#232: 180L Biotope Aquascape Flooded Savanna, Capanaparo river, state of Apure, Venezuela

Daniele Maxia Sestu (CA), Italy


General Impression/Faithful Reproduction of Biotope:
This is a beautiful biotope aquarium based upon some impressive and complete research. I have traveled in the Llanos of Colombia near to the location of the biotope and have some first-hand observations of the habitats there. The only thing this biotope aquarium has that is not as accurate as it could be is too many species of plants in a small area. This is a very common error in biotope aquariums. Plant communities are very competitive and in nature the plants will grow in massed populations. If a box the size of this aquarium were set down in a flooded drainage ditch it would be hard to get all of these species of plants into it at the exact same place.

Other than that everything about this biotope is accurate. I also appreciate that an effort was made to allow the plants to grow very close to the front of the tank. It would acutally be more accurate to have no 'aquascape' at all... just plants right up to the front of the glass... but that is not aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Even though this is a biotope competition the display still deserves to be beautiful to see.
— Ted Judy

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 80 × 60 × 45 cm
Title Flooded Savanna, Capanaparo river, state of Apure, Venezuela
Volume 180L
Background none
Lighting 150w “Mars Hydro TS 1000 Full Spectrum LED” (21010 lumens). Photoperiod is 10 hours (set for comfort 10:00-20:00).
Filtration external 3-stage filter: mechanical filter-media (coarse, fine), biological media. Delivery pump 2700 L/ h (Sicce Syncra 3.0) which provide a real water-flow of about 1000 L/h. In/out filter system consist on transparent (unmovable) pipes ,pvc pipes passing through the bottom of the tank and grey pvc junctions (hidden by plants).
Plants Eichhornia azurea, (both floating and submersed form), Eichhornia diversifolia, Eleocharis acicularis, Helanthium bolivianum angustifolius, Helianthium tenellum, Sagittaria sp, Ludwigia inclinata.
Animals Fishes: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (Myers e Harry, 1948) 4 young specimens, 10 Petitella rhodostoma (Ahl, 1924).
Invertebrates: Physa marmorata (Guilding, 1828), Planorbis cf. arnoldi.
Microinvertebrates: Ostracods, Cycloops and Tubifex sp.
Materials The bottom consists of a layer of peat (2cm) covered with a thick layer (3-5cm) of amber quartz sand (for aquarium use and similar to that shown in video showing the natural biotope), currently partially naturally covered with organic debrys (natural deposit produced by the aquarium) and plant debrys (collected in nature): fallen leaves and broken branches (similar to those shown in video from the natural biotope), Fabaceae pods (similar in shape to those of Erythrina sp.), palm fiber. Hard-scape consists of a few wooden pieces and roots.
Additional Information Transparent water obtained by adding buffers to RO water: mineral salts and low concentrated fertilizers. Fertilization were optimized in order to maintain a low nutrient content which drop to zero after one day from its dosing. Temperature: 27.6 ° C (year average, minimum at 26 °C from November to May, maximum at 30 °C in July-August due to summer local high temperature), pH 6.6-7.2, KH 2-3 (HCO3- about 65 ppm), CO2 5-15 mg/L, O2 8 ppm (water oxygen saturation), GH 4, Mg2+ 5 ppm, Ca2+ about 20 ppm (calculated from GH and Mg2+ values), K+ 8 ppm, Fe2+ 0.05 ppm, NH4+ 0 ppm, NO2- 0 ppm, NO3- < 5 ppm, PO43- 0-0.5 ppm, (water parameters were all measured with JBL TestLab).
In order to simulate natural habitat, microinvertebrates colonies are weekly restored into the aquarium by fresh inoculums from indoor cultures of Tubifex, Ostracods and Cyclops. All these organism are naturally hunted by M. ramirezi's which love to catch live food from the debris. Sometimes these live organism are also eaten by tetras, which, always looking for easy food, spy M. ramirezi during the hunt.
In case of green water presence during summer (due to the set of high light and high temperatures in summer) a high density colture of Daphnia pulex is added to the tank inside a round fish fry net which protect them from fish attacks.
Most of the stem plants have being produced from mother plants kept in this same aquarium which had all reached a total lenght of up 1 meter.
All Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are young specimens born from aquarium kept parents.

The habitat I have wanted to recreate is particularly inspired to Ivan Mikolji youtube videos "Amazon Tropical River Underwater Stock Video Footage 22" and Amazon Tropical River Underwater Stock Video Footage 23 (starting from minute 5.50).

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