JBL Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014. Finals

Let us present to you the final results of JBL Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014, which was held November 26-29 in St. Petersburg, at ZooSphere 2014 exhibition.
Congratulations to the finalists with a high level of entries! We wish you good luck in the following contests.

The Contest 2013

1st Place

Petra Bašić (Zagreb, Croatia)
Australia & Oceania. Burster Creek, Jardine River wetlands, Cape York, Queensland, Australia
Prize: certificate for 650 Euro

Biotope description: Cape York peninsula is the largest unspoiled wild area in northern Australia and one of the last remaining ones on Earth. It has many swamplands with an extraordinary biodiversity of flora and fauna. The Jardine Complex with Jardine River is the largest wetland on the peninsula. Pseudomugil gertrudae and Iriatherina werneri are found in small creeks, swampy marshes and rainforest streams with a lot of plants, woody debris, leaf litter, and sandy or muddy bottom. Melanotaenia trifasciata occurs almost in every slow-moving water and clear river here. Dense vegetation protects these rainbowfishes from predators like Scleropages jardinii. This aquarium presents such place, small refuge for rainbowfish in wetlands around river Jardine.

Fish list: Iriatherina werneri, Melanotaenia trifasciata, Pseudomugil gertrudae

Plants list: Blyxa aubertii, Hygrophila corymbosa angustifolia, Limnophila aromatica, Nymphaea stellata, Riccardia chamedryfolia, Salvinia natans, Vallisneria nana

Petra's comment about the contest: This was my second time I participated in the JBL Biotope Aquarium Design Contest, as last year, I was overwhelmed by the good organization and positive energy bursting out of all the dear people who helped in the organization. As for the contest itself, there was a good choice of hardscape and plants, and JBL provided us all the tools necessary to arrange the aquaria. Research for this year's Australian biotope once more had left me thinking about the danger of habitat lost, and made me even more eager to do the research as good as I could to recreate exact piece of nature. My fellow contestants were also very prepared and their work was remarkable, so I feel very proud to participate in this event this year. Hopefully it will not be the last time I will have a chance to see you in person again.

2nd Place + Audience Award

Svetlana Kirillova (Saint Pertersburg, Russia)
Africa. Slow flowing forest duct of the Nun River basin, in the north of Bayelsa State, Nigeria
Prize: certificate for 550 Euro + 150 Euro (Audience Award)

Biotope description: Nun River is the longest (160 km) continuation of the Niger River. The Nun River begins near the village of Aboh, where the Niger River splits in two, forming Nun and Forcados, flows through the rain forests, swamps and mangroves, and empties into the Gulf of Guinea. Flooding from monsoon rains lasts from June to September, then the water level drops, and in February, with the arrival of the flood waters from the Niger River, rises again. Forest rivers and streams of the Nun River basin are home to many species of fish and other aquatic organisms. Although oil production causes serious damage to the local nature, yet in clean rivers significant biodiversity can be found. Mainly semi-aquatic plants grow in places where sun can reach the earth surface through the trees.

Fish list: Gnathonemus petersii, Hymenochirus boettgeri, Pantodon buchholzi, Pelvicachromis pulcher, Chromaphyosemion bitaeniatum

Plants list: Anubias barteri angustifolia afzelii, Bolbitis heudelotii, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Crinum calamistratum

Svetlana's comment about the contest: Biotope Aquarium Design Contest is my favorite. Preparing for this competition and participating in it is like assemblying a jigsaw puzzle: first, information about the chosen waterbody should be gathered bit by bit, and here everything is important: geographical location, climate, soil, water parameters, marginal and aquatic plants, species of fish and other animals living in the waterbody. Then, soils and decorations close to natural should be found, species of fish and plants chosen and of all this the final version of the puzzle should be assembled: a biotope aquarium, that should be not only "accurate" and beautiful, but also viable, decorated to meet the needs of all its inhabitants. It is an incredibly exciting and challenging task, and when observing the natural behavior of fishes in an aquarium, I understand that all the efforts were not for nothing. The contest was organized at a very high level, I would like to thank the organizers and sponsors for the opportunity to take part in this wonderful event. It was a pleasure to meet with the participants, enthusiasts and professionals in aquaristic. And a special thank for the generous gift to the House of Creativity of Youth, the children are just happy with these beautiful aquaria!

3rd Place 

Víctor Manuel Ortiz Cruz (San Lorenzo Cacaotepec, Mexico)
North America. Subbasin of Valle Nacional River, Oaxaca, Mexico
Prize: certificate for 450 Euro

Biotope description: Valle Nacional River feeds the Papaloapan River (the second largest in Mexico). The shown biotope is a bank stream on Atlantic slope. On its bottom there are grayish and slightly reddish oval rocks and sand sometimes covered with organic matter and leaves from trees and plants growing on banks. Submerged roots and branches provide food and shelter for the fry of Thorichthys ellioti, which often cohabit with Cichlasoma salvini and Poecilia sphenops. Near the banks there are more wood and leaves on the bottom, while rocks are predominant near the middle with no organic matter in the current. There is almost no aquatic plants here, only small patches of Eleocharis sp., Fontinalis and Fissidens mosses and riverine grass in some parts of the river.

