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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey TPT People!

I am finally getting around to setting up my 40B and I can't decide how I want to scape it! I know for sure I am getting a group of Alvarezi Swordtails to go in it, and I have seen some online videos of different swordtails in their native habitat, and they can vary what they look like quite a bit!!!

So I was wondering, has anyone ever done a Swordtail Biotope Tank? If so do you have any pics you could post, or a plant list, as well as a tank mate list, like a native clean up crew, bottow dwellers, etc...


Any Help is greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks,
Drew
 

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I can't give you any biotope help, I just wanted to say how pleased I am that someone is making a swordtail biotope. I have Rio Otapa swords and I think they're some of the most beautiful fish I've ever kept (I just wish I could give them birth control). I'd be very interested in seeing pictures when you're finished with this tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the link Nordic, and for the props Shana!!! The guy I got the Alvarezi from had Rio Otapas as well, but I went with the Alvarezi since they were the wild form of the Swords I had to put down last year due to Columnaris that I couldn't cure after trying for a year and a half! Both strains were BEAUTIFUL, and I might get some Otapas from him to go in my 55g if I set it back up again as they were sooo cool with their black spots. But for now I am going to focus on the 40B!

I got 1 male and 5 females and 3 of the females are already pregnant! They are in my 10g QT for now until the 40 is setup and ready to go! I will try to get some pics for yall in the next few days. They are not the most red covered I have seen online, but their red stripes are very bold and the males sword is brilliant green, and their bodies have a blue sheen that is freakin' awesome! I know I won't be able to pick up their beautiful colors with the camera, but I will try my best!

Thanks Again for the Help, and stay tuned to the Journal forum for the start of the Biotope Log!!!
Drew
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well STILL NO PICS, SORRY!!! I will REALLY TRY TO GET THEM TOMORROW after I do their water change!!!!

I have been doing A LOT OF SEARCHING online for info on fish and plants other than what the biotope link Nordic gave me, and all I can say is: "GREAT GOBS of GOOSE CHIT BATMAN", there is NOT A LOT of info out there on the "True" Alvarezi other than their general care info and the same info that their founder listed in 1960!!! Sorry I can't remember his name at the moment! I have been up 36+ hours again, so my brain is a bit like a bowl of Oatmeal with too much water in it- a big glob of grey lumpy mush that is good for nothing but going in the trash or setting in the sun to turn it into a rock!!! ;)

SO if ANYONE knows of ANY SMALL BOTTOM DWELLING CATS, maybe Cories, and some algae eaters from the Southern Mexico, Guatemala area that would go into this Biotope tank I WOULD OWE YOU BIG TIME!!!!!!

The list of plants the Biotope Forum listed for the Lacantun River Biotope Tank Setup are:

1) Cobomba sp.- not for sure what color I would go with/what is native to the area, or if it will grow with the ammount of light I am planning or without Co2!
2) Eichornia crassipes- Water Hyacinth
3) Nymphaea sp.- Which covers quite a few Lilly's and Lotus, etc..., so I will have to research to find which ones come from that area, most I see for sale are African!
4) Pistia stratiotes- Water Lettuce
5) Pondeteria sp.-again MANY types, more research!
6) Potamogeton sp.- ^ ^ ^
7) Utricularia sp.- the only one I have seen I like is Graminifolia. I know it is a Carnivorous plant, but doing the reading I understand what it eats, and I believe this type (from what I have seen and read on this site) grows more like a "hair grass". Unlike the other which forms the long strands that wrap around the bases of your other stems, inter mixes with your mosses, etc... Of course I could be TOTALLY WRONG!!! I THINK I may have been wrong ONE OTHER TIME IN MY LIFE, but I could be MISTAKEN!!!

That is all the plants they listed for the Lacantun River Biotope! And other than the 2 that had the types listed the others were just the "Family" names. AndI am not even 100% for sure if the Alvarezi are found in that river system or not!!!! LOL I am PRETTY SURE they are, but see the BOLD sentence above to answer that question!!! ;)

After doing some online looking up of plants half of those Family's (I think that is what the first Scientific Name is called?) names are found in my area in Texas, but I doubt they are the same ones the Alvarezi are used to looking at 1,000 miles away, but who knows????

So if ANYBODY can help me out with the Catfish, Algae Eaters, or Plant List I would be FOR EVER IN DEBT TO YOU!!!! I would be more than happy to gift some Alvarezi juvies to you when the colony gets going good, just pay shipping!!!! 4 of the 5 females are now pregnant and 3 of them should be ready to start giving birth within 7-10 days!!! If my math is correct and the previous owner's time line is pretty close!

