Barito river basin, Borneo

The 7th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015

india India. Hamza Syed

Volume: 70 L
List of fishes: Betta pallifina
List of 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.

The bottom is perfect here. It is best visible on photo number 2 – lots of debris, small twigs and leaves, and all this is covered with very natural looking mud – yet it doesn’t look dirty and untidy. The cryptocoryne in the back part of photo 2, with some leaves also covered with a bit of mud, looks exactly as such plants growing on the bottom look in the wild.

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

An absolutely gorgeous biotope arrangement. Having the plants growing out from between the fallen leaves, sticks, and roots gives the scene a very organic feel. It looks like a sheltered catchment behind a tree root near the shore where different types of leaves and debris have collected, including seeds, which have germinated and grown in this protected alcove. The lighting creates an illusion of the roots and plants looming out of the darkness, so there is an excellent sense of depth. The sloping substrate from front to back adds to this. Finally the mass of glowing feathery plants at the top softens and diffuses the lighting, a nice touch. The inhabitants looks very comfortable and blend right in among the leaf litter and foreground foliage. They have been fooled successfully!

Michael Salter (Canada)