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Mud and Rivers

> From: Olga Betts <sae at arts_ubc.ca>


> "Roger S. Miller" wrote:
> >Olga Betts wrote:
> >
> >> I did not ask "is it true plants grow better in mud"?. You should re-read
> >> my post. My thoughts had to do with whether or not one should try to be so
> >> "real" in an aquarium. I, personally feel that a small unnatural ecosystem
> >> like an aquarium does not handle well a "natural" substrate...meaning mud.
> >> And I asked for thoughts on that.

> >Unless you count mason jars of stuff dipped out of ponds by a kid, then I
> >don't have much experience with mud-bottomed tanks.  But then, it looks to
> >me like I have as much experience with mud-bottomed tanks as anyone else
> >who has posted in the thread.  I don't think that a mud-bottomed tank
> >would be a beginner's undertaking.  The aquarium wouldn't handle it
> >"well", but with careful balancing, skill and experience I think it could
> >be done.
> Sounds exactly what common sense would tell a person. 
> >There's more than one kind of planted aquarium and if you want to build
> >one that's a microcosm of a muddy-bottomed natural habitat, then you need
> >to use a mud substrate.  If you aren't doing that then a mud bottom is
> >probably going to cause more grief than it's worth.

> Of course not. One can make mud but is it the *same* mud? This is more what
> I had in mind. My obvious question was a philosophical one "Can we really
> carry moonbeams home in a jar?" This was meant to translate: "Can we really
> have a river/pond bottom in an aquarium?" An *implied* question could be:
> "Is is likely enough to succeed to make it worthwhile trying?"

I second George Booth's suggestion to go read _Dynamic Aquaria_ here.
It's been a while, but I do remember the book goes into a certain
degree of detail about how one cannot cut out a square meter (or
fraction thereof) of nature, stick it in a tank and expect it to
thrive just like it used to... the whole aquarium itself is inherently
"unnatural" in order to compensate for its lack of contact with the
rest of the ecosystem.  Then they spend the whole book talking about
how to best simulate the microcosm.

> Thanks Roger. Anyone else have any thoughts like these? Has anyone tried an
> aquarium with a water supply that runs *through* it, to simulate a river?

The closest I've gotten to that was working with the Marine
environments at the Seattle Aquarium.  They pump water in directly
from Puget Sound, filter it, run it through the tanks, and drain it
back to the sound.  Natural bottom (sand, not mud).  But even then, it
still was far from "natural": Because of the limitations of the
display lighting, they could not grow the natural eelgrass used in
some of the tanks (I tried to get them to... I really tried); the
water needed to be filtered when it entered the aquarium, because in
its natural state the Sound can often have low
visibility... therefore, no plankton either; and somehow with this
arrangement we got a lot of external parasites on the fish.

I would think to "really" do this for a river tank, you'd need to be
located near the real thing, so that the water passing though would
have the correct chemical makeup...

  - Erik

Erik D. Olson
erik at thekrib.com