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Aquatic News & Notes selected by the Editors of AMAZONAS Magazine 
Biotope Video: Blackwater Shallows
in the Middle Rio Negro 
A blackwater habitat like this one is characteristic of the middle Rio Negro and home to Cardinal Tetras and many other species in the tropical fish trade.

By Michael Tuccinardi

Following up on my  earlier video of a somewhat unusual, clear-water microhabitat  along the lower Rio Negro, here is a collection of underwater footage filmed a few days' travel upriver, in what would be considered "classic" blackwater habitat. 

The Igarapé at Daracua, which I profiled in detail in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of AMAZONAS , is closer to what most people imagine when they think of the warm, tannin-stained waters of many Amazon tributaries. It immediately offers inspirations for my future biotope aquarium aquascaping plans.

Here, in the shallows of a small area of flooded forest not far from the city of Barcelos, dozens of familiar species of aquarium fish can be found living among the tangle of roots and fallen branches. Perhaps the most recognizable of these-the Cardinal Tetra ( Paracheirodon axelrodi ) takes center stage through much of this video, its unmistakable neon blues and reds contrasting strongly against the tea-colored water.

The Mind-Bending
Nano Aquascape of John Pini  
John Pini's nano aquascape took Best in Show in the nano division of the Aquascaping Live! competition at the 2016 Aquatic Experience - Chicago. Fluval 7.9-gallon (30-L) tank. Image credit: Matt Pedersen.

By Matt Pedersen

Aquascaping jumped out of the special-interest groups and became a mainstream feature of the aquarium hobby when the inaugural Aquascaping Live! competition was launched at the 2014 Aquatic Experience - Chicago. 

John Pini, right, stands with aquascaping mogul Oliver Knott and Pini's winning aquascape. A thumbs up from Knott says it all. Image credit: John Pini

With the third annual Aquascaping Live! in 2016, the competition grew in terms of participants, and the bar was raised with a field of strong offerings. (Well, to be fair, it's probably more appropriate to say the bar was left a mangled and twisted pile of iron, cast aside by the hands of amateur aquascaper John Pini.)

Large white 5-hole pleco condos on display at the Aquatic Experience, 2016.

Zoo-Home Pleco Caves & Condos

These interesting functional pieces from Zoo-Home have perhaps more to offer than simply being pleco condos; the applications for species that require a lot of cover range far beyond. Currently, Pleco Condos come in three configurations; a small 3-hole variant, along with both a small and large 5-hole design. The condos come in two colors; white and brown, although in the photos, brown looks more like gray.

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