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-   -   55 South American Biotope ideas? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/55-south-american-biotope-ideas-128749/)

Sharky1234 02-13-2013 10:07 PM

55 South American Biotope ideas?
 
Hi! :-D

I just signed up a little while ago, and I already have some questions! I'm trying to start a south american biotope, but I don't know if the fish I want are going to get along well... I've done hours of research on them, and I think they'll work, but I'd like a second, third, forth, etc., opinion if possible! My pH is around 6-6.8, and my tank's temperature is around 78 degrees most of the time.

Recently I've had a problem with high nitrAtes, so I've been doing daily water changes to help clear that up. Most of my fish died because of it :shock: Since I have to restock now I've decided to go with a biotope! I'm going for Orinoco river area mostly. Anyways, my stocking plan so far:
  • 10 Glowlight Tetras (at least 10)
  • 8-10 False Bandit Cories (Corydoras Melini)
  • 2-4 German Blue Rams (Aggression might be a problem? And can they be kept with Cories? I've heard varying info about that!)
  • 1-2 Albino Bristlenose Plecostomus (Found them for the first time ever in my favorite lfs!)
  • Another school of tetras? I'm not sure, open to suggestions!
I'm just wondering if I'm going to be overstocked, what, if any, kind of tetras I should get for my second school (thinking black widows?), and if the BN plecos are going to be too messy.

I also have a few plant ideas, but I'm open to more! I'm like a moderately planted tank, my list so far:
  • Amazon Swords
  • Green Cabomba
  • Duckweed
  • Christmas Moss
  • Watersprite
I don't have very many plants as you can see, lol, but if you have any South American plants that you think would be good I'll definitely consider them!

Thanks in advance! :-)

fish monger 02-14-2013 06:22 AM

Maybe a school of neons or cardinals rather than the black widows. I have the black widows and they can really limit some future additions you might want to make. The BNs are probably the best plecos to go with insofar as messiness / destruction are concerned. I haven't heard of problems with mixing Rams and Cories. Better let other speak about that. For the type of tank you want, fewer species of plants is probably better. It will look more natural and I have seen beautiful tanks using only 2-3 species.

Sharky1234 02-14-2013 10:49 AM

Thank you so much! Recently I was a member of another fish forum, and I've asked about these things twice in the last week, and no answers, then I asked a few other questions and I only got useless answers. :|

I had read different things about the temperature difference between Cories, and Rams, and whether or not they can be kept together based on that.

I do love neon tetras :-D I'm just a little unsure about NTD, but it's not a guarantee, so I'll deal with that if it happens.

Thanks again!

fish monger 02-14-2013 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sharky1234 (Post 1430479)
Thank you so much! Recently I was a member of another fish forum, and I've asked about these things twice in the last week, and no answers, then I asked a few other questions and I only got useless answers. :|

I had read different things about the temperature difference between Cories, and Rams, and whether or not they can be kept together based on that.

I do love neon tetras :-D I'm just a little unsure about NTD, but it's not a guarantee, so I'll deal with that if it happens.

Thanks again!

Glad you brought up the temperature issue. Rams like it warm 80-82. That's a little warm for Cories. They like mid 70s. Definitely something to consider.

Sharky1234 02-14-2013 01:07 PM

That's why I was a little unsure about those two. I've heard of people keeping them together successfully. I've read some places that say the rams would be fine in 75-85, and some that say they need 82 at least! The Cories I'm looking at are supposed to be fine in 70-79, and currently my tank is about 78. I'm just wondering if anybody is keeping those two together, and what their temperature is, and stuff like that. :-)

Byron 02-14-2013 01:18 PM

2 Attachment(s)
There are a couple issues with the fish stocking. First, the blue ram. While behavioral compatibility with the other named fish [excluding the black widow tetra] is not (or shouldn't normally be) an issue, they are not compatible because of temperature requirements. The ram needs warmth, no lower than 82F. But this will burn out most tetra; the Glowlight Tetra [this fish is not native to the Orinoco by the way] has 82F as the upper limit, but fish should never be maintained permanently at the high end of their preferred temperature because this wears them out fast, and their health will not be at its best. Temperature ranges are intended as guides to the lowest and highest temporary limits, with the fish best in the middle.

There are some tetra that would manage with 82F, the cardinal tetra comes to mind and it is native to the Orinoco. I would have to check the profiles to find more, but that's something you can do too.;-)

The corys also will not like the warmth. BTW, the "bandit" cory native to the Orinoco is Corydoras metae, not C. melini. Very similar.

On the pleco, yes, these fish have more of an impact on the biology but the Bristlenose Pleco are smaller. Two males will squabble a bit, so provide plenty of chunks of wood for hiding places and territorial divisions just in case you get two males.

I agree that the Black Widow Tetra is a problem in certain circumstances, as it is more likely to fin nip sedate fish. Check the profile.

