Brackish Riparium

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hydrophyte

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Apr 13, 2009
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I have a concept in mind for a new setup. I want to do mangrove trees and other brackish-adaptable plants as a brackish riparium.

Most of the information that I run into regarding brackish planted tanks describes certain aquarium plants that seem to be able to withstand brackish water, such as Java fern, Anubias, Valisneria and certain others. However, I see scant references to these sorts of plants actually growing in brackish water areas out in nature, so it might be possible that many of them are not such good representations of that sort of habitat. They might instead just be tolerant of very hard and even slightly salty water because they are such hardy plants. On the other hand, there are a few good riparium plants that could be grown above water in a brackish riparium that are actual mangrove/estuary species. I already have several such plants established in riparium planters...

  • black mangrove (Avicennia germinans)
  • white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa)
  • leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium)

I had all three of these going in my 50-gallon tank, but I have since moved them around. Here is a quick shot showing the black mangrove and the leather fern pretty well.



These specimens that I have are all currently growing in (hard) freshwater, and I imagine that for best results I would need to slowly adapt them to brackish water. Here is a list of additional brackish species that I think I might be able to get a hold of to try in riparium planters...

  • red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
  • buttonwood ( Conocarpus erectus)
  • ciliata crypt (Cryptocoryne ciliata)

I'll write again later with some more ideas and information. I don't even have a tank size picked out for this project yet. I might start adapting the plants in a 15-gallon or whatever, and then move up to a 40 breeder or 50-gallon tank.
 

hydrophyte

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I have a good variety of mangroves here ready to go. I just need to get them into another tank and start raising the salinity, and then start looking for some of those interesting brackish fish.
 

hydrophyte

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Does anybody have any suggestions for cool fish in a 30 or 40 breeder brackish setup?
 

user_name

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knight gobies, F8 puffers, Bumblebee Gobies, mollies, guppys, glassfish, celebes rainbows, orange chromides are some species to look into.
 

hydrophyte

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Thanks.

I like the idea of the celebes rainbows, and the orange chromides.
 

hydrophyte

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Here is a fun observation for my little black mangrove trees that I have, still growing in fresh water.

Black mangrove trees do not develop stilt roots the way that red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) do, but they do grow these pneumatophores.



Pneumatophores probably help the mangrove trees to improve oxygen uptake in strongly anoxic substrates. Cypress knees might have a similar function.

It takes a while for the pneumatophores to develop. I only began to see them a few months ago on my plants, but I have been growing them in riparium planters for a couple of years. You can see that the tree has a pretty substantial little trunk about 5/16" thick. At first I thought that they were just wayward roots, but they kept growing and it was clear that they were the pneumatophores.
 

hydrophyte

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Alright I am going to go start to empty out this tank that I'm using for this. I might have some set up pictures here pretty soon.
 

hydrophyte

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Last night I moved some more things around to make room in the 40 breeder. I can start getting the mangroves into there soon. I am not going to add salt right away because I want to spend some time conditioning some livebearers in the first, but I can work on growing up the mangroves some more anyway in the meantime.
 

hydrophyte

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Finally I cleared some space and got the tank set up. This is a 30 breeder.



I have these really great manzanita stumps that I am going to use in here. I have not yet had them in an aquarium and I stuck them in there to start leaching the organics out and get them to sink.

Now I need to go get some aragaonite sand for the bottom of the tank.

This is going to be a simple setup with some nice fish and plants.
 
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