The West African Biotope

The West African Biotope

Choose your aquarium population carefully, to anticipate and avoid future problems.

Definition of a biotope: This is a habitat which constitutes a biological unit, characterised by its fauna and flora.

General points:

Freshwater fish are native to countries close to the equator. This is why the water in your aquarium needs to be heated. However, temperature is not the only criterion to be followed. In theory, you should try to recreate a water environment equivalent to the natural biotope.

Several regions with abundant fish life are found in Africa. The West is characterised by rivers with currents and light of varying intensity. Cichlidae and even a species of Characidae have made the region their home, like in the Amazon basin. It is also home to hardy plant life, which grow in acidic, relatively fresh water.

Certain areas can become arid in extreme heat. Some fish species lay eggs which can withstand these conditions and hatch when the rains return.

1- Climate

The water should be neutral or even slightly acidic, pH 5-6.5, with a carbonate hardness of 1-4. The water should be kept at a temperature of 23-27°C, and should be translucent.

2- Plants

  • Anubias barteri Nana
  • Ceratopteris thalictroides
  • Echinodorus cordifolius
  • Echinodorus bleheri
  • Hygrophila difformis
  • Hygrophila polysperma
  • Limnophila sessiliflora
  • Nymphaea lotus (tiger lotus)
  • Sagittaria subulata
  • Vesicularia dubyana

3- Base substance and decoration:

  • Wood
  • Rock
  • Quartz or coarse sand

4- Cohabitant fish species

  • Aphyosemion/Gardneri
  • Purple cichlid
  • Blotched upside-down catfish
  • Butterflyfish
  • Elephantnose fish
  • Reedfish