Borneo, Indonesia, West Kalimantan, a small creek of Kapuas River

76th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

italy Italy. Lorenzo Strolighi

Volume: 33 L
Dimensions: 45x25x30 cm
List of fishes: Sphaerichthys vaillanti
List of plants: Microsorum pteropus, Pistia stratiotes
Description of decorations:  driftwood, leaves
Description of equipment: Lighting: Led lamp 6500°K, Filtration: small and slow internal filter
Water parameters: pH 5.0/5.5, Conductivity <50 µS/cm, T. 26°-30°

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The Kapuas River is a river in the Indonesian part of Borneo island. At 1,143 kilometers in length, it is the longest river of Indonesia and one of the world’s longest island rivers.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: Sphaerichthys vaillanti live in the very soft, acidic, tannin stained peat swamps, brick water streams, and slow moving river systems with negligible amounts of dissolved mineral content where the pH can be as low as 3.0 or 4.0. This biotope reproduce a small riverside creek among leaf litter, submerged tree roots and other debris. The dense rainforest above the small swamp doesnt let the light to penetrate the water surface and the substrate is littered with fallen tree branches and rotting leaves. I used sand, and a very soft water <50 microsiemens/cm and a lot of driftwood and leaves to obtain a typical stained dark brown water. Humic acids released by those botanical are important to have a natural feel and extremly important for the growth of beneficial microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. Swimming and pattern simulate a dead leaf.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: At the type locality there were no aquatic plants and the fish were collected among submerged tree roots in clear, slightly tannin-stained water. The pH was 5.3, conductivity 20 µS/cm and water temperature 29.5°C.

List of fishes: About 300 species of fish have been identified in the river basin from family of Cyprinidae, Anabantidae, Cobitidae, Balitoridae, Osphronemidae etc. etc.

List of plants: In such water parameters few plant species as Microsorum Sp or Cryptocoryne sp. can grow.

Threats to the ecology: This part of the world due to human activity as illegal gold mining, deforestation, conversion of land to agriculture, overfishing, the introduction of exotic species and the aquaculture industry has been altered or lost entirely. Satellite studies show that some 56% of protected lowland tropical rainforests in Kalimantan were cut down between 1985 and 2001 to supply global timber demand. Sphaerichthys vaillanti  is marked as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List. According to the IUCN attempted conservation efforts have thus far failed and a significant percentage of Sphaerichthys vaillanti populations may have already been lost. The population is thought to be decreasing at a rate of more than 30% over the previous ten years, although detailed numbers are not known. There are no conservation measures currently known to be in action at habitat or species level and that’s why I decided to keep and reproduce this nice and interesting fish.

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