/gravel over top. Should I put a layer of something else on the very bottom or between the large stones/gravel to help plants grow, or what do you think?

Eleocharis (dwarf) I am thinking a carpet, what do you guys think?
Anubias (many types) scattered everywhere
Bolbitis again just placed randomly
Vallisneria, on one side (maybe)
Java moss (maybe as a wall for background?)

What would be a good floating plant for this set up that wouldn't be too hard to "keep in line" so to speak? I was also wondering about "reedy" type plants and/or lillypads and such that would stick up out of the water and fill the empty segment of the tank between the water and light(s).

Lots of African Bog/Driftwood
Large stones (if I can find any safe ones that fit the set up)
I would like to make a floating island of some sort, but I'm not sure how to go about doing so. I was thinking of just taking a piece of plastic and cutting it into an awkward shape then covering it with silicon to stick on sand/little gravel, fake plants, etc. Then I was thinking I could let it dry, and throw some wet sand/java moss and stuff on top. I don't know..... I would like it to be more real than that.

Lighting/filter/etc is undecided. The filter needs to be one that can take sand without getting ruined (or be rigged to do so) and not create too strong of a current.

Stocking Plans
As of now my stocking plans are intended for the 30 gallon, of course they'd be upgraded with a larger tank. This is what I have been thinking:

African Dwarf Frogs
(I've got four adults and one tadpole ATM, no more than 6-8 for this tank I would say.)
A shoal of Congo Tetras (not sure how many? I was thinking like... 6-8?)

So this is what I'm thinking. I am just looking for any tips, opinions, ideas, info, links, suggestions, etc...
Really, any input on the matter would be fantastic! :icon_lol:

[I figure this would also be good for a sort of "trial and error" period, as my eventual goal/dream is to get a custom tank (ETA: My Dream Tank) and create a Biotope riparium that I could maybe even add some Reed Frogs to. But that's another story......Haha]
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No real suggestions, but I can't wait to see what you come up with for it.
Hahaha, Thanks! :D
I'ld avoid Congo tetras in a tank that small. They look much better in a 48" tank and seem to enjoy the space. If your lfs can get them for you, try to get a school of lampeye killis. They stay small, school well, and they are unlikely to disturb frogs or out compete them for food.
Thank you for your advice!
instead of a floating island why not stack some flat rocks or something and cover them in sand to make a slope that leads up to an island of sorts. or if you can find a piece of drift wood with a few branches that stick out of the water you could tie some sort of cannopy across the branches at water level and put substrate on it and plant moss. Do the frogs like to be able to get out of the water sometimes?
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