For all the time I’ve been studying aquariums and keeping this blog, I’ve often received questions from readers and novice aquarists on the post about how to choose a scenery for an aquarium with biological laws and an aesthetic point of view. If you rummage in the aquarium magazines of the 90s, experts will tell you about the key principles for creating an aquarium composition. Particularly interesting direction avant-garde aquarism.
To continue the theme, let’s consider one of the most popular styles – the equator-style aquarium.
Observing such an aquarium will lift your mood, because the color scheme of an aquarium consists of natural colors, which improves visual perception. In fact, the equator-style aquarium is a pond for a cozy home interior with classic furniture.
The optimal place to install is the living room, bedroom or office, that is, where you can safely sit near the aquarium, watch the life of its inhabitants. But the installation of such an aquarium in the “walk-through” places would be inappropriate, because this style implies a calm and peaceful observation of the aquarium life.
Thanks to the dense thickets of aquatic plants, it seems that you have a “Dutch aquarium” in front of you, but this is not it, because there are some cardinal differences between these two types regarding compliance with strict laws of registration. The requirements for the design of Dutch aquariums are very tough.
The can should be long and of small height: the design uses mostly long-stemmed aquarium plants, which are arranged under the observance of the “red streets”, “third” and other key points.
Lighting in a Dutch aquarium should be powerful, and the number of aquatic inhabitants is small. In addition, the number of fish species should also be limited.
To strictly adhere to the above rules when maintaining such an aquarium, an amateur will need a baggage of knowledge and experience behind them, as well as high qualifications as an aquarist.
In the aquarium-equator you can give free rein to your imagination. When making such an aquarium, hard-leaved plants with a bush form in the form of a rosette are used. In addition, the choice of fish in this case gives the aquarist complete freedom of action.
Even an inexperienced aquarist can organize such an aquarium. When selecting an aquarium, it is better to choose a rectangular shape or a panoramic vessel, in which the aquarium length will be the prevailing parameter.
For this purpose, suitable and angular tanks with a large area of the bottom, which allows the aquarist to create a rather attractive perspective. The volume of the aquarium does not play a key role; however, the more spacious it is, the easier it will be to organize an interesting composition with the help of live aquatic plants, respectively, the richer the scenery for the decoration of the aquarium will be.
Particular attention is recommended to remove the lighting of the aquarium. The duration of daylight hours should be 10 to 12 hours, not more. For this purpose, it is better to use special aquarium lamps, which have a suitable emission spectrum for plant growth.
To organize decent lighting in a 200-liter aquarium, it is enough to install a pair of 30-watt FloraGlo or AquaGlo lamps. Lamps FloraGlo has two spectral peaks – red and blue, which has a positive effect on the process of photosynthesis.
The light from the AquaGlo lamp meets all the needs of hydrophytes and emphasizes the color of aquarium fish: the red neons under such a lamp just glow, the apistograms begin to shimmer with all colors, the cherry barbs and minors look much brighter. If the light is not enough, you can throw a couple of fluorescent lamps with a warm radiation spectrum.
For the rest of the aquarium equipment requirements democratic. The thermostat should keep the water temperature within 24 – 26 degrees.
The filtering should be round-the-clock; for this purpose, an ordinary internal filter will be quite sufficient, the power of which allows pumping through 3-4 volumes of an aquarium per hour.
In equator style aquariums, there is no need to equip it falsely, because bottom filtration will wash out all sludge and undecomposed organic matter from the substrate, which is bad for the well-being of aquarium plants and other aquarium inhabitants. The most necessary equipment for the aquarium (thermostat, filter) should be of a neutral color, preferably green or black.
Install it in places where nothing catches the eye of the observer. If you can mask the filter elements of decor, feel free to do it.
The background for the aquarium should be of film type, which depicts plant landscapes. In general, the type of pattern is determined by the species composition of the aquarium.
For example, if hard-leaved plants are depicted on the film, then it is desirable to populate the aquarium with the same hydrophytes. It is quite possible to use monochrome films, for example, blue, black or blue.
To give your tank a certain amount of charm, you need to follow some tips. Aquarium plants are preferably planted in pots, and not in the substrate.
Even the long shooter planted in pots with a nutrient substrate will look very attractive, because such hydrophytes will form a small amount of aerial roots.
If with pots napryazhenka, you can use small ceramic pots from under indoor plants. I do not recommend using plastic cups and plastic bottles with cut-off necks because harmful substances can be released into the water.
To the substrate in the pot did not turn sour, the walls of the pots need to be perforated.
In addition to the lengthy plants in the equator aquariums, quite often various echinodoruses, anubiasas (nana), cryptocorynes (usteriana, wendt, ponteriolifolia) and egg capsules are used. From dlinnostebelnyh you can plant the most unpretentious species: ambulia, ludvigiyu, hygrophilic multiseed.
If you are an aquarist with experience, then this list can be supplemented with Brazilian peristolistnikom, rotala and kabomboy. Dense thickets of spiral or giant vallysneria look very impressive.
