My Take On An Amazonian Floodplain Lake

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Jan 19, 2014
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A newbie to the site and was told that I had to start a journal so here goes...

A bit of background, I kept marines for the best part of 30 years but a few years back my interest waned and rather than watch the system deteriorate I decide to move the it on. Recently the spark reignited and I decided to get back into the hobby but with something a little less demanding and I started to setup a Malawi system. During the course of setting this up two smaller systems also (somehow) appeared; a small all male guppy system and an Askoll 'Large' aquarium with Killis, Tetras and Corys. Amazing as I have never had any interest in freshwater tropicals before.

Anyway, as the Malawi project was nearing completion I was feeling more unsure about it and thinking it was not the way I really wanted to go. A bit of a rethink was required. I considered returning to the marine side of things but wanted something less time consuming. Then it hit me, I really fancied doing an Amazon biotope. Decision made.

The system had two requirements; firstly it must be easy to maintain and secondly it must look natural (no masses of equipment on display etc).

To make water changes easier (these will be performed every three days) there is a reservoir under the main tank where RO and tap water can be mixed to the correct pH, hardness and temp. A pump turns over the water in the reservoir which, by turning a couple of taps, will send new water to the main tank. Water is pumped out of the main tank direct to waste. Turn a tap and the reservoir is refilled from the mains/RO.

The main tank is 59x13x24. Equipment is two Eheim Pro 3 600s, two Visitherm 200W heaters, an Arcadia 32W LED Tropical and 32W LED Daylight. Additional movement/aeration can be provided by a Boyu 1850l/h if required but I don't think this will be necessary (this can also be connected to a UV). Decor is a DIY background, wood, leaf litter and a moss peat substrate.

The reservoir tank is 60l and has a New Jet 1700lph and 50W Rena Smart heater.

The tank has been filled with water and I am just sorting out a couple of minor teething problems. The plan is to put the plants in ( should be delivered in the next couple of weeks depending on availability) let the peat settle again, start cycling and (hopefully) start to stock at the end of February.

So there it is (I will fill you in on the other two tanks in time) and I will get pictures up in the next couple of days so you can see where it is at.
This sounds really awesome and seems like you've got everything figured out. Following :)
dont suppose you happen to have any pictures so far?
(i'll ask before someone else does :))
Thanks Mariah, trouble is I now have something to live up to

Well if I did Tom it would look something like this...

Not quite what you are after I suspect but peat is so darned messy. So, unfortunately, a few boring ones of putting the thing together will have to suffice for now.

By the way, if I may ask, is that nortonmad as in, say, Norton Commando etc?
Looking good. Did you build the background ? Are you a joiner by trade because you look to have done a good job with the cabinet.
not the commando in general but the motorcycle company yes
the pictures are perfect couldnt ask for more as you havent finished setting up :)
so much tidier than my tank
i wish i could wire as well as you
Very organized and looking great! I can't wait to see more :)
Thank you all for your comments and to answer a couple of points

No I am not a joiner, just a DIYer. The alcove the opposite side has a matching floating shelfy type thing...couldn't get the fish side to float ;)

Yes it's a DIY background, polystyrene held together by silicone sealant, shaped with a metal foot file and covered with sand (playsand & Sansibar 3:1 mix) held in place with an epoxy pond paint. Fortunately I had just finished it when I was laid up for three weeks due to a severe reaction to the epoxy (it was a fun Christmas).

Thought that might be the case with Norton, a Triumph man myself (both classic and modern). My friend had a '74 Commando (amongst others: Domi etc) but unfortunately he is no longer with us. He was also an electrician, explains where I learnt my wiring!

Must admit I am one of those people where everything has a place, makes things easier in the long run, drives the wife mad :D

Right, think I am over the teething issues. I'll explain just so as you know what they were. Firstly the level in the corner boxes kept dropping and the filters started sucking in air. Basically the intakes to the corner boxes are covered in a fine stainless steel mesh which was getting clogged with bits of peat. After everything has settled it seems fine but I want to put a fail safe in and come up with someway of dropping the filter intakes a few inches. Secondly, I topped up the tank and the water level dropped a couple of inches. I was panicking thinking I had a leak somewhere (well there are a lot of plumbing joints) but when it happened a second time it suddenly dawned. Where water is pumped to waste also acts as an overflow for the tank to keep a constant level. If the pipe from the pump was full of water and I topped up the tank so that it overflowed a syphon was setup through the pump that dropped the level to the lowest point of the overflow pipe where the syphon was broken by it taking in air. Easily fixed, a hole was drilled in the pipe from the pump at the point it entered the overflow pipe.

So everything has settled and now just waiting for the plants. Spoke to the suppliers today and they will be shipped either Monday or Tuesday. Unfortunately Echinodorus cordifolius Radican may be unavailable so could be replaced by either E. peruensis or E. amazonicus. Looking very brown at the moment so it will be good to get some green in there. Excuse the polyfilter, just want to make sure there is nothing nasty in there.

wish i could afford a domi
im restoring a jubilee at the minute
sorry to sidetrack your journal a bit :p
tanks looking brilliant glad you got over those problems
I'm glad you've fixed those problems, can't wait to see plants in there!
Never a problem sidetracking when it comes to classic bikes (I started it anyway ;)).

The corner boxes and the overflow which were the cause of all the woes ....

Right, that's it until the plants arrive....

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