01-10-2010, 05:09 PM
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You also need to think about water parameters. Some fish can adapt (to a certain extent) and others can't (like the blue rams you mention) so it is a good idea to know your water parameters out of the tap and think of fish that will match those. This is easier than trying to fiddle with parameters if your water is extreme. It may not be, but as you're in the UK I seem to recall many there have basic (alkaline) water somewhat on the hard side. Also think about temperature, not all fish will live healthily in water that is warmer or cooler than their preference. Again thinking of the rams, they are warm water (82F minimum) and some tetras, such as neons for example, would literally burn out long-term at that high a temperature; most (but not all) corydoras would also.
As you seem to be thinking South America, have a look at the photos of my Amazonian Riverscape 115g and flooded Amazon forest 90g aquascapes. I am a geographic aquarist, everything (plants, fish, items like wood or rock) in each tank is from or can be found in watercourses in the same geographic area, such as the Amazon basin, though not the same stream which would be a true biotope. The list of fish and plants in these tanks may give you some ideas. Many of my fish are wild caught and very specific regarding water parameters. I and others can offer suggestions in this area.