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Old 05-10-2012, 11:54 AM   #1 
thekoimaiden
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Biotopes!! - Discuss and Share

For those who don't know a biotope is a specialized setup where only fish and plants from one section of the world are used. They can be very broad like an "SA biotope" or they can be as specific and specialized as you (and your wallet) want. Recently I have been doing a little bit of reading about a discus biotope. This would be a type of Amazon biotope but would only be able to include species that can tolerate the warm water discus need like rams and rummynose tetra. But the setup needed to make this a reality would probably be in the 4-5 figure range. This dream is a long way off. But I thought I would share with everyone some videos from my research.

This is probably the most true to life biotope that I found. Notice the lack of plants aside from floating and how the water is stained a tea-color.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veHvxlp9Idw"]190G Amazon Discus Biotope 13/11/2011.MP4 - YouTube[/ame]

This one lacks the floating plants and you can see how it causes the fish to all huddle around the bottom. This is because they don't like the bright lights and would prefer to have them blocked.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EysGCGnCvs8"]240 lt Amazon Biotope Aquarium - Discus - YouTube[/ame]


This is my favorite video because the cinematography is great as is the music. It's a great shot of a discus setup, however it isn't a true biotope because it has fish from other parts of the world. Great tank, tho. In the description is a link to the forum post where the author describes his setup in great detail.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UckghOmPoCk"]190g Wild Discus Biotope, Take II - YouTube[/ame]

To compare, here is a video of wild discus in the Amazon courtesy of PFK: YouTube video of the week: Discus in their natural habitat | Blog | Practical Fishkeeping

Now I invite you to talk about your biotope projects! Later on I will post some stuff from PFK about setting up certain biotopes.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:04 PM   #2 
Olympia
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I could have sworn I saw you post on TFK that you aren't a fan of biotopes! ;)
I have one on my list that I've been thinking of the past few days. Ironic that you started this thread. Especially on here, I don't think as many people on here plan out biotopes. After I set up my rainbowfish tank though (rainbows are the priority!) it's next if I get a big enough tank (key word).
It's a hardwater African biotope. It's different, because it's not chiclids! (which are nice but I just think they are way too overdone..)

I haven't done a lot of research on it yet (mostly because I feel like I'll never achieve it).

By hardwater, I mean more around my hardness, still under 15dH.
The reason I will probably never accomplish this: It has to be about a 70 gallon. :'(
Heavily planted with native African plants. Of course I have no idea what that would be. Everything is either from Asia or SA. :( Except anubias, that's the only one I know of so far.

It's going to have one elephant nose fish (Gnathonemus petersii) as the center piece. I want everything to revolve around him, tank mate and set up wise. This is why I need a huge tank, these guys get to around 9".

After that, a group of African butterfly fish. They are so cool, and when I found out them + elephant nose = African hardwater fish, the idea came into my head.

Next, a medium (too big for the butterfly fish to eat) schooling fish. This is where I got stuck... There seems to be nothing from the region. I've been mostly looking at barbs since I know many of them are African, but nothing seems good for 12-13dH. Everything African is either soft water or "extremely rare in the hobby." I may settle for a small catfish if there is one. Or anything really.

After that, African filter shrimp (or just regular Asian ones if I had to settle). These should be too big for the elephant nose to eat.

That's it. :D It seems different, haven't seen anyone else do similar, which as you guessed by my rude comment at chiclids earlier, is a huge plus for me. I like different. The problem with different is that there's no fish or plants in the hobby for me to use pretty much. :(

Last edited by Olympia; 05-10-2012 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:17 PM   #3 
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You're right! I'm not. ;) I usually just throw whatever I think is pretty together. However a discus biotope has the potential to combine so many lovely fish it's almost impossible to pass up. Schools of cardinal tetra and rummynose tetra. The regal discus centerpieces. Gold nugget plecos dotting the wood. Cute little cories scattered on the sandy bottom. One of the reasons I like this biotope is that most of the research is done for me! Like yours, this dream is decades away. Discus require pretty specialized setups that are very expensive.

