50 gallon south american project (Orinoco)

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by DrSahl, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Hi all..

    Just wanted to start a thread about my new project, so I will be able to post my progress here.
    Its a 50 gallon south american biptop (focused on Orinoco)

    Tank - 50 gallon
    Stand - juwel
    - plywood under the stand to balance off my old wooden floor

    Akvastabil haley - 1.5 - 2.5 mm


    Echinodorus Palaefolius x2
    Vesicularia Dubyana x1
    Myriophyllum mattogrossense x2
    Lilaeopsis brasiliensis x1-3 "not fully decided how many yet"
    (not sure I will use all, but to be safe)


    I've got a few pieces so far.


    Cleithracara maronii 1 or 2 pairs
    mesonauta festivus - 1 or 2 pairs
    Corydoras Matae "if I am able to get them"- 6
    Rummynose Tetra or if not able to get then Cardinal Tetra - 10 - 12

    I will be using products to get the cycle faster and I've done this 3 times before with success. I am using bactozym. I wont be doing anything yet, becuse I need to aquascape etc and actually get the tank up.. if I am lucky I will be done with most tomorrow but it might take a few weeks if it wont suit my schedule.

    Today I cut all pieces of 3d background and I will apply them shortly (I will post pictures when its all done)

    Here are some pictures of the process so far.


    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  2. Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    Sounds great so far! Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  3. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Another update.

    As you might see on the first post. I had juwel 3d backgrounds. Normaly in my other tanks I've used Back To Nature and I most say, I prefer the latter. Its been a nightmere to get the juwels to the right size and well its not perfect in the tank, but it will do.. you can judge by yourself in the pictures below.

    Feel free to comment on the progress and what you think about it.


    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  4. GenaWell Known MemberMember

    Cool idea.
  5. MikeFishloreAdmin Moderator Member

    Looks great so far! Interested to see how it turns out.
  6. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    As some of you might have noticed. I've had a bit of trouble with the tank. In the first position it was very shaky (due to bad wooden floor planks) I could not make it stable enough.. Thus I found a new position to it and put a plastic mat under the first 4 legs/feet of the stand and its even it up perfectly and its very stable as well (it does not move when I walk near it anymore)

    But lets focus on the good part.. The tank is up and filled with water, plants etc. (no fish yet) here are a few pictures. I am not sure about if I am done aquascaping yet, but I guess this is alright.. What do you think ??

    The whole tank.

    Abit futher away

    Left and Right "not the best pictures but I hope they will do"
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  7. BDpupsWell Known MemberMember

    Looks great!
  8. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Ty hopefully I will be able to do abit more aquascaping if its needed. When I get my fish I will post new pictures as well.
  9. cooperbhValued MemberMember

    Looking good!

    As for your fish choices, I speak from experience when I say I would not have festivums and cardinal tetras sharing a tank. My festivums were ALWAYS on the hunt, and I just know that it would not have been a long, happy life for any fish as small as a cardinal or neon living among them. They relentlessly chased, then killed, then ate a 2" amano shrimp (along with four or so 1.5" ghost shrimp) just to give you an idea of their nature.

    Not sure about the keyholes, but I hear they are supposed to be peaceful around smaller fish. Then again, I heard the same thing about festivums. "Never turn your back on a cichlid," as they say.

    I'd just double up on the rummy nose or go with something like black neons or glowlights for your schooling fish.

    Another FYI: My flags shredded and/or uprooted most of my plants, regardless of whether they actually ate them or not (See my avatar for a pic of them trolling my X-mas moss.)

    Shame, since they're such a striking fish.
  10. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Very good information! I've heard none of the two fish uproot plants, I know for certain that keyholes should be fine. But do I really have any alternative to the flag cichlid.. because I don't see what (if I want it to be true to the Orinoco) what if you feed them a green Granules ? would that not take their hunger for the plants away (if that would be the case)

    I think Rummynoses is what I need to have 10-12 of them should be enough I think. alternative I could swap up the flag cichlids with hatchetfish or the like (also orinoco so its fine) but I really look the look of the flag cichlid (festivum)

    Also ty for commenting on the tank. I think it turned out alright, I just need a few more snorled roots.
  11. cooperbhValued MemberMember

    Tried that, and no. Most of the time they didn't even eat the plants they picked apart or uprooted. They just enjoyed having a go at them. It was like sport to them. The only plant I saw them actually eat was my valisneria nana. They really mowed it down.

    If you go with festivums, I would suggest broader leaf plants. The plants they keyed in on were the val nana, micro sword and mosses. They generally left the jungle val, amazon swords and java ferns alone - although, they may have very well added these to their hit list once all the easier targets had been depleted. I didn't keep the fish long enough to find out. A week of constantly replanting micro sword and pulling large clumps of moss out my filter intake was enough for me.
  12. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Ohh well that really makes me abit worried about the festivum.. I don't want all the uprooting thats why I wanted the friendly, quiet, calm and even good looking keyhole :D but whats the point if the other cichlid reign death upon the plants.

