Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015. Qualifying stage. Results

We are glad to present to you the results of the quality test of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015!

October 1 we will choose five participants, who goes to the final round of the contest to St. Petersburg on November 19 to 21, 2015.

Anyone can create account on our website and leave comment down the page.

Good luck to participants of the final round!

Prize pool: 3,000 euro 

General sponsor of the contest: Manufacturer of products for aquaria and terraria JBL GmbH & Co. KG

Sponsor of the contest: Natural decorations for aquaria and terraria UDeco

Sponsor of the contest: Aquaria of the highest quality from Portugal Aquatlantis

Sponsor of the contestAquarium hypermarket AquaInterio

Sponsor of the contestAll about aquarium plants BestAquatics

North America

1. Rio San Lucas, sub-basin of the Atoyac River in San Lorenzo Cacaotepec, Oaxaca, México

Víctor Manuel Ortiz Cruz (Oaxaca, México)
Aquarium Volume: 200 l
Animals: Poecilia sphenops, Poeciliopsis fasciata, P. gracilis, Heterandria bimaculata, Astyanas fasciatus, Physa sp.
Plants: Nasturtium officinale, Eleocharis acicularis, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Heteranthera reniformis, Bacopa caroliniana, B. monnieri, Fissidens sp., Baccharis salicifolia
Biotope description: The biotope aquarium is inspired and performed with some elements of the sub-basin "Rio San Lucas" belonging to the basin Atoyac River state of Oaxaca. It is located in the northern part of the municipality of San Lorenzo Cacaotepec. It is characterized by predominantly gallery vegetation willow (Salix sp.) and on the edge a lot of grasses Poaceae, patches of Bacopa monnieri in conjunction with B. caroliniana (clearly distinguishable in flowering season ), also in areas where there are small water seals can find lots of plants Ludwigia peploides, Heteranthera reniformis, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Nasturtium officinale in low proportion (exotic plant) and Eleocharis acicularis. Another of the plants that grow abundantly on the banks of the river are shrub known as locally as "chamizo" (Baccharis salicifolia), mosses are not so frequent although there is little gender presence Fissidens. As corresponds to the bottom of the river sand it is yellowing and metamorphic rocks that may have gray, blue, white or mixed colors. As for wildlife are the following fish: Poecilia sphenops, Heterandria bimaculata, Poeciliopsis gracilis, P. fasciata and Astyanax fasciatus as native species. It is possible to find Oreochromis spp. as invasive species. In terms of aquatic reptiles turtle is Kinosternon integrum; amphibian: spotted frog (Lithobates spectabilis). The purpose of the biotope aquarium is to show the people of Oaxaca and Mexico primarily our native species are "nice" and it is important to care for them, because they are usually neglected when they named "charales" at all, when they are not, the other purpose is to spread to the world the beauty of our waterways.



2. Mixteco River, Camotlan, Huajuapan de Leon Oaxaca, Mexico

Bernardo Salas Perez (Huajuapan de Leon, México)
Aquarium Volume: 220 l
Animals: Astyanax mexicanus, Notropis boucardi, Notropis moralesi
Biotope description: This aquarium was inspired by the cristal clear waters of the Mixteco River in the area of the town of Camotlan part of the City of Huajuapan de Leon, Oaxaca in Mexico. After the season of the heavy rains of August, by September the river is shaped with pebble bottom brownish colour of substrate, decorated by lots of driftwood that has been throwed in by the powerful currents created by heavy rains of past months, this is the home for several of Astyanax mexicanus and two species of Notropis (moralesi and boucardi). These fishes feed on the aquatic moss that grows in some sections of the underwater roots of great cypress trees that grow around the river, mostly Fissidens sp. and other type of algae.



3. They lived in Rio Teuchitlan. River Teuchitlan, Jalisco, western Mexico

Tatiana Timirbulatova (Samara, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 180 l
Animals: Ameca splendens, Xiphophorus helleri, Pomacea flagellata flagellata (другая Pomacea sp.)
Plants: Ceratophyllum demersum, Potamogeton sp., Eichhornia sp.
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up in order to draw public attention to the problem of endangered species of aquatic organisms and ecology of water bodies. By taking more and more natural areas, people pollute the environment, thereby displacing the representatives of fish fauna, leading them to extinction. One of examples is Ameca splendens, that previously inhabited the waters of the river Teuchitlan, Jalisco, in western Mexico. People settled near the river polluted its water, washed clothes in it, poured dirty water in it, grazed the cattle on its banks. And now Ameca splendens does not live in the Teuchitlan river. Skiffia francesae also desappeared from this river. One more representative of Goodeidae is endangered: Zoogoneticus tequila, who lived in the same river. I will describe in detail the habitat of Ameca splendens (Cyprinodontiformes, Goodeidae). It lives in the upper reaches of the river Teuchitlan, a tributary of the Ameca River. This place is on the east edge of Teuchitlan at an altitude of 1311 m (4300 ft, 20°38'N, 103°45'W). The river Teuchitlan previously had clean warm shallow waters with weak flow. There were silt, sand, gravel, rocks and boulders on the bottom. Along the banks of the river there are trees, but there is not much driftwood in the river. In it there is a lot of rounded stones, covered with thread algae and diatoms (mostly Ulotrichales, Zygnematales and Oedogoniales), which serve as food for Ameca splendens and other inhabitants. Besides plants Ameca splendens feeds on insects and invertebrates that fall into the water. The plants that grow close to the shore in areas with slower currents are Ceratophyllum demersum, broad-leaved Potamogeton, Eichhornia, and Fissidens fontanus, Pistia stratiotes are found, on the land near the water Acmella repens can be found, common in Mexico. In addition to these aquatic organisms, Robert Rush Miller mentioned in the river Teuchitlan also Xiphophorus maculatus and Xiphophorus helleri, and the snail Pomacea flagellata flagellata is also found there. Now Ameca splendens is bred by hobbyists, and this species was recently found in the Valley of Sayula, and the problem of modern people is to avoid the same fate like the one of the river Teuchitlan.



4. Rio Pedernales. A north-eastern afluent to Lago Izabal. Guatemala

Adrian Calin (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Aquarium Volume: 120 l
Animals: Cryptoheros spilurus
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of a very small and shallow river, Rio Pedernales, which finds its way flowing from the north-east into Lago Izabal in Guatemala. The coordinates of this specific location are N 15°36.949 - W 89°04.525. This river is home for a great number of fish from cichlids to Poeciliidae and Characidae. In this specific location the water is clear and the sun penetrates its surface. The rocks are covered with moss and most of the fish are seeking some of the few shady areas created by the fallen tree branches and the overlapped boulders and rocks. The presence of water plants is scarce. Only plants from the Poaceae family can be found in this specific location. One of the cutest cichlid species, Cryptoheros spilurus, lives and thrives in this location along with Astyanax aeneus, Xiphophorus helleri and many other fish species.



5. Mississippi Delta

Valery Sabadyr (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine)
Aquarium Volume: 400 l
Animals: Lepisosteus oculatus
Plants: Vallisneria gigantea
Biotope description: It is a slowly flowing majestic river in the United States. Falling into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it spreads over many kilometers, forming a wide marshy delta. It is home to a huge number of species of flora and fauna and of course of the aquatic organisms. Elusive course of the evolution almost always leaves its mark, in which many animals and plants adapt to certain environmental conditions, improving their skills and ability to survive. But in the delta, slow flowing creeks, there is something special, an ancient relic fossil. The fossil is at the top of the food chain, and is adapted to the hot subtropical climate, probably because of the respiration process and method of catching prey. So, let me introduce to you the master of hiding and catching, also well protected with special plates. It is an armored train of the local waterbodies.



