India is a well populated country but there are still many areas that have maintained their original habitat. The river areas are included in this and the same habitat extends into the neighboring country of Burma. The most well known river has to be the Ganges, but there are also other large rivers running through India like the Krishna, Brahmaputra, and the river Chittar. There are variations in the different habitats from the mangroves of Sunderbans to small streams that run through the Himalayan foothills.
There are many native species of fish in this area with a few being endemic. With India being such a heavily populated country there are areas of the river ways that are now starting to face problems with pollution but this is being recognized by the Indian Government who are trying to install plans to clean up the main rivers to prevent diseases being spread amongst the population as well as creating a much cleaner habitat for the hundreds of species of fish that inhabit the waters.
Setting up the tank
The suggested tank size for this project should be at least 100L but as with any aquarium try to use the largest that you can afford. The water parameters that you are aiming for are as follows:-
When adding your substrate use fine gravel or sand on top of a planting medium as this biotope needs to be heavily planted to get the full effect. Slope the substrate so that it is deepest at the rear of the tank, not only will this help to keep the waste at the front of the tank, but it will also give the impression of a river bank at the rear of the tank. Rocks and driftwood should be added for hiding places and shelter, also they will provide some shady areas for the fish trying to have a rest from the lighting. Add these in a random fashion to make it look more natural rather than a set out design. As this will be heavily planted, bright lighting will need to be used and possibly the addition of a CO2 system should also prove to be beneficial.
Plants for the biotope
The plants suggested for this biotope are high lighting plants so the best lighting you can afford is a must. For the background a mixture of Rotala and Aponogeten are ideal .These can grow up to 18 inches so keep them to the rear of the tank, at the most plant them mid tank. Mid ground I would suggest Ceratopteris, this is also known as Indian fern and in some tanks is used as a floating plant but in this case we do not want to block out any of the light.
Foreground I would suggest a mixture of Eleocharis and Blyxa Japonica. Eleocharis is also known as hair grass and if given the right conditions will propagate itself to give a nice covering over the substrate. The Blyxa should be planted foreground in random clumps to give a bit of contrast. Iron supplements are advised with these plants, this can be given easily with the suitable liquid feeds.
There are quite a lot of species of fish to choose from for this biotope. Danios, rosy barbs, glass catfish, gouramis, spiny eels. Climbing perches, loaches, Bala and silver sharks can also be added. Plus there are many more that can be used. If adding gouramis try to avoid adding two males into the tank, they will become territorial and fight with each other.
If adding climbing perches then a tight fitting lid is a must, these fish can survive out of water and can escape from your tank. In their natural habitat it has even been known for them to climb small trees and shrubs.
Additional source of information