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south american river biotope aquarium

Rommer Talens’ South American River Biotope

Rommer Talens has created a South American river biotope with the aim, as with many biotope aquaria, of making it look as natural as humanly possible.

Very few of his plants are positioned below the waterline with the majority being grown above the water, allowed to take nutrients from the water as they please with open access to all the atmospheric co2 they could desire. Rommer has scaped his tank with nature in mind and has included leaf matter and driftwood pieces in his design to give it a ‘straight out of nature’ look. Bunches of Mayaca fluviatilis dotted around the tank add a touch of greenery without making the tank appear ‘scaped’.

south american river biotope aquarium

An impressive 3D background and some large river cobbles ensure nothing about this South American river biotope appears superficial. The vast amount of natural décor scattered around his tank means Rommer’s fish will have plenty of suitable hiding spots and breeding territories, something that can prevent aggression amongst dwarf cichlid species kept in the same tank.

The tank itself is 2 meters long, 80cm deep and 65cm tall. Filtration for this tank is provided through a sump and an additional powerhead has been added to provide additional flow. As far as the water is concerned, rommer uses rainwater to fill his tank and keeps his pH stable at 6.5 using Akadama soil. This also maintains Kh between 0-2°. The substrate is composed of nothing more than fine sand.

south american river biotope aquarium

Three rows of Phillips 840 lights provide the lighting for this tank with the tubes staggered to provide a photoperiod of 12 hours, with two rows on for only 8 hours.


Hydrocotyle leucocephalia
Mayaca fluviatilis (randomly placed, in little groups)
pistia stratiotes (floating)


16x Carnegiella strigata
50x Paracheirodon axelrodi
6x Dicrossus filamentosus
4x Mikrogeophagus ramirezi “wildcaught”
2x Nannacara anomala
7x Eigenmania virescens
1x Gymnorhamphichthys rondoni
4x farlowella acus (Farlowella vittata)
5x Parotocinclus sp. Peru
9xCentromochlus Perugiae
2x Auchenipterichtys coracoideus
2x Amblydorar nauticus

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