In the foreground, you can have stunted cryptocorynes, dwarf echinodorus species and Javanese moss.
Pots with aquarium plants must be installed between the stones and snags, which are then carefully sprinkled with soil. The fraction of the substrate should be quite large (from 5 to 7 millimeters), and the substrate itself should not have calcic inclusions.
For a 200-liter aquarium will need about 35 kilograms of soil.
It looks quite interesting option design aquarium using two soils, which differ in size fractions and colors. With the help of fine light soil lay out the bottom of the aquarium in order to simulate the sand bar, or shallow.
In order to achieve contrast, dark and coarse soil should be laid around the light bottom areas.
If you want to buy some ceramic castle, a grotto or a cave of an incomprehensible color, then such decor in the aquarium “equator” style will be inappropriate. To add to the attractiveness of a tropical aquarium, you can equip the terraces, which are reinforced with large stones, snags and plastic partitions.
The terraces do not serve to “raise” the ground level, with the help of the terraces they achieve an interesting relief of the bottom of the aquarium. In order not to overdo it, it is enough to equip 2 – 3 terraces with a height of no more than 5 centimeters.
Small Anubias, Thai fern, Javanese and Christmas moss is better to put the fishing line on the yoke. The most ideal tree species for placing in an aquarium are alder and mangra.
The roots of aquarium plants need to be straightened on the surface of the snag and secure them in this position with a cotton thread or fishing line. After a few weeks, the bush of the plant will firmly attach to the bark, and the thread will rot and fall off.
When planting plants need to take into account one important point. Hydrophytes should be fixed in the old aquarium, which formed a stable biological equilibrium.
Alternatively, plants can be placed in the aquarium 3 to 4 months after launch. This is necessary in order for hydrophytes to take root in new habitat conditions, and they spend a large amount of strength and energy on adaptation.
A snag with a plant fixed on it does not need further care, but a Javanese must be cut regularly, cutting up vertical threads. Thanks to this clever way, Javanese moss will grow in a horizontal plane, forming a dense green carpet.
In bright light with the help of a grid, it is also possible to fasten Riccia on a snag.
Snags with plants, large stones and rosette plants are located in the central part of the aquarium, and long-stem plants are traditionally planted in the background. The area allotted for plants can be about 50% of the total area of the bottom of the aquarium.
If you are worried about large open areas, then it is not scary, as the equator-style aquarium is not Dutch.
Peaceful medium-sized cichlids (ramiresi apistogram, pelviqua chromis), and scalars are perfectly suited as inhabitants. It is better not to plant other fish from these families in such an aquarium, because they like to dig the soil, pinch the plants and pull them out of the substrate.
This also applies to large catfish, for example pterigoplihts and panakas, some types of barbs and large representatives of the haracin.
The flocks of haracin (red neon, minor, ornatus, ternation, rhodostomus) and small representatives of cyprinids (wedge-spotted rasbor, cardinal, cherry and bar Denisoni) give dynamism to the resulting landscape. You can also populate such aquarium iris, for example, precoxes and gourams of various species.
In the “equator” style aquarium, you can contain more fish than in the Dutch, but the sense of proportion must always be remembered.
Approximately, a pair of scalar fishes are placed in a 200-liter aquarium, from 10 to 15 small haracin ones, several pairs of apistograms, precoxes and pelivikahromisov. In order for the aquarium not to be overpowered by algae, it is advisable to have fishermen fish: two-colored labo, gyrinoheylus, antsistrusy.
As a rule, algal outbreaks are rare in such aquariums due to the large number of aquatic plants that maintain sustainable biological balance.
It is not difficult to care for such an aquarium: thickets of plants need to be periodically thinned out, long-stalk trimmed when reaching the surface. If the growth of hydrophytes is unsatisfactory, use liquid fertilizers.
I use Plantamin from Tetra, so I recommend it to you. Fertilizers tested, high quality and give the desired result.
If the plants are planted in pots with a nutrient substrate, the need for liquid fertilizers disappears.
In any aquarium in which there is a large number of aquatic plants, it is very important to regularly conduct water changes: 1/5 of the total. When replacing welcome siphon soil. Water should be poured carefully so that the stream does not disperse the plants and the landscape created.
The added water must have the same temperature as in the aquarium. Do not be afraid to dilute the cold water with hot water from the tap, the inhabitants will not suffer, and the plants still better, because in such water a large amount of dissolved mineral salts.
If the hydrochemical parameters of tap water are significantly different from the required, it is better to defend the water, boil or run through a reverse osmosis system. If it is not possible to bring such a volume of water with the necessary parameters into the aquarium, do it gradually every day in small quantities.
In this case, plants and fish will not suffer from a sharp change in the hydrochemical parameters of water.
As you already understood, the design of the aquarium in the style of “equator” and the further care for it is not difficult and does not require special expensive equipment. It is this feature and attractive landscape that made the reservoirs of this type very popular among aquarists around the world.