Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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DragonRckr 06-28-2013 01:45 PM

Aqueon 36 Bow Amazon Biotope
 
I've been wanting to get a fish tank for many years and now I'm finally able to. The idea that I have been having for a layout or landscape was all natural from a certain region and googling for it is when the discovery of biotope was made and my research started. Been reading a lot from different forums (including this) and wikis on species of plants, fish and items used to give it a more natural look such as wood and rocks/stones.

Seized the oppourtunity of the Aqueon 36g Bow and stand being on sale at my local PetSmart and purchased it last week.

I'm a total noob and maybe a biotope is an agressive attempt on my part, but I like challenges and learn very fast.

A friend that is knowledgeable and has experience in aquascaping and biotopes has been helping out a bit and telling me where what I can add/remove in order for it to a well balanced environment. But insight and opinions from others is helpful as well, the more the input the better the outcome 8-)

As the title states, I'm aiming for an Amazon River Biotope with this first set up. If all goes well then I might go for another region, maybe Korean or African biotope... we'll see :)

So far the list that I have compiled for filter, plants, fish and landscape is the following:

Filter


Light
24" 17-watt T8 full spectrum fluorescent lamp (included wtih the hood), it doesn't specify the amount of k

Substrate
?

Plants and Location in tank
Amazon Sword Back
Pygmy Chain Sword Middle/Front
Amazon Frogbit Surface
Roseafolia Mixed in with Amazon Sword but more to the front
Java Moss (maybe, invasive species:roll:) Covering some driftwood and rocks

Fish and Quantity
Green Fire Tetra x10
Neon Tetra x10
Otocinclus x5
Cockatoo Cichlid x6
Hatchetfish x10

Shrimp and Quantity
?

Landscape/Decor
Malaysian Driftwood
Rock
Dead Branches (Maybe)

I've looking for shrimp from the region but apparently they're not that common in the trade due to restriction on the export of them. What species can replace them or which ones are used instead? I'm looking for a good waste (uneaten food and dead plant matter) eater and maybe algae, though that might be covered with the Otocinclus.

Is there a type of moss that is from the Amazon's that could be used in biotopes and is found easily online?

As for substrate, no to sure on which type to use. I've seen many different suggestions on what to use, mix and don't mix, etc... Any insight as which type and quantity is ideal would be greatly appreciated.

I'd like to get it set up with the substrate and let it cycle for a few days and then order the plants, cycle for bit and let them settle in and then get the fish.

Is it ok to have two species of tetras, I couldn't decide on neon or green fire since both look great. I've read that they do ok together... I'm open to opinions and suggestions, feel free to tell me if I should add/remove something or change the quantities.

Still need to see if I can find an online store(s) that ship over to Puerto Rico and if the shipping charges are reasonable.

Thanks in advance!

Byron 06-28-2013 05:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:cheers:

The Amazon is my favourite area, and I have two geographic (as opposed to biotope) Amazon tanks. The terms we use are rather subjective, but technically speaking a biotope is the closest replica to a specific watercourse, with only fish species, plant species (if any) and hardscaping material that would naturally occur in that specific watercourse.

Next is what I term a geographic tank; in this, the fish, plants and hardscape are what one would find in a wider general area. A "habitat" tank can be along this line, such as a flooded forest habitat with only Amazonian or South American fish and plants. Or a stream lagoon with the same. My 70g flooded Amazon tank is pictured below as an example. The plants and fish are all SA, the sand [Quikrete Play Sand] replicates the sand in many SA streams, and there are chunks of wood, some representing standing tree trunks as one would find there. The moss is Java Moss so that I suppose is not strictly speaking authentic, but to me moss looks like moss wherever it comes from.

I like the play sand as it is authentic, plants grow well, and it is inert. Depth can vary; the substrate i this tank pictured is actually shallower than I would like; that in my 115g Amazon Riverscape is about 3 inches overall.

