I have come up with the idea of a nature aquarium. The idea of this aquarium would be to mimic, as closely as possible, a biotope of my choosing. I am currently in the process of researching the Amazonian waters and their fluctuations.
Have you ever operated an aquarium?
If yes: For how long? Which size?
And have you ever thought about, that every aquarium containing fishes cannot be “natural” or a “biotope” because of too many fish in too little water?
In a natural river like the Amazonas there are so huge amounts of water, that maybe one single little fish of 5cm length has an amount if 1 or 10 or 100 square meters (1000 litres to 100000 litres) of water for himself in average.
So if you want to keep more than one single 5cm fish in a 1000 litre (250 gallon) aquarium, it never can be “natural” or a “biotope”, it will be overcrowded by fish instead, when compared to mother nature. In a typical fish tank of 200 litres (50 gallons) in size the typical “natural” fish concentration is most likely at “zero” fish.
This “fish overcrowding” in aquariums leads to lack of food:
The aquarium itself cannot provide enough food for the fishes living in it.
The fact that every fish aquarium is overcrowded when comparing to a natural river, leads to three conclusions:
- the fishes in an aquarium need feeding
- the water in an aquarium needs filtering
- the water in an aquarium needs water exchange to remove additional nutrients provided by feeding
So this is for the fishes.
Besides of the fact, that a fish aquarium cannot be a natural biotope, and that the fishes in the aquarium therefore needs feeding while the water needs filtering and part of water exchange from time to time, I also prefer “natural looking” aquariums, so what I like is: Growing many plants in an aquarium.
Plants in an aquarium are a bit different. But you can easily have fishes and plants in one aquarium together. Keeping and growing underwater plants in an aquarium requires to meet the conditions for plant growth, especially the main nutrients. The two most essential nutrients for plants are:
Plants take their carbon from carbon dioxide soluted in the water, they then do some assimilation with the help of light (photosynthesis) and the result is plant growth and oxygen.
Of course, plants need more than the two nutrients “light” and “carbon dioxide”, but there are aquarium plant fertilizer products available.
I have never thought about using an Arduino for operating my aquarium.
I’m just operationg my aquarium like that:
- Filtering (24 hours per day, EHEIM filter)
- Lighting (12 hours per day switched by a timer switch)
- Maintenance (part of water exchange, use fertilizer each 6 weeks, clean pump each 3 months)
An aquarium cannot be operated as a natural biotope for years and years. It needs technical assistance with regard to filtering (24h/day), lighting (12h/day) and additional maintenance (fish feeding, part water exchange, plant fertilizing, cleaning filter pump).