Northern Australia Rainforest Creek Biotope
Rivers in the Daintree are highly seasonable- smaller creeks may nearly dry up in the dry months, leaving scattered pools until the rains return. Typically the creeks are boulder strewn with river rocks and sand as the substrate. Water current alternates between fast flowing rapid sections and quiet pools.
The Daintree rain forest is situated in the far north of Queensland and hosts some of the most diverse and beautiful aspects of nature. This rainforest provides a home to the largest range of plants and animals on earth. The actual rainforest covers an area of 1200 square kilometers and is full of small creeks.
This are contains 30% of all known frog species along with a large number of reptiles. It is also host to 430 species of birds, 13 of these are endemic to this area. The actual age of the rain forest is believed to be over one hundred and thirty five million years old.
The water in the creeks is alkaline, this is caused by the water passing over the rocky land mass soaking up the minerals and the hardness can be found at 10 - 12 DH.
The temperature of the water varies a lot, in some areas it is measured at 24°C but in other areas it will reach a high of 29°C.
Setting up the tank
Providing the substrate for this biotope is relatively easy, fine sand for the base substrate and river rocks for the landscaping. Open swimming areas must be provided and a filter needs to be added to provide a water current in one area of the tank. Bright lighting should be used with crystal clear water conditions.
Plants for the tank
Vallisneria used as a back ground plant will give a good banking effect, mix in with some Aponogeton for a varied back drop.
Ceratopteris (Indian fern) can either be used as a floating plant or mid ground planting, mix this with some Bolbitis (African Water Fern) but keep the front of the tank unplanted to provide the free swimming area.
Fish for the tank
Rainbow fish make a good species for this biotope but use a lid on the tank as they are very good jumpers.
Freshwater gobies will add even more interest to the tank, going about their daily business in their own strange ways. There are a few species to choose from so research them before purchasing to see which suits your tank the best.
If your biotope is large enough try an Australian Arowana, a beautiful fish that does grow large but will live for years if cared for properly. You will find in some countries that Arowana need to be licensed with a certificate of registration, always check this out with your supplier before you decide to purchase this fish.
The beauty of this biotope is that a low stocking level will give a much more realistic effect, imagine a sparse desert under water and this is the effect you are trying to achieve.
Source of information
Rhett A. Butler/mongabay.com, wikipedia.