South America

1. Axelrodi's Cradle

Flavio Henard Jorge de Freitas (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Aquarium Volume: 240 l
Animals: Paracheirodon axelrodi
Plants: Pistia stratiotes
Biotope description: This tank was fitted considering playing the basin of the black river, in its middle part, which inhabit the Paracheirodon axelrodi. The work consists of enough organic matter, mostly leaves, stems and twigs. The tea-colored water, low pH and soft water feature complemented the setting. Tank water features: PH: 5.0 GH: 1.0 Temperature: 29°C.



2. Duct in the middle of the São Francisco River, Brazil, among its tributaries Corrente and Grande during floods

Svetlana Kirillova (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 60 l
Animals: Simpsonichthys auratus, Rivulus xiphidius, Hasemania nana, Hemmigrammus gracilis
Plants: Miriophyllum brasiliense, Cabomba caroliniana, Cabomba furcata, Ehinodorus bolivianus, Heterantera zosterifolia, Potamogeton gayi, Salvinia molesta
Biotope description: São Francisco River starts in the mountain range of Serra da Canastra, flows through the Brazilian Highlands to the northeast in a wide valley parallel to the Atlantic coast, and then turns sharply to the southeast, forming a set of rapids and waterfalls, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The entire river basin is located in Brazil draining an area of over 630,000 square kilometres. In the middle reaches the São Francisco River flows through relatively arid regions, transforming during the rainy season when the water level rises to 6-7 meters. At this time many secluded creeks and canals form, where aquatic plants begin to flourish, especially in areas of strong sunlight. In the shadow of shrubs and trees growing along the banks, in their roots different types of fishes find places for spawning and hiding. At this time, within a small reservoir seasonal killifish may occur, such as the magnificently colored Simpsonichthys auratus, non-seasonal killifish Rivulus xiphidius, according to, living in the region and, of course, different types of Characidae living here.



3. Igarapé Preto, tributary of Caurés River. Amazonia. Brazil

Kirill Shaklein (Yekaterinburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 1500 l
Animals: Cichlasoma festivum, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Poecilobrycon eques, Hyphessobrycon bentosi, Nannostomus marginatus, Hemigrammus erythrosonus, Carnegiella strigata, Apistogramma sp., Chilodus punctatus
Plants: Riccia fluitans, Lemna minor, Limnobium laevigatum, Pistia stratoites, Eichhornia crassipes, Vallisneria sp., Sagittaria subulata, Echinodorus tenellus, Mayaca fluviatillis, Nymphaea sp.
Biotope description: In this aquarium I tried to recreate the Igarapé (branch of the river) Preto, a tributary of the Caurés River, flowing in the north-western part of Brazil. The branch, like the others, goes far away in the forest. Among the dead leaves and branches of trees the small vivid fish life is flourishing. Each of the fishes I listed took its place in the aquarium. Vallisneria in this aquarium is cosmopolitan and was chosen to enhance the impression. And how is it, it's up to you to judge.



4. Rio Amazonas

Gert Blank (Emmen, Netherlands)
Aquarium Volume: 700 l
Animals: Pterophyllum leopoldi, Biotodoma cupido, Crenicichla regani, Corydoras robineae, Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis, Hyphessobrycon colombianus, Hypoptopoma sp., Hemiloricaria sp., Ancistrus hoplogenys L059
Plants: Hydrocleis nymphoides, Echinodorus bleheri, Heteranthera zosterifolia, Sagittaria sp.
Biotope description: This biotope was setup based on the area around Santarém to Manaus Brasil. I've looked much info on which fish live in that area and can be combined. This is a try to create a Rio Amazonas biotope aquarium based on the area between Santarém and Manaus.



5. Upper Amazon River basin, Departamento Loreto, Peru

Ruben Rensink (Utrecht, Netherlands)
Aquarium Volume: 55 l
Animals: Apistogramma trifasciata, Nannostomus marginatus, Otocinclus marcospilus
Plants: Limnobium laevigatum, Sagittaria subulata, Vallisneria americana
Biotope description: A shallow, near still water filled with submerged woody structures and leaf litter. The tannin stained brown water gets its colour from the logs of wood and the leaf litter at the sandy bottom of the tank. As a micro predator Nannostomus marginatus uses its tiny mouth to hunt for microorganisms between the submerged wood and leaf litter. Otocinclus macrospilus feeds primarily on algae and other microorganisms that live on plants. They hide in the floating mats of Vallisneria. Water parameters are pH 5.6-6.4, conductivity is 69 µS/cm, and temperature is 26.3°C.



6. Rio Tahuayo, Peru

Piotr Stolc (Głogów, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 450 l
Animals: Apistogramma barlowi, Apistogramma norberti, Nannostomus marginatus, Tahuantinsuyoa macantzatza, Otocinclus Affinis
Plants: Echinodorus amazonicus, Pistia stratiotes, Monstera deliciosa, Scindapsus sp.
Biotope description: I would like to present my piece of nature in which I tried to recreate a section of the Rio Tahuayo. It is a water body which flows directly to the Rio Amazonas in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Peru. It encompasses an area of around 4000 square kilometers and has been protected since 2009. It is estimated that the rivers and floodplains of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve are inhabited by 400 freshwater fish species. All fish species found in the aquarium are wild-caught from Peru. Over the aquarium portion a piece of tropical rainforest is to be found for which plant were also chosen according to their origin.



7. Small tributary to Rio Guapore

Kamil Hazy (Poznań, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 54 l
Animals: Apistogramma trifasciata, Nannostomus eques, Corydoras hastatus
Plants: Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Pistia stratiotes, Salvinia molesta, Lemna sp.
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on the upper Guaporé River region during the start of rains, when small tributaries being filled with water. Leaf litter that covers the sandy bottom is releasing some tannins, and soft water is getting slightly acidic. Plants are using every spot of sunlight, but there are not enough nutrients to let them grow big. Tree roots, some aquatic vegetation and leaves create a good habitat for small fish.



8. Flooded margin of the Tietê River. South-eastern part of Brazil

Maxim Chernyshov (Rostov-on-Don, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 65 l
Animals: Hyphessobrycon flammeus
Plants: Lilaeopsis brasiliensis
Biotope description: The Aquarium is dedicated to the popular aquarium fish Hyphessobrycon flammeus and simulates a flooded part of the river bank of the Tietê River in the south-eastern part of Brazil. Hyphessobrycon flammeus prefers shallow waters of the Tietê River with slow flow, often in these places there are water plants or other submerged vegetation. The water is usually clean, clear to brownish, sand on the bottom. Unfortunately, Hyphessobrycon flammeus was included in the Brazilian list of endangered species in 2004. This is mainly due to the active anthropogenic influence on the habitat where Hyphessobrycon flammeus live.



9. River Itaim, Paraíba do Sul River basin in southeast Brazil

Bruno Garcia dos Santos (Taubaté, Brazil)
Aquarium Volume: 96 l
Animals: Characidium sp., Geophagus brasiliensis, Corydora aeneus, Harttia loricariformis, Phalloceros harpagos, Rhinella icterica
Plants: Myriophyllum aquaticum, Heteranthera reniformis, Hygrophila costata
Biotope description: The river Itaim is part of the Paraíba southern river basin in southeastern Brazil. It is a river of shallow waters, with lots of rocks and plants in its banks. It is a river of slightly turbid water with weak currents. Its substrate consists of small stones, sand is "yellowish" and covered with algae rocks. The Itaim River has its source located near the border of Taubaté, with the municipalities of Caçapava and Redenção da Serra, in the state of São Paulo. I chose this river because it is one of the few in this region that is not polluted, I would take the time to appeal the people and government of the state of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro to help save our rivers especially the Paraiba do Sul River which is now almost entirely polluted. The few rivers that are still clean flowing into the Paraiba do Sul has a beautiful flora and fauna and they must be preserved.