Thinking of cichlids, to replace the ram, there are angelfish in the Orinoco. Pterophyllum altum is the species found there, but this too needs warmth as they will be wild caught [check profile]. The more common Pterophyllum scalare will be tank raised and better at normal temps around 77F, though not native to the Orinoco as far as I know. I don't know how "authentic" you want to be in your biotope.

Hope this helps. I have spent years researching South American habitats and fish, this is without doubt my absolute favourite area. Below are my two Amazon geographic tanks; geographic meaning the plants and fish come from the general geographic area, as compared to biotope which strictly speaking means a particular watercourse. The terms are often used interchangeably though.:-) The upper photo is my 70g Flooded Amazon Forest, or was [I tore this down last week and rebujilt it with sand] and the lower photo is the 115g Amazonian Riverscape.

Byron.

Sharky1234 02-14-2013 02:09 PM

Thanks!

I knew that Glowlights aren't from the Orinoco, but some one I know doesn't want her's anymore, so she's giving them to me...

I'm not sure if I want angelfish, but I've been considering it instead of the rams. They were supposed to be sort of center piece fish, so an angel would work better.

Bandit Cories (Corydoras Metae) were the ones I wanted, but the only place I can find them is online, and it's $40 for six of them, which I can't afford. I found the False Bandit Cories (Corydoras Melini) in my favorite lfs, so it's the closest I'm going to get. I suppose it's just a South American geographic tank at this point, not an Orinoco biotope. :-P

I would go with Cardinals, but I have limited options for fish in my area, and I can't really order online. Since Neons are readily available, and the closest thing to Cardinals, I'll probably just go with them. I only have three pet stores that sell fish, Petsmart, Petco, and other local chain. I have been refusing to buy anything from Petco because of the conditions of all the fish (except they had good Bettas last time I went), and I won't buy anything except Bettas from Petsmart, for the same reason.

I've had one small pleco before, a striped rubbernose, which is native to the Rio Meta, and Orinoco rivers, and I wanted another one, which was the reason for the Orinoco biotope. So I love the idea of a new kind of pleco! I have a bunch of wood rinsing right now for them, and I'm going to be looking for more soon.

Those are beautiful tanks! :-D Thanks for your help, and for sharing those pictures!

Sharky1234 02-18-2013 09:24 PM

Hi! Instead of starting a new topic I decided just to post on this one again. :-)

So an angelfish might work? My favorite lfs had a few dozen babies (half dollar sized) last time I went, and they had a bunch of really nice looking ones! They had a lot of Marbles, and Koi's, a few Platinum's, a few silvers, and one ALBINO! I have a recent found love of albino fish, so I'm going to see if I can go back and make sure it's the right type.

Also, could I get more than one? And I've read that Neon tetras aren't good with angels because it's their natural food? So maybe I'll ask the lfs if they can order cardinals for me, or maybe Rummynose instead?? I've seen rummynoses in the display tanks there, but never for sale.

Opinions? Until last July the only type of fish I had ever had were Bettas, so I'm still figuring out compatibility and stuff like that! :-D

Thanks!

Byron 02-19-2013 01:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sharky1234 (Post 1435909)
Hi! Instead of starting a new topic I decided just to post on this one again. :-)

So an angelfish might work? My favorite lfs had a few dozen babies (half dollar sized) last time I went, and they had a bunch of really nice looking ones! They had a lot of Marbles, and Koi's, a few Platinum's, a few silvers, and one ALBINO! I have a recent found love of albino fish, so I'm going to see if I can go back and make sure it's the right type.

Also, could I get more than one? And I've read that Neon tetras aren't good with angels because it's their natural food? So maybe I'll ask the lfs if they can order cardinals for me, or maybe Rummynose instead?? I've seen rummynoses in the display tanks there, but never for sale.

Opinions? Until last July the only type of fish I had ever had were Bettas, so I'm still figuring out compatibility and stuff like that! :-D

Thanks!

Check our profiles for the species; I will only highlight here. Angelfish (all those varieties are derived from the species Pterophyllum scalare) are shoaling fish, and should be in a group; five in a 75g would work. Add them together, for the reasons explained in the profile section on Compatibility.

Linear fish (neons, cardinals, rummys) should not be combined with angelfish, they are too likely to be eaten. Remember mature sizes of angels. Rounder characins that are peaceful and not likely to fin nip are better, like the Rosy Tetra, Roberts Tetra, Garnet or Pretty Tetra, Lemon Tetra, Flame Tetra, etc.

Byron.

Sharky1234 02-19-2013 04:08 PM

Thank you!

I've read so many different opinions on things like this, so I figured I'd ask to make sure, seeing as most people say "I've heard...". I will check out what my lfs has for tetras, I'd love another school. Right off the top of my head for bigger tetras they have White/black/albino skirt tetras (no), Emperor tetras (?), and Serpae (no.). I'm actually going back tonight (my sister's birthday gift from me (3 endler/guppy hybrids) all died! She won't be getting more from that tank, as they're clearly not healthy) so I will make a list of the types of tetras they sell, and research compatibility when I get back.


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