April '08 - João Avó's 96 L Amazon Aquarium. (Portugal)
Beauty, simplicity and naturality are the main features of this setup by a Portuguese hobbyist who decided to "back to the roots" after some incursions into more sophisticated aquascapes.
|Owner:||João Avó, 21, from Almada, Portugal, 3 years of fishkeeping.|
|Volume:|| 96 L (nominal), 85 L (effective).|
|Filtration:|| Tetratec 600 EX power filter.|
|Lighting:||2x36 W PL-L DIY, 10 hours a day.|
|Heating:||Tetra 100 W.|
|Substrate:||Plain river sand.|
|Decoration:||Vine wood, Mopani wood, and peat for use as spawning sites for the rams.|
|Maintenance:||Partial water changes of 10% once a week, fertilization with potassium and iron weekly, sporadically with phosphates. DIY CO2.|
|Water:||Temp 24°C, pH 6.4-6.6, total hardness 30 ppm, NO3 ~0, PO4 3 ppm.|
|Fauna:||10 neon tetras, 4 rams, 4 peppered cories, 4 Pomacea bridgesii.
|Flora:||Echinodorus bleheri, E. barthii, E. "Ozelot", E. urugayensis, E. tenellus, Lileaopsis brasilensis, Vesicularia sp. "Christmas", Ceratopteris cornuta, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Hydrocotyle leucocephala.
I setup this aquarium with the gola of maintaining a South American biotope, initially with the idea of keeping a trio of Apistogramma cacatuoides and a school of tetras. However, here in Portugal the wild strain is rare and personally I don't enjoy the captive bred varieties (double and triple Red) because I think they don't look very natural. For this reason I decided to try my luck with rams, fish that I've loved since I was a kid. At first I had trouble finding males, since I bought 5 and they were all females. Now I have 2 couples, one of them has already spawned but the eggs had been eaten on the next day. I hope to succeed with a spawn. To keep my fish healthy I feed them with 3 varieties of frozen food (brine shrimp, larvae, and discus mix), discus granules and a homemade recipe with shrimp, carrots, peas, zucchini and gelatin. I keep phosphates and potassium high, so that there is no accumulation of nitrates. In general, this is a tank that doesn't require much care and gives me a lot of pleasure, since I really like biotopes.
In this aquarium I tried to reproduce the habitat of a South American acid pool, but with a greater denseity of vegetation. I called it Back to the Roots because of my experiences in the past year. I got bit by the planted tank bug and tried out 15 different layouts in 2 tanks. I tried using about 30 different species of plants, learned about fertilization, lighting, CO2 (much with the help of aquahobby.com and aquariofilia.net). However, I reached a point where I got tired and decided to reflect about this vertent in fishkeeping, and came to the conclusion that I should concentrate more on the fishes and their well being than on changing the layout every 2 months just on a whim. Hence the return to the origins of my fishkeeping hobby, but now with more knowledge, which allowed me to make a balanced biotope, where the fish feel well.
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
Right side and focus on some of the fishes
Vine woods and Amazon plants
Rather dense visual but still very natural
Photos taken by João Avó and displayed here with his permission.