10. Rio Oyapock in French Guiana

Hamza Poonawalla (Poona, India)
Aquarium Volume: 250 l
Animals: Pterophyllum scalare
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of the Pterophyllum scalare in the Oyapock river in French Guiana. The subduded lighting and the lack of vegetation along with long trailing wood and logs and twigs scattered on the base and fine sand and leaf litter complete the decor.



11. Rio Orinoco dry season riverbank

Radu-Mihai Andreika (Sancraiu de Mures, Romania)
Aquarium Volume: 468 l
Animals: Pterophyllum altum, Corydoras paleatus, Corydoras panda, Ancistrus sp.
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on biotope of Rio Orinoco black water. As vegetation decays, tannins leach into the water, making a transparent, acidic water that is darkly stained, resembling tea. It resembles the dry season with more clearer water. The Orinoco river is one of the longest rivers in South America at 2,140 kilometres. Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers 880,000 square kilometres, with 76.3 percent of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia. The Orinoco is extremely diverse and hosts a wide variety of flora and fauna. For my biotope I've used Altums as my main attraction. Most Altum angels are more frequently found in the well oxygenated, extremely soft waters of Upper and Middle Orinoco tributaries shed from the Guiana Shield Highlands, preferring a pH range between 4.5 to 5.8. These are very transparent blackwaters with almost nil conductivity.



12. Caño Yarina creek, Rio Pacaya, Peru

Vasilis Athanasopoulos-Feredinos (Thessaloniki, Greece)
Aquarium Volume: 180 l
Animals: Serrasalmus sanchezi
Plants: Pistia stratiotes
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Caño Yarina a tributary of the Río Pacaya located close to the confluence of the ríos Marañon and Ucayali in Peru, represents a typical biotope. The main channel is around 100 m wide although the surrounding terrain is inundated for the majority of the year with a short period of low water between July and September with flooded forest comprising 85% of the area. Where there is open water, around 40% of it is covered by "floating meadows" consisting of rafts of macrophytes which tend to form most thickly around lake and stream margins. The conditions in Caño Yarina are typical of Amazonian whitewaters with dissolved sediment reducing visibility and the water stained darker during the high water period due to decomposing organic materials. Plant species involved in the formation of floating meadows mostly include Polygonium sp., Pistia stratiotes, Eichhornia crassipes, Paspalum sp. and an unidentified leguminous species, with others including unidentified members of the genera Azolla, Neptunia, Ludwigia, Salvinia, Utricularia and Echinochloeta.



13. My "Peruan Stones"

Emil Visan (Bucuresti, Romania)
Aquarium Volume: 200 l
Animals: Tahuantinsuyoa macantzatza
Plants: Echinodorus quatricostatus, E. parviflorus, E. peruvianus
Biotope description: This aquarium tries to show Laguna Tahuantinsuyo, tributary to the Rio Ucayali, Peru. Unfortunately information about this lagoon are minimal. However beauty of the lagoon fascinated me and I thought it was a shame not to present it. Fotos of the lagoon:



14. South American Blackwater Stream

Ivan Sergio Martinez (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Aquarium Volume: 96 l
Animals: Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi, Paracheirodon innesi, Panaque bathyphilus L90, Corydoras aeneus, Ancistrus triradiatus LDA72, Apistogramma cacatuoides
Plants: Lemna minor, Salvinia minima, Spirodela intermedia, Limnobium laevigatum
Biotope description: Blackwater ponds, creeks, and rivers originate in the rain-forest. In the slow-moving waters, acids are leached from decaying vegetation creating very transparent, tea-colored water. These waters have almost no measurable water hardness and an acidic pH. There are not too many freshwater plants. Flooded trees are perfect place for many species of fish to live. Because of the small amount of light there is a very small amount of underwater plants. A large percentage are waterside and floating plants. The substrate in blackwater habitats is typically leaf litter over a base of fine clay or sand. Decaying wood and plant matter is common especially in flooded igapo forest.



15. Rio Orinoco, Shallow clear waters, Venezuela

Danett Williams (Missouri, USA)
Aquarium Volume: 110 l
Animals: Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, Pristella maxillaris, Poecilia wingei, Corydoras habrosus
Plants: Echinodorus grisebachii, Najas guadalupensis, Echinodorus tenellus, Cabomba aquatica, Lemna minor, Ludwigia sedioides, Pistia stratiotes, Egeria densa, Hydropogonella gymnostoma
Biotope description: This biotope was based upon the Rio Orinoco, representing a side pool of clear water. Here, tetras school with the ever present corydoras that fill the south american waters. The very peaceful ram cichlid swims among them. Here some baby rams have recently been born into the clear waters. Floating plants grace the top of the water providing shelter to fry.



16. Marginal part of the South American river

Alexander Polimonov (Perm, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 350 l
Animals: Pterophyllum scalare, Corydoras sp., Gasteropelecus sternicla, Otocinclus affinis, Apistogramma sp., Metynnis maculatus, Aequidens pulcher
Plants: Syngonium
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of a small South American river. The main task for us was to fill not only the underwater space, but also the space above the water. The back wall and driftwood represents a bank, part of which is taken by the water (stones were used to show the effects of the part fallen down), and the roots of plants and trees stayed in the water.



17. Paraná River, flooded forests

Dominik Woroch (Poznań, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 160 l
Animals: Apistogramma borelli, Ancistrus sp.
Biotope description: The Paraná River is a river in South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some 4,880 kilometres. It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language and means "like the sea" (that is, "as big as the sea"). The river’s dark brown shading indicates a heavy load of muddy sediment; smaller side channels also carry this mud. Numerous lakes are typical on active floodplains, and appear here as irregular bodies of water. The aquarium I made shows flooded forest in upper stretches of Paraná River.



18. Backwater of Lago Jaeteua

Mikhail Yakunin (Zarechie, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 180 l
Animals: Physa sp., Planorbarius corneus
Plants: Fontinalis antipyretica, Vesicularia dubyana
Biotope description: The aquarium was created with the idea to show a quiet backwater of Lago Jaeteua.




1. Deep Green Lake Tanganyika Biotope

Ömer Eliaçık (Ankara, Turkey)
Aquarium Volume: 430 l
Animals: Tropheus brichardi Malagarasi, Callochromis macrops Red Ndole
Biotope description: The aquarium is biotope set up by the African lake Tanganyika. With this biotope design, I tried to take rocky and sandy areas of Lake Tanganyika and visuality at forefront. I collected my rocks near rivers. The surfaces of the rocks started to be covered with brown algae which is consisted of in the deep rocks of Lake Tanganyika. That rise up naturality very much. However at setting up the aquarium, I took underwater pictures of the Lake Tanganyika to set my aquarium background colour. Using this I tried to give naturality to my aquarium.



2. Yofu Bay, Likoma Island

Timur Tekbaş (Samsun, Turkey)
Aquarium Volume: 190 l
Animals: Pseudotropheus demasoni, Iodotropheus sprengerae
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Yofu Bay, Likoma Island. The bay is full of colorful cichlids that eat algae from large stones, which are the main part of the underwater landscape.



3. Natural Lake Tanganyika Biotope

Ugur Rusen Dogan (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aquarium Volume: 320 l
Animals: Tropheus duboisi Maswa
Biotope description: Natural habitat of Lake Tanganyika



4. Water's Edge - Lake Barombi Mbo, Cameroon

Marcus Beilman (West Bend, USA)
Aquarium Volume: 151 l
Animals: Stomatepia pindu
Biotope description: This aquarium was setup based on the shallows of the African crater Lake Barombi Mbo. The Stomatepia pindu find shelter and food in the fallen leaves and branches that litter the sand bed of the tank.



