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Cambodia Blackwater Pool Biotope

George Farmer

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30 Jun 2007
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Cambridgeshire
You can see exactly how I set this up in the Sept '09 issue of PFK.

It's rewarding to step out of one's comfort zone and try to aquascape without plants for a change. The fish love it too.

Biotopes are much easier than most planted set-ups and are relatively inexpensive, so why not consider one yourself...?

I'm learning new aquascaping tricks with each biotope and plan to utilise them in a nice planted set-up once my PFK biotope series has been completed. Happy times!

Thanks to Wildwoods for supplying the fish and to Peter Kirwan for the wood.

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glenn

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19 Jan 2009
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358
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Leicestershire
very nice, i want one! :lol: i wouldent mind trying my hand at a biotope, possibly chiclids(dont know which ones :crazy: ).
is the water naturaly that tinted or has it been edited to look like that?
3790264418_536bd8df15_o.jpg

i love the texture the oak leaves add to the bottom. and all with no plants! :thumbup: great job.
 

George Farmer

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Thanks, Glenn.

The water is stained with Indian almond leaf 'tea bags' in the filter. Also the oak leaves stain the water further.
 

glenn

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19 Jan 2009
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358
Location
Leicestershire
George Farmer said:
Thanks, Glenn.

The water is stained with Indian almond leaf 'tea bags' in the filter. Also the oak leaves stain the water further.
are they the leaves that supposedly stimulate breeding?
 

neelhound

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20 Feb 2009
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169
im converting my 600l into an amazon biotope, and ive been inspired further by this :D
 

George Farmer

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Thanks, guys!

Superman said:
George this is super nice, it's like the Chocolate Gourmai one that was around a while ago.
Like you said, it's good to step aside from the norm and what your good at - that can be said in all walks of life.

How did you find tank maintainence?

I guess the dark water helps prevent algae?
Cheers Clark!

Maintenance is super-easy! 25% water change per week (RO) to keep pollutants down. I only had the lights on for a couple of hours at dinner time, as the tank's in the kitchen, so virtually no algae. I don't think I cleaned the glass once in the layout's life.

I fed the fish a lot - little and very often, which is ideal for most small fish. In a non-planted tank there's less fear about over-feeding causing algae (I have a huge external filter on it too - with the flow restricted).

For me biotopes are all about giving the fish the best conditions possible - water temp/chemistry, flow, decor, food etc.

On the other hand, some hi-tech planted tanks are all about the plants (CO2/liquid carbon, NPK, super flow etc.), with the fish perhaps taking a lower priority, except for their aesthetic purpose. I'm as 'guilty' as the next man there... :shh:

Don't get me wrong. I still love hi-tech planted tanks and look forward very much to setting one up when the series is over. But I do have a new perception on fish and their habitats that I will take into consideration with future layouts.

Wait until you see my UK lake biotope!!
 

neelhound

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20 Feb 2009
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169
if youre wanting sticklebacks for that biotope you can go get them from local streams. sticklebacks look nice.
 

a1Matt

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10 Mar 2008
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Bromley
neelhound said:
if youre wanting sticklebacks for that biotope you can go get them from local streams. sticklebacks look nice.

+1 for the sticklebacks :thumbup: My first tank, aged 10, was a stickleback biotope and I've been hooked ever since ;)

Looking forward to seeing your UK biotope George :D
 

John Starkey

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8 Jul 2007
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worcester
Hi George,
well exacuted but it dosent do anything for me i am afraid,i like a bit of greenery :) ,
regards john.
 

George Farmer

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john starkey said:
Hi George,
well exacuted but i dosent do anything for me i am afraid,i like a bit of greenery :) ,
regards john.
Thanks, John.

I understand what you're saying and I do generally prefer the aesthetics of a well-aquascaped planted tank.
 

Iliveinazoo

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23 Apr 2008
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130
Location
Southampton
Very smart looking biotype :thumbup:

what benefit do the oak leaves bring? I thought that they would just decay and produce ammonia? Could you put them in a tank and forget about them or do you have to replace them every couple of weeks?

I'll look forward to the UK lake biotype and to find out if you need a chiller, I'm sure it'll look nothing like the oil-drum ridden lake that I grew up next to!!
 

neelhound

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20 Feb 2009
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169
Maybe you could go for a hillstream setup or a colder SA setup( you could put a shoal of Corydoras Barbatus in, a larger cory ive always wanted) then you could leave the temp at room temp. But of course the UK one will be amazing!
Also, i created a thread about dried leaves, you can read that, it answers all your questions on it
 

AdAndrews

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22 Feb 2009
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Kidderminster, Worcs
looks crackin, im still coming along with that neolamprogus multifascius biotope, hopefully i will have all the stuff to do that in another few weeks- i wish i was you, getting to create all thouse beautiful tanks and getting payed for it :lol:
 

lljdma06

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28 Sep 2007
Messages
171
Location
Miami, FL
George Farmer said:
Thanks, guys!
For me biotopes are all about giving the fish the best conditions possible - water temp/chemistry, flow, decor, food etc.

On the other hand, some hi-tech planted tanks are all about the plants (CO2/liquid carbon, NPK, super flow etc.), with the fish perhaps taking a lower priority, except for their aesthetic purpose. I'm as 'guilty' as the next man there... :shh:

Don't get me wrong. I still love hi-tech planted tanks and look forward very much to setting one up when the series is over. But I do have a new perception on fish and their habitats that I will take into consideration with future layouts.

Wait until you see my UK lake biotope!!

What?! :woot: This is awesome! This philosophy sounds very similar to someone else's philosophy. I wonder who? ;)

The marriage between the two is what I ultimately go for, for both high-tech and low-tech systems. That is why fish choice is so incredibly important for me and you stress this in your aquascaping guides in this forum. Even in my high-tech Dutch, I will not put a fish into that tank that will not thrive in that environment. All the fish selected prefer clean, clear, water with good circulation (not necessarily rapid flow) and dense vegitation. The moth catfish also likes dense vegitation, clear water, a sand substrate, and some wood, so I've had to adapt the Dutch layout to fufill its needs. I sifted through three volumes of Baensch and dozens of websites before I found the fish that would do well in a high-tech environment, conform to the Dutch rules about fish choice, and be small enough to thrive in a nano aquarium. The size of the tank is also a consideration and many do not see this. They put cardinal tetras in a 4g and it is too small a space for them, or zebra danios that love fast-flowing, oxygen-rich waters, in a densly planted, high CO2 10g and there is not enough swimming space, or shade-loving species in a high-light Iwagumi with no background plants and a light backdrop. Yes, it may seem cool, but the fish are certainly not pleased.

Glad you are embracing this style, George. It is very rewarding. I expect some serious croaking out of that tank. :lol:

The tank looks great. :thumbup: I am excited to see the UK biotope.
 

Kevina

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Joined
1 Oct 2009
Messages
26
Hi George, really nice tank. I have missed out on getting the PFK biotope series of articles, what month did you start doing them?
I am planning on doing a Discus Biotope soon and am probably gonna be using Sand bottom, very sparse plants, (maybe some frogbit, lots of roots and peat filtered water and dimly lit.
Have you got any suggestions? what sand would be right for a true discus biotope, silver or sharp or some other?
What lighting would you advise using, what lighting have you used in this tank?
Where did you get your wood?
What leaves could I use for a true discus biotope, I would be interested in using hanging branches with leaves on like the discus biotope in the december issue of pfk
Also how do you stay away from getting Black Brush Algae in a tank with little light, low flow and no CO2?

Sorry for all the questions but that's the only way to learn.
Kind regards Kev.
 
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