Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
April '08

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805_Amazon_Tank_1.jpg (56kb)

April '08 - Joćo 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:Joćo Avó, 21, from Almada, Portugal, 3 years of fishkeeping.
Setup:February 2007.
Dimensions:80x30x40 cm
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 and 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.

805_Amazon_Tank_2.jpg (66kb)
Right side and focus on some of the fishes

805_Amazon_Tank_3.jpg (59kb)
Vine woods and Amazon plants

805_Amazon_Tank_4.jpg (37kb)
Rather dense visual but still very natural

Photos taken by Joćo Avó and displayed here with his permission.

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