Fish list: Cichlasoma salvini, Thorichthys ellioti

Plants list: Eleocharis parvula, Fissidens fontanus, Fontinalis sp. "Willow"

Víctor's comment about the contest: The contest is an excellent opportunity to show the beauty of natural waterbodies to the world, but also it allows us to point out the problems we may face, as in the case of most rivers and streams in Mexico, where there is a great biodiversity, but often it is threatened. That's why the contest is a platform to promote environmental awareness among the aquarists. Personally I am very grateful to UNITEX, JBL and other sponsors that support and promote such events so that more people can participate. Thank you very much for the opportunity. I hope to participate next year. Greetings from Mexico.

4th Place

Vyacheslav Veriga (Vladivostok, Russia)
Eurasia. Tamnang River, Si Phang Nga national park, Province Phang Nga, Southern Thailand
Prize: certificate for 350 Euro

Biotope description: Tamnang River starts on the western slopes of the mountain range, flows through ancient rainforests and empties into the Andaman Sea. Typical decorations here are partly smooth stones, lots of live roots and driftwood. There are no aquatic plants here, except for the fern Microsorum pteropus, which often grows above the water because of the high humidity. Along with shallow rifts there are deep parts in the river where big barbel Neolissochilus lives. The river is home to smaller fishes: various carps, e.g., Puntius lateristriga, Puntius aurotaeniatus, and representatives of Devario species. They are good swimmers and do not avoid areas with a rapid current. Such place is shown in the aquarium.

Fish list: Devario cf. aequipinnatus, Puntius lateristriga

Plants list: Microsorum pteropus

Vyacheslav's comment about the contest: I participated in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest for the third time. I can say that I was always interested in natural habitats of aquatic animals and plants. Events such as this, in my opinion, are very important for making people responsible for natural freshwater biotopes, which, unfortunately, are currently experiencing extremely strong anthropogenic pressure, and many have already disappeared or are threatened with total destruction. It is difficult to prepare for this contest, but it is also very interesting. First of all, I always try to find an opportunity to see the places that I plan to recreate in an aquarium. In addition, communication with hobbyists, travelers and scientists can be very helpful, I always learn something new about the habitats of freshwater fish and plants. It is strange enough, but very little useful literature and information available on the web can be found. Now Biotope Contest has become very serious indeed, there are professionals in this field involved both as participants and as members of the jury. Many thanks to the organizers of the contest, and I hope that despite some economic difficulties, the contest will develop and will continue to fulfill its basic purpose: to attract public attention to the problems of conservation of freshwater biotopes on the planet.

5th Place

Ivan Frank (Zagreb, Croatia)
South America. Llullapichis River, province Huanuco, Peru
Prize: certificate for 250 Euro

Biotope description: Llullapichis (Yuyapichis) River is a 52 km long white water river starting in Cerro Sirra and ending in Pachitea River in Huanuco, Peru close to the western slopes of the Andes. Because of blackwater creeks, rifts and palm swamps its water is almost always murky. Its current vary from very fast to slow. River bottom consists of sand, rounded stones, roots, branches and leaf litter with different plants. Corydoras like sand the most and such is shown in the aquarium. Other species living here are Ancistrus sp., Carnegiella marthae, different Nannostomus, Otocinclus and Apistogramma sp., etc. On southern bank of the river there is a famous research station Panguana. Like almost all rivers of Ucayali system this one is in danger of pollution because of gold extraction and logging.

Fish list: Corydoras panda, Prionobrama filigera, Rineloricaria sp.

Plants list: Echinodorus quadricostatus "magdalenensis", Echinodorus parviflorus Tropica, Limnobium laevigatum, Myriophyllum mattogrossense, Pistia stratiotes

Ivan's comment about the contest: Since I'm in this hobby I have always looked for natural look of my aquaria. When setting up my tank for Apistogramma I got introduced in setting up a biotope. Gathering information in the web, I found few books available and mostly contacted people who research and collect fishes. It is hard work, but very satisfying in the end. Making real a picture of natural environment in a tank and watching fish acting like in a real stream, river is just fascinating, and best reward you can get. BADC is getting bigger every year and its demands are higher. The jury of only finest and world known people in the hobby couldn't make any mistake. Getting invitation to the finals was a big surprise for me. It was great experience where I have learned a lot from other participants, and of course from judges. Organization was on top level and I would like to thank all the people involved in this competition in any way.


General sponsor
of the contest: 
Ahead through
Organizer of the contest: 
Exclusive distributor of JBL GmbH & CO.KG in Russia
Unitex Company Group
Sponsor of the contest:
Aquatlantis - high quality aquariums
from Portugal 
Sponsor of the contest:
Natural decor
for aquaria and terraria
Sponsor of the contest
Make your aquarium a success
Sponsor of the contest
Aquarium hypermarket