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Old 05-01-2007, 11:35 PM   #1
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Biotope Plant Recommendation needed

I am thinking of completely redoing my 30L and turning it into a River setup with a yet undecided species or 2 of hillstream loaches. I want to try to keep this as area specific as possible so what plants would be recommended for an indonesian/southeast asian swift stream/river setup?

I plan on closely following this setup type:
http://www.loaches.com/articles/hill...-the-fast-lane
(scroll down to see apparatus) It will have 2-3 powerheads (either Penguin 660 or 1140's so plants will need to be able to stand up to the current.
I plan on modifying setup to inject DIY CO2 into the system along with extra O2 and will have 96 wats of CF and 30 watts of regular fluorescent lighting.
I do not plan on heating the tank and thus plants/fish need to be able to handle 64-78 degree temps.
For filter, I am probably going to retire my HOB in favor of a cannister.

So please make educated recommendations so I can start finding my plants (and hardware/fish if you have experience with this type of setup).

thanks in advance....
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Old 05-02-2007, 01:27 AM   #2
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I would guess, that the type of water they inhabit, contains no plants. The high flow rate desired would negate plant growth, and trying to inject CO2 into that flow would result in it quickly outgassing
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:26 AM   #3
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Typical answer for this forum. Not to be a complete total jerk but it seems to many people (both on this forum and in reality), when faced with a different somewhat difficult idea, just simply state that it can not be done.

If anyone has any positive helpful advice then I would more than gladly take it but this "oh, it can not be done" attitude just makes me sick!

No aquarium setup can perfectly mirror a natural habitat. Hillstreams live in quick flowing to very swift waterfalling conditions. Even in those environments there are eddies and some slow currents next to shore or in interesting locations where plants do grow. The idea that they never see a plant is questionable since they mainly feed in the wild off algae and small creatures who live on plants and algae. The proposed 2-3 powerhead setup will not even attempt the type of flow seen in nature and thus the right choice of plants will live just fine.

So all I am asking for are a few plant recommendations for a river type southeast asia general area setup.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:14 AM   #4
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well i do not know how these plants will do in the flow you are thinking, you will have to do some experimentation....but i would try...

Hygrophila corymbosa
Limnophila aromatica
Barclaya longfoilia
Rotala rotundifolia


also the old standbys of Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) and Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana) should be good additions to the mix.

i would run about 3 wpg of light over this tank, with EI Dosing and 50% weekly pwc. large bolder-like rocks. the substrate should be something nutrient rich on the bottom but -largish gavel on the top to simulate the large grain bottom of a fast flowing stream. also i would add a couple driftwood branches to simulate tree roots in the water.

personally i do not think CO2 injection should be a problem, if done right. pipe the co2 directly into the intake of one of the powerheads. keep all powerheads compleatly underwater at least 1/2 way down from the top of the water to minimise surface agitation and out gassing.

i want to see pictures of what you end up doing
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:17 AM   #5
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Well I just checked PlantFinder over on APC and they have two plants listed for Southeast Asia.
Microsorum pteropus 'Phillippine'
Cryptocoryne x willisii 'lucens'

This indicates to me that there would be other Java Ferns and Crypts that would likely be appropriate to the region. Cryptocorne x Willisii is a natural cross with Cryptocoryne parva and one of a few other crypts. Cryptocoryne walkeri and beckettii among the possibilities.

With these plant options you could stick to medium light, and there would be no need to deal with DIY CO2 and the probable gas off issues with having a high flow setup. Of course depending on how the flow is setup, it would be possible to minimize the surface disturbance and therefore minimize the amount of CO2 gassed off. I would think that it would be easier to avoid the issue althogether though, since low fluctuating CO2 generally causes BBA which I don't believe is one of the algae that Hillstream Loaches eat. Then if you bump your lighting above medium light but continue to avoid CO2, you could probably manage to induce some of the green algae that they would enjoy.

I find the Tiger Butterfly Hillstream Loach to be particularly beautiful. One day I hope to put together a similar setup for these facinating fish.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:07 PM   #6
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Crypts, Crypts, Crypts

Almost all Cryptocoryne species are native to SE Asia/Indonesia and will do just fine without CO2 supplementation in a low- medium-light tank. You may have to do some experimenting to find out which species do well under high flow rates but that is half the fun.
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Old 05-03-2007, 06:05 PM   #7
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I imagine you'll have some rocks or driftwood in the tank scape, if the current is too much for the plants out in the main flow, it would be simple to create a "flow refuge" behind a larger rock or piece of driftwood for the plants. That is the type of place they would naturally be found in a system like this, but on a larger scale (like a big back eddy). But you're dealing with an artificial system anyway, so making a "micro eddy" would be fine and would add some visual interest to the tank as well.
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:10 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help and thoughts!

With the recommendations I will probably start out with the obvious Java ferns (Microsorum pteropus & 'Windelov') and some various crypts. (I need to learn how to identify different species of crypts?) I would like to also at some point add a stem plant of some sort with redish coloration? The Limnophila aromatica that JDogg mentioned looks really nice but have definitely not seen that in any stores around this area.

Everything is coming together in terms of the apparatus for powerheads but a lot of work left. Hopefully the building of it will be done tomorrow or Saturday morning! Then I get to tear down the existing tank and rebuild from the bottom up!

As alluded too, I think the key to this project is going to be patience and many many experiments with rock/driftwood placement and aesthetics tests. I need to keep my patience for a change and not rush into this one. The tendency to rush or accept mediocrity is out the window for me this time! I will try to post pics as this thing progresses.
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:06 AM   #9
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Good luck! I have some L aromatica that I can send you when you get to that point. not sure how it will like the flow since it is a pretty heavy stem plant, but it sure is pretty. it does need higher light. I have had minimal luck ID'ing crypts but I think they are all from the same general geographic location so i would just go with what you like. Can't remember if you said that you had looked on plantgeek.com to see where plants are from, reason I ask is that Hygrophila salicifolia with its long leaves would look awesome in a tank like that but I'm not sure where it is native to (or any other Hygro, for that matter). I have a feeling they are from that part of the world.
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Old 05-04-2007, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman17H
Typical answer for this forum. Not to be a complete total jerk but it seems to many people (both on this forum and in reality), when faced with a different somewhat difficult idea, just simply state that it can not be done.
The reply, I gave, comes more or less, from the article on hillstreams you linked to, and states the obvious. Martin, who wrote that article and several others on that site, knows his stuff. He also recommended Java fern or Annubias, as possibilities. However, I guess, if you don't like the answers from an enthusiast's forum, go to a general one, where you will get answers to your liking. You are trying to create a "planted " biotope where one doesn't exist in nature, which means it isn't a biotope. Actually, regardless of whether it would be a hillstream biotope, is moot; it's your tank, you can do what you want. The plants that Martin suggests, don't need CO2 and it would be difficult to keep high levels in the water, for a species of fish that requires high oxygenation, and current to be comfortable.
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Old 05-06-2007, 01:16 AM   #11
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Here is website with some of the best aquarium biotope information I have ever found.

Mongabay

The "Thai Creek" and Indian/Burmese River setups seem close to what your looking for. The creek plan suggests vals and crypts should do fine in a tank with current.
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