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FAQs on Planted River Biotopes

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Related FAQs:  FW Biotopic Presentations, Freshwater Community, N. American Natives, Amazon Biotopes, & Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease

Zaire River Biotope Tank 2/13/08 Hello WWM crew, A little over a year ago I asked a question about the feasibility of housing two Polypterus palmas together in a 75 gallon aquarium, and at the end of your response you asked to see a picture of the set-up when it was complete. Well, the set-up is complete now, so I am sending you this picture. As you can see, the aquarium changed a bit between planning and actual set-up. For instance, I was unable to find any Polypterus palmas. But, I did stick to the West African idea to the point of making this aquarium a Zaire River biotope tank. The tank now houses five different kinds of fishes: six Phenacogrammus interruptus, two Ctenopoma acutirostre, one Pantodon buchholzi, one Xenomystus nigri, and one Synodontis brichardi. The tank also houses three kinds of plants: Anubias barteri var. nana, Anubias barteri var. angustifolia, and Bolbitis heudelotii. Also, I used pure peat moss for substrate--an idea I got off your web site. I enjoy this aquarium a lot, and I thank you for helping to make it a success. Travis <Travis -- absolutely love it. Making me jealous already. Some lovely fish in there... a mix of pretty things and oddball things. I'd be interested to know how the tank matures re: social behaviour, algae, etc. Anyway, good luck with it! Neale.>

River aquarium construction 10/2/07 HI from Wisconsin <Hello from Ca> I am a teacher and would like to build a 72long x 18wide x 12tall (inches) tank to use as a river aquarium in my classroom. I plan on creating the flow with several submersible pumps <Can be done with one... is what I'd do> at one end sucking through buried tubing from the opposite end. It would only need to be 8-10 inches of water deep, with plenty of rocks and riffles for the stream fish (sculpins and darters) that I could catch locally. I am a carpenter/cabinet maker by hobby so I am good with tools and have a son in law who is in the glass trade who will help with the glass preparation. I am asking about thicknesses for the glass. <I'd make of 1/4" (triple strength)... for "human" use as well as functional strength> Any other suggestions would be appreciated before I get any farther into this. <I'd also fashion glass barriers of decreasing height... as weirs... with the plumbing line laid in the bottom... from the lowest side to the "highest"... Please have your son write me if this is not clear> I am planning on trying to get a plastic top and bottom frame from an aquarium manufacturer. <Good idea> thanks Dan <And a neat project... You might want to look at Tropica and http://www.freshwateraquariumplants.com/ sites for ideas here... Bob Fenner>

Building an Aquarium Waterfall  8/16/07 Dear WWM, I know this is a common question but I have a little twist. I'm planning on making a waterfall for a vivarium. The vivarium will probably house some geckos, tree frogs, and a tetra or two (I know to look for more docile species and that usually males don't get along with other males). I haven't decided what material to make the waterfall out of yet, but I know what materials I can use and what I can't. The look I'm going for is a miniature replica of a real waterfall. I'm thinking clay would work best for creating fine detail. I haven't worked with clay since high school though, so I'm not sure if they make flat glazes and I believe that there are some kinds of glazes that can be toxic. <Most all are fine, and yes... do "come" in different reflectivities> Ideally what I'd like to do is spray paint the piece after it's been fired. Would that be OK if I then seal the piece after painting it? <Yes> Also, is there a way of sealing it without leaving a glossy finish? <Yes... see the suppliers of such for this> I know that I could use a flat latex paint, but I think spray paint would better achieve the look I'm going for and, once sealed, would probably hold up better. One other idea I had was to use some slate floor tile to divide the water from the land section. I feel that this would give a cliff-like affect to the other side as well and the water that might seep through the tile would help keep the soil moist. Moist soil would help maintain whatever plants I decide to put in on the land side. I also plan on having a piece of driftwood coming out of the water as well to help the critters get in or out. Does this sound like a good idea? <Sounds very nice indeed!> I don't know how well aquarium epoxy or silicone would hold the tile if it's always moist. <Once cured, it will be very strong> Also, I don't know how much water would seep through, if any... <Use a small level... these are available... Just the bubble "spirit" part will do> Another thing I'm wondering is would it be safe? I've heard of using slate, but I don't know if slate floor tile would have any added chemicals. <Should be fine> If you have any other ideas on how I could make the waterfall or the land/water barrier look more realistic I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank You, Chris <I would "wall off" the aquatic portion... with glass, Silicone... to help keep the dry/soil area a bit drier... and practice with the falls as you build them... very easy to have too much splash/spray in such constructs... a great, fun project! Please do take pix, and good notes... for an article re this project. Bob Fenner>

Planted river tank  3/6/07 I'm looking to set up a planted river system, with a 55gal set up and a canister filter, a nice fluor plant light on top, and, if I can get the chemistry right, some little frogs or something, depending on how it all works out.  I am interested in seeing the water gently gurgle over some kind of "river bed" into a pool, but I'm a little concerned about the substrate washing away and the whole thing turning into a shallow pool.   Everything I have read about substrates suggests that I should forget about trying to slope it.  I don't want to use just gravel, it doesn't seem to be attractive enough.  My question is, what kind of substrates are suitable for a semi-aquatic tank, i.e. other than gravel. <Mmm, most everything that won't dissolve too much, and/or adversely affect water quality...> I know I could probably use some big flat rocks for the "river bed" but this leads to my second question, are any types of concrete/mortar suitable for aquatic environs? <Mmm, only if cured properly, adequately...> I've read that plain old Portland cement is ok if it's soaked for a certain time, and this would probably really help.  It seems that peat would wash away and float all over.  Any advice would be appreciated. Ramsey Hussain <I think that most faux rock looks... too faux. I encourage you to look at the works of Amano, Takashi... and the websites of Dennerle, Tropica... and to consider building (with glass panels, Silicone adhesive... supports for the rock you have in mind (to save space, cut down on maintenance worries, to support the "stream" portion here. Look to your LFS', sand and gravel businesses nearby... for rock. Bob Fenner>

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