Unnamed forrest stream, west of the city of Coxim, Brazil

David Nørholm – Denmark

Mato Grosso do Sul state is a large area, covering the same size as Germany. The area is well known for its rich wildlife, and presents a variety of flora and fauna, with forests, natural sand banks, savannahs, open pasture, fields and bushes. Furthermore there is a rich and unique wetland area, the Pantanal, which is the world’s largest flooded grasslands.

I have tried to recreate this beautiful little forrest stream with the information granted from biologist Tai Strietman.
A center piece of my decoration is the plants growing above the water level, trying to imitate the bank of a small forrest stream. The plateau, of which the plants are growing, are made of roots and small rocks, on which there is a layer of peat. This is decorated with small branches to imitate the look of a rooted water surface. Those two plateaus are making ideally hiding spots for the Apistogramma trio.

Two large roots are balancing the look of the aquarium. On the right side the fern is providing shade and cover for the Apistogramma male, which likes to hide in the shadows. The shaded look is providing both cover and protection, and trying to imitate the jungle, crowding down to the bank of the stream.
The substrate is a mix of sand, gravel and small pebbles. Underneath this there is a layer of substrate, which is helping to keep the pH in level.

Threats of ecology of the biotope: Agricultural pollution, deforestation, habitat conversion for cattle ranching and forrest destruction/cutting along the river.

Water parameters:Water type: Fresh water

Water color: Black water

Water temperature: 26 °C

pH: 6.8

GH: 6 mg/l

KH: 5 mg/l

Dimensions of the aquarium:
Length: 80 cm
Depth: 35 cm
High: 35 cm
Volume: 98 Litres

Aquarium equipment:
Aquarium: OW 98 litres Opti White
Filtration: Fluval 207 cannister filter – 780 L/h.
Lightning: two IKEA Nymåne lamps with some special Osram Parathom GU10, 550 lumens 4000 k, LED spots. The spots are trying to imitate the single sun rays penetrating through the water of the forrest stream.
Others: Eheim Skim 350 surface skimmer. Two Sonoff S26 smart plugs

Hardscape: Dead leaves, branches, roots, pebbles, alder cones, peat and a single nut-shell is imitating the messy substrate of a small forrest stream.
The color of the water is colored black to make it look like wellknown Southamerican blackwater.

Fish inhabitants:


11 Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi


3 Apistogramma trifasciata (trio)

Plants:Limnobium laevigatum

Nephrolepis exaltata

Chlorophytum comosum

Pilea depressa

Philodendron scandens