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"Food web" in a south american biotope tank

Stijn1191

New Member
Messages
24
Hi all,

This is not a real "tank mate" topic, but I didn't know where else to put this.
My new 240L (90x60x45) aquarium is arriving tomorrow and I'm planning on making it a 100% RO blackwater South-American biotope aquarium. I might narrow it down to Rio negro or another blackwater river. For the first 2 months no livestock is coming in.

The plan is to have only wild caught fish:
- A couple or trio of Apisto or Dicrosossus (or even both, but I'm afraid they might fight)
- Some nannostomus
- 2/3 Farlowella's
- And maybe a school of small tetra's like Tucano's.

Any comments regarding the future stocking is also appreciated :).

Anyway, where I'm going with this: I have some live food cultures like springtails, paramecium, microworms, cyclops and white worms for another aquarium, but I like the idea to have some sort of a food web in this new biotope aquarium. In the riparium part I'll release springtails. But as for the rest, I'm afraid for the low ph I'm aiming for (+- 4,5-5ph). The only one I'm pretty sure will survive is the paramecium, since they are hardy little basterds.

The spring tails already keep a steady little colony going in my other tank on top of the limnobium and duckweed.. and the hatchetfish love them haha.

Does anyone have any experience with keeping livefood alive in these acidic parameters?

Thanks in advance!
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Sounds basically like a plan, some comments/advice:

My new 240L (90x60x45)
- A couple or trio of Apisto or Dicrosossus (or even both, but I'm afraid they might fight)
Question: Do you want breeding activity? I assume not, as the whole thing still sounds like a display tank. If you go for Apistogramma I'd recomment only a trio of males or a single male would be working.
In case of Dicrossus I'd also rather recomment a group, but not of males, but a 1,3-group. The females will neither terrorize the whole tank when brooding nor the male. And when not brooding they are quite docile in comparison to apistos.
And yes, ONE species of dwarf cichlid is enough for that tank.

- 2/3 Farlowella's
Not in a 90cm tank. I would not even keep F. acus in less than 120cm. They grow astonishingly long.
Maybe look into Rineloricaria instead.

- And maybe a school of small tetra's like Tucano's.
Then I definitely recomment Dicrossus filamentosus.

Anyway, where I'm going with this: I have some live food cultures like springtails, paramecium, microworms, cyclops and white worms for another aquarium, but I like the idea to have some sort of a food web in this new biotope aquarium. In the riparium part I'll release springtails. But as for the rest, I'm afraid for the low ph I'm aiming for (+- 4,5-5ph). The only one I'm pretty sure will survive is the paramecium, since they are hardy little basterds.
Worms will work, crustaceans unlikely (they drop dead immediately when I feed live crustaceans, except artemia nauplii), springtails have colonized my tank by themselves. And Paramecium... leave it, the tank will develop healthy microfauna just by adding enough botanicals as substrate for infusoria to grow.
Also I doubt 4.5 will happen unless you use a peat cannon. 5-5.5 is doable with botanical humic substances added regularly but it takes time. 2-3 months to crack 6.0 then another 2-3 to reach roundabout 5. But after that it stays in that territory quite stabily.
 

Stijn1191

New Member
Messages
24
Thanks for the extensive & quick reply!

Actually I'm planning on some breeding behaviour. In my other aquarium I've had Borellii & Ramirezi breeding (not at the same time ;) ), which was fascinating. That tank is a proper display tank with plant nutrition, aquascaping etc. But in my office I want to create a natural biotope tank, with plenty of botanicals, wood for cover and ambience, very few plants (probably one sort of Amazon Sword and/or Hydrocotyle and a floating plant) and some plants hanging with their roots in the tank to brighten up the room + suck out excess nutrition out of the water.

I'll guess I'll either choose for a couple of Apisto's or group of Dicrossus then.
Ah I didn't know they got THAT big. I'll read up about Rineloricaria, thanks for the advice :)
The Tucano tetra's are not set in stone yet. But I do like the way they look :)

Thanks for your thoughts about the live food-web as well. Any idea if blackworms would work?

PH of 5 is what's it going to be then ;)
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Actually I'm planning on some breeding behaviour. In my other aquarium I've had Borellii & Ramirezi breeding (not at the same time ;) ), which was fascinating.
These both do not do what many other dwarf cichlids do. They keep quite passive and peaceful, even when brooding. Mikrogeophagus are a big exception, A. borellii aswell.
That tank is a proper display tank with plant nutrition, aquascaping etc. But in my office I want to create a natural biotope tank, with plenty of botanicals, wood for cover and ambience, very few plants (probably one sort of Amazon Sword and/or Hydrocotyle and a floating plant) and some plants hanging with their roots in the tank to brighten up the room + suck out excess nutrition out of the water.
Actually what you are planning is what I call a display tank... :D
photo_2023-09-09_21-41-42.jpgphoto_2023-11-24_09-19-08.jpgphoto_2023-11-24_09-18-07.jpg
(FYI: My tank's 80x35x45cm, EC 50-60µS/cm, pH about 5.5, no additional fertilizers for 3 months now)

No, seriously, a display tank is simply a tank to watch, not for breeding. And breeding Apistogramma can make a displaytank feel like a warzone. I've seen female Apistogramma push the full other stock of the tank into one corner when brooding. That's something I'd try to prevent in a display.

In that tank size you're planning either 1 or 3 (not 2!) male Apistogramma of a not too big species or a small group of Dicrossus should work.
Just as a heads up: In both cases you might have to remove some of the fish later. I grew out some Dicrossus in my tank, all 5 turned out male, so after they killed the smallest one I had to give away all but one of them. Same will go for Apistogramma. Right now I have unplanned 1m/1f Dicrossus filamentosus (wanted 2f) in my tank, they have a stalemate as the male is still a bit smaller than the female, which has claimed most of the tank for itself.
 

Stijn1191

New Member
Messages
24
Haha fair enough. Indeed similar to something you set up :) My other tank has room left, so if fish need to be moved out I'll do so. I'm still inclined to got with a couple of Apisto's or a group of Dicrossus since the breeding behaviour is half of the fun for me :). To start of safe and avoid unneccesary aggression I might start with a group of nannostomus (they keep to the top and pretty much the whole internet agree they are good dither fish) and the couple of apisto's or dicrossus. Thanks for all the advice, please don't think I are ignoring it in any way. Any idea's which apisto's would also fall in the more "calm breeding" class just like borelli's and ramirezi's (slightly more aggresive is doable, but I would prefer to prevent a bloodbath ;))?

Nice, blackworms will also be a starting inhabitant then ;)
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,740
Location
Wiltshire UK

Stijn1191

New Member
Messages
24
Thanks Darrel, I'll look into them. Never heard of them! Would be nice if they are available to buy somewhere in the Netherlands or if there is a known spot in the Netherlands where to collect them in the wild ;)
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Any idea's which apisto's would also fall in the more "calm breeding" class just like borelli's and ramirezi's (slightly more aggresive is doable, but I would prefer to prevent a bloodbath ;))?
Looks grim, then. All Apistogramma besides A. borellii will simply claim at least half the tank and the females may become a thread to the male once brooding. Pairs (that's what you mean by couple, right?) are a non-issue. Almost all species do not form permanent pairs. So it's possible the male just chases a female to death f she isn't ready to breed or vice versa once she is brooding. Just be prepared. :)
I do understand people want to see the breeding behaviour, but tbh... I'd rather avoid it unless the tank has a length of at least 120cm. Then it becomes more managable.
Another thing: If you have no fry predators an Apisto female will raise astonishingly many fry to subadulthood.

Anyway, hope you took some ideas from us and looking forward to see your progress.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,740
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
Would be nice if they are available to buy somewhere in the Netherlands or if there is a known spot in the Netherlands where to collect them in the wild
I think you should be able to get some, possibly via ebay? and possibly from Germany?

Asellus aquaticus is native and really common in vegetated water all across N. Europe. Crangonyx pseudogracilis is native to N. America, but very widely naturalised in Europe.

They both have pretty low water quality requirements, so they are the commonest crustaceans in most UK rivers and ponds.

cheers Darrel
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,892
Location
Germany
Would be nice if they are available to buy somewhere in the Netherlands or if there is a known spot in the Netherlands where to collect them in the wild
Take a look at the Youtube channel "Life in Jars?".
Dude is from the Netherlands, biologist and does a lot of ecospheres with stuff collected in the wild. He almost always has a lot of stuff in them you could use, including Asselus and the like.

Actually... his last video was about some relatives of the species we talked about.


Veel geluk! (Ik praat en beetje Nederlands, maar niet heel veel.)
 

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