El Coyote River, ecologic park Charco Azul, Nuevo León, Mexico

64th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Mexico. Marco Arroyo

Volume: 366 L
Dimensions: 122x50x60 cm
List of fishes: Xiphophorus sp. regio, Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Heterandria bimaculata, Gammarus sp.
List of plants: Eleocharis cellulosa, Hydrocotile verticillata, Ludwigia peploides, Cyperus alternifolius, Alocasia macrorrhiza.
Description of decorations: The decorations consist mainly on rocks that i collect from the place name “El Coyote”, they are very calcaric and the substrate its also a compilation of small rocks of the same type and sand, just as the ones i show in the photos that i add from the site where i toke the idea to make the biotope, in the back of the tank you can see the plants that are emerged, the substrate i use for the plants is Azoo Grow Bed, i took that decision to maintain the trace elements that the plants will need to develope and grow.
Description of equipment: The filtration its very simple, it consist in an internal filter that moves 400 l/h, and of course water changes every single day, the lights are custome made, i use three lamps, one its from a high quality company and brand name Messi lamps, made in México of 52 watts and 4400 lumens. And the other two lamps i use, are designed for aquaponic cultures, with colors reds and blues.
Water parameters: Temperature 25ºC, ph 7.2, kh 180 ppm, chlorine 0 mg/l, Gh 300 ppm, Nitrite NO2 .5 Mg/l, Nitrate NO3 10 Mg/l
Additional info: I make water changes every single day, just 20 percent, to maintain the health if the tank and the fishes.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The place i visit to inspire and make the biotope, its an ecologic park name “Charco Azul”, its located at 544 meter above sea level, in that place you can find an small river that is name “El Coyote”, this park its very crowed the weekends because is just as a public place to swim and make some bbq, the main problem about this is that theres lots of trash in the banks of the river and in some places in the water, but if you walk up in the river the conditions changes and you will find a few springs with clean water.
Nuevo León is a state of Mexico whose capital is Monterrey, the hydrography of this state is very varied because it is composed of rivers, lakes, lagoons and dams. Each of them has its own characteristics. The place where the biotipe or habitat of the fish Herichthys cyanoguttatus its a chain of mountains well known as cerro de la silla, and its compose of a mountain range of a lot of kilometers, the place its located at 24 kilometers away from dowtown, very near, the area around the habitat is surrounded by a large amount of flora and fauna, since the place is not very busy upstream, the habitat consists of a small stream that comes down from the mountain, and in the banks of this stream we can find plants like Adiantum tricholepis, Callitriche stagnalis, Eleocharis sp., Plantago major, