Currently the tank is still trucking along and looking healthy but like all tanks I'm about to breakdown, I've turned it into a big holding tank to grow out some species I want for another scape!how,s the tank looking? i know the iaplc deadline has ended and that the results will be revealed in 4 months but im curious
The rumours are true! 😅i saw on ur IG that you took down the tank
I'm not sure how I missed this! But this sounds so interesting. I'm really all ears for this experience.Very nice! I’ve swam, snorkelled and dived in several of the cenotes in the Yucatan around Tulum and the Sain Ka’an Reserve , including some cave diving in a couple of them (a bit too scary for me, especially as Crocs occasionally like to take shelter in the caves!) - so I’m interested to see what you come up with here.
We swam in one tiny cenote near the coastal road where the bottom was covered in green plants, and must have been the Stonewort you mention - there must have been a million guppies in that pool that just swarmed around you like a cloud as you swam.
There were several larger cenotes that we were just too scared to go in, as they were several acres in size and completely surrounded by mangroves other than one small access point - they just screamed croc territory!
This was all some 20 years ago though, and that area has become much more built up and commercialised now I believe - by coincidence we’ll be taking the kids there next April, so it we be interesting to see if we can get back to revisit some of those cenotes.
Nicely put together Courtney, and a very interesting read. Great to see this level of research and dedication 👍New Scape, who dis?
I've been so busy with life and macroalgae that I forgot to share updates on the progress of this new scape. Rather than create a new journal, I thought I'd redirect this one since the scape is in the same housing and feels very much connected, although completey different.
After seeing the Wildlife Photographer of the Year photograph of a turtle swimming amongst Nymphaea lotus, I knew I wanted to recreate this habitat, but I was mid-IAPLC grrrrr.
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(Owner and copyright: Henley Spiers)
You can see why it appealed to me! I'd done a couple of months of research about the cenotes in the Yucatán region in Mexico, following this inspiration. I read journals, blog posts, analysed photos and videos and reached out to some experts in the field. I created a moodboard to help me decide which angle to take, as the Aktun Ha has a few different looks depending on where you are.
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Just a "brief" bit of info: The Aktun Ha is commonly called 'Cenote Carwash' because people used to come here to wash taxis! People no longer do that, to the benefit of the local environment I'm sure. The cenotes are essentially old sinkholes that have filled with water to create these unique habitats. If I remember correctly, the bedrock is predominantly limestone based so the water is likely on the hard side (I wasn't able to find parameters). This assumption is also backed up by the fact that it is home to mollies, guppies, Jack Dempsey cichlids and Firemouths just to name a few, which are classically right at home in London tap water!
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(Not my photo)
Up top, the terrestrial land is covered predominantly by red mangroves which has its roots protruding down into the water. They have been there since the beginning and form the frame of this picture.
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(Not my photo)
On the water bed there are vast carpets of Chara or 'stonewort', which although looks like a plant is actually a freshwater macroalgae. It grows rampant in these areas, only really outshone by gangs of pink Nymphaea lotus. So that makes the plant choices very easy! There's a little bit of wood and rock but it's mostly open swimming space.
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(Not my photo)
Down below there are vast cave systems where actual 'rooms' have been created over the years. I need to explore this part more but it's all very intriguing. Had I used my 120cm tank, I would have attempted to layer the scape and create all three environments in one... but that's for another time! 😅
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(Not my photo)
One thing I couldn't understand is why I hadn't seen anyone recreate this habitat before? Upon starting it however, I realised that whilst you can artistically recreate it, it can be hard to authentically recreate it (at least it was for me). Chara is hard to find but not impossible, but shrimp devour it and it doesn't seem to care much for aquarium environments. Limestone is the base but my water is already rock hard. The Yucatán Tetra (Astyanax altior) is numerous in this cenote but is not available in the hobby.
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So here's a few compensations I made. I used pearlweed to represent the chara fields. From a scale perspective it works very well and looks just like as if you were viewing chara from a distance, which is perfect. It's a solid performer and will help keep nutrient levels in check. I used WIO's new Druid stone as my bedrock as it's neutral and similar in colour to some of the photos I saw. I also used their Wetland Artist sand which is supposedly very nutrient rich and will last for a long time. I mixed it with sand to bulk it out and create a more natural colour. I used Talawa wood to represent the mangrove roots as I simply don't have a decade to wait for the real thing! 😅 Lastly, I added some botanical materials (Texas Live Oak and a mix of twigs) from Blackwater UK and Betta Botanicals.
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The plants are just starting to get into gear now as they get closer to the light and have had a chance to build up some nutrient reserves. It'll be really interesting to see how it develops, especially if the lotus behaves or just doesn't play ball. I'll post updates here as they happen! My Maidenhair fern is not having a great time so any similar alternative suggestions are welcome! I'm to recreate the dense foliage of mangrove trees.
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It's also really great to know about the guppies.
This 'biotope inspired' after all so I might get fancy guppies 😬. What do you think?
Thank you Tim!Nicely put together Courtney, and a very interesting read. Great to see this level of research and dedication 👍
That's fair enough, I'll see what I can find!Don’t quote me on the ‘guppies’ comment - I was kinda using it as a generic term and working from a twenty year memory. Probably should have said ‘little livebearers’ - looking at some images they could equally have been the Poecilia Mexicana you mention, though they were small (about 50mm at a guess).
Hmmm, wouldn’t be my personal first choice. Whilst I have some fancy Endlers myself (inherited from my sons tank), they look a little ‘fake’ bless them! I suspect they might detract too much from the biotope ‘feel’ I think you are going for with this tank.
I think a plainer, more natural looking fish will work well, so if it were me, I’d stick with wild types.
Beautiful! 😍 I would have placed it much higher