Central American Cichlids • Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

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Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby Bluetta » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:39 pm

Good afternoon!

I've had a grand idea for a while now, but I have no idea if it's feasible with the space I have available. I was hoping you guys might have some input. Thanks ahead of time for reading through it, and giving any thoughts you have.

In Belize, there's a chain of 24 cenotes (pools formed from underwater rivers) called Cara Blanca. These particular cenotes were very important during the Maya time period, and were used as sacrificial pools, basically. My sister is an archaeology PhD student and has spent several summers at the Cara Blanca pools helping with exploring and mapping the pools and artifacts/fossils found. I'd really like to recreate this biotope, both because I really like CA cichlids and because it makes me feel proud of my sis!

These are freshwater pools, sometimes with limestone walls (indicative of the cave they form from), but sometimes just with normal dirt walls and sloping shores (like a normal lake). If you'd like to see what one looks like, here's a short video I've been looking at for thinking of how to scape the tank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw9Rus9EiO0

There are a ton of fish in these cenotes, including multiple cichlid species. Interestingly, the species have apparently even evolutionarily diverged a bit in each pool because of the isolation of each one! Obviously, I know I'm not going to get exactly those fish. But I'd like to try and represent the species accurately.

Sadly, no one has gone out to these pools with the express purpose of species identification, so it'll be a little bit of bumbling around. The only fish that I've found pictures of specifically in the pools is this one: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/trphoto/16968870850/ I've also been using this chart to consider the species that *could* be in the pools (note - I think those sizes are in cm, not inches!): http://fishbase.org/country/CountryChecklist.php?resultPage=1&what=list&trpp=50&c_code=084&cpresence=present&sortby=alpha&ext_CL=on&ext_pic=on&vhabitat=fresh

The fish in the picture is a Petenia splendida - a snook. I love that fish, but I suspect my tank will not be large enough for it. I'm actually looking at ordering a 135 gallon cube tank (36"x36"x24"). The cube tank would fit in the spot I'm hoping to put it in the house - the wall available there is 42" at max, and I wanted to still have a large volume tank that wasn't TOO tall. I also kind of like the symmetry of a cube in relation to the cenote shape - a lot of times cenotes are just round holes in the ground filled with water.

So... I guess after all of that info dumping:

1. What are your thoughts about cichlid species in cube tanks? It seems like length of distance, not volume of water, is more important for controlling aggressive behavior - I don't have a spot for a 6' long tank - will a 3' long tank be detrimental for cichlids because of that?

2. There's a lot of BIG fish in that list of Belize cichlids. And of course, I recognize some of the species names, but I'm guessing some of them aren't available at all. I wouldn't mind having a BIG fish (I actually love that snook!) but is it true that pretty much any of the smaller species I could put with it would end up in his mouth? There are a lot of various tetras found in that chart - not all of them tiny, haha. So maybe something would work. Obviously - also - I do not want to put a fish in my 135 gallon that needs to be in a 180 gallon tank. So the snook is probably out anyways. Some of the "smaller" cichlid species in the list are (again, I don't know how available these fish would be, necessarily):

Amphilophus robertsoni
Cichlasoma salvini
Cichlasoma urophthalmum
Cryptoheros spilurus
A couple Paraneetroplus species? A little bigger again. But really fancy looking. :D
Various Thorichthys species



So. What do you think? Who could I put in this tank? Is this whole thing a silly idea? *laugh* I could always do a community tank without cichlids in my cube, but then what would be the point of lurking in this forum all the time... :lol:
Bluetta
 
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:47 pm
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby BC in SK » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:08 pm

Bluetta wrote:Amphilophus robertsoni
Cichlasoma salvini
Cichlasoma urophthalmum
Cryptoheros spilurus
A couple Paraneetroplus species? A little bigger again. But really fancy looking. :D
Various Thorichthys species

Most of these are quite common in the hobby.
Either Thorichthys or spilurum would be a better choice for your size of tank.
Based on the current classification, Cryptoheros spilurus is restricted to lake Izabel. So what is called Cryptoheros spilurus from Belize would actually be Cryptoheros chetumalensis.(Though I have my doubts whether the current classification will hold up, over time). Those labeled "chetumalsensis" are also sometimes available in the hobby. There is also the very similar Cryptoheros cutteri though it is pacific slope and not from Belize.
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby Bluetta » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:16 pm

Thanks for the taxonomical update! It seems like fish classification changes are made pretty frequently, which makes it hard when reading through older things about specific species.

I like the Cryptoheros group of fishes, so I'll definitely give them a closer look!
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby AguaManic » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:22 pm

I think the tank may not end up being long enough to do something like that with the uro in there unless you have a really large centerpiece that'll act as a sight breaker. Those smaller, less aggressive species should work without too much of an issue though, just provide plenty of cover for all of them.

With the snooks, as long as the fish doesn't fit their mouths, they should be fine. But if there's even a chance of that, then it's a no go.
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby Bluetta » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:40 pm

Yeah, that's the impression I got about the snooks.

To clarify - I don't want to put *all* of those fish species in one tank... just trying to figure which ones I could do that work in a tank in the shape I'm talking about.

.... you've made me think with the large central object to break their view though... picturing a big ol' stalagmite type rock growth up through the middle of the tank now. Haha.

Luckily, I'm in the very, very early planning stages of this - getting the whole idea together so I can figure out a realistic amount to budget towards it.

Thanks for your input!
Bluetta
 
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:47 pm
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby Jupiter_HM » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:48 pm

What about a pair of snooks?
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Re: Brainstorming for a very specific CA biotope

Postby Bobbitworm13 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:34 pm

Are you talking about the snook that can be caught in fresh, brackish and saltwater and gets 40+ inches? I don't think that would be suitable for your tank plus I'm not sure how you would source one. Look at thorichthys ellioti, a very beautiful fish and pretty peaceful from what I've read
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