Creating a biotope aquarium is nothing else than creating an environment resembling the wild one from a specific area of the world. Today we want to show you how to set up an Australian river biotope aquarium which will reflect the lower reaches of Australia’s greatest rivers!

Let’s start with the substrate and conditions in the aquarium

To reach the most natural effect, use fine yellow-brown sand sprinkled with gravel in several places so that the gravel does not cover the sand at any point. You can use any type of substrate underneath – preferably a fine substrate enriched with plant nutrients. This biotope does not require specific lighting. Be aware that too much lighting may cause the super growth of algae so finding the right balance is very important. If you want to partially shadow the water surface from the strong lighting, using any floating plant can be a solution. Our Experts Team selected some easy  species of floating plants that can be used for this purpose. The water temperature should be between 25-28 Celsius degrees and pH 6-7. The water should be also quite clean so the aquarium should be equipped with a sufficient filter.

FloraPlants from genus Vallisneria, Cryptocoryne, Baldellia and Lilaeopsis will be a great choice for this biotope. Regular trimming will surely support the healthy growth of the plants. It’s also worth injecting carbon dioxide in case of creating a true biotope aquarium as the CO2 levels occurring in nature are much higher than those we meet in aquariums. More advantages of injecting CO2 to the planted tank are described HERE.

The largest river system in Australia is the Murray-Darling. The continent is isolated which means that the number of freshwater species is small when compared to plenty of freshwater fish found in water  reservoirs on other continents. For this part of the world, the family of rainbowfish is native and available in trade. They are lively fish so they should have a lot of space to swim. The Australian arowana is also a native species of Australia although it is a threat to smaller fish, but is suitable for some social tanks with larger species, however some individuals do not tolerate any other fish. Possible options include large catfish, carp, cichlids such as Geophagus or Uaru sp.

Most specimens are very territorial and belligerent towards other Arowanas, unless there is enough space in the tank to comfortably accommodate 6-10 individuals.
While selecting the fish into your newly-set-up aquarium, it’s worth considering any species that can join the cleaning crew. For this kind of biotope we suggest otocinclus. Due to its small size it can reach almost every corner of the tank. 

Creating a balanced biotope is definitely not an easy task. Nevertheless  it’s another form of underwater arrangement and together with plenty of small fish and dense plants, it won’t surely bore you. 

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