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200-liter Riparium Setup for Synodontis Catfish

hydrophyte said:
Thanks Andy, I have really enjoyed viewing your kitchen setup it has evolved so nicely and it looks so natural.

I really like these little Synodontis a lot, although they aren't the best for aquarium photography. They are fast and just give me fleeting glimpses as they dash between rockpiles. They are eating well and growing and I hope that they might become more bold as they get larger.

This setup is mostly ready to go. The emersed plants will fill in a little more. I also intend to add a couple of more Amazon swords underwater to brighten that area up.

Give the Synodontis time, they will settle mine became much more tame over time and could be seen a lot of the time. The secret i found was lots of places for them to hide so that they feel secure. My fav Synodontis was the Angelicus. :thumbup:

Keep the pics coming!
Thanks for you kind commments about my kitchen tank, i am really pleased with the way it has developed.
Thanks again Andy!

I do need to stack up some more rock piles for these fish because the cover that I have for them already is becoming crowded as they grow larger.

Those S. angelicus really are attractive fish. Did you keep yours in a group, or as a lone specimen?

I have some more image files that I am working on right now. I hope to post them soon.
The Cyrtosperma johnstonii is still growing and looking healthy--I wondered if this environment would be suitable for it. Here it is with a new leaf slowly unfurling.


The leaf undersides have this strange reptilian patternation.


The leaf petioles are also growing more spiny as they get larger, but the spines are soft. Here is a view of the petiole up close.

I just started a thread on using those little Pilea sp. stem plants in ripariums over in the Plants sub-forum.


These are some of the best plants for the riparium mid-ground. I have a close-up here of the two that I have going on nano trellis rafts here in this tank.

I have another quick update from tonight. I have moved the stones around some more.


This is not such a good picture--the water was still cloudy from my disturbances. I acquired a couple of swordplants and they are presently in quarantine. They will brighten the underwater area and create some dimension there when I add them to the tank.
Looking good hydrophyte, got the inspiration from your tanks to try some emerged stuff myself. I`m finding your "hang stem plants just below the surface" technique works well for transitioning plants to emergent. Post some picks with the underwater swords - T
Thanks TBRO. I will be interested to see your setup when you get it going. Yes that is a good method for encouraging emergent growth of stem plants. It also works well for crypts.

I will probably introduce more underwater plants tonight and I hope to get a few pictures.

Here again is the Cyrtosperma johnstonii. It has grown one more new leaf.


I just can't stop taking pictures of that plant. It is my current favorite.
Excellent pictures, especially the last one!

Congratulations on "aquascape of the the month" over on aquascaping world :thumbup:
Thanks again Andy. I am still trying to resolve some of my picture-taking problems. I did adjust a few settings in my camera that lessened the glare on the brightly-lit areas. I need to work on white balance & color some more too.

I was very grateful to AquascapingWorld.com and John N. for that feature. I have fond memories of that (now dismantled) setup and it is so nice to have the article there.
I also managed one quick picture of one of the S. lucipinnis the other night.


It will take some effort to get any good photos of these little catfish--they never stop moving.
i know your rocks are faily large but those syno's must be very small at the moment!

loving the shots mate.
Thanks again Nick.

Yes, that particular rock is pretty big (and heavy).

Those S. lucipinnis grow to only about 8cm. They are still juveniles and only a little better than half that size. They have grown some since I purchased them.
The Bacopa stems are finally beginning to cover well as a dense carpet. You can see just a couple of little corners of the foam trellis raft around the edges.


It took some time and training to get it to grow like this. As the stems have grown longer I have snipped them off where they reach past the edge of the raft. This encourages branching and more compact growth.

I am still unsure about which Bacopa this is. It looks like monnieri, but I have some of that too and this one has leaves about 2X bigger. Does anybody have any opinions? The closest that I have seen while looking around is B. madagascariensis.
Thanks LondonDragon. This Bacopa (still don't know which one it is??) is one of the best riparium stem plants that I have found.

I have observed that stems really do best with pretty good root fertilization, so a fertilizer tab or two in the planter cup is helpful. Like regular underwater stems they also benefit with some careful trimming.
On first look it seemed like Glossostigma elatinoides, bet then noticed it was a stem and not a runner, it looks very close to the Bacopa monnieri I have in my tank, but no idea how that grows emerged.
Yes I have some B. monnieri too, but this stuff has larger leaves.
Thanks so much Aaron. I have really enjoyed viewing your setups too.

I don't think that it is B. caroliniana. I have some of that one and this one is different.

Here is a shot of my B. caroliniana.


For one thing, the foliage is slightly hairy. The leaves are also larger and more rounded.

I just sent a PM about riparium questions.
Tonight I spent a few moments admiring the Echinodorus cordifolius 'Tropica Marble Queen' sword.


This is a great riparium plant. Unlike the species E. cordifolius, which can quickly grow to ~Im, this one grows slowly and to only 30cm or so.

I got a close-up of the leaf too. It has this great whitish variegation.