As enthusiasts of the fascinating forest floors of Amazonia, known as igapo- we've spent many years trying to replicate this habitat in our aquariums. It dawned on us some time back that it would be cool to be able to replicate this habitat even more realistically- on a small scale, by creating a "seasonal dynamic", encompassing both "wet" and "dry" seasons.
Igapo are famous for the hardy terrestrial grasses which endure the inundation caused by seasonal rains and river flooding. With the other materials that accumulate on the forest floor, such as leaves, seed pods, and branches, when flooded, this formerly terrestrial locale becomes a rich, productive aquatic habitat- home to numerous fishes and other organisms.
It's a tinted, silty, somewhat turbid world- an underwater habitat unlike anything we've traditionally attempted in aquariums before.
There are two types of flooded forests that we are interested in- the igapo (forests flooded by blackwater rivers) and varzea (forests flooded by whitewater rivers).
After considerable research and a lot of trial and error, we've developed this unique substrate formulation that's perfect for small-scale representation of the varzea habitat in your own home..
Consisting of a variety of soils, sands, clays, sediments, and minerals, it's intended to look and perform much like the soils found in Amazonia. It's a rather rich material, and terrestrial plants grow pretty well in it! Somewhat darker in appearance and less "sandy" than our igapo soil, and having a higher nutrient content as well, this stuff is the closest representation we've developed to date! It's made in small batches, and is intended for all sorts of interesting experiments!
Our concept is pretty straightforward: You start with a small aquarium or bowl, and add some of the Nature Base Varzea to the container, and give it a good wetting. Add your seeds, let 'em sprout and grow to a good size, and when you're ready...bring on the flooding! Add fishes. Enjoy...Remove fishes, drain water.
HOW TO USE NATURE BASE-VARZEA :
This product is NOT intended to replace more "conventional" substrates in a typical aquarium. Rather, this mix is for experimentation in smaller, more easily-controlled systems. Of course, if you appreciate the aesthetics and understand the characteristics of the substrate, you could use it in a more conventional aquarium setup.
Pour Nature Base into your empty aquarium to create a thin layer (approximately 1.5"/3.81cm) of substrate. DO NOT RINSE! Add enough water to create a very wet, almost muddy texture all the way to the bottom. If you are growing terrestrial plants or grasses from seed, add them at this time. After a day or so, carefully spray down the substrate layer with fresh water. After your plants or grasses sprout and begin to grow, you can slowly add water to a depth of about 1/4"/0.635cm, increasing the water level every couple of days until you reach your desired depth.
NOTE: You will likely experience some siltation/turbidity in the water, which may clear over time. The water will definitely have a tint to it, caused by the tannins and other substances in the substrate mix.
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