bam Easy level

Thamirabarani River, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India

Sponsored by

India, Tamil Nadu, Tirunelveli

An aquarium with water volume of 360L that mimic a river base. The area of scope is Thamirabarani River, Tamil Nadu, India.

The Thamirabarani River is part of the Western Ghats, one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world. The river is home to many rare and endemic fish species. Dawkinsia tambraparniei also known as “Arulias” barb, Dawkinsia filamentosa known as “Filament” barb, Schistura denisoni and Dawkinsia denisonii known as “Denisoni” barb – all collected from river itself are the major attraction of the scape.

These 3 barb species are selected for the scape from long list of fishes available for their similar behavior. Schistura denisoni is a loach that is selected for their bottom dwelling feature that give the scape a complete look.

Submitted by
Kuntal Dey
8.7086592, 77.3454742
Geographical region
Southern Asia
Drainage Basin
Gulf of Mannar
River catchment
Manimuthar River
Water body type
Water body name
Thamirabarani River
Water body part
Open water
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
27 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

35.8 mg/l
17.9 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen
80 %

Aquarium information

Aquarium description

Set-up date
July, 2022
Aquarium decoration

Roundish/irregular shaped river rocks and river sand collected from local shop are used. Total 250kg river rocks collected from local stores used to make the elevation needed, so that it adds depth of the field. Along with the sands and river rocks, round shaped stones collected from Western Ghats river basin have been used. Use of small amount of Aqua Soil is giving more natural look.

Few bamboo sticks used as driftwood. All the elements used inside tank have been cleaned properly. Bamboo sticks and locally collected pods have been boiled before adding to the tank. A thick sheet of styrofoam has been used as a base layer to distribute the weight evenly. A white opaque vinyl sheet used at the back. White strip LED lights used to create the background more natural.

Aquarium equipment
  • Filtration: 1 Sunsun HW 304A and 1 Sunsun HW 303A cannister filters with flow rate of 2000lph and 1400lph are used. 2L of ADA bio Rio, 1L Seachem Matrix and adequate sponges are used as a backbone of filtration system.
  • Lights: 2 nos 3watt + 1 nos 6watt COB Spot LED lights
  • Heater: EHEIM Thermo Control Heater – 300w in Winter days
Fish care

All the species added to the scape are from same region. All fishes are collected directly from the rivers of Western Ghats. Fishes are well quarantined before adding to main tank.

Fishes are fed with good quality foods.  Weekly feeding routine:

  • Dry food for 5 days Once a day
  • Frozen bloodworms- 1 day Once a day
  • Fasting – 1 day.

No issues observed till date related to fish health.

A 300 watt heater is used during winter days to maintain 27°C. Fish were introduced after 8 weeks of the initial setup after checking ammonia level.


  • Dawkinsia tambraparniei (Cyprinidae)
  • Dawkinsia filamentosa (Cyprinidae)
  • Dawkinsia denisonii (Cyprinidae)
  • Schistura denisoni (Nemacheilidae)
Plant care

No plants are used. Little phosphate has been dosed during initial days of setting up of the aquarium in order to trigger green dust alage growth.

Water care

25% water is changed every 15 days. Fresh water treated with Seachem Prime before adding to the tank. Seachem Prime is used to eliminate Chlorine/Chloramines or if there is any heavy metals present in the water.

RO water is used, initial TDS is almost zero. Reeflowers GH+ and KH+ is dosed to water to reach desired GH and KH. Bacteria added after each water change to compensate the bacteria loss while doing the water change.

Filter and aquarium substrate deep cleaning is done every 5-6 months.


120 cm
60 cm
50 cm
360 L

Substrate in aquarium

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Comment by the expert

Sven Kullander: The setup is for a large home aquarium, cichlid type… The description says 250 kg of rocks were used, but at the size of the aquarium, this seems impossible. The description of the setup is OK, and the amount of fish is just not too high. These are schooling fishes that need manoever room, so it looks crowded. It is also verty dark, which gives a dramatic scene, but could also look gloomy. The photography could hav been improved. I did not see any underwater shots of fishes, but those showing hish below the water surface may be ok. I am not sure what species the loach is, but should not matter. On the whole this is a nice idea, but the documentation os too sparse.

Friedrich Bitter: With the aquarium stocking and set-up, it could really be a stretch of water. The picture would look more natural if the fish had to swim against a visible current.

Sujoy Banerjee: The aspect of a large river tank is not very well established in the biotop aquarium. A long shot would have been very nice to establish that view point. A few plants could certainly have been used along with fine sandy substrate open space. Being a river tank more water flow is expected. Thamirabarani River has a very rich diversity of fishes and as such more balanced biotope could have been created. Adding gar, catfish and Garra, eel to the setup would have enriched the setup. The loach in the tank seems to be Mesonoemacheilus triangularis, rather than Mesonoemacheilus tambaraparniensis (Menon 1987). Also Dawkinsia denisonii (Day 1865) formerly Puntius denisonii (Day 1865) has not been recorded from the Thamirabarani River system, only Kerala & Karnataka.