This episode of Colombia 2016 revisits the ditch habitat from Episode 6, which has inspired me to aquascape an aquarium to give the impression of that ditch. Trying to recreate a specific ‘biotope’ in an aquarium is very hard to do… I actually think it is impossible, but there will always be someone willing to make it happen. A ‘biotope’ aquarium, in my opinion, is an impression of a habitat that looks as close as possible, but is also manageable. For example, trying to maintain an aquarium with several inches of organic mud on the bottom is not a good idea. Sometimes getting the actual species of plants or fish is also impossible, so another species that is similar is used to fill that niche. The idea is to have an aquarium that gives the impression of the biotope. When I look at this aquarium, I am reminded of the Llanos ditch. That is the effect I am after.
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I am hosting a live stream event each week that we are calling the Tuesday Night Mixer. Tonight was the first one, and it was a lot of fun. The topic was how I work with killifish. Here is the recording… join us next week!
This episode takes us to a very small blackwater stream that is really more of a flooded ditch just off the main flow of a larger river. The creek is choked with plants, and finding a place with enough open water to film is difficult. There are a lot of really cool little fish in this stream, including an undescribed tetra that looks like a dusky-bodied silver tip tetra. There are also a lot more Apistogramma alacrina at this location, including many females with fry.
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Here is a video that was created on my FaceBook page as a live feed. The topic is working with DIY LED lights.
Ornamental fish farming is a new idea in Colombia. Hernando Gil purchased a farm near the Rio Meta, east of Villavicencio, ten years ago. The farm produces cattle and sugar cane, and it used to produce tilapia and pacu for human consumption. Two years ago, Hernando reopened the ponds to give breeding ornamental fish a try.
I have visited many fish farms, and I imagine that what Hernando is building is very similar to what the ornamental aquaculture industry pioneered in Florida decades ago. Colombia has some incredible species, many of which are hard to find, very seasonal or hard to acclimate into aquarium life. Hernando wants to concentrate on these species, in hopes of making them more available and easier to keep. Species like the altum angelfish and the panda uaru. Here is a look at the operation Hernando is building….
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The 2016 Aquatic Experience took place the first weekend in November in Schaumburg, IL. This is a GREAT event, and everyone should try to make it next year… same weekend. This year I was there with other members of Madison Area Aquatic Hobbyists promoting Cataclysm 2017, but I also participated in the ACA sanctioned cichlid show and in the small-tank division of the AGA/Fluval aquascape competition. Here is a video about how I set that tank up, which took 6th place. My scape two years ago was awarded 3rd place, but there were more entries this year, and all of them looked really nice. I will have to step up my game next year!
I have had a small group of four Rohani barbs for about 5 years. They have been living in my 150-gallon display tank in my living room for quite a while. I have always intended to try to induce them to spawn and raise some fry, and now that time has come. There were two challenges to overcome.
- Space requirements – These are not small barbs! The males are over 4″, and they use the entire 150-gallon tank chasing each other and displaying for the females. I think that they could get by spawning in a 75-gallon, but I do not have an open tank that big to move them to. So I had to figure out a way to collect eggs from them in the 150 they are in.
- No information – Everyone I asked about spawning this species told me that it has not been done. I do not believe that to be true, but there is certainly no information about raising the fry. The process to hatch the eggs and rear the fry will be trial and error until the requirements are figured out.
The first video will show the spawning, egg collection and first attempt at hatching. Enjoy…
Here is the second part to the video set on using botanicals to infuse tannins into an aquarium. Tannins are an important part of a soft water, black water aquarium. Fish from these habitat really thrive in tannin-rich water. They are more active and their colors are vibrant. The botanicals that I feature in this video series came from Tannin Aquatics . I am very happy with the products Tannin Aquatics sent me.
I keep a lot of fish species from soft, black-water habitats. I have visited some of these places in both Africa and South America, and have seen many videos shot by traveling aquarists. The factor in those habitats that is the most obvious, and the least represented in most aquariums, is the amount of decaying organic matter that rests on the bottom of the habitat, be it puddle or stream. I have waded into water netting fish and sunk to my knees in thick piles of leaves, sticks, seed pods and any other organic matter that hits the water and sinks to the bottom. There are plenty of pretty, clear, sand-bottomed, fast running streams in the tropical world, but most of the fish we keep come from the mucky waters.
I started keeping botanicals in my aquariums several years ago. After visiting Peru last year, I have greatly increased the amount of organic debris I put in with my dwarf cichlids, but nowhere near the amount that is in the natural habitat. To match that I would have to fill a 10-gallon tank full from top to bottom with leaves, but I do not think that is wise in such a small volume of water. The bottomlands we were collecting in had ponds with thousands of gallons of water over a thick layer of debris, but the water was still deeper than the layer of leaves. If you tried it in a 75-gallon tank you would want 10-12″ of matter on the bottom with clear water over it. Someday I will have the guts to try that!
This video begins a short series on using botanicals in the aquarium. I will show you leaves, bark, seed pods and other things that I use. I will also introduce you to a great source of exotic botanicals, Tannin Aquatics. I shot this video just after getting a big box of items from Tannin Aquatics, many of which I had not tried before. So far so good. The first episode will show you how I prepare the heavier objects, such as bark, coconut husk and seed pods, before putting them into the tanks.
Here is part 7 in the planted tank series, which will be the last episode for a few months. At this point I am doing regular maintenance and waiting for the plants to grow. Eventually I will add some more plants to the tanks and stock with with fish. When that happens I will publish as update on the tanks.