    Do you or others have any suggestion on what could replace the festivum ? 4 keywhole and maybe other types of fish ? I think hatchetfish might be a bad idea, could be more "schooling fish" But I really like cichlids.

    I don't think checkerboard cichlid is a viable option either its very hard to care for right?

    I guess I could have gone the normal way and get a pair of Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, ? they are from Orinoco as well, but I am uncertain if they would fit well in my setup..

    Whats your options on this ? do anyone else have the festivum without any trouble ?
  13. cooperbhValued MemberMember

  14. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    I've seen the curvicepts and actually was thiking about them way before I was even set on making a Orinoco based biotop. I like the German Rams, but I am uncertain about if its a good idea, I've seen both positive and negative accounts on them with keyholes (but I do have a 50 gallon, with hiding places in each side) so it might not be any trouble. The rams are in every petshop here in my country its one of the most popular cichlids.

    But the thing that put me off with the Curviceps is that I don't think I can get it and it might be expensive if I can get it.

    I am pretty ok with leaving the flag cichlid off, but I would be sad if I didnt get a good substitute for it. I don't know if keeping rams instead of flags might make it possible to get more tetras ? I got a list of fish from the Orinoco, but its a pain to look at and I am not an expert.

    Here is a list of alot of the fish from Orinoco
  15. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    I think after all the advice and stories given that I will skip the festivum pair and instead maybe go for a pair of german rams, more tetras or maybe 2 pairs of keyhole..

    I am abit uncertain if I can add more different tetras with only 1 pair of rams and keyholes.

    I also have a scary story to tell.. After I've said up all the stuff I keept hearing a bumping noise from the right corner of the tank (where the filter/heater box is around) I was pretty scared that it was the tank that was faulty or even the stand.. I checked it all and it seems that it was the light fixture/the two plastic covers on top and front of the tank, that made the sound, its was sporadic but quite often before and not its very seldom I hear it (didnt hear it for over an hour) anyone else had this weird thing happen to them in a juwel tank?
  16. tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    Turns out I think mine is actually a Laetacara Dorsigera. Almost identical to a curviceps except they are a bit bulkier, and a bit more peaceful during spawning. So if you were interested in the curviceps and can't find any, see if you can find a dorsigera instead.

    Here is the link to the pictures of him/her

  17. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Ye they look abit like them as far as I can see on "google" pictures. I still think the curviceps will be hard to find. I am uncertain if Dorsignera will fit the "lives in Orinoco" as far as I can see its not from there.. I can go with the rams since they actually live there.. but well.. I will keep it as a possibility because its actually a pretty fish, judging from your pictures.

    I still wonder if I could just go 1 pair of keyholes and german rams, maybe 15 tetras ? or 10 of each ? and a 6 corydoras, but I rather not overstock the tank.. so well.. I have a heard time finding any viable top dwelling fish from Orinoco other than the marbled hachetfish and I am not getting that.
  18. chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    Keyholes are not found in the Orinoco basin, they are from the Maroni River on the border of Suriname and French Guiana. They are one of the more peaceful Cichlids I've ever kept, except when breeding. Then they are Cichlids!

    Microgeophagus ramirezi is found in the Orinoco basin. The Genus Laetacara is found mostly south of the Amazon. None in the Orinoco basin. The Lyretail Checkerboard, Dicrossus filamentosus, is reported from the Orinoco basin, though most are collected in the Rio Negro. Very peaceful little dwarf, does not stay near the bottom like the Rams. They like to spawn on plant leaves will off the substrate.

    Cardinals are not reported from the Orinoco. Instead, their little cousin, Paracheirodon simulans, fills that niche in the Orinoco basin. There have been cases of mistaken ID in the past.

    Orinoco fish are usually shipped out of Colombia, as Venezuela is not a friend of ours right now. I'm not aware of any small top dwelling fish from the region other than a couple of Hatchetfish species. There is a Triportheus species, but they get very large. Cute when young, though.
  19. DrSahlValued MemberMember


    Ohh well when I looked them up it said "the Orinoco delta region in Venezuela" that they are also found there... I guess thats orinoco as well but maybe I am at a wrong, (I never had south american fish before, only Malawi and bettas)

    I guess I might have to mix and just make it biotopish (French Guiana and orinoco) I think the Ram "Microgeophagus ramirezi" would do well in my setup with the keyhole, it would make a fine contrast.. I've heard alot of different information by now :D but I really just want a interesting tank.
  20. DrSahlValued MemberMember

    Just out of curiosity does the Microgeophagus ramirezi dig alot in the substrate ? as far as I've read people tell conflicting stories about it.. They look like they will leave the plants away (this is the reason I am thinking about them instead of festivum) Any exprience ?

    Also my substrate is not sand, does that make a difference ?

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