A mountain stream in southern Primorye

The 4th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga

Volume: 100 L
List of fishes: Phoxinus czekanowskii, Pungitius sinensis, Barbatula toni
List of plants: Fontinalis sp.
Biotope description: In the biotope aquarium there is a small tributary of the river Maihe (now Artyomovka). The river starts in the south-western slopes of the Przewalski Mountains (the southern part of the mountain range of the Sikhote-Alin) at an altitude of 460 m, flows in a southern direction and empties into the Gulf of Peter the Great Bay of Japan Sea. The water level in the river and its tributaries is highly dependent on the season, which is very typical for the mountain rivers of the South Ussuri region. When it rains a little, river becomes much shallower, small streams completely go under stones in places. This time the fish waits in deep pits. During the summer typhoon the water level could rise by 3-5 meters and then roaring stream carries uprooted huge trees. The biotope you see is a typical mountain taiga stream, characteristic inhabitants of which are small fishes that love fast and clean, oxygenated water: common minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) and Lagovsky minnow (P. lagowskii), Amur stickleback (Pungitius sinensis), Siberian stone loach (Barbatula toni) etc. However, there are also large predators such as sharp-snouted lenok (Brachymystax lenok) and resident form of masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou). Aquatic vegetation is represented only by moss Fontinalis. Partially rounded stones, among which red lava is not uncommon, large driftwood and fallen trees are typical scenery of the stream.

It was so perfectly done, really astonishing and I believe no one could have done it better, and as everything is 100% correct, even the flow of the mountain stream and accordingly the plants and decoration, that it received my highest points in all this contest. Congratulations to Vyacheslav and I am very happy to find so far on the other end of Russia such a great biotope-person.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

Although a bit large, the Phoxinus featured are stunning fish and the decor and aspect ratio of the tank do set a mountain stream scene.

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

This layout reminds me the Congo’s rivers, but I liked the sense of flow and the aquatic plants arrangement. The fishes feel comfortable, but I think that the aquarium could be a little bit bigger.

André Longarço (Brazil)

It is an undisputed leader. Here there is everything: plants and fish, decorative technique, beauty of perception. I can guess even the direction of the flow, and the minnow males looking like they usually do when breeding are a delight.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

An interesting arrangement, unfortunately the fish population is too high in contrast to the volume of the aquarium.

Victor Mihai (Romania)

I seldom see cold water river biotope setups, I wish there were more, they are so amazing. The rocks placed high, at or past the middle of the aquarium represent mountain river riffles perfectly. This is a biotope aquarium example to follow.

Ivan Mikolji (Venezuela)

A biotope aquarium in the true sense of the word, this tank demonstrates a the results of diligent research and personal experience. All inhabitants are exactly those found together in nature, and of course these fish are not purchased from any aquarium shop! Neither is the moss commonly available, it is just what appears in the wild biotope. A strong current mimics the unidirectional flow of the stream and allows the fish to engage in their natural behaviour swimming against the current in a school or sheltering among the rocks. The type of river stones and gravel are right for the biotope, as is the growth pattern of moss on top of the stones (though I would have preferred more variety in the size of the stones) and the fern extending underwater from the “shore” is a nice touch. More effort could have been expended to create a “bank” with some sloping and terracing of gravel with different-sized stones. All fish look vigorously healthy and are courting, displaying, and schooling just as they would in the wild.

Michael Salter (Canada)