5. Lake Tanganyika. Divided Rocky Areas

Fatih Bolat (Ankara, Turkey)
Aquarium Volume: 450 l
Animals: Julidochromis marlieri, Neolamprologus pulcher, Neolamprologus leleupi, Altolamprologus compressiceps
Biotope description: Aquarium Lake Tanganyika was established by examining divided rocky areas. The reason for this was to create suitable habitat for fish species in the aquarium.



6. Africa Lake Tanganyika, Congo, Former Zaire

Fatih Çetinkaya (Kütahya, Turkey)
Aquarium Volume: 480 l
Animals: Tropheus duboisi Maswa, Tropheus brichardi Kabimba
Biotope description: The biotope aquarium was set up based on a gulf of Lake Tanganyika in Congo. This rocky area often addresses the nutritional needs of fish in shallow water with mossy rocks. In some parts of the shell, which was built for the storage location of juvenile fish.



7. Upper Nile. Swamps near Sedd region in southern Sudan

Svetlana Kirillova (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 300 l
Animals: Protopterus aethiopicus
Plants: Pistia stratiotes, Cyperus sp.
Biotope description: The Nile River is the longest river of the African continent. It originates in the East African highlands (Kagera River), flows through the Lake Victoria and Albert, after the confluence of the Sobat river is called the White Nile, in Khartoum takes the main tributary - Blue Nile and being called the Nile flows to the Mediterranean Sea where it forms a vast delta. On the plains of Sudan the Nile is called Bahr al Jabal (Mountain River), it crosses the Sedd marshes, where it flows into the River of Gazelles (Bahr al Ghazal) and loses half its water to evaporation and absorption by its abundant vegetation. Here, huge masses of algae, floating plants and papyrus clutter the channel, and the river spreads widely and forms many arms. Spills are contributed by heavy floods in the region of Sudan, they occur in summer and autumn. All this creates conditions for existence of diverse and numerous aquatic fauna. There are many species of fish here: catfish, cichlids, polypteruses, and among them surprising lungfish - Protopterus. Protopterus, in addition to its gills, has a double lung, and adult fish uses mainly pulmonary respiration, through the gills it consumes less than 10% of oxygen. Taking breath Protopterus sticks out of the water its upper lip, on its inside surface openings can be seen through which air enters the lungs. The throat of the fish in this moment gets much bigger. In most parts of its habitat Protopter live in temporary ponds, drying up in the dry season, and hibernate for a period of drought, getting into the soil to a depth of 25-50 cm, forming a cocoon of dried mucus around the body, that prevents moisture loss, with only a hole of 1-5 mm for breathing against the fish's mouth. Typically the hibernation lasts for 6-9 months, during it Protopterus loses around 20% of its weight and shrinks. In its tissues an amount of urea accumulates that would be lethal to most vertebrates (1-2% of body weight). However, when the water comes, Protopterus wakes up safely. The recorded length of hibernation was shown by brown Protopterus, who slept without harm more than 4 years. At the same time Protopterus living in perennial reservoirs, for example, in the Great Lakes of Central Africa, do not hibernate. The same can be said about Protopterus in aquarium. For example, the large Protopterus you can see on the pictures lives without hibernation in an aquarium for about 30 years. Its length is now 87 cm. This species reaches two meters long in the wild. So it is not so much. But colours, more bright in young fish, became darker and more uniform with age. For obvious reasons Protopterus is the only inhabitant of the aquarium, since small fish is its food, and it can damage big fish. Also in the aquarium instead of Cyperus papyrus, growing in this biotope and reaching a height of 3 m, a smaller species of Cyperus was used.



8. Bank of the Komoé River, Cote d'Ivoire

Evgenia Moiseeva (Moscow, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 20 l
Animals: Aphyosemion australe, Hymenochirus boettgeri
Plants: Bolbitis heudelotii, Nymphaea sp.
Biotope description: The Komoé River flows through the territory of Komoé National Park in the north-east of Côte d'Ivoire. The park is a World Heritage Site because of the diversity of plants on the banks of the river, including the untouched areas of rainforest that are usually found only further to the south. In the aquarium a part of the slowly flowing river is shown, where Aphyosemion australe lives at the bank covered with plants. This fish also lives in shallow ponds, drying up in times of drought. Eggs, layed into the soil, survive the drought, and after the rains fry come out from them.



9. Lake Tanganyika. Sandy biotope of the Kungwe bay, 500 meters from the shore

Vera Gladyshenko (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 250 l
Animals: Neolamprologus multifasciatus
Biotope description: It is a fragment of the habitat of Neolamprologus multifasciatus on huge "graveyards" of shells (Neothauma tanganicense), the area of which has several hectares and is located at depths ranging from 5 to 40 meters. A layer of empty shells can be more than 50 cm in thickness, although there are some live snails there. A male, floating 5 cm above the substrate, controls several females, who do not go far from their shells to hide in case of danger. In the lower layer of shells fry and juveniles hide. According to researchers, per 1 square meter of surface in nature there are 6 to 10 adult fishes, not including juveniles, so against the tradition of keeping this fish in a small aquarium, they need space. In this aquarium while the family will increase, even more shells will be added than those buried in a large amount under a layer of sand.



10. Lake Tanganyika

Alexandra Kreps (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 300 l
Animals: Neolamprologus brichardi, Altolamprologus calvus
Biotope description: Talus area of Lake Tanganyika is characterized by the absence of higher aquatic vegetation with a lot of stones, fragments of rocks of various sizes that formed a huge number of shelters. This area is a habitat for the graceful and elegant Princesses of Burundi swimming in large schools in the open areas, lit by the sun. At the slightest danger Princesses of Burundi hide in caves and crevices between the stones safely concealing them from their enemies, and providing a place for spawning.



11. Lake Malawi

Alexander Polimonov (Perm, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 350 l
Animals: Aulonocara sp., Sciaenochromis fryeri, Labidochromis yellow, Nimbochromis venustus, Copadichromis borleyi Kadango, Cyrtocara moorii
Biotope description: It was an attempt to show a part of the lake, where the sandy plains meet rocks.



12. Lake Tanganyika. Central Africa. The border between Zambia and Congo near the village Kipimbi

Kirill Shaklein (Yekaterinburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 94 l
Animals: Altolamprologus calvus Black
Biotope description: Tanganyika is the world's longest freshwater lake. The lakeside belongs to four countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Burundi. The lake is located in the deepest tectonic depression of Africa at the height of 773 meters above sea level and is part of the ancient East African rift system. Underwater threshold divides the lake into two deep-water basins. Tanganyika is a part of the Congo basin, one of the largest rivers in the world. Altolamprologus calvus is endemic to the lake. It lives exclusively in rocky parts along the coast and around the islands of the lake. Adults are found at a depth of 10-41 meters in the coastal cliffs, usually around the steep vertical rocks, while juveniles prefer shallow water and hide in shells, covering the bottom.



13. Flooded forest of Sangha River, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Álvaro Gutiérrez Manjón (Coslada, Spain)
Aquarium Volume: 30 l
Plants: Anubias barteri var. Giant, Anubias barteri var. nana, Anubias barteri var. nana golden, Anubias barteri var. hastifolia, Anubias barteri var. lanceolata, Anubias barteri var. galabra, Anubias congolensis, Anubias azfelli
Biotope description: This aquarium recreates the flooded forest in some areas of Sangha River. During the dry season Anubias grow at emerged state, being submerged in the water at the end of the dry season. Dark substrate, JBL Manado. Have 3 roots: 2 vine roots and 1 moor root. To recreate the emerged part of a display aquarium was built to keep the humility close to 90% and water was sprayed every 4 hours.



