#109: 110L Biotope Aquascape: Cross-section of a Beaver Pond
Phil Edwards, Charlotte NC USA | E-mail: adverts at aquatic-gardeners.org
◀ Previous Aquascape
Next Aquascape

Aquascape Details

Tank Size
76 x 30 x 61 cm (30 x 12 x 24 in)
110L (29 gallons)
2x 65w Power Compact Fluorescent 12-14hrs/day
None, other than what is provided by the plants.
Additional Information
My intention with this aquarium is to recreate the natural environment as closely as possible for both the benefit of the fish and the interest of the viewer. Due to the nature of the location traditional aquascaping practices such as sloping substrate and well defined groups of plants are not appropriate. The main goal of the aquascaping is to give the viewer the impression that he/she has directly submerged into the middle of the location, hence the Ludwigia is planted all the way up to the glass. There is little area of the bottom of this area of the pond that isn't covered with plants. Seeing the emersed stems of Polygonum and Myriophyllum growing out of a veritable carpet of submerged Ludwigia is an inspiring sight and I wanted to capture that as much as possible.
Aside from a very occasional drop of trace elements in the beginning the only fertilization the tank has received/receives is from the fish food and what is provided by the substrate. Although not visible in the photos, much of the upper layer of the substrate is covered with, and penetrated by, a complex root system, just as is found at the type location. Watching the aging processes and organisms in the substrate are as fascinating as those going on above it. I have to admit to being inordinately proud that all of the Polygonum have flowered and are sporting beautiful pink inflorescences. It's too bad they don't have a smell.
The insect fauna of this little ecosystem is fascinating too. There are small sap sucking insects colonizing the Myriophyllum that provide a nice treat for the fish when there are enough to knock off into the water. The other day I found a small damselfly sitting on a leaf and sadly watched it fly away before I could get my camera. Many other flying insects flit in and out of the tank on an almost daily basis, though most are unknown to me.
Maintenance is very simple, only the occasional top-off as needed along with daily feedings. Even trimming isn't a hassle, the only thing that needs to be trimmed is the Myriophyllum and that's only been needed once in the five months the tank's been set up. With such vigorous emersed growth from the Polygonum and Myriophyllum the Ludwigia is growing slowly and hasn't yet needed to be trimmed. At this point my intent is to let everything continue to grow as tall and bushy as it will with as little direction from me as possible except to avoid damage from burning from contact with the light.
Cross-section of a Beaver Pond
Ludwigia palustris, Myriophyllum brasiliense, Polygonum cespitosum
8 Gambusia holbrookii
Substrate is a coarse sand with small gravel. For purposes of tank hygiene the gravel was collected from the creek leading into the beaver pond where it less muddy. Natural clay and aquatic soil was added to the lower half of the substrate for enrichment.