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Freshwater River Ecosystem
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Joined: 03 Aug 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.12(Sat)17:19    Post subject: Freshwater River Ecosystem Reply with quote

I think I want to use a 20 gallon long that I have in my basement to create an aquarium that closely resembles the ecosystem of a river that runs by my house. I think this follows my interests better than the typical "fish tank" does. I've done something similar before in a standard 10 gallon tank, but this will be much more interesting, even if I'm still only using a 20 gallon (I'll be able to have fish).

The specific habitat I'm looking at is a little area in the forest that's been dammed, and it looks a bit like a small pond. The water flows more slowly than the rest of the river, and it doesn't get very much sun. It's sandy and rocky and doesn't have many plants. I have caught three species of fish there before. One is a 1 inch long minnow-like fish, another is a 2 inch algae eater, and the last is a 3 inch sunfish. I have also caught crayfish, and hundreds of species of microorganisms.

I haven't put too much thought into it yet (but I won't be able to mobilize until spring anyway), so I wanted to brainstorm a bit. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for me?

A biology geek.
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Joined: 12 Apr 2003
Location: Raymond, NH

PostPosted: 2005.03.12(Sat)23:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I don't really have any advice but I think it's a really cool idea. I have been wanting to do something like that for a long time. To me there is just something more fascinating about a tank full of native species. For one, it becomes possible to replicate the natural habitat to an amazing degree since you live right near the area and can do all the tests you need to. The more natural the habitat the more you will get to see the fish behave "naturally", which is a very cool thing. Also, everything is free! You have nearly unlimited resources right in your back yard. Like I said, no real advice hear but I was excited about the project. It sounds to me like you have a good plan. I hope you go through with it and share your setup when its done. Good luck!
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Vancouver Canada

PostPosted: 2005.03.13(Sun)11:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Variable,
Ah.. a topic close to my heart. Smile
Some things to think of/ do.
The river sounds like it is a temperate, or cold water system. Consider how you will replicate the temps in your tank (cooling is the problem). What is your geographic area?
Take water samples of the river and test the parameters. Can you replicate these? (pH, GH, KH so forth).
Look at the substrate. Try not to introduce silty conditions or those with a high organic content but you can simulate the "look" with other materials.
Study the fish. Try to net some, ID them then release and then research their needs. Can you provide the food they need, living conditions etc...
Just some thoughts to get you started. Look forward to hearing what you discover?
Good luck!
Think like a fish
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Joined: 03 Aug 2004

PostPosted: 2005.03.16(Wed)8:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! I just won a 45 gallon aquarium with a stand on eBay. I'll be picking it up next week when I have spring break. I'm SO EXCITED!

Anyway. This will make my whole river ecosystem about 50 times better. The problem is that I amd going to need some stuff. I will need a filtering system, a hood, and a light. And I need suggestions.

As always, thanks in advance Smile

A biology geek.
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Joined: 20 Dec 2004
Location: UK

PostPosted: 2005.03.16(Wed)18:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! That's a very timely bit of luck.

As you're going for the whole ecosytem thing (and now have a bigger tank) you could try making a semi-aquatic environment. Have your fish and a bit of river bank too. There are some nice semi-aquatic setups here on a very good newt/salamander site. Setups #1, 4 and 10 look particularly good to me. So if it crawls, hops, jumps, chirps or croaks it may be a candidate for observation Wink

Hopefully there isn't a too drastic temperature difference between your house and the outside world, but in any case try to find a cool location for the tank. It will also help to keep things cool and healthy if you provide good ventilation. Mesh screens or similar in the hood. Evaporation of water from your tank is your friend and can work like evaporation of sweat from your body.

My father once had to set up a coldwater fish tank for public display in the museum where he worked. It had a theme of "native British fish" and due to the high ambient temperature he had to pass the water through a beer cooler to get the temp down. Not sure quite how this was done but it sounds like a lot of hassle. No need to go to that length though.

Whatever you do, let us know as it's a very interesting project you have there.
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Joined: 12 Jan 2005
Location: British Columbia Canada

PostPosted: 2005.03.29(Tue)16:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a page I ran across that you might use:
- Sometimes I don't know enough to know that I don't know -
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Joined: 12 Oct 2004
Location: sydney, NSw, Australia

PostPosted: 2005.04.03(Sun)4:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted something about this in aqua lounge
70 gallon tank with 11 various kind of fish
Pond with 3 goldfish
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