14. Marginal zone of Lake Nyasa

Alexey Kirgizov (Babruysk, Belarus)
Aquarium Volume: 600 l
Animals: Pseudotropheus demasoni, Aulonocara sp. Rose, Labidochromis caeruleus, Sciaenochromis fryeri, Cyrtocara moorei
Biotope description: Marginal zone of Lake Nyasa with driftwood.



15. Lake Malawi. Shallow waters in Pombo rocks

Evgenios Kalomoiris (Thessaloniki, Greece)
Aquarium Volume: 400 l
Animals: Pseudotropheus demasoni, Labeotropheus trewavasae
Plants: Ceratophyllum demersum
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Pombo rocks of Lake Malawi. The transparent waters of the bay are full of colorful cichlids that eat algae from large stones, which are the main part of the underwater landscape.



16. Lake Malawi. Rocky part of the east coast

Alexander Kozhukhov (Kharabali, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 320 l
Animals: Pseudotropheus demasoni
Biotope description: In the aquarium you can see a part of a biotope of the eastern coast of Lake Nyasa, home to such interesting cichlids like Pseudotropheus demasoni. Each generation of this fish passes phylogenetic path of group behavior development in ontogeny. Juveniles grow in simple schools with situational leaders, often immature males and females shoal in different parts of the lake. Maturing males and females in the competition with the fish of their sex determine position and hierarchical level in their school. Thus, mature individuals create more complex hierarchical school with a constant fish arrangement at different levels.



17. Tanganyika - a paradise for princesses

Denis Artemyev (Kaliningrad, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 200 l
Animals: Neolamprologus brichardi
Plants: Ceratophyllum sp., Monosolenium sp., Cladophora aegagropila
Biotope description: Many years ago I wanted to keep Neolamprologus brichardi. I like this fish very much, but I, being a fan of planted aquaria and aquascapes, could not afford it. And earlier this year, I took up the project "Tanganyika". I looked through a lot of pictures in the Internet, though I liked nothing, so I had to improvise, not forgetting about the plants. So I can say, I have not tried to copy the biotope, maybe, somewhere in Tanganyika there is a similar place.



18. Lake Malawi

Szymon Strzelczyk (Bielsko-Biała, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 300 l
Animals: Aulonocara sp. Fire fish, Labidochromis sp. Hongi, Melanochromis maingano, Labidochromis caeruleus, Maylandia lombardoi, Pseudotropheus zebra, Iodotropheus sprengerae, Pseudotropheus sp. Acei, Cynotilapia afra Gallireya Reef White Top
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on lake Malawi biotope. The volume of the aquarium is 300 Liters. The aquarium is filtered by a Eheim 2224 and Eheim 2326 with built-in heater. In addition, I use two flow pumps, each with a capacity of 6000 liters per hour. They are differently controlled by timers. Lights: Hagen Power-GLO 18000K and Sylvana Aquastar 12000K.




1. River Grza, Upper wellspring, Serbia

David Milosevic (Paracin, Serbia)
Aquarium Volume: 400 l
Animals: Phoxinus phoxinus, Pseudorasbora parva
Plants: Porella baueri, Cinclidotus aquaticus, Pellia endiviifolia, Metzgeria conjugata, Hymenasplenium obscurum, Neckera webbiana
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Grza river in Central Serbia. It originates 20 kilometers from Paraćin city. It passes through limestone and sandstone rocks so it have large diversity of stone materials through it flow. Substrate is made of fine sand, reddish colored. While the larger rocks are predominantly yellowish-white. Because the river passes through a thick forest, a lot of branches and stumps are in the water. Average temperature of water is 9.5°C but in summer is 18°C. Ph is 7.6 but it can go to 8.1 depending on the season. TDS is 235 mainly because of the limestone. It have large diversity of plants near or in water, especially bryophytes (above 30 species).



2. Sundarbans Biotope: Matla Mudflats

Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay (Gurgaon, India)
Aquarium Volume: 200 l
Animals: Scatophagus argus, Tetraodon cutcutia, Periopthalmus novemradiatus, Red Fiddler crabs
Plants: Excoecaria, Cereops
Biotope description: Sundarbans is home to the worlds' largest mangroves delta - 2/3rd of it in Bangladesh and the remainder is in India. My biotope is based on the Indian side, the upper portion of the delta. The Sundarbans delta is entirely created by tides, depositing silt, relentlessly carrying silt from one side of the bank to the other. Further south, bordering the sea, one gets sandy beaches, but areas near Sajnekhali, Basirhat, Gosaba etc, it is all about mud flats. Mangroves with superb root structures. There are various kinds of vegetation. However no tree are more than 20 feet height (from ground level). Dominant vegetation include Excoecaria, Excoecaria Cereops, Cereops, Avicennia-Oryza, Pheonix etc. Tides: Everyday Sundarbans witnesses twice….high and low tides. During high tides the water levels can rise upwards of 15 feet from the point where low tide water level is. The mode pH is around 8.0 and the salinity is around 20 ppt. Description of my Biotope: Main tank: 72X36X36 three sides, the front glass height is 18 Sump: 36X24X24. This is more a hold out tank for simulating tide. It has few liquid filters in it. Water: Brackish (salinity 1.017-1.02), pH: 7.7 Decorations (all in the main tank): 100 kgs of mud (got them from Matla mud flat), some Mangrove seeds and few mangrove plants (all seeds and plants procured legally through agencies who promote mangrove cultivation). Tide simulation: Currently I am using one small liquid filter a pieace in each of the two tanks. I am using timer that ensures the following takes place every day -high tide (00:00-06:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from sump to main tank -low tide (06:00-12:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from main tank to sump -high tide (12:00-18:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from sump to main tank -low tide (18:00-00:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from main tank to sump.



3. Barito river basin, Borneo

Hamza Syed (Hyderabad, India)
Aquarium Volume: 70 l
Animals: Betta pallifina
Plants: Cryptocoryne cordata, Sphaerocaryum sp., Najas indica, Ceratophyllum demersum, Salvinia natans, Bacopa sp.
Biotope description: I had something close to a biotope in mind with this. Betta pallifina comes from varied water environments ranging from stagnant peat swamps to clear flowing waters. What I aimed for is moderately acidic setup with a bit of flow. These are large Bettas with a good appetite, so I felt the need for a good filtration system and ample of vegetation to maintain water quality. I have added lots of catappa, teak leaves in there to create acidic environment.



4. Thandwe creek – Rakhine, Myanmar

Christos Nikolakoulis (Thessaloniki, Greece)
Aquarium Volume: 390 l
Animals: Channa pulchra, Botia kubotai
Plants: Ceratophyllum demersum, Pistia stratiotes, Cryptocoryne albida, Vallisneria spiralis, Lemna minor, Vesicularia dubyana
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Thandwe creek of Rakhine in Myanmar. This is a slowly running medium size creek in the formerly Arakan State on Myanmars western coast bordered by Chin State (in the north) and in the east by the so called divisions Magway, Bago and Ayeyarwady, by the Bay of Bengal in the West and the Chittagong divison of Bangladesh in the northwest. From the north runs a very mountains region south across the State were it rains often, the valleys are filled with creeks, lakes and immense rice fields, coco and palm plantations. Very few fishes are known from this part of Myanmar. There is some aquatic vegetation in those creeks and lakes, mostly Nymphaea species, Ceratophyllum and Najas, Nitella and Salvinia, Riccia and other floating plants can be found. The snakeheads live not in deep habitats, the water is mostly clear, but after a heavy rain all is turbid. The ground is often leaf-litter and gravel, black and white stones in some areas.



