08-11-2011, 09:59 AM
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Many of the forest fish we maintain actually occur in streams with no aquatic plants. But there is heavy overhanging vegetation which is the critical thing. As ladayen wisely said, floating plants are the aquarium solution to this natural habitat.
Forest streams are under very dim light and thus true aquatic plants are seldom seen except in certain cases. Streams in SE Asia for instance often have thick carpets of crypts along the banks and these are submersed during the high water (flood) season and emersed during the dry season. In Amazonia, most rivers and streams are without plants; the Rio Negro and Rio Guapore are two exceptions, as both are thick with aquatic vegetation in areas. But as an example, an authentic habitat for angelfish could be a tank with lots of branches reaching vertical in the water, and 2/3 of the surface covered in floating plants such as Water Sprite, Brazilian Pennywort, Frogbit. An open-top tank [with fish that absolutely will not jump--many will if the top is open] with terrestrial plants on a shelf behind the tank with roots, branches, etc. dropping over and into the tank would be very authentic. I only mention this as an example of a natural habitat. An aquascape with lots of branches and floating plants will suit many forest fish; it also solves two other issues nicely--less light (with no lower plants, less light is necessary) plus the floating plants perform water filtration very well. The aquascape can be rather sparse and barren in appearance though, so clever use of lots of wood and rock is needed, and a sand substrate is ideal.
Last edited by Byron; 08-11-2011 at 10:02 AM..