You may need to replace the tube in the light fixture. I use 6500K "daylight" types, made by GE, Phillips, Sylvania; With single-tube tanks i always use Life-Glo as it is more intense than the others mentioned. This provides moderate light which will suite the plants you mention, most of which are in this tank pictured.

There are a couple issues with the intended fish that I will mention to end. The Green Fire Tetra is Aphyocharax rathbuni, and it is in our profiles: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/c...thbuni-198434/
As it mentions therein, this fish is inclined to be a bit nippy, and mixing it with sedate fish like the cichlids is probably not a good idea. The neons are OK from this aspect, but given the warmth the cichlids will need (if you go with some species), cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) would be a better choice, or the False/Green Neon (Paracheirodon simulans) if you can find it; both are in our profiles in the characid species section. There are many other suitable species too, among the tetra, pencilfish and hatchetfish in characids. The 10 hatchetfish is fine, assuming this is one of the species in Carnegiella as these are smaller and less active than the larger Gasteropelecus and similar. All these are in the profiles.

The cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides) is also in our profiles: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/c...uoides-189393/
Yoou have to be careful with numbers with dwarf cichlids; a 38g is not much space, so I would not have more than one male, and a harem of 2-3 females.

Byron.

DragonRckr 07-02-2013 02:21 PM

Thanks for the feedback!

AWESOME TANK! That's what my goal is, let's see if I can pull it off.

Ordered the Eheim 2211 filter and it should arrive between today and tomorrow.

I'll check if my local home depot has the quickrete play sand, How much would I need for this tank to get 2" front to about 4" to the back? Was also thinking on a gravel type of subtrate, the person that is helping me out suggested it since sand can sometimes have pockets of amonia trapped that are released when cleaning...

What quantities of each plant would be good for my tank? I found a site, AquariumPlants.com, that ships out of US via UPS and building up a cart to see pricing and shipping charges. So far, they have 4 of the plants, Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri), Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus), Alternanthera reineckii and Java Moss which they have listed as Vesicularia Dubyana. The Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) seems to be available in Ebay, but going to see if I can find a more reliable source. Is fertlizer required, if so then would pellets be a good idea? And what about CO2 injection?

Read a forum post where they said that green fire tetras were somewhat a bit more docil since most are breed in capitivity, but they could be wrong. I'll take your advise and revise the list... Checked out the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) and I like how they look and would be a good replacement. I'll go for Cardinal Tetras if I can't find these. The hatcet fish that I plan on getting is Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata), so the quantity is ok for these? As for the Apistogramma cacatuoides, I'll change the quantity as suggested and have a very happy male haha. Would this cause interbreeding problems in the future?

Thanks so much for your help! Can't wait to have this all set up! :)

Byron 07-02-2013 04:50 PM

Quote:

I'll check if my local home depot has the quickrete play sand, How much would I need for this tank to get 2" front to about 4" to the back?
One bag (25kg or 55 lbs), if this tank is 36 inches length.


Quote:

Was also thinking on a gravel type of subtrate, the person that is helping me out suggested it since sand can sometimes have pockets of amonia trapped that are released when cleaning...
It isn't ammonia, but hydrogen sulfide caused by what are termed "dead spots" that your friend is actually referring to here, but this can just as easily occur in gravel as sand. Keep the sand about 1 inch at the front, and no more than 2.5 to 3 inches at the back. At least to start; it will shift, as will any substrate. I don't touch my sand substrates. Anaerobic areas are actually beneficial anyway. Youo can read why in my article on bacteria:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...uarium-185721/

Quote:

What quantities of each plant would be good for my tank? I found a site, AquariumPlants.com, that ships out of US via UPS and building up a cart to see pricing and shipping charges. So far, they have 4 of the plants, Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri), Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus), Alternanthera reineckii and Java Moss which they have listed as Vesicularia Dubyana. The Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) seems to be available in Ebay, but going to see if I can find a more reliable source.
I would suggest 3 Amazon swords (E. bleheri). They will get large, but that's OK. Pygmy chain sword, maybe 3 or more; they will rapidly multiply once settled, but if they are not expensive, more is fine. Java Moss, a clump; it attaches to wood and will spread.