5. Lake Matano of South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Simon Wong (Singapore, Singapore)
Aquarium Volume: 60 l
Animals: Caridina dennerli, Tylomelania gemmifera
Biotope description: One of the world's ten deepest lakes, Lake Matano on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia is also one of the most unique. Lake Matano (Indonesian: Danau Matano), also known as Matana, is a natural lake in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. With a depth of 590 m, it is the deepest lake in Indonesia (ranked by maximum depth), and the 10th deepest lake in the world. The surface elevation from mean sea level is only 382 m, which means that the deepest portion of the lake is below sea level (cryptohollow). It is one of the two major lakes (the other being Lake Towuti) in the Malili Lake system. Lake Matano is home to many species of endemic fish and other animals (e.g. Caridina shrimps, Parathelphusid crabs and Tylomelania snails) as well as many plants. The endemic fishes of Matano have been compared to the species swarms of the Rift Valley Lakes of Africa. While not as diverse, they are thought to have all arisen from a single ancestor species and diversified into numerous different species.



6. Small pond in the Leningrad region, Ozereshno village

Varvara Kozmenko (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 60 l
Animals: Lissotriton vulgaris, Asellus aquaticus, Haemopis sanguisuga, Aeschna grandis
Plants: Fontinalis antipyretica, Lemna minor, Caltha palustris, Alisma plantago
Biotope description: The basis for the setting up the aquarium was a pond in the Ozereshno village of Leningrad region. This small oval pool (5 meters long and 3 meters wide) has a maximum depth of 1.5 meters and freezes almost to the bottom in the winter. In the spring the pond comes to life: aquatic plants start to grow, rocks become covered with new moss, first insects appear. Around the pond there are oaks, birches, larches, apple trees. Under them there are lilies, buttercups and other meadow plants. On the banks there are marigold and alisma, in deep places - cattails, duckweed floats on the surface of the water. On the bottom of the pond there are silt, clay and sand, sometimes covered with moss and leaved of the trees growing near the pond. The aquarium shows a pond biotope in the middle of June, when all its inhabitants are there. Leeches crawl on the bottom, newts will soon begin to get out to the land, and the larvae of dragonflies have grown and are almost ready to transform into adult insects. The world of the small inhabitants of the pond is no less interesting: waterlouses, cyclops, daphnia. This aquarium was set up not only for participation in the contest, but also the members of biological club could see the newt courtship behavior. After a week and a half newts were released back into their natural water body (leeches and dragonfly larvae were released earlier). The aquarium still existed, and in August newt larvae appeared, which, as they grow, were also released into their natural habitat.



7. Small river in Jambi province, Sumatra

Yuri Shamkalovich (Minsk, Belarus)
Aquarium Volume: 70 l
Animals: Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, Parosphromenus sumatranus, Brevibora dorsiocellata, Boraras maculatus, Betta falx
Plants: Cryptocoryne cordata, Riccia fluitans
Biotope description: A small river in Jambi province, Sumatra. In thickets of Cryptocorynes Betta falx and Parosphromenus sumatranus hide. In open areas there are schools of small Rasbora. The water is soft and rich in products of the decay of fallen leaves.



8. Red stream in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Jakub Kijak (Zegrze, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 175 l
Animals: Rasbora paviana
Biotope description: There are five main rivers and streams in Khao Yai Park area. Prachinburi River and Nakhon Nayok River. Situated in the south, these rivers are vital for agriculture in adjacent lands and generate significant economic and social benefits for the region. They meet in Chachoengsao province forming the Bang Pakong river. Lam Takong stream and Lam Prapleung Stream. These 2 streams in the north of the park nourish agricultural areas of the Khorat Plateau. They run into the Mae Nam Moon River, the most important waterway in the lower Isaan region. This in turn continues east, eventually feeding into the Mae Kong River. Muak Lek Stream runs year round out of the north west of the park, supporting agricultural areas and livestock in north-east Thailand. It joins the Mae Nam Pa Sak River in Muak Lek District, Saraburi province. There are also many others, smaller streams and tributaries there. I tried to recreate one of them. My inspiration was photography taken by F. Vollmar ("All about aquarium", Peter W. Scott, page 72). The tank represents little, shalow and rocky stream in Khao Yay National Park in Thailand. Red bootom is coloured by iron. Water also contains Fe, but its level is not dangerous for fish. To imitate red, iron substrate I used laterite (Duplarit) which also slightly improved Fe level in water (in my tank - 0,05 ppm), as it take place in nature. I also used a little of wood covered by reddish brown climbers, tropical leaves, red stones and river sand of course. All of this is covered by laterite dust. I resigned from plants as they are not presents on this photo. I choose Rasbora paviana because it definetly can be found in this Park. In 1980s german expedition found species identified as Rasbora paviei but it is the same fish. It also great fit to decorations.



9. Sumatra swamp

Elena Mazurek (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 140 l
Animals: Trichogaster leeri, Pangio semicincta
Plants: Microsorum pteropus, Cryptocoryne sp., Hygrophila corymbosa, Vesicularia sp., Nymphaea sp.
Biotope description: Pearl gourami is one of the most popular and beautiful fish at the aquarium, but information on their habitats are scarce, and it is not surprising. One of the places where they can be found is the swamps of Sumatra, which are difficult to study and occupy a large area of ​​the island. Continuous peat swamps connected by slowly flowing rivers and streams, where the water is usually painted in a dark brown color due to the large amount of dissolved humic acids. The bottom is covered with driftwood, branches and fallen leaves, the water is acidic, pH can drop to 4,0-3,0, sometimes there is rich aquatic vegetation there. In the aquarium the wetland part of the stream is shown with lots of driftwood, dense vegetation and slow flow, these are the places preferred by pearl gourami. Pangio semicincta can be neighbors in such a biotope.



10. Lava River in a canyon of the Leningrad region, Russia

Oleg Valersky (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 60 l
Animals: Squalius cephalus, Physa fontinalis, Heptagenia sp., Aquarius pallidum, Hydropsychidae g. sp., Gyrinus sp.
Plants: Fontinalis antipyretica, Cardamine amara
Biotope description: Lava River has a length of its bed only 31 km and starts in the peat swamps to the south of the village Nazia. Due to this it has a brownish color of the water. In the upper and lower reaches Lava flows in a shallow valley. On a middle reach the river cuts in the limestone deep (30 m) and picturesque canyon. In the spring waters destroy calcareous layers, and boulders fall into the Lava. Therefore, the bottom of the river is covered with plates, stones, lime pebbles and sand. Limestone, forming the walls of the canyon, is rich in fossils of Ordovician period. It is the remains of many echinoderms, trilobites, bryozoans, brachiopods and cephalopods. Their age is 485-443 mln. years! Most fossils can be found right in the mainstream of the river, among the pebbles. During this part of the river the flow is relatively rapid, there are even small thresholds here. In the Lava there can be organisms requiring a high concentration of oxygen: Heptageniidae, Plecoptera, Hydropsychidae and others. The surface of the water is abundantly populated with water striders, whirligig beetles. And they both feed on insects fallen in water - in the canyon there is a lot of this kind of food. Here there are such fishes as chub, pike, belica and gudgeon. Actually there are few water plants in this part of the Lava River because of the rapid current. On the rocks there is a water moss Fontinalis antipyretica. Among the pebbles on the shore there is often Cardamine amara, it is not only very beautiful but also edible plant of Cruciferous. In the lower reaches the bottom of the river gradually becomes muddy. Naturally, aquatic organisms and vegetation changes here. A few kilometers to the north the Lava flows into Lake Ladoga. Lava is a river with a pronounced seasonality. In the spring, during the snowmelt, the river swells and rages, the flow is very fast and strong. In April and May the Lava is popular among canoeists. In summer, the water level gradually drops and by the end of summer the Lava looks more like a wide and rapid stream. Chub attracts fishing lovers to the river. The Lava River Canyon is not only geological sightseeing, but also one of the popular tourist destinations of the Leningrad region. Fossils in the background rocks: Asaphus spp., Megistaspidella sp., Endoceras sp.



