Bhavania: named for the Bhavani River, Tamil Nadu state, India.
australis: from the Latin australis, meaning ‘southern’, in reference to this species’ natural distribution.
An obligate dweller of shallow, fast-flowing, highly-oxygenated headwaters and minor tributaries characterised by stretches of riffles and runs broken up by pools or cascades in some cases.
Substrates are normally composed of smaller rocks, sand and gravel with jumbles of boulders, and while riparian vegetation and patches of submerged leaf litter are common features aquatic plants aren’t usually present.
The most favourable habitats contain clear, oxygen-saturated water which, allied with the sun, facilitates the development of a rich biofilm carpeting submerged surfaces.
Base substrate can either be of gravel, sand or a mixture of both to which should be added a layer of water-worn rocks and pebbles of varying sizes.
Aged driftwood can also be used but avoid new pieces since these usually leach tannins that discolour the water and reduce the effectiveness of artificial lighting, an unwanted side-effect since the latter should be strong to promote the growth of algae and associated microorganisms.
Exposed filter sponges will also be grazed, and some enthusiasts maintain an open filter in the tank specifically to provide an additional food source.
Although rarely a feature of the natural habitat aquatic plants can be used with adaptable genera such as Microsorum, Crinum and Anubias spp. likely to fare best.
The latter are particularly useful as their leaves tend to attract algal growth and provide additional cover.
Since it needs stable water conditions and feeds on biofilm this species should never be added to a biologically immature set-up, and while regular partial water changes are essential aufwuchs can be allowed to grow on all surfaces except perhaps the viewing pane.