Help with Niger River Biotope.
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Help with Niger River Biotope.

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Help with Niger River Biotope.
Old 05-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #1
 
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Help with Niger River Biotope.

So ever since I have seen Elephantnose fish in a local fish store I have wanted one.
Gnathonemus petersii (Elephantnose Fish) — Seriously Fish I also want to try and make the aquarium I get for them just for them. So I have been reading and trying to figure out where they are from and information about it. Well the lower Niger River is one place. So going off that part of the river what can be found there? I havent really found much info on them and would love some additional info about where they live and the habitat. I have found some info on this from Heiko Bleher.
Aquapress Bleher - Aqua-Xpo 2001 Biotope 19

The plants he mentions are Crinum calamistratum, Crinum natas, and Bolbitis heudelotii. Now i have read in other places that Elephantnose fish need dim lighted aquariums. Well if those are the only native plants in that region what do you do for floating plants?

Also the tank size I am planning on getting is a 75 gallon would this be big enough for 3 of these fish? I know it is fine for one but I have read that these fish live in big groups and must be kept in groups.

Any suggestions or advice would be great!
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
 
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Salvinia natans, or floating fern is a floating plant that is common throughout Africa and some other continents. That might work if you can find some.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
 
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Thanks didn't see that on a list I have. It does have Salvinia nymphellula though. I have read that Pistia stratiotes is found through parts of it. Anyone ever used it in your aquarium?
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #4
 
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I read that anubias originate from Africa, might want to look into some of those.
I have not found any true floating plants from the area.
I too am dreaming of an elephant nose biotope (though not as specific as a particular river).
First, I would get 5 minimum. This will reduce the possibilities of a weaker one being picked on. I think a 75 would be perfect (this is the size I plan on as well).
All mormyrids are really either great or a pain. Everyone has a different experience with the fish. The most common? The aquarist watches as the fish slowly starves itself to death. I have seen videos of them being hand fed on youtube, which throws me off a lot. But prepare yourself to sit there and devote many hours of headache to getting them to eat. They may be more willing in a group. You WILL need to feed 100% frozen/live diet. No beefheart and that other garbage either. Worms worms worms. Blood worms are a favourite. But sometimes the fish won't even eat that. Some fish will only accept live (at first at least) so I'd be prepared with some lives foods right off the bat. The fish is nocturnal so that's the best time to feed. I just realized you aren't asking for this info, so my bad, I'll leave it anyways as the seriously fish profile says they are unfussy, not true.

For the tank, you'll want around 2/3 sand, and 1/3 gravel. I'm not sure why gravel but I read that a mix of the two is best.
The Niger is naturally pretty devoid of plants, but it is murky, which is why planted is good, dims the lighting. So a planted "Niger River" biotope for these guys would be somewhat unnatural. This also makes the amount of aquarium fish pretty small. A blackwater true discus biotope would technically be more natural, with lot's of driftwood for hiding as this is a small species, huge open spaces.
Personally I was thinking more along the lines of the Congo for my tank, which would give me my two tank mate possibilites; african butterfly fish and congo tetra. A quick search says that the african butterfly is present in Nigeria, so that is a species to look into.
Hope that helps!
Also, a PFK article about mormyrids (if you haven't seen it- lists some compatible species but haven't checked if they'd be part of the biotope. The last section "Mystery of the Flashing Water" is totally irrelevant but it enamored me with these fish even more, that's for sure!):
Definitive guide to elephantnoses | Features | Practical Fishkeeping

Last edited by Olympia; 05-22-2012 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
 