11. Heart of Borneo swamp

Dominik Woroch (Poznan, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 31 l
Animals: Sundadanio axelrodi
Plants: Cryptocoryne wendtii, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Scindapsus sp.
Biotope description: Borneo, the world's third largest island, accounts for just 1% of the world's land yet holds approximately 6% of global biodiversity in its rich, tropical forests. The Heart of Borneo refers to the main part of the island where forests remain intact. The region provides habitat to 10 endemic species of primate, more than 350 birds, 150 reptiles and amphibians and 10,000 plants. From 2007 to 2010 a total of 123 new species have been recorded in the region. The aquarium I made shows swamp located in the Heart of Borneo.



12. Mekong Basin of Laos

Vasilis Athanasopoulos-Feredinos (Thessaloniki, Greece)
Aquarium Volume: 125 l
Animals: Tetraodon suvattii
Plants: Microsorum pteropus
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope of Mekong basin in southeast Laos. Mekong River is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the 7th longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world. It has a length of about 4,350 km. Rising in southeastern Qinghai province, China, it flows through the eastern part of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan province, after which it forms part of the border between Myanmar and Laos, as well as between Laos and Thailand. The river then flows through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before draining into the South China Sea south of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Vientiane (Viangchan), the capital of Laos, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, both stand on its banks. About three-fourths of the drainage area of the Mekong lies within the four countries the river traverses on its lower course: Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The river basin may be divided into six major sections on the basis of landforms, vegetation, and soils: the northern highlands, Khorat Plateau, eastern highlands, southern lowlands, southern highlands, and delta. Most of the vegetation in the lower basin is of the tropical broad-leaved variety, although the occurrence of individual species varies with latitude and topography. For much of its length the Mekong flows through bedrock channels, i.e. channels that are confined or constrained by bedrock or old alluvium in the bed and riverbanks. Geomorphologic features normally associated with the alluvial stretches of mature rivers, such as meanders, oxbow lakes, cut-offs, and extensive floodplains are restricted to a short stretch of the mainstream around Vientiane and downstream of Kratie where the river develops alluvial channels that are free of control exerted by the underlying bedrock. The commercially valuable fish species in the Mekong are generally divided between "black fish", which inhabit low oxygen, slow moving, shallow waters, and "white fish", which inhabit well oxygenated, fast moving, deeper waters. Other aquatic animals such as freshwater crabs, shrimps, snakes, turtles, and frogs. The Mekong has no fewer than 20,000 species of plants, 1,200 bird species, 800 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 430 mammal species. Over 1300 new species have been catalogued since 1997.



13. Java ferns and Oryzias javanicus

Emil Visan (Bucuresti, Romania)
Aquarium Volume: 45 l
Animals: Oryzias javanicus
Plants: Microsorum pteropus
Biotope description: The Aquarium represents one shore of a deciduous forest, of the river Mekong in Cambodia. "Mekong River", derived from "Mae Nam Khong" = mother of water. The Mekong is a trans-boundary river in Southeast Asia. It is the world's 12th longest river and the 7th longest in Asia. Its estimated length is 4,350 km, and it drains an area of 795,000 km2, discharging 457 km3 of water annually. As the Mekong enters Cambodia, over 95% of the flows have already joined the river. From here on downstream the terrain is flat and water levels rather than flow volumes determine the movement of water across the landscape. More than half of Cambodia remains covered with mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf forest, but forest cover has decreased from 73% in 1973 to 63% in 1993. The Mekong basin is one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. Only the Amazon boasts a higher level of biodiversity. Biota estimates for the Greater Mekong Subregion include 20,000 plant species, 430 mammals, 1,200 birds, 800 reptiles and amphibians, and an estimated 850 freshwater fish species (excluding euryhaline species mainly found in salt or brackish water, as well as introduced species). The most species richness orders among the freshwater fish in the river basin are cypriniforms (377 species) and catfish (92 species).



14. Kelani River, Sri Lanka

Alexei Sadomov (Orenburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 25 l
Animals: Puntius titteya
Plants: Spirogyra sp.
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on Kelani River biotope (Sri Lanka), it is a small backwater with almost no flow. Tree branches in the water and rocks are covered with hair algae. Small barbs feed peacefully in such secluded place.



15. Marginal zone of slow flowing river in South India

Vyacheslav Smirnov (Krasnogorsk, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 230 l
Animals: Barbus ticto, Barbus nigrofasciatus
Plants: Rotala rotundifolia, Rotala indica, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Васора monnieri
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a biotope with barbs in South India. The marginal area of the slow flowing river is densely covered with Rotala. The bottom consists of coarse sand with a high content of clay.



16. White Cloud Mountain, Kwangtung, China

George Pantazopoulos (Gerakas, Greece)
Aquarium Volume: 80 l
Animals: Tanichthys albonubes
Plants: Adiantum sp., Vesicularia montagnei, Vesicularia dubyana, Ficus benjamina, Soleirolia soleirolii
Biotope description: Type locality is "White Cloud Mountain, Kwangtung, China", referring to White Cloud Mountain (also known as Mount Baiyun or Baiyunshan) a few miles north of the city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China and this species is probably restricted to the Pearl River Delta region. Between 1980 and 2001 it was not recorded anywhere at all leading to fears of its extinction but a handful of relict populations have been discovered close to the type locality and at isolated spots in coastal Guangdong province (in the prefecture-level city of Shanwei) and Quang Ninh province, northeastern Vietnam. Little published information exists but one of the populations rediscovered close to the type locality in Guangdong inhabits a sluggish, spring-fed mountain stream with clear, shallow water and dense growths of aquatic vegetation. They were observed swimming in schools in calmer zones and backwaters close to patches of dense, trailing marginal vegetation. Found in clean, sluggish coastal stream amongst hydrophytes. Can survive in water temperature as low as 5°C. Feed on zooplankton and detritus. Stomach analyses of wild specimens have revealed it to be a micropredator feeding on small insects, worms, crustaceans and other zooplankton.



17. Forest stream in the south-western part of Sri Lanka

Maxim Chernyshov (Rostov-on-Don, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 160 l
Animals: Pethia nigrofasciata, Puntius titteya , Mystus vittatus
Plants: Cryptocoryne beckettii
Biotope description: In the aquarium there is a forest stream of south-western "wet zone" of Sri Lanka. There are river systems here such as Kelani and Nilwala, as well as many rivers in between. Water may be relatively cool, clear to slightly stained, soft, pH is typically low. Macrophytes are rare in such streams, but dense thickets of coastal vegetation can occur, sometimes overhanging the entire width of the flow. Bottom, mostly sandy, is covered with a layer of fallen leaves and branches. In the south-western part of Sri Lanka there are following fish species: Rasboroides vaterifloris, Puntius bimaculatus, P. kelumi, Pethia nigrofasciata, Puntius titteya, Dawkinsia singhala, Schistura notostigma, Mystus vittatus, Aplocheilus werneri, Channa orientalis, Malpulutta kretseri, and Mastacembelus armatus. Plants: Aponogeton rigidifolius, Cryptocoryne alba, Cryptocoryne beckettii, Cryptocoryne bogneri, Cryptocoryne thwaitesii, Cryptocoryne walkeri, Cryptocoryne waseri, Lagenandra praetermissa, Lagenandra ovata.



