If you’re an experienced aquarium keeper looking for a new and exciting challenge, you might want to consider creating a beautiful biotope aquarium. This article can help you take your fishkeeping hobby to the next level.
If you’re an experienced aquarium keeper looking for a new challenge, then creating a biotope aquarium might be right up your alley. This type of community is a great way to learn more about an ecosystem and provide a more natural habitat for your fish. Here are a few details and pointers to help you get started and headed in the right direction.
What Makes Biotope Aquariums so Special?
Exactly what about a biotope aquarium makes it so unique and awesome? For starters, this type of aquarium establishes a pseudo-natural aquatic habitat where diverse species that often encounter and interact with each other in the wild, are actually housed together. These themed aquariums have a geographical and ecological basis, although the scope of a biotope tank can vary. For example, one might be meant to represent a specific stream found within Africa’s western Rift Valleys, while another one might be meant to represent “South America” as a whole.
Biotope aquariums are a lot of fun to design and set up, because they allow you to see what type of environment the fish might live in in the wild. Plus, the species in a biotope aquarium often balance each other out in the wild, meaning that they’ll do well when placed together in captivity.
Kicking Off Your Biotope Aquarium Project
So how do you create a biotope aquarium? First, pick a region. You might decide to focus on anything from a specific river, to a watershed, to a country, to a continent. If you prefer to keep saltwater fish, then you’ll probably be looking for ocean ecosystems, while freshwater fish will shift your focus to rivers, lakes, and streams.
Alternately, you can start with a single central species, and build your tank around that. For example, if you like tiger barbs, then you’ll probably want to focus on Southeast Asia. If you have a thing for lemon cichlids, then Central America is your best bet.
Setting Up Your Biotope Aquarium
Your next step should be to research the environment that you want to recreate. Are you looking for fine sand as your substrate, or rounded river rocks? Is driftwood common, or is the water clear and open? What kind of vegetation is present? You can look at pictures and videos of the environment in question, or do some reading on the ecosystem.
Also make sure that you determine what your water conditions should be. Is this a salt or freshwater environment? How warm is it? Are there any special conditions you should watch out for, like alkalinity or nitrates?
Adding Life To Your Biotope Aquarium
Once you’ve determined what environment works best, figure out what species you’ll fill your tank with. You may already have one or two in mind, but you should round this out with other fish species to create a complete ecosystem. You may want to add crabs, shrimp, shellfish, or other creatures; you can also choose a selection of live plants that may be native to the area. Just be sure that the species you pick won’t eat or fight with each other.
Enjoy Your New Biotope Aquarium!
Finally, have fun with your tank! Don’t be afraid to substitute one species for another if you have really strong preferences. Take time to enjoy the process of creating a balanced, accurate ecosystem. Should require any equipment, supplies, materials, or other items to assist you with your biotope aquarium setup or other fishkeeping project, Big Al’s Online can help — browse our vast online catalog of affordable aquarium equipment, accessories and supplies.