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Olympia all that info is great and helpful. I have read about most of what you are saying. Am at work now and when I get a chance I will post some more questions about your post. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
I read that anubias originate from Africa, might want to look into some of those.
I have not found any true floating plants from the area.
I too am dreaming of an elephant nose biotope (though not as specific as a particular river).
First, I would get 5 minimum. This will reduce the possibilities of a weaker one being picked on. I think a 75 would be perfect (this is the size I plan on as well).
I have read anywhere from 3 to 5 for the reason you state. I was just a little bit worried a 75 gallon would be too small for 5 of them. If 5 will fit alright in that size then I will go with that number.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
All mormyrids are really either great or a pain. Everyone has a different experience with the fish. The most common? The aquarist watches as the fish slowly starves itself to death. I have seen videos of them being hand fed on youtube, which throws me off a lot. But prepare yourself to sit there and devote many hours of headache to getting them to eat. They may be more willing in a group. You WILL need to feed 100% frozen/live diet. No beefheart and that other garbage either. Worms worms worms. Blood worms are a favourite. But sometimes the fish won't even eat that. Some fish will only accept live (at first at least) so I'd be prepared with some lives foods right off the bat. The fish is nocturnal so that's the best time to feed. I just realized you aren't asking for this info, so my bad, I'll leave it anyways as the seriously fish profile says they are unfussy, not true.
This is something I have also read about them being picky eaters. I can if necessary get live blackworms for a local fish store. The only problem with that is I end up with hundreds of them and most of them die before they get feed to the fish. I had to deal with this when I first got Dwarf Puffers. I finally got them to eat frozen bloodworms. Anyways anyone know how to keep blackworm cultures? Also thought about starting a whiteworm culture for them as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
For the tank, you'll want around 2/3 sand, and 1/3 gravel. I'm not sure why gravel but I read that a mix of the two is best.
The Niger is naturally pretty devoid of plants, but it is murky, which is why planted is good, dims the lighting. So a planted "Niger River" biotope for these guys would be somewhat unnatural. This also makes the amount of aquarium fish pretty small. A blackwater true discus biotope would technically be more natural, with lot's of driftwood for hiding as this is a small species, huge open spaces.
Personally I was thinking more along the lines of the Congo for my tank, which would give me my two tank mate possibilites; african butterfly fish and congo tetra. A quick search says that the african butterfly is present in Nigeria, so that is a species to look into.
Hope that helps!
Also, a PFK article about mormyrids (if you haven't seen it- lists some compatible species but haven't checked if they'd be part of the biotope. The last section "Mystery of the Flashing Water" is totally irrelevant but it enamored me with these fish even more, that's for sure!):
Definitive guide to elephantnoses | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
This is where I get confused and need more information. I have read about some aquatic plants in the Niger though not alot. Anubias are in Africa but are they in the Niger river? I will was wanting to do something simalar to their natural habitat. I know this is somewhat impossible as you can not represent a whole ecosystem in a tiny aquarium but you can take one small slice and make something of it.
If a hardscape tank is more representative of their natural habitat then I will go that way.
The Definitive guide to elephantnose article was written by the same person who did this tank
Aquapress Bleher - Aqua-Xpo 2001 Biotope 19 Heiko Bleher. Which I have read many times. Even got it bookmark. LoL

As for tank mates I wasnt sure but I figured I would go off of the list that was givin in the previous link I posted. Which African butterfly (Pantodon buchholzi) was listed. I am not as worried about the tank mates as I am getting the right enviroment for the Elephantnose.

I am sure I got more questions but can't think right now as it is getting late and I have less then an hour of work to go before leaving and going home so need to get some things done LoL
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:36 AM   #7
 
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See, there is a big conflict about where the fish is, in my mind at least. Elephant nose are kore often than not written about as "elephant nose" only, this includes everything from little G. Petersii, to the flat faces to the 2 foot long food fish. The fish are bottom dwellers primarily. So where in the river is the question. Aquatic plants are generally present at 10 feet at the deepest, after that the river is pretty much devoid of plants/driftwood. As a small species I want to imagine them living near the edges and in flooded areas around the river, with the monsters in the middle. I think it'd be safer to just plant the tank well like this, as reaching the amount of murkiness this fish probably requires would leave you with an empty looking tank. If you want it may be a good idea to contact the writer of the article, as he's actually been there and seen everything first hand.
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:39 AM   #8
 
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If I could figure out how to I would.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:06 PM   #9
 
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I totally can NOT help you here, but I would LOVE to see this when you get it up and running - it's a great idea! Good luck, man!
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:29 PM   #10
 
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They are really cool fish indeed. :D
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