18. Eastern Peninsular Malaysian peat swamp

Tijn Sullot (Roermond, Netherlands)
Aquarium Volume: 45 l
Animals: Parosphromenus nagyi
Plants: Nepenthes reinwardtiana
Biotope description: This aquarium was set up based on eastern Peninsular Malaysia peat swamps where the Parosphromenus nagyi live. Sadly a great deal of its original habitat has been lost via deforestation and other human alterations and it’s considered in danger of extinction. In the majority of cases it now survives only in remnants of heavily-modified peat swamp habitats such as irrigation ditches and roadside canals... In unaltered habitats they live between decaying leaves and mazes of branches and plant roots in dark stained water. These areas are called peat swamps. Peat swamps are waterlogged forests growing on a layer of dead leaves and plant material up to 20 metres thick. The peat swamps comprise an ancient and unique ecosystem characterized by waterlogging, with low nutrients and very low oxygen levels in acidic water regimes. The water is stained dark brown by the tannins that are released from the fallen leaves and peat, that is the reason why these areas are also called "blackwater swamps". These Peat swamps are Malaysia’s largest wetland type accounting for about 75 percent of the country’s total wetlands. But only less then 20 percent off these peat swamps lay in Peninsular Malaysia. The forest floors are seasonally flooded but during the dry season only very small puddles remain waterlogged. Most fish are then able to bury themselves in the bottom of their dried up habitat. There, they can live in moist cavities until water once again fill these area's during a rainy period. Due to poor nutrient levels, aquatic insect life is scarce and the fish diversity is usually lower compared to freshwater swamp forests. But there is a high level of endemicism and many peat swamp species own a rare kind of beauty that are probably the result from their isolation and adaptation to these demanding habitats. Despite this amazing ecology the peat swamps are disappearing at a rapid rate. Peat swamps are drained and cleared to make room for development, or to convert into oil palm, rubber or other plantation crops. In the last 20 years, the proportion of forested peat swamp in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo dropped from 77 percent to 36 percent. Of those that remain, less than 10 percent are found in legally protected areas. Sadly the other part does not receive any formal protection!



19. Mi Oya river, Sri Lanka

Dmitry Rumyantsev (Ivanovo, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 60 l
Animals: Barbus titteya
Plants: Cryptocoryne wendtii Мі Oya, Cryptocoryne beckettii, Cryptocoryne cordata, Cryptocoryne pontederiifolia
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up to present the biotope of the Mi Oya river in Sri Lanka. The bottom of the slow flowing river is covered with thickets of Cryptocoryne that serve as shelter for the cherry barbs.



20. Asian Colours

Alexander Mikhailovsky (Vladivostok, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 180 l
Animals: Puntius titteya, Barbus tetrazona, Barbus semifasciolatus Schuberti, Barbus conchonius, Danio rerio, Crossocheilus siamensis, Ancistrus dolichopterus, Ancistrus dolichopterus var. gold, Bagridae, Botia macracantha, Botia superciliaris, Hyphessobrycon minor
Plants: Cryptocoryne wendtii brown, Anubias nana, Anubias barteri var. barteri, Anubias barteri var. angustifolia, Ludwigia repens Rubin
Biotope description: The aquarium was created based on South Asian water bodies.



Australia & Oceania

1. Backwater of Urunga creek

Alexey Shabalin (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 45 l
Animals: Iriatherina werneri, Pseudomugil gertrudae
Plants: Vallisneria nana, Utricularia uliginosa, Marsilea crenata, Vesicularia sp.
Biotope description: Arnhem Land is the north-eastern region of Australia's Northern Territory, where the rainforests grow in valleys of rivers. In the aquarium there is a marginal area of a shaded backwater of Urunga creek in East Arnhem County. There, among the flooded roots of trees and plants, timid flocks of Iriatherina werneri and Pseudomugil gertrudae find refuge.At a muddy shore there are amphibious plants: Marsilea and Utricularia who feel good both in water, and on dry land. Where the flow is stronger among the rounded stones, there are Australian relative of the popular Vallisneria spiralis: Vallisneria nana.



2. Calm bay of small tributary of Mamberamo River

Jakub Kijak (Zegrze, Poland)
Aquarium Volume: 112 l
Animals: Melanotaenia praecox
Plants: Vallisneria spiralis
Biotope description: The Mamberamo River is the largest northern river of West Papua and the center of the Mamberamo river system. There are a number of tributaries, slow-flowing streams and backwaters. Different species of rainbowfish are very common in region. I tried to recreate one of the slow flowing tributaries. However water moved part of the sand and covered driftwood. I used dry Phragmites australis, dry tropical leaves, fine driftwood and Vallisneria spiralis. I also used white sand according to that biotope.



3. Forest stream near Popondetta. Papua New Guinea

Elena Mazurek (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 20 l
Animals: Tateurndina ocellicauda
Plants: Blyxa novoguineensis, Microsorum pteropus, Vallisneria sp., Hygrophila corymbosa аngustifolia
Biotope description: The peacock gudgeon is a very beautiful, peaceful fish with interesting behavior. In nature it inhabits shallow waters with slow flow or still water near the small towns Safia and Popondetta in the south-east of Papua - New Guinea. This aquarium presents a sunny shallow stream that slowly carries its crystal-clear water through the tropical rainforest. Its sandy-muddy bottom is covered with leaves, branches, roots of coastal plants, sometimes there are piles of driftwood, in open areas aquatic plants grow, pH is about 7, the temperature is 21-23°C. In shallow parts the water warms up to a higher temperature. In the aquarium there are small caves among driftwood for shelter and spawning.



4. Stream which flows into Lake Sentani

Alexander Polimonov (Perm, Russia)
Aquarium Volume: 350 l
Animals: Chlamydogobius eremius, Marosatherina ladigesi, Glossolepis incisus, Melanotaenia boesemani, Melanotaenia praecox
Biotope description: It was an attempt to show a stream, to show fast flow using various factions of stones and sand. The bed of the stream is located at an angle 45 degrees to the aquarium. Large boulders in the foreground show the border of the stream and the beginning of the bank. We see a cross section of a stream at an angle of 45 degrees. Big driftwood and pebbles under it should just improve the sense of presence, because the driftwood does not let the fast flow turn big stones into small pebbles.



5. Unnamed Stream, in Utikini Baru, Timika. West Papua, Indonesia

Álvaro Gutiérrez Manjón (Coslada, Spain)
Aquarium Volume: 100 l
Animals: Pseudomugil sp. var. Red Neon, Melanotaenia australis (вместо Melanotaenia macculochi)
Plants: Microsorum pteropus, Microsorum pteropus var. Narrow. Microsorum pteropus var. Windelov, Microsorum pteropus var. Trident, Cryptocoryne wendtii var. Brown, Cryptocoryne parva, Cryptocoryne pigmea, Bolbitis heteroclita var. difformis, Vesicularia dubyana
Biotope description: A great unknown Creek, reconstructed on the basis of information about nearly rivers and some videos. Guinea Island is almost unexplored. Here we can find streams, rivers and lakes with lots of plants that they coming mostly from Southeast Asia. It's very rare for there to be part of Oceania plants from another continent in these rivers. Clear water with little current and lots of vegetation and wood. The substrate used is JBL Manado. Inside are 6 driftwoods that serve as attachment to the ferns. 2 vine driftwoods, 2 red moor driftwoods, 1 mopani driftwood and 1 mangrove driftwood.




Unitex_L's picture

Anyone can create account on our website, evaluate all the entries and comment down the page. It will not affect the result, but will help us getting useful information.

Good luck to every participant of the contest, and enjoy the entries!

Beautiful aquariums, some called me a lot of attention!


The correct title of reffered publication is "The Complete Aquarium", Peter W. Scott, Dorling Kindersley, 1996.

A lot of great setups, especially in euroasia category . Good luck to all :)

Butterfly_Greece's picture

Καλή επιτυχία σε όλους!!!!

Great competition!


Lack little to the result

In the SA results of competition
Tank #2 and #5 isn't biotope correct.
In the #2 situation is not really bad as the fishes live in the same river (but are not seen together in the same parts of it), but in the #5... Apistogramma trifasciata in Peru? Not possible ;)
Tanks that were classiffied lower were more correct.
Hope to see judges comments as in previous years.