Anyway, I will do my ABSOLUTE BEST TO GET PICS UP TOMORROW AFTERNOON!!! I am going to walk the dogs, and then goin to try to locate my 21y.o. Son, then off to try to get some sleep!!!! Ha, Ha, Ha, I'll believe that when it happens!


Thanks for reading my Sleep Deprived Ramblings!!!
Drew
 

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I have only seen one biotope video that had swordtails in, but I think it was Venezualan.

The swords for the most part hung out right below floating cover like lily leaves etc.
Like most of the fishes we keep, they live in very close proximity from their predators.
Also, everything was covered in diatom algae to the point where plant ID would have been futile.

Doubt your tank is large enough for any of the Lacantuniidae (looking at the name should give you an idea of where this class of catfishes come from.

L Enigmatica (+- half a meter)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yep Nordic,

That is what I am running into! The only cats I have seen that are listed in that area are "real" cat fish, Like I Fish for with a Line and Pole!!! I don't think they would last too long in a 40B!!!

This is really BUMMING ME OUT!!!! Maybe this is why NO ONE ever does a Swordtail Biotope tank! Very little plant assortment, and while there are some VERY COOL midwater, and upper water swimmers there is NO standard HOME aquarium bottom dwellers, algae eaters, clean up crew, etc... That is if you are trying to keep it true to there native habitat!

I am not giving up yet, but I am beginning to think I will have to make it a Biotope-ish tank! With plenty of rocks/stones mostly native plants, but with a clean up crew that will like the water parameters the Swords will thrive in! That is NOT WHAT I WAS WANTING TO DO, but I don't want a tank full of algae covered dead plants either!!! Heck I can go to either Big Box store in town and see that anytime!!!

I will keep yall updated, and I was unable to get pics, as I had a allergy attack yesterday from something this last Cold Front blew in and I had to take a couple of Benadryl last night! So I was mostly asleep all day! So I will get them tomorrow!

Thanks Nordic for the help!
Drew
 

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Pretty sure there would be an assortment of tiny bottom dwellers too. I think I read that virtually all the plants of the rain forest can be found in that basin
 

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The unfortunate thing about this type of biotope is that swordtails pretty much exist to feed the bigger fish it lives with. I still think capturing a small part dedicated to them is still worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I checked back on the Biotope forum and the Mod. there had posted a link to google earth to where he had found where the Alvarezi have been collected from other than the Lacantun River, so it will give me some other places to TRY to find info about the plant and fish life about!!! He has been VERY, VERY HELP FULL!!! That is a AWESOME SITE, so THANK YOU Nordic for turning me on to it!!! The only problem I have with it is most of it is written in Spanish! I know there are translation programs, but my PC is still running Vista!!!:( :( :( and a lot of the programs out there are no longer working with it! Even Google Chrome no longer receives updates! So I am going to have to find a translator that will work with Vista until I can afford to buy Windows 7!!! I can buy it now, but that would take every bit of my "Mad Money" I have stashed to finish setting up the 40B Biotope or Swordtail Oasis, which ever I am able to figure out! So I DON'T THINK I will WASTE my cash on MICROSOFT, when my Aquarium is WAY, WAY, WAY MORE IMPORTANT!!!!!

Microsoft is as bad as Apple and I-Phones, about coming out with new versions of Windows, when XP was PERFECTLY GOOD and STABLE!!! It's just a way to sell more computers then they release Vista to soon and it was crap-o and it took for ever to fix what they SHOULD have taken the time to get right the first time! Now your desk top has to look and act like a smart phone!???? WHY??? Not everybody is a 16yo who lives on their phones! I know PC's, hell I sold them for 5+ years back when a tower, monitor, and printer cost you $3,000-$5,000, and a 14.4 dial up modem was SUPER FAST!!!!! ;)

Anyway, I am rambelin' off track! Sorry! Just Tired!!!

I will continue to try to find a cleanup crew native to their area and make my Biotope dream come true!!!

Thank You for all of Your Support Everyone!!!
Drew

P.S. Pics should be up tonite! Digi camera is in the truck, and my Son has it at the moment!

P.S. II Nordic- My wife watches House Hunters all of the time,( It is a T.V. show where a Couple are looking to buy a new house, and they see 3 houses in there price range and then chose 1) I really don't care for it because it is usually just a newly Married Couple arguing about what they don't like about this house or that house so they can get on T.V.!, BUT after it comes on the next show is House Hunters International, but it is a little bit better show usually! Not near as much [email protected]#in' and whining and they show some very beautiful places around the world, so I will usually watch it if I am interested in the area they are showing. Well they were in Cape Town last night, and it is a VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE!!!!! I have been to Africa twice, but never Cape Town, and it is VERY Different from the areas I have been! You sure live in a AWESOME part of the World!!! I ENVY YOU BUDDY!!! Take Care!! Drew

Here are the Alvarezi pics!!!


