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#1 SergeantOldSchool

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 24 July 2020 - 06:32 PM

I stumbled across the forum this week while researching biotopes.  I intend to set up an accurate as possible representation of the local waterways here in South-Central Missouri.  I'm still in research phase, as I'm still awaiting delivery of my new aquarium (more about that later).

About me:  I'm not new to keeping native fishes but only recently have I begun actually educating myself on what specifically they are and how to best care for them vs. trial and error.  I've maintained a freshwater aquarium with natives fish since childhood (many moons ago), starting with a tiny 5g on the kitchen counter and moving up and out every few years since then.  Though I usually move to the next logical size that could be afforded, I finally have reached a point where I can finally 'go big or go home'.  Hope to have the 180g acrylic 'uniquarium' delivered in the next few days.  This will be the largest I've ever personally seen in a residence at 72x24x24, and 50g larger than my last glass aquarium that was lost in Katrina (ironically the fish survived, proof of how tough longears are!).  The tank will not just be for my enjoyment, but it will be a centerpiece in our basement office.  Temps stay nice and cool down here all year long, and I'm sure our cats will thoroughly enjoy their new version of 'cat-tv'.  Now I just have to figure out how to make sure they don't claw at the fish behind the acrylic.

My intention is to setup a typical stream bed with slate as the bedrock, and pool filter sand as the loose substrate.  It likely won't ever be a heavily planted tank, but I'm not opposed to attempting.  My primary target fish is the longear sunfish as I've had many over the years and they are as hearty as they are beautiful, fun and easy to feed and care for, and when I start them small I haven't notice too much aggressive behavior in a mixed social tank.  I still need to decide on what I will do for the backdrop.  I'd like to create a 3D from various stones with a few ledges and overhangs for shelters.  Electric lighting will be minimal, as tank location has indirect sunlight from one side but I intend a single source above for shadow effect and at least one utility light for cleaning purposes and not if but when I have to 'go looking for someone who has gone missing'.  I've done enough snorkeling here locally to have developed a good idea of what the rock structure should look like in the Big Piney River, Roubidoux Creek, and a few intermittent streams when they are full.  I've delved into the MDC guidlines to make sure I'm within the law and can identify without a doubt what I can, and can't hold in captivity.  As best as I can tell, I'm golden with just a fishing license and knowing the difference between gamefish and baitfish, as well as how to catch them.  The locations I have scouted thus far have a large overlap of conservation officers and game wardens and I definitely don't want to be on their bad sides!

In the process of setting up this new tank, I'm going to try my hand with various local darters, shiners, chubs, minnows and such.  I've spent a good deal of time just observing them in the wild, where they stay vs. the current (or lack of) and would like to try to give them everything they are accustomed to within those criteria.  I have not focused desire to have them reproduce, but if I've presented the environment for it, so be it.  I do intend to have at least one madtom.  Chances are, I have already identified it, and will need to rescue it from the pool it's trapped in from an intermittent stream bed before the birds or sun finds it first.

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#2 El Todd

El Todd
  • NANFA Member
  • Silver Spring Md

Posted 25 July 2020 - 09:25 AM

You might be interested in the thread by Chasmodes documenting his 75 gallon stream tank - the pictures look nice, but in person when I saw it, it looked even better. Perhaps it will give you some ideas about what materials to use etc.


I'd love to see your progress if you get things going. I have a project somewhat similar in mind; large tank with undercut bank and sunfish, I'm only in the early stages though.

#3 Chasmodes

  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 29 July 2020 - 11:06 AM

Welcome to the forum!  I'll definitely be following this build!  Sounds great!


Thanks Todd!

Kevin Wilson

#4 SergeantOldSchool

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 02 August 2020 - 07:16 PM

Got an update from the manufacturer; tank should be ready to ship out and be delivered by mid-August.  It would seem that Covid has put a strain on the supply of acrylics and plexi-glass / polycarbonates.

I went to the local river today and did some snorkeling at the spot I'll likely source most, if not all of the longears I'll bring home.  I also spent some time checking out the riverbed in the current and up around the eddys.  I went armed with a homemade classifier setup and played in the sand and gravel some with the idea of maybe bringing home enough to use as substrate.  That turns out to not only be easier said than done, but the end product may not be something I want in the acrylic tank.  After culling everything under 1/8" and over 1/4", it seems most of it is shards of chert and snail shells.  Granted, it's weathered from being in the river, but it still looks pretty sharp and jagged.  I may just stick with my earlier decision to just use pool filter sand.  I haven't found any slate yet that I like as a 'bedrock' piece, and may end up just using locally found dolostone.  I already have a few pieces sunbaking that are of decent size with accompanying 'blocks' to use as their supports.  I was surprised to find that I can't see any reaction to vinegar with these pieces, but I'll test again with muriatic acid when I find it in a container smaller than a gallon jug.  I already have to manage hazmat lockers at work, I don't want to do it at home, too.

#5 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted Today, 05:17 PM

Why does it matter if the rock reacts with vinegar?  These are hard-water streams anyway - extra carbonate in the rock wont dissolve until the carbonate in the water is used up.

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

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