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Soil Planted Tank

2882 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  steven p
Hi there gurus :D

I've been "fishing" in an aquarium for quite some time, but at a low tech level (not to many books read, not to many interest into the mathematics or chemistry behind it, equipment or fish :p).

In these past 2 years I've started to grow this interest/hobby and I've reached a level where I'm trying to experiment a bit :D

What I have in mind is to transform the 90L aquarium with 2 species of plants and 5 species of fish in a small aquarium for the Anguilla Anguilla that I have at the moment, and the other 4 species in one 150L aquarium.

I've decided to build, first, the small aquarium for the Anguilla. In the same time I've decided to experiment with the Walstad method. And here the problems started. First of all, I didn't find much about the Anguilla Anguilla that I have (not in general about the dozens of species) so that I can have some data about the environment (temperature, pH, food) for her (I've caught her eating 1 guppy and 1 neon, but it was my bad because they where really small :D, she didn't touch any of the Xipho, Neon, Scalars, Ancistrus that i have).

So my number 1 priority would be this: know some more about it :) before I can build something for "her".

Maybe you guys can give me a hand here :)

My second point of interest would be it's environment. How big the aquarium, lights, plants, soil, etc. She's about 20cm long at the moment but at the same time I don't want to have a 1m aquarium just for her :p

For the soil issue, the only thing I could find around was the JBL AquaBasis Plus and JBL Manado (for soil and cap). Is it good? I've read some posts here, with some successes and some failures, and it's understandable but for me, being in a starting "position" ... can I use these ?
I have some gravel that I can use to top the soil but I don't know if it's big enough or small enough (the pebble size). Here is a "sample" :p

For the plants issue, for starters, I've found some Microsorum (some from the Java fern family), Rotala family, Cryptocoryne family, and Anubias family. I could probably find some other species but they probably had low stock or something at the moment I did the pet shop's inventory :D. Can I use these ?

This would be it ... for starters ...
I'm not planning to use any fertilizers or CO2 or anything else that natural environment (ok, I will have some lighting, water pomp or something like that).

I'm expecting anxiously your answers ...
Thank you in advance,
Marius :icon_roll


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If you do not want to get a large enough tank, then re-home the fish. They can grow to over a meter long, and need a large tank.
This does not mean they need a tank to themselves, you can keep other fish with them, but start with a large enough tank.

I have several Polypterus senegalus senegalus in a tank of about 500 liters, 1.3m long (6', 125 gallons)

This group of fish (Polyipteridae) (Bichers, Rope fish) are predators that can open their mouths quite wide, and eat prey that seems almost as large as they are. The secret is to keep only large fish with them. I have several fish none of which are smaller than 10 cm (4") long but are also taller, not thin fish. (Clown Loaches (Chromobotia macranthus), Snakeskin Gouramis (Trichopodus pectoralis), Filamentosa Barbs (Barbus filamentosa), several catfish)
I add Guppy culls to the tank and the Bichers hunt through the plants to find and eat them.

Polypteridae are usually safe in a planted tank. Not generally diggers, and do not nibble plants. Choose tank mates carefully, though. My Barbs are plant nibblers, so I can only keep a short list of plants with them.

Rope fish are quite adaptable when it comes to water parameters (see Fish Base link above) so I would set up the tank based on the needs of other fish, and the Rope fish will probably be just fine.

Substrate: I am not familiar with the materials you list.

Plants: All the plants you ask about are worth trying. Rotala seem to need the most light of the ones you list, and generally are better with more attention to CO2 and fertilizer. Still worth trying. The others are fine in low tech tanks.

Decor: Rope Fish appreciate some sort of driftwood arches and things like that. Not exactly caves, but a bit of a hiding place. They like 'snaking' in and out between the plants.
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Thank you very much for the info !! Awesome info base.
I have to think about what u've said regarding the fish tank size ... I wanted a nano low tech tank for her and a bigger one for the others but now ... I have to rethink my "strategy" :flick:

By the way ? What do u feed them with ?

I'll be back in a few days with some new developments .. or at least conclusions ... but I'll still watch this thread ;)) I'm still interested in doing something to change my setup tank or tanks.

Ty Diana

The a gravel cap you want the grain sizes to be 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch or smaller. Pool filter sand also works well as a cap.
Yeah .. I have something like that in my old tank, and I probably have to buy some more if I want to have 2 tanks. Thank you for the info Kamikazi.
Bichirs are awesome. Mine swims through the plants stalking for food and naps in the tangled roots of water lettuce...

Mine is a senegal bichir, he is not aggressive but he won't hesititate to try and eat anything that smells good to him. Some times he almost looks like he wabts to cuddle with other fish, then he gets hungry and chomps on somebody.
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