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Aarhud’s 125 gallon Apistogramma Tank (Not a Biotope)

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I wanted to share the process of converting my 125g(475 liter) to a riparium. I was inspired by Prototop’s “Apisto Riparium”. The recent discussions regarding plant filtration finally pushed me over the edge. The tank originally housed f1 Archocentrus multispinosa and a group of sailfin mollies. For me, nothing is as interesting as Apistogramma in large tanks.

I am going to let this tank run its course and tinker with the plants instead of the fish. Over time, my plant list will change depending on what does well and what looks the best. Most of the plants will be grown as floaters. A few will be tested out in the shower caddies. I’m planting Echinodorus cordifolius in a shallow pot in the substrate and I hope it will grow above the water line. A big plant order is on its way, I’ll post more pictures once the plants are in the tank.

Fish:
6 Apistogramma cacatuoides "Peru"
A dozen or so Nannostomus marginatus "Peru"
Several endlers livebearers- These will be moved eventually


Below water- I still need more leaf litter and oak limbs. I had to crop the image due to the contrast created from the light reflecting off of the tank walls and water surface.




The Corner filter -3/4 “ PVC, I can send water anywhere in the tank by changing around the plumbing. I'm working on a spray bar that returns the water to planted shower caddies.



The test caddy- I bought some hydroponic expanded clay to test as a plant substrate/wet-dry media.


Across the top of the tank as it stands now:

 
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aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
These guys are swimming around in Levisamole and have just been shipped across the United States. But they still want to decide who is boss and show off. I can't wait to see how these males turn out with lots of live food and clean water. The glass is a little dirty, but I had no idea they would settle in so quick.







A female:
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
The largest male is claiming the whole tank at this point. With all of the leaf litter and branches, the other males can stay out of sight. The dominate male is a gold. You can see him in the pictures, although he looks better now that the levisamole is out of the water. There is a smaller male that has a blue sheen to him that I really like. I think I am going to pull the blue male to a ten gallon just to make sure his growth is not hindered by the gold male.


The plants arrive tomorrow. I ordered:
Ludwigia repens
Bacopa monnieri
Echinodorus cordifolius (I'm going to let this grow emersed)
H. Difformis
Hydrocotyle Leucocephala
Ceratopteris thalictroides
Hygrophilia corymbosa

Oh, and some hornwort so I can try Darrels blackworm method.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
After watching the fish. I think I have four males and two females. Four of the fish show extended dorsal rays. First order of business is moving a pair to a breeding tank.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
The plants arrived, but the tank does not look that great yet. Picture everything floating :) I put the tops on my tank to increase humidity. I hope the higher humidity encourages the plants to start putting up emersed stems.

One of the females is guarding eggs. I caught the last few minutes of the spawning act. The large gold male fertilized the eggs. I wanted to get the females into a breeding tank before the spawned in the big tank. Oh well!
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Bookmarked that website for future reference. My county does not offer many plants, but there are a few nearby that do. Is there any way to narrow it down further?

Is there anything, in particular, you like to collect locally? I would love to go collect some of the carnivorous plants. I recently read "The Savage Garden" and have finally been successful with a couple of fly traps.
 
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gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Rocky Shoals Spider Lily would be fun to see, in May-June; the most extensive known population is pretty close to you: http://southcarolinaparks.com/landsfordcanal/introduction.aspx Not sure if there's a way to sort the UNC Flora Atlas by county; if you do find a way let me know. Another useful source is Alan Weakley's key to Southeastern & Mid-Atlantic Flora, a free download at:
www.herbarium.unc.edu/FloraArchives/WeakleyFlora_2015-05-29.pdf

It covers ALL vascular plants (around 7,000!) but there's a separate key to aquatic families and genera on pages 22-25. From there, go to the family or genus page to figure out species (once you've learned the descriptive terms; and for some you need flowers). Weakley's Flora has no drawings, and the species distribution maps are just broken out as Coastal, Piedmont, and Mountain zones, not by county. If you can find a copy of Radford, Ahles & Bell (1968) Manual of Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, it has more complete species descriptions, county dot maps, and line drawings, although many species names are out-of-date. Using both of those, I can usually figure out most of the aquatics I find, at least the non-grassy ones.

