Angelfish biotope/habitat aquarium
We've had several recent threads about angelfish and tankmates and aquascaping. I came across the attached video while hunting online for photos, and thought I would share it. Not only is this about as good a setup as one could have for angelfish, it is very instructive on why this fish must be in a group, and illustrates how they behave when they are in a proper environment in terms of tank size, aquascaping, and numbers. You can see clear interaction between the fish, but it never amounts to any physical damage because of the numbers and environment. And the fish swim very little, as indeed they do in the wild, preferring to remain relatively close in their shoal, near the cover of branches and under floating or overhanging vegetation.
The tank is 200 gallons, so probably 8 feet, though I'm no judge of distance. Sand substrate, lots of chunks of wood and no submersed plants, but a good layer of floating plants (Amazon Frogbit). This is so typical of most watercourses in South America.
The fish are a group of 11 wild Pterophyllum scalare, the original species from which all aquarium varieties such as the Marble, Black Lace, Blushing, etc. have been derived. These fish in the video were caught in the Rio Cuyuni, a tributary of the Rio Essequibo; a portion of the R. Cuyuni forms the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, and is pictured in the attached photo by Ivan Mikolji, an explorer and fish collector in Venezuela.
While this aquarium is an authentic habitat, it is not strictly a biotope. The corys are Corydorus duplicareus, and I believe I saw C. serratus once or twice, and these species are endemic [= only occur] in the Rio Poranga which is several hundred miles to the south in Amazonia.
Use the expand in the lower left corner to get full screen, and then enjoy.
I was reading your thread and have one question to ask you about your statement “…..
This is so typical of most watercourses in South America ….. While this aquarium is an authentic habitat, it is not strictly a biotope”. What do you mean; I thought that the word biotope is a German word that means natural habitat. I recognize that in some places the notion of habitat is separated into meaning a species or population and the term biotope refers to a biological community that can contain both natural and artificial aspects this is especially true in Europe. I think that aquaria biotopes follow this general definition. Do you disagree in some way?
Although the term aquascaping refers to recreating a natural environment this re-creation can represent environment that may or may not exist and can also contain artificial elements.
If this understanding is incorrect then straighten me out with the correct definition. I know you are very knowledgeable so don’t feel threatened by the question and sic you dogs (helpers) on me this is a friendly query.
Interesting to watch... everyone has to have someone to pick on in the group! I wonder how big that tank is and if that is having an effect? The Corys tho are actually schooling and traveling together... not something mine want to do. Nice to see!
I have watched a group of P. scalare behave identically in a huge tank at the Vancouver Aquarium, where they live with a shoal of black ghost knifefish. These large tanks are so instructive as to the fish's natural behaviours.
I think the corys in this video tank are behaving as they would in their habitat, at least from what I have seen of that. Open stretches of sand cause them to do this. In most of our tanks, we have lots of plants and chunks of wood, and a much smaller area to begin with. Also, species are different. I have four of the C. duplicareus, one being a fry that survived by being pulled into the canister filter so it escaped predation.:-) They are together like this much more than my other species, except the panda, they are always together.
A biotope tank is one that replicates a specific watercourse exactly, meaning that the aquascape is what you would see if you stuck your head under water. Not in a literal sense--although some aquarists do use photographs to exactly replicate a section of the stream or lakeshore--but more in the "copy" sense: the substrate would be the same (play sand to copy the Amazon streams, etc), only plant species (if any) found in that watercourse, chunks of dark wood and/or branches if these occur, dried leaves, stones, or whatever. And the fish in the tank would only be those species that occur in this watercourse.
Habitat means the aquascape recreates a certain type of environment which might be a stylized stream, lake, pond etc. This one could be geographic or not. For example, my 90g is what I term a River Habitat tank. The aquascaping materials are what you would see in small rivers and streams in India and Central America: fine gravel, various sized bits of smooth river rock, some chunks of wood, and very few plants except along the back. In this tank I have my Botia kubotai loaches as this is exactly what their habitat is like, and given the stream nature of the tank and the loaches' activity, the upper fish are all somewhat active swimming fish that suit this habitat: Congo Tetra, Emperor Tetra, Black Ruby Barb.
The aquascape in the video is a typical South American habitat such as one would find in so many streams. No plants except for floating or overhanging vegetation, lots of wood, sand, dry leaves. But this isn't a biotope because the fish species would never be found together in the wild. My 70g which I call a Flooded Amazon Forest is a habitat, as it replicates an area of the forest that is flooded, so there are plants everywhere, and the water movement being very still in such a habitat, the fish species are those that prefer this. But one would never find all these species together in the same place, so it can't be termed a biotope.
If a habitat is geographic, then all fish and plants would occur in the same geographic area, such as my 115g Amazon riverscape. This is by contrast to the mentioned 90g river habitat where I have fish from three continents so this is not geographic, but simply habitat because all the fish share the same type of environment.
Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with me. You used the term in the first sentence or two exactly are you thinking about equal or identical as being EXACTLY.
If I were doing a biotope tank of the Rio Nanay in Peru, I would have play sand substrate littered with dry oak leaves, lots of branches and chunks of dark wood, no plants in the substrate, but a thick layer of floating plants. Fish would be a group of Nannostomus mortenthaleri. [I would have to research for other species native to this river that might work here.] This is the closest to "exact" that one would want to get, keeping in mind the issues with using mud for the substrate, etc, or importing specific leaves and wood from the river itself.
If I were doing a geographic tank for this same fish, I could add substrate-rooted plants, leave out the leaves perhaps, and include other fish like a group of corys, a shoal of hatchetfish, cardinal tetra.
Thanks for your illustration and from this I get the idea that exactly means similar not equal or identical. There are oak tress and leaves in this South American river that flows in a tropical rain forest? I am not hair splitting because equal means something different than identical. We all know where the devil resides: in the details and small print.
Yes. The "exactness" when it comes to biotope means providing the type of elements that make up the habitat hardscape and water parameters.
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