#463: 90L Biotope Aquascape Banks of Yangmei river in the dry season, Mount Zaomu, Foshan, China

Li Nan Beijing, China


You have clearly worked hard to reproduce this biotope. However if you re going to use plants you need to makes sure you can grow them well in those conditions not just use them as "decorations". The Myriophyllum looks recently planted or at least trimmed. In the wild they would not be in short bunches like this. And the Blyxa is very close to death. Your banks however and beautifully made for this section of river and the fish choice is lovely!
— Karen Randall

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 60 × 50 × 30 cm
Title Banks of Yangmei river in the dry season, Mount Zaomu, Foshan, China
Volume 90L
Background Tanichthys albonubes (Lin, 1932) is one of the most beautiful native fishes in China. Unfortunately, with the continuous expansion of human activities, the habitat is constantly being destroyed, and the wild population disappears a lot. In recent years, under the conservation of native guardians, the wild community is gradually recovering. The natural environment and underwater landscape of the habitat of Tanichthys albonubes are also very beautiful. In order to let more people understand their beauty and protect them, I made this biotope aquarium and truly restored the habitat of Tanichthys albonubes. Since Tanichthys albonubes are protected fish in China, Tanichthys albonubes in my aquarium are artificial bred.
Lighting Kessil Tuna Sun A160WE 40w LED lamp, Spectrum 6,000K to 9,000K.
Filtration EHEIM 600 classic external filter (1000 L/H)
Plants Myriophyllum hippuroides (Nuttall ex Torrey & A. Gray 1840 | geographic range: Canada, Mexico, United States etc.) and Blyxa japonica (Ascherson and Gurke, 1889 | geographic range: China, Japan, Korea, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, New Guinea etc.) are used in my aquarium. Myriophyllum hippuroides is invasive species in China, but at present they are very common in ponds and streams.
Animals Oryzias pectoralis (T. R. Roberts,1998), Tanichthys albonubes (Lin, 1932), Barbodes semifasciolatus (Günther, 1868)
Materials The first-hand materials are the basis of a good habitat restoration. I invited my friends in Guangdong province to collect useful information, e.g. videos, pictures, environmental parameters and water parameters, of typical habitats of Tanichthys albonubes. I finally selected Yangmei River as my target which originated in Mount Zaomu in Foshan city. The water becomes clear and gentle during the dry season. The substrate is muddy scattered with small rocks. In addition to the abundant underwater vegetations, the roots, leaves of terrestrial plants on the shore naturally fall into the water, forming a natural habitat for fish, where they can grow, play and reproduce.

All the materials used in my aquarium, including rocks, branches, dry leaves, etc., come from the wild nature. In order to restore wild habitat of Tanichthys albonubes in the most authentic way, I use the natural pond mud taking from the origin in Foshan, Guangdong Province, which is vital in producing beneficial bacteria and achieving the same water quality parameters as in the original habitat. I restored the banks of river using rocks and pond mud on the left side and the back of the aquarium, and planted a lot of grass on the banks. After a few months, the roots of these terrestrial plants grew underwater and extend all the way down, eventually firmly plunging into the bed. The leaves of the grass are slowly plunged into the water under the influence of gravity. After soaking for a long time, some of the leaves begin to turn yellow and become spoiled, providing extra shelter and food for the fish.

I planted a large number of Myriophyllum hippuroides (Nuttall ex Torrey & A. Gray 1840) under the river bank, and also some Blyxa japonica (Ascherson and Gurke, 1889) on the bottom. These aqua plants played an important role in maintaining water quality and ecological balance. They also provide the fish with a space to play and breed.

A good ecosystem must consider not only the survival and reproductive needs for the adult fish, but also the needs for new born fish survival and growth. I used willow roots and fallen leaves to build a floating island connected with the river bank. As time passed, more and more leaves gather around the floating island under the influence of water, effectively slowing the flow of water in the area. The floating island provides a large number of shelters for the newborn fish in the upper layer of the water body, allowing them to escape from the adult fish and become the ideal living space for the new born fish. Two months after the floating island was built, the Oryzias pectoralis (T. R. Roberts,1998) succeeded in breeding in my aquarium. You can imagine the excitement when I saw the new born fish swimming in my aquarium.

I also made an interesting attempt in this small ecosystem. I captured two grasshoppers from the wild. They were kept in the grass on the bank of the aquarium with rocks and pond mud. They graze and sing every day, just like they are in the wild. Observing the grasshopper shedding its old skin is a very interesting thing. The grasshopper will slowly move from the old body, and finally burst out to break free and ushered in a new life. Under the sunlight, the wet body and soft wings of the grasshopper are slowly dry and restore color and hardness to complete the growth. These two grasshoppers have molted several times and have grown from larvae to adult worms. Looking forward to the succeed in breeding.
Additional Information The Yangmei River has a relatively slow water flow in the dry season. The substrate at the bottom of the river is muddy with sand and rocks. Underwater vegetation is very rich. A large amount of Myriophyllum hippuroides are distributed (Myriophyllum hippuroides is invasive species in China, but at present they are very common in ponds and streams) in some specific course of the river. The aquatic plants, benthic animals and plankton are extremely rich. There are many upper, middle and lower layers of fish, and the ecological groups are more complicated. The roots of the land plants immersed into the water, together with plants branches and leaves providing abundant shelter and food sources for underwater life.

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