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 Rio Orinoco Habitat.

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Deb
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PostSubject: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:00 pm



This aquatic habitat attempts to recreate a section of a small clearwater stream in the upper Rio Orinoco river system.

The tank is 75 US gallons and the main filter is an Emperor 400 HOB, hung on the end to create a natural, directional current.

Natural materials, as shown in the above photo, and natural light are features of this tank.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Very Happy Very Impressive scape! The tea leaves, the huge Anubias barteri, and the flower coming out the smaller anubias all look amazing Deb! Very pretty tank Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:59 pm

Thanks! That's the left side, basically one third of the tank as it appears today.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:59 pm



Here is a pic from the early days, when the planting scheme was getting established.
Plants which grow submersed do not occur in this habitat. However, marginal plants do. So to give the feeling of marginal plants with their roots in the water, I added varieties of Anubias, which is a plant found at the edges of waterways in Africa. Above, it's shown with its roots just starting to attach to submerged wood.

It's impossible to recreate the environment just as it is in the natural setting. Some choices have to be made and some liberties taken, to get the best overall look and environment possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:56 am

WOW!

I really like the effect of the natural light - works really well with the overall aquascape.

It's obvious you've put a lot of time and thought into the tank and it shows!

And your Rams look very happy and healthy - they too are gorgeous!

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:17 am

Great job Deb. Every time I see your pics, and now Flippercons, I wish I had SA instead of Mbuna's and Peacock tanks. I love a live planted tank, but plants become devoured in minutes with these guys. (And then they want fed afterward)

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:54 am

Thanks! I spent about two years planning this tank. One major consideration was where to put something so large. Up to that point, my biggest set-up was a 20 high and my family wasn't used to the look of what for us would be a gigantic aquarium.

Gundog wrote:
... And your Rams look very happy and healthy - they too are gorgeous!

Yes, they were nice but unfortunately they didn't last long. They were my first cichlids and I bought them on impulse without knowing much about how to care for them. Ultimately, I think the tank was too new. One of them developed what looked like HITH disease soon after purchase and the other just wasted way. However, it was a learning experience and I intend to try them again.

@Ron wrote:
... I love a live planted tank, but plants become devoured in minutes with these guys.

Anubias has really tough leathery leaves and might work in an African set-up if you place them near the top. They can grow emersed, too, which means the leaf part would be above the water line. I have some pix of that and will post them.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:06 am



This Anubias plant is very old and grows right out of the top of the Orinoco tank, now. In the past, I would trim out a few leaves to keep it all underwater but lately I just let it do what it wants. Here it is flowering above the water line.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:54 pm

How often do your Anubias bloom? Just curious, mine flower every February. They are submersed BTW.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:19 pm

Now you got me thinking. LOL. Once my apistos depart this world. I think I'm going to setup a West African biotope centered around Anomlochromis thomasi. It is a small peaceful cichlid from the region. As you already know, I have plenty of Anubias and Bolbitis.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:35 pm

One more thing, Keyholes are from the Rio Orinoco basin. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:35 pm

Anomala wrote:
How often do your Anubias bloom? Just curious, mine flower every February. They are submersed BTW.


My Anubias flower often. I have not kept track but it seems to be every four months. They flower above and below the water line and even the smallest plants produce flowers, if they are old enough.

After reading what you wrote, I skimmed Paul Loiselle's learned article on Anomalochromis thomasi to learn more. I think these cichlids will make a nice set-up for you. Anubias and Bolbitis will be just right. You can plant them around the edges. Looking forward to hearing about it one day but for now the apistos seem to be going strong!

Keyholes might have been a good choice for me but they get a bit larger than what I had in mind. The perfect cichlid for my set-up is Dicrossus filamentosus, the lyretail checkerboard cichlid. I hesitated, though, because of all the other bottom dwellers. I may yet get a trio.

I can't help but notice the similarity between your username and those African fish!

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:13 pm

Yes, the apistos are not going anywhere anytime soon. It's a good thing I'm not in a rush.

The genus Dicrossus is one that I almost forgot about. There are so many small cichlids that do well with plants. I did a quick search and Dicrossus maculatus (spadetail checkerboard) caught my eye. Noticed them on AquaBid.

The similarity between my username and the African Butterfly Cichlid is no coincidence. Busted Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:26 am

More pix! Here is my favorite pic of the rams, taken in 2009.

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
That's a lacy form of Java fern on the left and the giant Anubias on the right.

Here is one of my many Otocinclus.

Otocinclus huaorani
Some of the Otos in this tank are going on four years old.
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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:47 am

How many species of Otocinclus are there? My understanding is four but I swear I see more species names popping up. Trying to ID mine.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:14 pm

Seventeen! Fourteen with scientific names and three that have yet to receive an ID. In the hobby, though, you will only encounter a few distinct species. Fish stores usually have O. vittatus, O. hoppei, O. macrospilus, or O. huoarani. On-line vendors, like Mark Denaro (now Josh Weigert's business) may have O. cocama, the zebra stripe oto, occasionally.

Otocinclus ID can be a challenge as many of them look exactly alike. I usually do okay with it. If you know where they were collected, it would be helpful but there is no way to know unless you buy them directly from an importer (like the above-mentioned Mark.)

Post a pic in the ID forum here and I'll take a shot at it. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:20 pm

Will do.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:13 am

Deb -

In the original set of images: are those Indian Almond Leaves?

If not what type are of leaf is it?

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:44 am

Hi, Tracey. The leaves are Magnolia leaves. I collect them when they have fallen from the tree and are dry and brown. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:43 am

Great tanks Deb. You and Liz are great aquascapers. Makes me jealous

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:00 am

I like your aquascapes, too, Ron. Very Happy You don't need live plants to have a great layout.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:59 pm

@Deb wrote:
Hi, Tracey. The leaves are Magnolia leaves. I collect them when they have fallen from the tree and are dry and brown. Very Happy

Magnolia... they look very nice!

Do they alter your ph?

I REALLY like the look of leaves and was thinking about some Indian Almond Leaves.... but I've read that IAL can lower the ph and I want to avoid ph fluctuations if possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:32 pm

I think you have to really stuff your tank with leaves before the pH lowers significantly.  I use only three to five leaves.  In general, if your pH is above 7.0 to start with AND if you do regular water changes, the natural materials don't alter the pH much, if at all.

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:16 am

If anyone is curious about what I use for a background on this tank, here is a pic:


Dried palm branches are laid over large oak leaves at the top and large magnolia leaves at the bottom.  From the inside of the tank, the effect is a natural privacy screen.  The leaves overlap at the bottom so that there are no gaps of light.  I use Scotch gift wrap tape or clear packing tape and it holds really well. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Rio Orinoco Habitat.   Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:24 pm

That's original. Very cool. Is that a philodendron or similar plant growing out of the back of the aquarium with it's roots in water?

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