Alternanthera reineckii needs good light, much more than any of the other named plants. You can try it, but it may last a short while then fall apart. With higher light come more nutrients, and CO2 might limit this [more below].

Quote:

Is fertlizer required, if so then would pellets be a good idea?
Probably. Plant nutrients occur from water changes (the hard minerals, depending how hard the water is) and fish foods that end up as organic waste that bacteria break down in the substrate. I would use a complete liquid fertilizer, like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It takes very little, for a 38g about 1 teaspoon once a week. They make several products under the Flourish name, make sure it is the Comprehensive Supplement.

Quote:

And what about CO2 injection?
I never have, and you saw what my tanks look like. CO2 occurs mainly from the afore-mentioned breakdown of organics, and in low-tech or natural planted tanks with moderate light there will usually be sufficient. Don't mess with the substrate.

[quote]Read a forum post where they said that green fire tetras were somewhat a bit more docil since most are breed in capitivity, but they could be wrong. I'll take your advise and revise the list.../QUOTE]

When I advise on a fish species' behaviour, I always give the normal behaviour. There can always be exceptions, but these are the minority not the majority. And while it is one thing for me with 7 tanks running to move a fish that becomes a problem, it is not so easy to deal with this when one has one or two tanks. And a bad apple can spoil the barrel, as they say; one nasty group of fish can wreak havoc on all others in the tank. And this genus is prone to do this.

Quote:

Checked out the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) and I like how they look and would be a good replacement. I'll go for Cardinal Tetras if I can't find these. The hatcet fish that I plan on getting is Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata), so the quantity is ok for these?
Yes, though I would say 12. One or two may well jump out.:shock:

Quote:

As for the Apistogramma cacatuoides, I'll change the quantity as suggested and have a very happy male haha. Would this cause interbreeding problems in the future?
I've little experience/knowledge on this question of inbreeding. I believe most dwarf cichlid breeders breed offspring back and forth, but I can't say more.

fish monger 07-03-2013 06:57 AM

Love the biotope / habitat idea. What are your water hardness and PH out of the tap ? That would be a good place to start insofar as the biotope / habitat you choose.

DragonRckr 07-03-2013 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fish monger (Post 2460914)
Love the biotope / habitat idea. What are your water hardness and PH out of the tap ? That would be a good place to start insofar as the biotope / habitat you choose.

I'm not sure, having a hard time interpreting the water quality report from the water company that manages the islands supply. Guess I'm looking for total hardness, which is 208ppm, then there's calcium hardness which is 130ppm. Can't find pH or specific mention of it... there's Alkalinity which is 132ppm.

Byron 07-03-2013 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DragonRckr (Post 2461618)
I'm not sure, having a hard time interpreting the water quality report from the water company that manages the islands supply. Guess I'm looking for total hardness, which is 208ppm, then there's calcium hardness which is 130ppm. Can't find pH or specific mention of it... there's Alkalinity which is 132ppm.

The GH at 208ppm equates to about 11 or 12 dGH. Not unworkable, but if you go with wild caught fish I would suggest lowering this with perhaps rainwater.

The KH has no effect on fish, but it does "buffer" pH, preventing fluctuations, so depending what the pH is, it will not shift much. Don't have the pH number, it should be below 7 for Amazonian fish, and here again the rainwater will lower it.

fish monger 07-03-2013 11:44 AM

Seems to be medium hard. I'll let Byron speak as to how that impacts your Amazon theme; however, it might be a challenge

DragonRckr 07-03-2013 12:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
One bag (25kg or 55 lbs), if this tank is 36 inches length.

ok, I'll check if they carry it over here. What would be an alternative?



Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
It isn't ammonia, but hydrogen sulfide caused by what are termed "dead spots" that your friend is actually referring to here, but this can just as easily occur in gravel as sand. Keep the sand about 1 inch at the front, and no more than 2.5 to 3 inches at the back. At least to start; it will shift, as will any substrate. I don't touch my sand substrates. Anaerobic areas are actually beneficial anyway. Youo can read why in my article on bacteria:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...uarium-185721/

Could have been sulfide, I'd have to check... So, when cleaning the tank I should not vacuum the sand. I bought that has a vacuum function, I could use it to only remove the water necessary for cycles. Speaking of which, how often and quatity should the water changes be?


Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
I would suggest 3 Amazon swords (E. bleheri). They will get large, but that's OK. Pygmy chain sword, maybe 3 or more; they will rapidly multiply once settled, but if they are not expensive, more is fine. Java Moss, a clump; it attaches to wood and will spread.

Alternanthera reineckii needs good light, much more than any of the other named plants. You can try it, but it may last a short while then fall apart. With higher light come more nutrients, and CO2 might limit this [more below].

That's more or less the quantities I had in mind. The online store I had mentioned only has Java availabile in 4oz cups, was planning on getting 3 to attach one to the driftwood, 1 large rock/stock and a branch or something else. As for the Alternanthera reineckii, it might fair well since there's sunlight about 5-8hrs a day hitting the tank, or this isn't a factor to consider?



Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
Probably. Plant nutrients occur from water changes (the hard minerals, depending how hard the water is) and fish foods that end up as organic waste that bacteria break down in the substrate. I would use a complete liquid fertilizer, like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It takes very little, for a 38g about 1 teaspoon once a week. They make several products under the Flourish name, make sure it is the Comprehensive Supplement.

I never have, and you saw what my tanks look like. CO2 occurs mainly from the afore-mentioned breakdown of organics, and in low-tech or natural planted tanks with moderate light there will usually be sufficient. Don't mess with the substrate.

I'll check out that supplement and see if I can get it locally, most online stores will not ship checmicals due to the new restrictions from FAA.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
When I advise on a fish species' behaviour, I always give the normal behaviour. There can always be exceptions, but these are the minority not the majority. And while it is one thing for me with 7 tanks running to move a fish that becomes a problem, it is not so easy to deal with this when one has one or two tanks. And a bad apple can spoil the barrel, as they say; one nasty group of fish can wreak havoc on all others in the tank. And this genus is prone to do this.


Yeah, I understand that bit... the same applies to dogs. I have two huskies, one has all the standard traits and the other has none.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
Yes, though I would say 12. One or two may well jump out.:shock:

Was reading up on their behaviour and the jumping out was a major warning. I can leave the hood closed during the day, that should keep em and in check. So 12 is the magic number...


Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2456562)
I've little experience/knowledge on this question of inbreeding. I believe most dwarf cichlid breeders breed offspring back and forth, but I can't say more.

Ok, its just a slight worry... read on them being territorial and all. If there's two males then one would be alpha and the other wouldn't fully develop until the alpha died. That seems to be common in the fish world... So 1 male and 3 females as you suggested would be it.

I have to call the local aquarium shop and see what is their quote on the plants, I'll go with the cheapest option.

DragonRckr 07-03-2013 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 2462106)
The GH at 208ppm equates to about 11 or 12 dGH. Not unworkable, but if you go with wild caught fish I would suggest lowering this with perhaps rainwater.

The KH has no effect on fish, but it does "buffer" pH, preventing fluctuations, so depending what the pH is, it will not shift much. Don't have the pH number, it should be below 7 for Amazonian fish, and here again the rainwater will lower it.

How much would it affect if they were tank bred fish and not wild?

We get plenty of rain here, it's been raining practically everyday during the summer...

How much should he ratio be between tap and rain water?

I also intend to get the API Freshwater test kit, that should give me more precise numbers. Checked the qaulity report again and it doesn't mention pH levels :-?


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