• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

200-liter Riparium Setup for Synodontis Catfish

i really like the way you placed all the stones at the same angle, it makes it seem like the water is flowing, great job!
Thanks very much.

Here's a shot of most of the little group of Synodontis before they found better places to hide.


I have since built a few little rock piles on the floor of the tank and it is entertaining to watch them zip back and forth to get back under cover.
are the synos fairly active during the day?

by the looks of it they have a sucker mouth, can they actually 'suck' themselves onto objects like other plecs do (BN's for example)
They are pretty active during the day, but they prefer to be under cover, so it's a good idea to have plenty of caves for them to use.

They are not plecs and they are in a different catfish group. The mouth is just downward-facing not really a suckermouth.

They are really cool little fish.
Merry Christmas everybody!

Here's another quick update from last night.


The plants are growing. You can still see the front edges of the Trellis Rafts, but the carpeting plants, Bacopa, Limnophila aromatica and Lipia nodiflora, are growing and will cover them pretty soon.

Here's one of the little "Honduran Red Point" Archocentrus.


These are attractive little fish, but a little too rambunctious for this setup. I will switch them out in favor of something else soon.
Nope these plants are all selections that do well with only moderate humidities, so they are fine with just the regular room air.
I got home from Boston Massachusetts last night. I was gone for four days, but everything in this tank and the rest looks fine.

I am pondering a partial change of stock. Those red point cichlids are definately going to go and I am also going to remove the Poecilia to another tank. I have gotten quite some suggestions for other shoaling species and various cichlids while asking around. I really want to have something that will swim around in the middle and upper areas of the water to add some dimension for that vertical space.
Thanks very much. The plants are all growing well, but those red points and the mollies have got to go. I wwas up late last night reading about Tanganyika fish--there are some really fantastic little cichlids, such as Xenotilapia, Cyprichromis and Paracyprichromis, that I ran into. I already have the little Tanganyika catfish in this tank, but I'm not sold on the idea of cichlids to match.

I don't know, there are just a great deal of fish options out there. It can be overwhelming.
i've got a question devin....when you set this style of tank up, would i be right in thinking that the plants start in emerged state? what's the plan with acclimatisation?
Hi Mark, That's a good question. The degree to which the plant requires a transition period to switch from underwater to above-water growth depends entirely upon which kind of plant it is. There are a couple of instructive examples from this setup.


The left-most plant in this layout is Limnophila aromatica. That one took some time to transition to emersed growth. In order to trigger the change I potted several stems in a riparium planter cup, which I then situated in the tank so that the the rim was just a centimeter or so below the water's surface. In this way the stems were maintained just barely underwater, but new growth was compelled to grow up above the water's surface. I use this same method for most kinds of aquatic plants can transition from immersed (underwater) to emersed (above-water) growth. As I recall the L. aromatica took some time, several weeks, to show very much new growth above the water. It is a slow-growing plant anyway. By the way, the next shot shows the L. aromtica the day that I received it. The immersed-form leaves are distinct (finer, longer and more deeply-colored) from the emersed-form leaves (more succulent, shorter, less richly-hued).


Other plants can change to emersed growth more quickly. In that same picture above there is a second carpeting plant, Bacopa madagascariensis, with light green leaves just to the left of the red-patterned aroid (Cyrtosperma johnstonii. It was somewhat easier to plant that one as riparium foliage. The underwater leaves of many Bacopa are relatively succulent and somewhat resistant to drying. In the case of that plant I just took a number of underwater stems then planted directly directly into a riparium cup and began to train to grow across a foam trellis raft.


I did maintain that group of newly-planted stems in a humid, partially-covered tank for some time while new foliage began to grow, but now it is doing perfectly growing right in the normal room relative humidity.

This is a good questions. I have a couple of other examples that I should go dig up too.
thanks Devin.

I know that aquafleur send out plants in thier emerged form, so for fully submersed set ups the plants need to go through the transition.

would it be possible lets say, to have rotala rotundifolia in it's above water state from the farm, plant in a tank like yours, and it continue growing as it is?

good to see your illustration too.
Hey you bet. I have a few other illustrative pictures too that I should go find.

Absolutely, emersed aquatics can go right into the planter cups right from the nursery. I have imagined that that could be a compelling aspect of these riparium planters for plant growers and sellers, since it might simplify handling of the plants. Sometimes hobbyists complain of receieving emersed-form plants and then having to transition them to grow underwater in their setups, but in the case of plants for ripariums this would actually be the more desirable way to recieve it.

Certain aquatics can be better enjoyed in their emersed forms. The Echinodorus cordifolius sword 'Tropica Marble Queen' has attractive whitish-green variegation as an emersed plant, but I have observed that this leaf coloration is largely lost for underwater plants. Here is one of these plants growing in a riaprium in among some also white-variegated basket grass (Oplismenus).

Here's another quick update.

The plants are filling in somewhat better. I have been pruning the carpeting plants and they have better obscured the rafts and planters.


The Cyrtosperma johnstonii--the plant to the right with the red-patterned leaves--is doing well too and sending up another new leaf. That one is a cool-looking plant and a real botanical oddity.

The Cryptoheros cutteri cichlid is feeling more at home and his colors have deepened.


I like that fish very much. He has a great personality, for a fish.
Here is an update from today.


I hung up a white sheet as a background. I don't much care for the tannish-yellow wall as background. The foliage does not have such good color or contrast against that color. What do you all think of white?

This image is a montage made with a shot at slower shutter speed, which I used to cut and paste the underwater area. This corrected for my camera's tendency to overemphasize glare and shadow.
Here is another shot, looking down in through the top of the tank.


If observed from the front (our couch) this setup emphasizes the underwater area and the fish, but if you walk up to it you get this very good view of the plants. There are some pretty nice specimens in there. Currently my favorite is that Limnophila aromatica over on the far left. It grows slowly as an emersed plant, but it is finally beginning to fill in. It goes really well with the Cyperus umbrella sedge.

Only just read this journal, and its excellent! Never really new much about this style of setup, it look so effective :thumbup:

I am big fan of the Synodontis, i used to only keep lots of catfish in my fish only days. They were always a firm favourite!

I will be keeping an eye on this to see what you do next o_O :geek:

Thanks Andy, I have really enjoyed viewing your kitchen setup it has evolved so nicely and it looks so natural.

I really like these little Synodontis a lot, although they aren't the best for aquarium photography. They are fast and just give me fleeting glimpses as they dash between rockpiles. They are eating well and growing and I hope that they might become more bold as they get larger.

This setup is mostly ready to go. The emersed plants will fill in a little more. I also intend to add a couple of more Amazon swords underwater to brighten that area up.