I hope I can get these to load, because photo bucket is going soooo slow and stopping everything from running!

Sorry the pics didn't load!!! stupid Photo Bucket! I will load them on the other photo hosting site ( I can't remember the name of hand and see if they work then!

Take Care!,
Drew

P.S. Nordic, I was in Namibia a couple times, and it to is a BEAUTIFUL PLACE!!! Just not near as urban as Cape Town! Also a WHOLE LOT DRYER TOO!!!:) LOL We stayed with family friends about 2 hours outside Windhoek toward the West, and were there for about 2 weeks each trip! Man I didn't want to leave either time! So Peaceful out there, and I grew up in the country in Texas, but it's nothing like the country or "felt" as Jan called it there. I know that is not how he would spell it! LOL My Parents are actually planning a trip to South Africa next year, but I doubt I will be able to go as my spine isn't doing so hot, so I will probably wind up staying home and watching after the Farm for them! 16+ hours in those Airline seats really takes its toll on some one with spinal problems! Anyway I Thankyou for the help with my tank plans!

P.S.S. Darkblade48- Will do on the back to back post! Didn't even think about it! Just got the pics loaded, and was trying to get them loaded on the site as quick as I could because I was having so much trouble with PhotoBucket! I'LL make sure I'll do it from now on! Drew
 

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I bet you cape town is miles ahead of many places in the US.
Of course this happened on the back of segregation and displacement of the poor.
Just whish we had the same retail levels and as many local producers of products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Let's try this again! Here are the Alvarezi Pics!

Here is the young Male! He has his red stripes for sure, and they have been spreading out even in the short time I have had him!!! Eventually as he matures his whole body will be red/orange tinted with his stripes showing through!!! Left side.

Right Side



Younger Female with 2 stripes. I have read different things about females stripes. Some say that as the females age they will develop a total of 4 stripes, but others say theirs didn't, and it depends where they were collected! I guess I will have to wait and see, but both 2 and 4 stripes are pregnant in this tank right now!!!

4 Stripe Female who is pregnant.

Group Shot with most of them standing pretty still!

Male and Preg 4 stripe female toward the back of the tank under a 6,500K bulb! The rest of the shots the fish were more toward the front of the tank where there is a OLD 50/50 ZooMed bulb. That is the ONLY DIFFERENCE in the pics!!! I didn't change a single thing with the camera or anything else!!! So you can see how their colors can vary with bulb and their angle. That's what one of the LARGE Breeders says on his web site who has a GREAT PIC of a Mature Male!

4 Stripe female pregnant.

4 Stripe female quartering toward us. Look at that belly!!!

Female Group trying to figure out what I am doing so close to the tank without feeding them!!! They are PIGS!!!

Same AS above!They will even go up and splash the lid if I am slow at getting the food to them at feeding time! If they see me pick up the food jars in front of their tank, and I don't open the lid pretty quick after that the bigger 4 stripe female will splash water up on the glass lid!!!

CAN YOU SAY BABIES!!!!!! It is very hard to make them out but there are 2 in the pic! 1 at the right corner edge of the moss, and 1 at the left side edge of the moss just above the Albino Cory Cat! They are a few days old now, and I first saw them on 04/04/2016. I am going to let these first few batches be born in here, as I don't know who the father is. If any of them make it I will either give them back to the Guy I got them from or if he doesn't want them let them go here! After I know they are having fry from my Male I will start removing the females to birth in a trap to protect the fry! So far I have seen about 15 fry total from 1 4 stripe female!!! Pretty good for her first Batch!


Well I figured out what I did wrong last night on PhotoBucket, since they changed up their design AGAIN since I was there the last time! But anyway that's another story! You'll have to ignore the Brown Diatom algae in the 10g! That poped up after I added the hornwart and the Swords! I am going to do a water change and clean it up some tomorrow, but not too much as I figure the baby's will munch on it some when they are big enough to come out!

Thanks for looking!!!
Drew

P.S. SORRY about the GLARE and WATER SPOTS on the glass on the tank too!!! There is a lot of Hornwart floating on the top as well! That tank used to be soooo full of Java fern these 6 fish would have a hard time swimming in it, but when I found 6 Krib babys in the Fluval 205s filtering the 55g I put them in the 10g to grow out. I knew if I just dropped them in the 55g that one of the Kribs not tending a fry group would eat them before they could get back with Mom! Well after a while they got big and I decided I was going to tare down the 55 so I just left the in the 10g so I wouldn't have to catch even more fish in all of those plants! BAD IDEA!!! For some reason one or all of them got a taste or got angry at the Java Fern roots and tore them off of the Rhizome and killed every one of those plants!!! I had ferns who's rhizome's were SUPER LONG!!! By the time I figured out why they were dying it was too late all of them were toast! I tried to move one to the 55g who's rhizome was still green, but somewhat soft, but it didn't make it either!