An African biotope is certainly something you don't hear about every day. Have you checked out this PFK article on biotopes? It's got your African one in there along with some suggestions for fish. http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...t.php?sid=4811

I guess I wanted to post this here because most everyone over there already knows about biotopes and some even have them set up. I wanted to bring it to the betta keepers here because some of them like to keep other fish, too.
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #4 
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I don't know if there's any cories that can handle high temperatures well.
I touched my friends discus tank. The glass was warm. His tank is lightly planted, with a few pieces of driftwood. But he uses carbon to keep the water really clear, no surface plants. The fish never hide (he got a few new ones and they chill in the back still). They follow you from one side of the tank to the other. Discus are considered pretty smart fish. The fish are pretty cool though. He's got some that are like, huge, maybe 7-10" top to bottom? They'll eat from your hand and everything. And they feel so funny when their faces touch your finger. He's got some really bright ones. I like the orange/yellow, white and wild types best. I'm not a fan of deep reds and blues together, which is what many of them are.

Besides that PFK article saying elephant nose are "not hot" which I assume is due to their more difficult care, I like it. I already planned around the elephant nose.. Nice sand substrate (which I want in all my tanks anyways), heavily planted. Plus I want to get him first, and not add anything until he's eating well. Specialized diet, I'm guessing it's heavily based off frozen foods for that tube mouth. I read on the PFK forum about someone having lot's of trouble getting theirs to eat, so precautions!
The article helped me out though. :D Or maybe it's just pushing me down a hopeless road even more!
1 elephant nose, a few butterflies, and these:
1 kribensis (did not know they were African!) just to keep him peaceful.
And a goooood sized school of these if I ever found them. They remind me of pencilfish, which I love. Should be big enough to not be eaten, over half the size of a butterfly fish:
Pareutropius buffei (Three Striped African Glass Catfish) — Seriously Fish

edit; just saw on a PFK article about elephant noses that they should be kept in groups of 5? The kind I want at least.
This is conflicting, I read on seriously fish that they should be kept alone, unless you have a very large tank because they fight each other. Thoroughly confused.

Last edited by Olympia; 05-10-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #5 
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I would love to one day have a San Marcos biotope completed with many native plants such as ludwigia Repens, giant vallisneria, etc. and a small breeding colony of mosquito fish
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:52 PM   #6 
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There are a few species of cory that can. But they're not your common cories. I plan to keep the temp down around 81F so I can keep other species with discus. Also remember there are something like 200 different species of corydoras, so I think it's just a matter of finding the right one. Well maybe not all the research is done for me, but a lot is.

Hmm. It sounds like you have your work cut out for you in researching you African biotope. It would be amazing to see if you ever get it set up! Plus elephant nose fish are pretty awesome. They're the smartest fish!!

Mo, will you do it in a tank or a pond?. I have Gambusia holbrooki in my pond, and they get pretty big. I probably have some females that are pushing 4 inches.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:58 PM   #7 
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In a large pond just for the summer than converting it into a tank. The mosquito fish I'm getting are a different variety, they are gambusia affinis, which are relatively smaller
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #8 
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The smartest fish? o-O
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:09 PM   #9 
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I have two biotope style tanks. One is for my Melanotaenia maccullochi Skull Ck and the other is for my Pseudomugil mellis.

My Skull Ck biotope just includes native plants and native fish (also have some Pseudomugil tenellus in there) whereas I am making my mellis biotope much more specific. I have dug out a whole heap of tea-tree roots to use in the tank and already the males are carving out territories. Next step is adding native sedges and leaf litter from eucalypts and other natives.

I love biotopes and I feel they show the fish off at their best. My next 'biotopes' will be for some Pseudomugil gertrudae and some Threadfin rainbowfish. Just need to find the room and the plants.

My camera is charging but once it is done I will upload some photos of my two tanks.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:10 PM   #10 
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I am in the slow process of putting together a Japanese agricultural stream biotope - AKA "Fish and plants I can find near my house"
It is apparently far more impressive to people who don't live in Japan.

One more fish to complete the stocking. I have the proper soil in the tank, but the covering gravel is not right. I have found some nice fine gravel taken from a relatively local stream - just need to pick it up when I have the money.
The plants are harder to come by as the majority are annual grasses. I have managed to get some nice floating plants that are native - now just have to find something native to plant into the soil.

Right now I have medaka, southern marsh shrimp and small spotted loaches. I just need to find some local freshwater goby to finish the tank.
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