Blackwater peat swamp near Muar, Malaysia

44th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018

russia Greece. Christos Nikolakoulis

Volume: 250 L
Dimensions: 100x50x50 cm
List of fishes: Channa bankanensis
List of plants: Blyxa aubertii, Cryptocoryne purpurea
Description of decorations: Driftwood, branches and small roots. The substrate I create it with large and small stones, beige quartz sand and fine gravel. Peat soil and catappa leaves above the substrate, give the result we encounter in the natural environment.
Description of equipment: Internal 3 stages side filter with eheim 1,000 litres per hour pump, LED lights, 300watt heater, Reverse osmosis system.
Water parameters: Temperature 28°C, pH 3.2, GH 1, KH 0, Tds 75.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The town of Muar is located at the mouth of Muar river which flows also through the states of Johor, Negeri, Sembilan and Pahang. Muar river and his tributaries flowing through forested swamps, blackwater stream systems and wetlands. One of these swamps is south of Muar district with coordinates ( 2 ° 25′ N ” 102° 34′ E” ) where channa bankanensis habitat is.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The blackwater peat swamps are rich in tannic and humic acids. The water is typically stained darkly.The substrate consists of fine gravel and small rocks. Fallen branches, bark, seed pods, and a dense carpet of leaf litter line the bottom in areas close to the water’s edge, providing not only abundant shelter but also a rich source of detritus and biofilm for fish to graze on. In the wet soil, water-tolerant vegetation grows and helps maintain a moist, swampy condition.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The water, especially during the low water season, is warm (28-30C), extremely acidic (as low as 3.0 – 3.5 pH) with references to speak for (2.8 – 2.9ph) , with almost no mineral content and conductivity 75.0μS – 100μS cm. At the wet season the water is colder with the temperature to fall at (24-25C) and the ph to raise at (3.5 – 5.0).

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Channa bankanensis, Sphaerichthys selatanensis, Betta persephone, Betta bellica.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Blyxa aubertii, Cryptocoryne griffithii, Cryptocoryne affinis, Cryptocoryne cordata.

Sources of information:

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018