Tropical Aquariums

The community aquarium

Here fish and plants not native to the same region are found side by side, creating an environment that does not exist in nature. The results may be charming and ingenious, but this type of aquarium is often disparaged by purists. A community aquarium is often a popular choice with beginners creating - or "mounting", in aquarists' jargon - their first tank, although this is not a general rule.

The specialist aquarium

In this case, the hobbyist concentrates on a particular species, type, family, or group of fish with common characteristics. The choice of this kind of aquarium can be

dictated by several factors: interest in • Garden pond. reproduction, the attainment of varieties not found in nature (sometimes for competition), or quite simply a fascination which is difficult to explain. As in the previous section, the fish and plants do not have to come from the same region, and the latter are sometimes merely secondary elements.

The Dutch aquarium

In this type of aquarium fish serve as a foil to the plants, which play the leading role, although the former do also contribute to the equilibrium of the setting, which is not easy to maintain. The plants and fish can come from different geographical areas. The results can be ravishing, sometimes amounting to a veritable aquatic garden, with the aquarist becoming a horticulturist in order to maintain it.

As its name suggests, this type of aquarium is highly prized in the Netherlands, and in Germany too, although it is little (too little?) seen in the rest of the world.

Regional aquariums

Here the trick is to reconstruct as faithfully as possible a natural biotope in which everything harmonizes: the water, the soil, the rocks, the plants, and the fish. The density of living beings is higher than that of a natural setting, however. Mounting an aquarium of this type requires a certain knowledge of the geographical area concerned, to ensure the compatibility of the various elements.

•CentralAmerican aquariums There are two possible options. The first is the recreation of a habitat suitable for live-bearers from the Poeciliid family: hard water with a temperature of 26°C or more, and plants playing an important role. The second is the assembly of a tank for Cich-lids: rocky decor, a few hardy plants, with the water fairly soft, well-filtered, and oxygenated.

• South American aquariums Mainly devoted to the Amazon, these can be divided into two main categories. The tanks with limpid colorless water, neutral or slightly acid, are inhabited by small Characins that are somewhat difficult for

The elements of a SouthAmerican tank. •

The elements of a SouthAmerican tank. •

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