First planted tank for senegal bichir, need feedback
Just so this is clear, I do not yet have the bichir that I'm going to put in this aquarium. This will be my first planted tank, and I'm hoping to get an idea of how many and what kind I should get. I have read the stickied threads about the nutrients plants need, how balancing is very important, and such; I just need some information specified to the setup I have in question.
Alright everyone, so here's what's going on:
40 gallon tank, approx. 36x14x12 inches, so it's a wider aquarium than some others.
This is going to be a growing tank for now, but I'm thinking about breeding my bichirs in it in the far future, not anytime soon. Despite that fact, I would like to plant it according to a suggested bichir breeding environment, which is a more heavily planted tank with lots of bushy plants.
So, I was wondering if two Bichirs of around 4 inches would be able to sustain plant life that is suitable to them in a large quantity, and about how many plants that would be, or if not, how many plants I should reduce it to, to keep it so that filtering is not required and I only have to do a weekly water change (and of course other important tasks). I would also like to know what plants they would enjoy most, and what substrate would be best to use.
Thanks for any -helpful- or -kind- replies.
Sorry for the double post, but I forgot to edit in that it'd be much appreciated if I could get suggestions on the species of plants that the Bichirs would most enjoy and what substrate would be best.
For bushy plants maybe some amazon swords would work. If you go to the tropical fish profiles area there is also a section freshwater plants that has some of the more common plants kept in the aquarium. You may also want to look at sweet aquatics website for ideas, they have pictures for most of the plants that they have available which can help with finding the look that you want and also if I remember right gives some general details on the different plants. You can also look at the different plants in the tanks of members here, many have listed what they have in their tanks and can tell you what a specific is in thier tank. If you look at the aquarium tab on a persons name it will give you the link to their tank if they have set up.
This is a semi-nocturnal species with poor eyesight and it prefers dimly-lit waters. So plants will best be those that manage in low light, such as Anubias and Java Fern, both of which can be attached to rock or wood and wood especially should be featured in an aquascape for this fish. Anubias is also native to Africa where this fish occurs. These plants will allow for a good cover of floating plants, important to help reduce the light and make the fish less shy and frightened which it may be in direct light. Water Sprite is ideal for this, it will easily grow across the surface. The red tiger lotus is another native to the habitat, and it will send up surface leaves entirely. The soft acidic water will benefit these plants as well as the fish.
For once I don't have to talk about larger tanks, since I believe you understand that larger quarters will be necessary before too long.:-)
This could be a very nice, authentic aquascape. A soft substrate of sand, with some rounded "river rock" as boulders and several chunks of bogwood, plus the afore-mentioned plants.
Thanks guys, this information is exactly what I was looking for.
I just need to know if only two growing Bichirs would be able to sustain a more fully-planted tank without much added help in the form of liquid nutrients and such.
You will probably need a liquid fert, most use Fluorish Comprehensive. I have a fully stocked 50 which I use Fluorish on 1-2 a week.
Yes, I agree. The hardness of your tap water also plays into this, but assuming you will provide soft water for the bichir the liquid supplement will be even more necessary. Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is also my preference, everything is in it.
The substrate in a planted tank should not be vacuumed/cleaned; organics work their way down into it and bacteria break it down. You probably won't have substrate-rooted plants [although the Amazon Sword Barb mentioned would likely manage in what I've suggested previously] so the sand can be 1-2 inches depth, no more needed.
Alright, thanks much.
A few final questions,
Will any filtration (via a mechanical filter) be needed for this tank setup?
Is there some sort of equipment available that can create a gentle water flow (something that hopefully wouldn't contribute enough CO2 loss to effect the plants)? I think I've heard of 'current makers', but I've never used one.
I would like to get something of the sort to circulate the water to make sure the temperature is universal all across the tank, if that is feasible.
EDIT: Also, the water I have around here is quite hard. Even though I buy natural spring water in gallon jugs. Is there something I could use to make the water soft/softer?
On softening hard water, the only safe way is to dilute the tap with pure water. You can use RO, distilled or rainwater (if collected safely, and depending where you live). You can read a bit about this in my article on hardness and pH, here:
Once the hardness is reduced, the pH will naturally lower. I can explain more if asked. B.
Thanks Byron, I think I have a clear idea on how to go about setting up this tank now.
Though, I will say that I'm beginning to change around what fish I'm going to put into this aquarium, for monetary reasons. I would absolutely love Bichirs, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to accommodate their future necessary tank size. I'm thinking of getting cats or sharks that would fit in the tank I have more permanently. I probably should have come to this conclusion sooner (I feel bad for wasting your time in posting in this thread), but I suppose it's better that I have realized this now instead of after I've gotten everything to set up the aquarium. Nonetheless, all the information that you guys have shared with me will be carried into thoughts for my change in fish species.
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