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Southern African Swamp



BIOTOPE AQUARIA -- Southern African Swamp

A biotope aquaria is an aquarium that is set-up to simulate a natural habitat. The fish, plants, water chemistry, and furnishings are similar to those that can be found in a specific natural setting.

Always check compatibility! Some species from a particular habitat are not suitable tankmates. For example, the Peacock Bass will eat small tetras since they are their natural food in the wild.

The biotope aquarium can be adapted by adding species from disparate areas that have similar water requirements.

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Southern African Swamp
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The Okavango Delta is among the largest swamps in Africa. The waters support a variety of species and vigorous plant growth making it an ideal subject for a biotope aquarium.

Boro River, Botswana 1994

Boro River in the Okavango River Delta, Botswana 1994

Cross-section/diagram of Boro River, Botswana
Click to enlarge

Reedy plants line the shores of waterways and shallow pools. Floating grasses and lilies are found where there is little current. Banks along moving waterways drop off quickly, creating cliff-like formations with overhanging roots. Many fish seek refuge under these root overhangs and inside caves.

WATER:
pH 7.2-7.8, 2-8 dH, 70-75 F (21-24 C)

TANK:
The tank should have fine gravel, sand, or clay for a substrate.
Plant grassy vegetation along with rear and corners of the tank. Use dense leafy vegetation in the center of the aquarium and scattered floating plants (if desired).
Use submerged wood to provide hiding places akin to those created by overhanging roots and clay caves in the natural setting.
The lighting should be bright and the water should be clear. Current should be still to moderate depending on whether the aquariast is amining to recreate a still pool or flowing channel.

PLANTS:
African Water Fern, Ammannia, Marsilea, Eleocharis, Anubias, Nymphaea, Water Lettuce

FISH:
Mormyrids, African tetras, barbs, spiny eels, Haplochromines, Tilapia, Hemichromis, Synodontis, Clarias catfish.
In the neighboring floodplain, annual Killifish can be found.

PHOTOS:
Okavango Delta (Botswana)

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Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2013

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