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Photo of the biotope

Recommended minimum size: 200 litres (which is 52.83 US gallons, 43.99 Imperial gallons)

African River Rapids Biotope

The Congo River, also known as the Zaire River, ranks second globally in terms of water volume. Despite this, it holds the title of the most formidable river due to its immense water currents found in specific sections.

An estimated 1,500,000 cubic feet of water flow through its mouth every second.

It commences its journey with calm water currents, but as it progresses, it widens, and the current intensifies. Along its course, there stretches a 75-mile expanse of rapids, impassable by the river itself, necessitating overland travel to proceed.

The most famous region on the river has to be Livingstone Falls; the rapids extend for 220 miles in this area. Similar rapid conditions do appear on other African rivers but not with such intensity. This biotope is based on the Congo rapids but obviously only to a certain extent.

As with most of the African rivers the water is fairly hard (6-10DH), with a pH of 7.0-7.5.The temperature range is between 77-81°F.

Setting up the tank

The optimal tank size for this biotope is 200 liters (44 gallons). To ensure vigorous water turbulence, the aquarium water must be rich in oxygen, achieved by thorough aeration with an airline. Adequate swimming space is essential, supplemented by the addition of sizable river rocks for aesthetic appeal. The substrate should consist of fine gravel or sand. Establishing water movement is relatively straightforward; positioning the spray bar from an external filter at one end of the tank is effective, as is installing a power head for a similar effect. Some setups utilize two sponge filters drawing in water, which is then channeled through piping to two power heads at the opposite end, generating a robust current.

Plants for the tank

Due to the intense water flow, only resilient plant species can thrive in this environment. Opt for hardy plants that are securely anchored or sheltered from the current. Suitable options for this biotope include the African Water Fern and various Anubias species. An effective method for securing Anubias is to fasten it to a piece of slate using fishing line until its roots establish, after which the slate can be concealed beneath the substrate.

Fish for the tank

Eutropiellus (African glass catfish) will love the strong water current and is a very peaceful species. This species is best kept in groups of six or more, solitary glass catfish do not fair well in the tank.

Syndontis catfish contain several species that can be found with wonderful markings but they do like hiding places in the tank with some floating plants for shade.

Distichodus added for interest, these are sometimes referred to as clown tetra, but don’t let the name fool you, these fish can grow up to 15 inches in length.

Lamprologus are African cichlids, there are many species but most do not grow to a great size but they all have character as do most cichlids.

Source of information

Rhett A. Butler/

Here below is a list of all other biotopes available at Aqua-Fish.Net

If you'd like to ask a question regarding setting up a African River Rapids biotope tank, please use a form below the list to do so.

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