After looking at these pics I noticed I planted a few stems of Hornwart up side down!!! LOL But the guy who I got the Swords and it from had it growing on the surface and it was in a big ball, and I couldn't tell on a few of the thin stems so I just stuck them in the gravel! I guess that's why they didn't stay green!!! LOL ;) ;) ;) Oh well I have plenty on the surface to replant!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well it is 8 days after I first saw the first babies in the tank, and I can count about 15 total!!! Most are pretty dark right now, but there are 3 that are light colored but they are not albino as they have dark eyes! They are growing fast and chasing each other around the tank mostly along the bottom from java moss clump to moss clump, them to a lace rock "cave" then behind the uplift tubes of the under gravel filter back to the moss clumps! There are some new tiny fry today as well 3 or 4 as near as I can tell that is included in the total 15 count. I think I have determined which one of the 4 pregnant females is releasing fry today, and the other 3 are not too far behind her in releasing theirs either!!! So it won't be too long until I have a tank full of Sword Fry!!! ;) ;) ;)

As for the Alvarezi adults themselves, they are doing very well! The only thing I have noticed is every once in a while I will see them pass white to clear stool! I am not super concerned, but just to be on the safe side I am going to order a small bottle of Hikari PraziPro when I order my big roll of Filter Floss and some Flo. Bulbs from Big Al's this week some time and treat the fish for Intestinal Worms just in case!!! I looked for my Son's toy Microscope Kit he got when he was around 9 or 10, as it was actually a pretty descent little microscope, but I couldn't find it, because I was going to put a stool sample on a slide to see if I could see anything. I can tank a sample up to my Wife's work , she is a Vet Tech, but the PraziPro is effective and easy on the fish and the filter bed, so I would rather be safe and treat than sorry and miss something in the sample and transfer parasites to the display tank when it is ready!

Other than that the Alvarezi are AWESOME, eating like PIGS and they are LOVING Omega One Veggie Mini Pellets! I was feeding New Live Spectrum .5mm Small Fish Formula, and I still do once a day or every other day mixed with the Veggie Mini Pellets, but they go after the Veggie mini pellets then the NLS!!! Even the Albino Cory Cat that is in the tank eats the Veggie Pellets before the NLS!!! The Babies will grab a mini pellet and take off with it if they are to small to eat it right away, and if another bigger baby sees that it has it they will come steal it from them!!! It is funny as heck! The MINI PELLETS are super tiny crumbles, and most of the fry can take most of the crumbles without a problem! So if you have Swords or other fish that like Veggie based foods you should give the OMEGA ONE VEGGIE MINI PELLETS a try!!! The 1.8oz container I bought even had a spoon in it for easy feeding!

Well Thanks for looking, and I will try to get some pics of the babies and post them soon! The longest few are over 1/8" now!!! I also just got finished boiling a few pieces of Holey rock with a lot of holes in them to put into the tank to give the babies/fish more places to hide, as well as to help keep the PH/Hardness up!

Take Care,
Drew
 

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fry needs diets high in fats and protein, don't feed too much of the wrong stuff.
Luckily they still have small stomachs so they can take a few different meals a day.
I do prefer keeping fry separate, even when they are not being chased, as they need more meals and are easily out competed.
They do grow fast compared to many other livebearers. I have some swordtails from 18/02 sharing a tank with platies born at the end of November as that is the closest size I could batch them with.
 

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Fry of domestic swordtail's I have, feed like pig's on sushi nori sheet's found at Walmart in ethnic/Asian food isle (Dried green algae) along with crushed tetra crisp's and duck weed.
Would be pleased to purchase/trade for some fry should you need outlet.
Handsome fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Nordic!

Even though it's called Veggie Pellets, it has 33% min. crude Protein, 10% min. crude fat, 2% min. crude fiber, 2% min. Omega 3, 1% min. Omega 6, it's a Omnivorous fish food. They are also getting frozen baby brine shrimp (thawed then shot to them with turkey baster), Tetra Min flake that I crush in a Zip lock and sprinkle on opposite side of tank when I feed NLS to adults. So they are getting pretty well fed. But when the Swords go into the 40B and I am sure of the father I will be raising the fry in the 10g by them selves and will be hatching baby brine shrimp, and feeding other live food too! I would be feeding these guys Vinegar Eels, but my culture crashed, so I need to get another starter soon!

Take Care,
Drew
 
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