Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site
September '99

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September '99 - Bob's 200 L Planted Rainbowfish Tank.

The Australian Rainbowfishes (Melanotaenia spp.) are a very good choice to populate planted, biotope and community tanks. They're colorful, don't grow too large, and in general won't harm other fish or plants. Their water preferences are also pretty much compatible with most plants' requirements. This month's tank is a nice example of such a setup. Created by American hobbyist Bob Buettner, it's a 200 L tank (old style 55G with the stainless steel frame and slate bottom). It contains 4 inches of natural quartz aquarium gravel, enriched with 1 bag of Seachem Flourite and Substrate Gold (a laterite product). Filtering is made with 1 Magnum H.O.T and 1 Renaissance Prime Model 20 cannister filter. Both filters have only mechanical filtering media, no charcoal or any other chemical media are used. Lighting consists of 1 Perfecto SHO power compact 4' (2 x 55 watt) strip light and 1 standard double 4' fluorescent strip light with 2 Vita-Lite power twist bulbs, for a total of 190 watts of lighting. There's also a High pressure CO2 setup and a 10 gallon CO2 tank purchased from a local welding supply company. Typical water parameters are Temp 23-26C, pH 6.8, GH 7 and KH 3. Fish population includes Boesemani, Neon, and Checkered Rainbowfishes; plus a few other community fishes such as Oto's, SAE's, Yo Yo Loaches, Amano Shrimp (Caridina japonica) and a Pleco. Further info and photos can be found at his Aquaria Page.

Bob adds a few more details on his setup and experience:
"Water is drawn in from the right lower rear (Renaissance Prime Model 20) and left lower rear (Magnum H.O.T). The output of the filters is sent through tubing running along the top left and right sides of the tank, concealed by the tank frame, using 90 degree elbows and ducted through 2 independent Fluval spray bars (which I enlarged the holes with a drill to cut down the output pressure) to the top front of the tank, mounted horizontally along the front frame, spraying against the glass, completely under water so there is no surface agitation at all, the CO2 is dissolved completely making it very efficient. I get very good circulation with very little plant movement with this setup and the output tubes and spray bars are invisible."

"I do a 30% water change every week adding 5 ml of Tropica Master Grow and 1/4 tsp of KNO3 at water change time and 4 days later. For those of you looking to buy the Master Grow, I get mine from Dad's Fish Room In Canada."

"When I had a hair/thread algae problem the substrate had small clumps of the stuff growing, EVERY clump I hand picked was attached ONLY to the Flourite! There was none attached to the regular gravel."

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

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Neon Rainbowfish
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Releasing Oxygen Bubbles

Photos taken by Bob Buettner and displayed here with his permission.

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L