A translucent window film was placed over the back glass. Some driftwood was hung behind the glass to give the appearance of a murky depth.
3 floodlights hang 2 feet above the aquarium with 5000K Par38 bulbs.
I created a laminar flow in this aquarium using a design from Oliver Lucanus. I built a platform that is 66" long, 18" wide, and raised 3" high. Then I put a wall about 2" high around the top of the platform. Approximately an inch of sand was placed inside. I then used a Panta Rei Hydrowizard ECM42 pump below the platform. This pushes water from left to right below the platform. The water then goes above the platform traveling from right to left in the tank creating a natural river-like laminar flow for the fish before it circulates down below the platform again. The pump is set to a medium level providing a gentle but noticeable flow in the tank.
Near a Bank in the Middle Rio Negro
No plants are rooted in the water. There are Spathiphyllum sp. and Echinodorus cordifolius plants above the tank with roots and some some leaves (visible in the photo) extending down into the tank
5 P. scalare, and some Ancistrus sp.
Multiple types of hardwood driftwood were put down vertically into the tank to simulate roots of trees and broken branches caught in the tangle. Dried leaves and seed pods were placed on top of a white sand substrate. Natural tannins from these materials creates tea-stained water for a blackwater environment.