About the Environment
The Southeast Asia River Environment includes the larger rivers of mainland Asia , as well as those in the Malay Archipelago. These waters are fast moving, very high in oxygen, and grow rich in plant fauna. This niche is also a typical habitat for thin, fast moving, streamlined fish. Tan to light brown gravel mixed with white or tan sand is recommended to simulate the natural substrate. Large, round pebbles (which have been made smooth by the flowing water), driftwood, and plants should also be used to recreate this niche.
Indigenous Fish Species
Rare or Unusual Fish Species
Indigenous Plant Species
||Crinum Thaianum (onion plant)
||Eleocharis Vivipara (hair grass)
||Black Ruby Barb
|Medium Hard, 100-150 ppm
Recreating the Environment
A 20-gallon aquarium is recommended to recreate this particular niche (a smaller size could be used, but with fewer fish). Fill the tank with two (2) inches of water. Rinse the substrate (gravel/sand) and add it to the aquarium. Note: You will need to add approximately 1-1.5 lbs of gravel per gallon of water.
Once the substrate has been added, fill the tank half full of water. Next, add plants, driftwood, and pebbles to recreate your Southeast Asia River Environment. In this handout, there is a diagram on how to landscape this niche. Don’t forget to protect the roots of your plants as you anchor them into the substrate. A safe method is to gently ball the roots into your hand and make a loose fist. Using this fist, burrow a pit in the substrate and gently unfold your hand allowing the roots to spread out. Gently cover the roots with enough substrate to hold them down.
Finish filling the tank with water. Place either your hand or a rock in the flow of water to prevent any disturbing of the gravel or newly planted plants. Place the heater in the tank, but do not turn it on at this time. Allow the heater glass to acclimate to the water temperature in the aquarium for one (1) hour before plugging it in. You can camouflage the heater behind the rocks.
Equip the aquarium with a filter system. If using an internal filter, place it in the tank towards the back and hide the filter using rocks. If an outside filter is being used, place it on the outside back of the tank, or under the aquarium. Hide the siphon tube, which draws water from the tank to the filter, with rocks. Put the thermometer in place, add water conditioner to the aquarium, and turn on the filtration system. After testing the pH and water hardness, necessary adjustments can be made by using proper aquarium chemicals to recreate Southeast Asia River Environment Water conditions.
Now place the aquarium top in position and make any adjustments (cut outs in back) to accommodate the heater, filter and cords. Turn on the heater and the light. An 8-10 hour light cycle is recommended (to help prevent algae). Make any final adjustments to the heater in order to stabilize a temperature between 74-76 degrees.
All newly set-up aquariums must go through a filter conditioning process in order to sustain fish life. (Please see our “New Tank Water Conditions” tip sheet for additional information.) It will take the water approximately 4-6 weeks to condition during which time only a small number of fish can be added to the tank. Once the aquarium has been set up and running for a minimum of 24 hours, six (6) 1. 5-inch fish per 10 gallons of water can be safely introduced. For this particular niche type, zebra danios, pearl danios and rosy barbs would be good beginning choices. Over the next several weeks when water quality tests of ammonia and nitrite reach zero, more fish species can be added.
Feeding the Fish
Feeding the fish will vary depending upon the age of the aquarium. During the first 4-8 weeks, the fish should be fed a small, dime sized pinch of food once every other day. As the aquarium ages and conditions, 2-4 months of age, fish can be fed once a day. When the tank is over 4 months old, the fish can be fed several times a day. Remember to use small quantities of food at each feeding. Keep in mind that if food is passing the fish and reaching the bottom too much food has been fed at one time. Make sure only small pinches are added and completely consumed before putting in another small pinch.
Partial water changes are the single most important procedure you perform on your aquarium. Remove 20% of the water every two (2) weeks and replace it with fresh water that has been treated with a water-conditioning chemical.
Clean unsightly algae using an algae pad or a magnetic algae remover when necessary. Keep in mind that some algae left in the tank can be beneficial. It provides a food source for some fish, and also creates oxygen for the aquarium environment.