Local-collected natives I keep include Pitcher plants, Cape Fear spatterdock, Elodea canadaensis & E. nutalli, American frogbit (more heart-shaped and longer stems than Amazon frogbit), Sagittaria weatherbiana, Didiplis, Cardinalflower, Xyris, etc. I've tried flytraps and sundews a few times, but squirrels or rabbits always eat them.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Do you ever watch Expeditions with Patrick McMillan on SC Public Television (or his youtube channel)? We worked together when he lived in the Raleigh area in the 90's, and my pitcher plants came from his collection when he moved to Clemson.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I have not watched any of McMillan's TV show, but I will certainly check him out. I love shows like that. I caught a preview of his Colorado episode. That is cool you guys worked together. Are you a botanist/biologist by trade?

I visit Landsford pretty often. We kayak there during the summer. You don't feel like you are in South Carolina when the lillies are blooming, its an amazing place. We used to hike around there a lot, but I don't think we ever went during warm weather without seeing several water snakes. My wife decided it was not her favorite spot to hike after she almost stepped on one. She never sees them unless I point them out or she is right on top of them! There is a pair of bald eagles that nest there as well.

Appreciate the links and references.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Ludwigia repens and Bacopa monnieri have put up stems above the water line already! I'm going to let them grow a little more before I take pictures. The water sprite has two little stems above water, but they have not unfurled leaves yet.
 

gerald

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Nearly all aquatic plants like to get a few leaves on or above the surface whenever they can; aerial leaves are their "snorkel" to breathe CO2. Except for Ceratophyllum, Najas, Podostemum, and Elodea, I can't think of many that don't either go aerial or have water-repellant floating leaves. And yes, i'm a biologist with an environmental consulting firm. Not sure how much longer my profession will last.
 
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aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I was shocked that bacopa and ludwigia grew so quick. I think the end result will look good once the emersed stems fill out. There may be no need for actual riparium planters if the floaters fill out the above water portion.
I really like the Hygrophilia corymbosa. I hope it does well above water. I think portion I received must have been growing above water. There are no roots at all on the plant.

The tank needs more structure. I pulled all of the males, but one just because I want to see how each one turns out. I need to go collect more oak/magnolia leaves.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Not a lot to update on. I made a bit of a mess trying to catch some of the fish out. The endlers were a PITA because they eat faster than the Pencilfish and Apistogramma. Every mosquito larva that a male endler gobbles down feels like a waste! I moved one pair of A. cacatuoides to a breeding tank. I want to make sure I get fry soon.

I did lose one male Apistogramma. I found him with his mouth wide open and a pink hue to his abdomen. I hope its nothing serious.

Here are some shots of how the plants are growing.

Full Tank Shot



The water sprite throwing up a couple of stems above water



Ludwigia Repens throwing up emersed stem



Bacopa just going crazy:


Across the tank shot:
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I use Dome clamp lights with 23w cfl bulbs. You can buy them in home improvement stores, I think I purchased mine from Home Depot. Here is an example:
https://www.amazon.com/Woods-0169-8-5-Inch-Reflector-150-Watt/dp/B009ONXWC2

And the bulbs:
https://www.amazon.com/Philips-4335...0M6SR1JM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500401386&sr

Here is some PAR data for the lights if you are interested. PlantedTank.net has a lot information covering the use of these bulbs.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...al-power-saver-bulbs-lighting-question-2.html
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
Forgot to add:
The 23W is a test. I may drop down to 13W bulbs if the plants react badly once they grow up and out of the water.
 

aarhud

Active Member
5 Year Member
I have a female half guarding a cave. I tipped it up and looked and confirmed there are fertilized eggs. She leaves the cave often and is not in brood dress.

So what is the scientific reason for fish giving you problems only when you want/need fry haha? I'm sure they will pull it together given time. The weird death of one of the males makes me nervous and I would feel better with some fry growing out.
 
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