The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is my version of an Amazon biotope. I started this tank to give my Sterbai Corydoras a more natural habitat than where I had them. The goal was to create a muddy bottomed, driftwood strewn, shallow river bed in the Amazon basin.

I wanted to have only South American species in the tank but had to make substitutions because I couldn't source many things. I used Black Diamond blasting sand for the substrate, Manzanita wood pieces, and currently I'm using oak leaves to provide ground cover and leach tannins. It's not quite a blackwater tank, but I plan on letting whatever tannins leach into the water stay there.

Flora:
Amazon Frogbit
Red Root Floaters

Fauna:
7x Sterbai Corydora
5x Ottocinclus
5x Ghost Shrimp
multiple MTS
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The tank is still a work in progress. I set it up in stages and added different species as needed throughout the cycling process. It has been operating for around a month and still has the new tank symptoms to work through. Right now the tank is accumulating brown diatom algae and lots of driftwood fungus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Looks good...I like the roots from all the frogbit, and the driftwood looks nice.

What light are you using? In the second pic, its a Finnex, but the first one is different. Is the Finnex a Planted+ or a regular fugeray?

And I know it's not an Amazon native, but this driftwood layout would look really good with various crypts planted among the branches and then given a year to fill in. My cories love rustling through my dense crypt plantings.

Also, any plans for other species to fill the water column, or is this tank dedicated to the sterbais? They are one of the most beautiful cories, but too expensive for me to get a school for any of my community tanks right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I might change my mind in the future, but I don't have any plans to add other species of fish at the moment, other than what is necessary to keep the tank clean (ottos, snails, etc). I wanted an environment that the cories would feel safe enough to breed in so I don't want any other fish that could eat the eggs or fry. In my mind I picture an aquarium with ten to twenty schooling Sterbais cruising around, depending on how successfully they breed. Any extras I would sell.

You have a sharp eye to notice the light switch. I was using an Aqueon LED light, but changed over to the Finnex Planted+ when I realized that the plants did better with the light intensity. I might change back to the Aqueon though to slow the growth a bit (my frogbit has seen some insane spread in the last two weeks).

I am adding leaves to try to replicate the mucky river bottom that corydoras live in. To more accurately model their habitat I should have used a thick layer of mud. If I had an anaerobic layer of mud it seemed like it would be horribly difficult to balance the water parameters in an enclosed system so I used black sand and leaves instead. I have access to oak leaves so I have been using those, but I might try using some almond or guava leaves in the future (if I ever feel rich enough to buy leaves).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
filthy.

The driftwood snot has started to clear up a bit and the floating plants are growing strong. The red root floaters have a deep red to the roots. The frogbit are collecting a lot of filth on the roots that looks kind of nasty, but the shrimp love it. I barely even see the shrimp anymore because they are always hanging upside down in the root canopy. Three of them are pregnant so they must be enjoying themselves!

I found a stowaway on a plant I put in another tank so I stuck it on the driftwood to see if it would grow. I think it is a Brazilian Pennywort but I am not sure. It is growing.

The corydora seem to love the tank setup but they are still kind of shy. I have never had ottocinclus look so healthy as the five in this tank, they all have fat bellies and a dark green complexion.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Thanks! This is my first shot at a biotope themed aquarium. I am sure it could be a lot better, but I am happy with the way it is coming along.

I am finding it interesting how the driftwood and floating plants effect the water parameters. The driftwood has lowered my PH to a level these fish enjoy and the floating plants use all the Nitrates. I can use my tap water without needing to dilute it with RO water and my Nitrates always test 0 ppm so the tank barely needs a water change.

I am still new to the hobby in general (this is my second tank) so I am still learning and this tank kind of feels like a science experiment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's a couple of update pics of the tank over the last few months.

Everything is running pretty well in this tank. The floating mass of plants keeps the Nitrate levels at near zero so the only need for water changes is to remove the detritus whenever it builds up. The fish population is still all Amazon species and presently includes:
7 Sterbai corydoras,
9 Neon tetras,
2 Ghost shrimp,
3 Ottocinclus,
1 Albino bristlenose pleco

There are MTS snails in the tank however, as well as some Assassin snails I introduced to complete a few contracted hits on the MTS.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Nice looking tank! I love how you have the driftwood.

When I had my blackwater tank I used a combination of Indian almond leaves and oak. I got over the paying for leaves since they lasted me forever. I did use 2 or 3 times the amount of oak though since they gave off less tannins. The combination of the two were nice since they had different shapes and colors. Not sure if you're still considering it at this point since I'm late to the show.

Are you trimming the roots of your frogbit?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks! This is my second tank that I have up right now and I think I like it best.

After my last water change I didn't replace the leaves that I had at the bottom. I'm not sure if I will. They seem to dirty up the water when they rot and leave tiny particles covering the sand that eventually get the filter clogged up. I like the look of them but it certainly increases the maintenance needs because I was needing to flush the pre-filter every two or three days to keep it from clogging.

No, I haven't trimmed the roots of the floating plants at all. I removed all the Red Root Floaters because they rot very easily and leave a lot of gunk on the root systems of the Frogbit. I think the rotting process gave off lots of good nutrients that fed the Frogbit so they are growing less aggressively now. The tetras might be nibbling on them too, I'm not sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Coolness.

I have a 17 gallon Amazon biotope sorta tank (Anubias makes it "sorta") and I tried adding frogbit, but my lighting was too subdued and then it all eventually rotted away. If your frogbit is still going nuts, see if you can block or diffuse some of the light somehow. I've blocked off a lot of the light in my tank with electrical tape and contact paper and it creates dark, shadowy areas that add depth and ambiance.

I have a lot of driftwood and I'm using magnolia leaves for the leaf litter on the bottom. I thought about using oak, but it looks too familiar to me, doesn't look exotic enough. The magnolia leaves are quite a bit heftier than oak leaves, so they take a while to break down. I also have a tiny Azoo hang on filter with a small bag of peat in it, not sure how much it's doing really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's what I like. It's not completely black. Kind of blueish... What is the cheap areosol stuff?

Sent from my SGH-M919V using Tapatalk
This is what I used. It's for frosting glass, lots of people use it for xmas decorating because you can scrape it off easily after the holiday is over.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
271 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Coolness.

I have a 17 gallon Amazon biotope sorta tank (Anubias makes it "sorta") and I tried adding frogbit, but my lighting was too subdued and then it all eventually rotted away. If your frogbit is still going nuts, see if you can block or diffuse some of the light somehow. I've blocked off a lot of the light in my tank with electrical tape and contact paper and it creates dark, shadowy areas that add depth and ambiance.

I have a lot of driftwood and I'm using magnolia leaves for the leaf litter on the bottom. I thought about using oak, but it looks too familiar to me, doesn't look exotic enough. The magnolia leaves are quite a bit heftier than oak leaves, so they take a while to break down. I also have a tiny Azoo hang on filter with a small bag of peat in it, not sure how much it's doing really.
Sounds like you have a pretty decent Amazon biotope tank going too!

I forgot to add that I was originally using a high intensity light (Finnex Planted+) and after a couple of months I switched back to a lower light setup (Aqueon LED) becasue the fish seemed to prefer subdued lighting. After removing the RRF the root growth decreased a bit, the change in light didn't have as noticeable effect on growth but I'm sure it impacted them.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top