Posts filed under ‘South America Biotope Riparium’

potting up ‘St. Ouen’ phrag

Tonight I had a chance to repot the ‘St. Ouen’ for planting in the South America riparium. The plant still had a couple of blooms and one more flower bud. It’s root system was healthy and robust.


I had to cut the roots back quite a bit: they had curled around in the plant’s original pot. As a precaution I dusted with powdered cinnamon after the root pruning. Since the plant went right into the aquarium water after planting I don’t know how much this procedure might have helped, but I felt a need to take some precaution against fungal and bacterial infection.


I potted the plant in a Riparium Supply, Large Hanging Planter. Most of the planter was filled with 4-8mm Hydroton clay pebbles, which settled around the orchid roots as I poured it in. I added a 1/2″ top dressing of calcined clay gravel. This will prevent the clay pebbles from floating away or spilling out and it might also retain some nutrients for use by the phrag. Most of the orchid’s roots are in the large-grain Hydroton, so they are essentially suspended in the aquarium water. I will need to maintain consistent fertilizer dosing.

Here’s a picture of the whole tank.



March 14, 2009 at 5:42 am Leave a comment

rescape continued, again

Here’s a view from today with new gravel on top of pool filter sand and with addition of mid-ground plants. I also planted a few underwater plants, including Ludwigia repens and an Echinodorus.


It looks much better. I don’t plan on any more big changes any time soon. Now just have to wait for it to grow in.

March 3, 2009 at 8:46 am 1 comment

rescape continued

19 January 2009

Note that this is another retroactive post. I find it difficult to post fast enough to keep up with my picture-taking.

I removed all of the existing gravel substrate, then acquired a number of new rocks. After also juggling the plants some more I came up with this layout.


On a whim I purchased a new plant at the supermarket. It might grow in the riparium, or it might just die of shock. The calla lily (Zantedeschia sp.) is about 1 foot tall with bright pink blooms. I don’t know to determine whether this plant might just a be a pink cultivar of some other Zantedeschia species, but it looks just like pictures that I found of Z. rehmannii, the pink calla.


The references that I found described Z. rehmannii as suitable for pond/marginal culture. Callas are native to South Africa and neighboring countries, so this plant is rather out of place in this South American biotope, but its shape and stature fit well with the rest of the composition.

The aquascaping continued with the addition of a layer of pool filter sand.


March 2, 2009 at 1:17 am Leave a comment

Insect Pests and Rescape

16 February 2009

I noticed a problem a couple of days ago—aphids! These insect pests are compromising the health of several plants, so I need to eliminate them. It is not possible to spray for aphids in the tank—insecticide would fall directly into the aquarium water— so I have decided to remove all of the plants for a bug-killing treatment. I put all of the plants into a 10 gallon tank and then filled with water. I also added just a few drops of dish detergent. The soap will decrease water surface tension, thus soaking and drowning the aphids. aphid-treatment-i-s

If I leave the plants thus submerged overnight the aphids should die off. I might have shot a picture of the aphids, but I was more concerned with getting rid of them before they could spread to other plants in the house.

The next picture shows the empty tank: only the fish and underwater plants remain. It was a hassle to have to deal with the aphids, but I had been meaning to redo the aquascape anyway, so this little problem provided a handy excuse to set to work.16-ii-09-tank-i-s1

February 23, 2009 at 5:53 am Leave a comment

South America biotope riparium

(blog posts for this project will begin with a couple of retroactive entries)

3 January 2009


The following list summarizes basic specifications for the display. Product manufactuers are provided in parentheses:

  • 65 gallon tall rectangular aquarium (All Glass Aquarium)
  • 3ft Tek-Light™ T5 light fixture (Sunlight Supply®, Inc)
  • Fluval 205 canister filter (Hagen)
  • 75 Watt submersible heater (Eheim)

With the idea of having an open-topped display and  the visual appeal of a rimless tank I removed the heavy plastic top frame with which the aquarium was manufactured*. The tank is filled with water to roughly 40% of its total depth.

As you can see, the planted aquascape could use quite a bit more work. However, the aquarium ecosystem is cycled and has apparently completed the normal sequence of algae blooms that occur in newly planted tanks. I have also established a fertilization regime for the plants and other routine maintenance procedures. The existing plants and fish appear to be healthy. 

Here is a partial list of plant species/varieties currently in the display:

  • Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’
  • Alternanthera sp.
  • Bacopa sp.
  • Colocasia affinis ‘Fallax’
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Bronze’ (?)
  • Echinodorus sp.
  • Hemigraphis repanda
  • Nymphoides sp.
  • Spathiphyllum sp.
  • Echinodorus sp.

Obviously, a few of these plants will need to go in the interest of creating a semi-authentic biotope. I will also switch out a few fish—note the bright red Puntius barb in the foreground—for species more representative of South American waters.

I will add updates as the aquascape develops

February 11, 2009 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment


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