Billabong in the Wenlock basin, Cape York Peninsula, Australia

37th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2016

belgium Belgium. Jeroen Vanhooren

Aquarium Volume: 100 L
Fish and invertebrates: Hypseleotris compressa, Pseudomugil gertrudae, Iriatherina werneri
Plants list: Blyxa aubertii, Limnophila aromatica, Nymphoides sp.
Biotope description: This biotope aquarium simulates the edges of a billabong in the Wenlock river basin.
A billabong is formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end.  These billabongs can have different characteristics, from permanent to temporarily, freshwater to saline, shallow to deep.
Wenlock river is situated in Far North Queensland and generally flows north-west through tropical savannah and different wetland types. At Port Musgrave Wenlock river and Ducie River join each other to enter the Gulf of Carpentaria.  Wenlock has the highest diversity of fish species in Australia (48 species). Many of them are also found in southern New Guinea, as in the past (before sea levels in Torres Strait rised at the termination of the last Ice Age) it was one land mass.
This freshwater billabong lies in an undulating landscape in the middle of the catchment. It is surrounded by Eucalyptus and has a sandy bottom with organic debris. Water characterstics are highly variable in these environments (22-30°C, pH 5-7,5) and highly driven by season.
In the riparian section one can find Barringtonia acutangula. At the edges Staurogyne leptocaulis and Limnophila sp.  are found. In the permanently wet section Utricularia gibba and Blyxa aubertii occur. The somewhat deeper parts are home for Nymphaea/Nymphoides sp.
Lots of fishes are found in this billabong like Ambassis agrammus, gudgeons (Hypseleotris compressa, Oxyeleotris nullipora, Mogurnda mogurnda),  Melanotaenia splendida inornata, Iriatherina werneri, Pseudomugil gertrudae, and many more. One can also find Cherax spp in these billabongs.
Although Wenlock river catchment is rather pristine, different stressors can influence these vulnerable ecosystems. Bauxite mining and introduced foreign species are possible threats to water quality and local fauna and flora. Global warming has an unpredictable influence on quality and quantity of the water.

Photo Gallery

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2016

This aquarium is noticeable among other entries like Australia itself stands out among the other continents. I like the choice of plants and the way the foreground is used. It is a good job with the perspective. It is an atmosphere of a natural habitat. You can see that the fishes have long been familiar with each other, they are from the same biotope. It is very organic aquarium. Unfortunately, the photos are not very good. The videos gave a more precise idea of the entry.

Yuriy Yancher (Ukraine)