125 Gallon Tank
I'm very seriously debating about converting my 125 g Turtle tank to an Amazon Biotope tank. I've got an 80g acrylic tank coming next weekend to transfer the turtle & very large common pleco to. I can move my Rena XP4 with the Turtle and pleco, which will leave my filtration options open for the 125. I would like to focus on Angels in the big tank. I'm thinking a Rena XP2 or 3 on the tank, and I'm not sure on the lighting.
Here are my ideas (although I'm very open to suggestions on other things to add or substitutions):
Open to suggestions
Open to suggestions
This will be my very first planted aquarium, but I would love to be able to replicate the natural habitat of the angelfish as closely as I can.
First off, as you are a recent member, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping.
You might like to have a look at the photos of my two Amazonian aquaria [under "Aquariums" below my name on the left]. The 90g is a flooded Amazon forest aquascape, and the 115g is an Amazonian riverscape. The majority of plants are Echinodorus species, so there is quite a variety plus the other Amazonian plants.
My approach to these planted aquaria is outlined in the series of 4 articles (the "stickies" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section) entitled a Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium. You will find some information on filtration and light, and I or others can answer specific questions. I won't say more at the moment on light or filtration, except that the Rena XP3 would be an ideal filter; I have this on my 115g and really like it for the reasons explained in that article.
One comment on your suggested stocking: forget the Silver Dollars. First, they are avid plant eaters. Second, I do not myself think they are suitable companions to such a beautiful fish as angelfish. The latter are also very sedate, and the SD's can be rather boisterous, not a good mix.
You might also want to check out the fish profiles section here, we have most of the regularly-seen (and some rarely seen) characins included now, and there are comments on those suitable as tankmates for angels. Not all fish will work with angels. Some that do are the Hyphessobrycon species, such as the Rosy Tetra clade and these are identified in the profiles.
A 125g will make a super Amazon aquascape.
I agree on losing the silver dollars. They'll turn your wonderful plants into a salad bar, which is no good for you. In a tank of that size, you can fit in loads of fish. A nice group of angels, several different schools of tetras (nothing nippy or small enough to be eaten by the angels), maybe two different species of cories, a couple of smaller plecos or other small algae-eating catfish, hatchets for up top, and maybe a few types of dwarf cichlid to round out the stocking. Plant it really heavily, get some nice pieces of driftwood in there, maybe a few small rock caves especially on the ends of the tank and you'd have a really awesome Amazon tank.
Can't wait to see this project develop!
As far as the tetras, I'm still trying to decide on what ones I want. I've got it narrowed down to about 10 or so species and I think I want to narrow it down to about 4-5
For media, I bought the ceramic disks (called Pre-Filter), here's a link:
This goes in the bottom basket to remove the largest particulate matter as it enters the filter; all canisters usually have this, I have it in my Eheims too.
Second basket is Fluval Bio Max http://www.fishsupply.com/sheg-1456.html, don't really need biological filtration but I've always had this sort of "rock" material and never any problems.
Then the various pads that come with the Rena.
The reason I use Fluval media now is the cost; it is half that for the Rena and Eheim. I use Fluval in my Eheim canisters too, when it is replaced which is several years. The ceramic disks never need replacing, they are just meant to trap large stuff. The pads and Bio Max I just rinse when they need it.
And thanks for the compliment on my aquaria. I think they show that simplicity works; understand the basics and keep it minimal.
On the dwarf cichlids, here thinking all South American species, most are similar if not identical in their requirements. I'm not aware of any that wouldn't get along with angels and characins. Main differences would be temperature, some do better warmer (82F +) than normal community temperature (77-79F) so that needs to be considered. Lots of wood and plants as iamntbatman mentioned allows for territorial separation as the males are territorial with their own species and other fish especially when spawning (which they will frequently) and having defined territories works well.
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