According to Bradt 2001, six species of crayfish have been described in Madagascar, all of which are endemic. What makes this occurrence particularly interesting is crayfish are not present in Africa or India -- meaning Malagasy crayfish may have much older origins. Today crayfish are a vital source of protein to many in Madagascar.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Northern Madagascar Biotope Aquarium Setup
Ankarana Dry Forest Stream
Madagascar's fish species are some of the most threatened on the planet. Habitat loss -- especially the conversion of native vegetation to rice paddies -- combined with horrendous erosion resulting from deforestation and the introduction of exotic species (especially Tilapia, Snakeheads, Mosquito fish) have devastated endemic species. Several of Madagascar's unique species are no longer recorded in the wild. The plight of Madagascar's fish species mirrors the degradation of its terrestrial habitats.
One of the most beautiful aquatic habitats I have ever seen was in Ankarana -- a stretch of dry forest in Northern Madagascar. The creek was shaded by a high canopy but richly endowed with gorgeous aquatic plants (shafts of sunglight penetrated the canopy). The substrate was fine sand and the banks of the stream were packed earth. At the time I didn't pay too much attention to the fish or aquatic vegetation as I was focused on the remarkable crowned lemurs and fascinating reptiles found nearby.
Sadly I do not have any pictures of this magnificent habitat -- it was among the rolls of film that got destroyed over the course of a very rough trip.
Use silica (silver) or very fine gravel for the substrate. Lighting can be bright and the tank should be heavily planted. Driftwood can be used as desired. The water should be clear and have a slow to moderate current.
Madagascar also has a number of brackish water species suitable for a brackish biotope tank and in some cases, a freshwater biotope as some of these species are also found in freshwater. Below are some of the species found in brackish habitats.
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