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The Substrate


  1. Leaf litter in the Aquarium
    by Erik Olson (e-mail) (Wed, 6 Nov 1996)
  2. RE: Leaf litter in the Aquarium
    by Erik Wolla <ew/> (Wed, 6 Nov 1996)
  3. sand vs gravel
    by Doug Brown <debrown/> (Fri, 9 Apr 1999)
  4. Bare bottom tanks?
    by BigJohnW/ (John Wubbolt) (Tue, 23 Jan 2001)

Leaf litter in the Aquarium

by Erik Olson (e-mail)
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996
To: "Francis Brian O'Carroll" <ocarroll/>

On Wed, 6 Nov 1996, Francis Brian O'Carroll wrote:

> Autumn and there are a lot of leaves to be raked ...
> Since I caught a lot of apistos living in leaf litter
> on the banks of streams, I wonder if anyone has experimented
> with leaf litter in the aquarium? I know that boiling leaves
> can be used to make acidic black water, but does anyone have
> any experience using real off-the-tree leaves in aquariums?
> Sounds like a recipe for total biological disaster but I'm
> tempted to try.

We've been using oak leaves in the bottom of one of our tanks for 6
months.  They look nice and do give some fish a place to hide.  Our only
regret is not doing MORE of them, which will be rectified soon!

We boiled them and then submurged them for 24 hours under a strainer so
they would sink (the biggest problem).  Our A. nijsseni & A. cacatuoides
do quite nicely in this tank (at different times!).

    - Erik

Erik D. Olson					         amazingly, at home

RE: Leaf litter in the Aquarium

by Erik Wolla <ew/>
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996
To: "apisto/" <apisto/>

Hi Frank. Hi, everyone. 

Talked to a knowledgeable friend today about leaf litter, as I also have some apistos I want to care more for.
He suggested using oak leaves or other fairly thick leaves, as thin ones would disintegrate and hence more
likely create a mess in the tank.

Just thought I'll pass that along.


PS: I am fairly new to this list, the list is fairly new also?
I was asked to introduce myself when I first subscribed, which I didn't. 't goes:

Got 11 tanks, two big "show" tanks, 3 medium and 6 small.
Cichlids (all from South America), catfish and tetras.
In one tank I keep my apistos, which I believe are eunotus, agassizi and possibly cacatoides.
These were caught in Peru this summer.
So far most of my "fish time" is spent on discus and crenicichla, but I want to know more
about apistos too (and care for them better).

sand vs gravel

by Doug Brown <debrown/>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999
To: apisto/

Here's my testimonial. I switched to almost all sand over the past year as
a result of this list and have been pretty happy with it. It's easy to
clean (just vacuum the top) and the apistos obviously like it. But I too
have mostly power filters and the sand does eventually get in there,
especially with smaller tanks. Also, I noticed my plants weren't doing as
well. I have one tank with that small BB sized gravel that I treated just
like all my other tanks and the plants are growing out the lid in it! So I
have converted half my tanks back to the little gravel (with the larger
black gravel mixed in to get it darker) and we'll see how it goes.

>I was also concerned about this when I read a similar thread a few months
>ago.  I decided to try sand in 4 tanks.  Two and a half months later
>everything is still running great.  I only wish the sand was a shade darker.
>Just my experience.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: John Wubbolt <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Friday, April 09, 1999 9:08 AM
>Subject: Re: sand vs gravel
>> My only concern about using sand is that I tend to use outside power
>> filter on many of my breeding tanks and I've read that very small sand
>> particles will get into the propeller part of the motor and burn them
>> out.   In a tank where I use Hydro Sponge filters this wouldn't be a
>> problem.   Just some food for thought.
>> John

-Doug Brown

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Bare bottom tanks?

by BigJohnW/ (John Wubbolt)
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001
To: apisto/

Hello Eric

I am one of those ppl that primarily use bare bottom tanks for both
rearing and breeding tanks.    I find the ease of cleaning them far out
way the estetic looks of a tank with gravel.  

I have not found many species that prefer tanks with gravel and that
wouldnt spawn if they didnt have gravel in the tank.   Most of the
species that i do use gravel in the tank for breeding purposes are west
africans.    My Trannies really prefer gravel to bare bottom, my Pel.
Taeniatus species seemed to prefer gravel also so did my Anamalochromis
Thomasi.    Other then that i use bare bottom approach to all my south
American species of dwarf cichlids.

I dont think gravel vs non gravel in tanks, makes much difference in
breeding tanks, i just go bare bottom for MY convience.   If you enjoy
using gravel in your tanks, go for it.   There is no correct or
uncorrect way of setting up a tank for breeding purposes.   Biggest keys
are water conditions and proper # of spawning sites, oh and good diet of
live foods to condition fish.

Either way you go, good luck.


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