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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm doing an Amazon biotope riparium (29g) with some Vals (probably jungle val, not sure though) and swords in the background, but to be honest I am not really sure what kind of swords I want. Really need some recommendations on which ones might be best, thanks!

Also, anyone know a good South American foreground plant?
 

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I'm doing an Amazon biotope riparium (29g) with some Vals (probably jungle val, not sure though) and swords in the background, but to be honest I am not really sure what kind of swords I want. Really need some recommendations on which ones might be best, thanks!

Also, anyone know a good South American foreground plant?
Swords aren't found in the Amazon proper, though you might see them in seasonally flooded creeks and swampy areas. I'd recommend. E. uruguayensis, as it's the most likely to grow submersed (it will grow emersed as well). Stay away from weird varieties, as they're most likely hybrids.

The genus Vallisneria isn't found in the Amazon at all, near as I can tell.

Bad news on the foreground plants - amano-style foregrounds generally don't exist in nature, though you will get foregrounds on a massive scale in big springs, where tall stem plants cover the bottom but don't quite reach the top. Most of the plants used as foregrounds live on moist streambanks, and generally aren't found underwater most of the year.

If you'd like to do a South American-themed riparium, I'd recommend one based on the shallow streams that eventually feed into big rivers like the Amazon. You could use a mix of emersed and submersed swords, Corydoras catfish, and loricariid catfish (plecos).

You could also do a "South American swamp" riparium with emersed swords, dark brown/black substrate, maybe some driftwood, and some deep-bodied tetra species, though many get too big for a 29G riparium. I'm personally a fan of bloodfin tetras; they're hardy and school very well.

Regardless of which direction you go, I'd advise only a small school of fish - a 29G riparium will have only around ten gallons' worth of water, less if you use a lot of rocks. You should also consider using a powerhead if you go the creek route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oops, I mispoke. I was just referring to a South American clearwater stream, I guess I accidentally just shoveled it into the Amazon category. Here is the resource I'm using: http://fish.mongabay.com/biotope.htm#South%20American%20Clearwater%20Stream

Thanks for the tips everyone, and the suggestions Kuni. I am second guessing the idea of a riparium because it takes away so much usable space, but they are SO beautiful...
 

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A riparium is a trade-off -- you get large, easy to grow plants in exchange for fewer fish.

One nice thing is that if you go the swordplant route, you don't need riparium planters, just small pots set on the bottom of the tank. The swords will grow up and emerge from the water.

Hydrophyte also sells some nice "tank planters" that work well for this, though you'd want the very biggest ones for swordplants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A riparium is a trade-off -- you get large, easy to grow plants in exchange for fewer fish.

One nice thing is that if you go the swordplant route, you don't need riparium planters, just small pots set on the bottom of the tank. The swords will grow up and emerge from the water.

Hydrophyte also sells some nice "tank planters" that work well for this, though you'd want the very biggest ones for swordplants.
I got the miracle grow organic choice potting mix today, as well as some Mexican clay from amaco. Now I have to do some soul searching for what I really want, a Riparium or a regular aquarium. Anyone have any comments to add that might help my choice?
 

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A riparium is a trade-off -- you get large, easy to grow plants in exchange for fewer fish.
That's not true. If you can hang the light up above you can have a riparium filled up to the top with lots of plants growing above the water. If anything this kind of setup lets you keep lots of plants, but can leave more underwater area open for fish.
 

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I have only found three kinds of swordplants that grow very well emersed in ripariums:

  1. Echinodorus cordifolius
  2. Echinodorus cordifolius 'Tropica Marble Queen'
  3. Echindorus palaefolius

It is important to keep these in riparium setups with plenty of air circulation. That is, you shouldn't plant them in ahigh-humidty riparium setup. If you do they will always try to grow their underwater-from leaves, even though they are above water. The underwater-form leaves are a lot softer and don't grow as well out of the water and burn around the edges.

ALl of the other kinds of swords that I have tried in ripariums just grew those underwater-from leaves all the time and they didn't work.
 

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I got the miracle grow organic choice potting mix today, as well as some Mexican clay from amaco. Now I have to do some soul searching for what I really want, a Riparium or a regular aquarium. Anyone have any comments to add that might help my choice?
If you do a riparium setup I would recommend against using a topsoil kind of substrate for the tank bottom. In a riparium you can only keep underwater plants up near the front of the tank, and there is less light there anyway so the plants won't be so demanding of root fertilizaiton like they would in a setup with lots of light and lots of CO2. For a riparium it is better to use a simple uniform sand or gravel substrate for the bottom combined with low tech plants (especially swords and crypts) that can grow well. This way you won't have to mess with the extra hassle of setting up the soil layer and you can move the substrate aroudn however you want later on.
 

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That's not true. If you can hang the light up above you can have a riparium filled up to the top with lots of plants growing above the water. If anything this kind of setup lets you keep lots of plants, but can leave more underwater area open for fish.
If your tank is rimless.

If your fish are the type that don't jump.

Otherwise, you have a trade-off.
 

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If your tank is rimless.

If your fish are the type that don't jump.

Otherwise, you have a trade-off.
Rimless is better, but you can get a pretty nice looking setup with plants growing out the top of a plastic-rimmed tank too.

I liked this riparium because it just included some really cool plants.



Yes you can have fish jump out the top, but You have the same risk with any rimless open-top tank, not just ripariums.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have (well, I am pretty sure I will have) around 6 inches above the tank between the light fixture. If I lower the water level in the tank by another six inches I will have a foot for emersed growth...
 
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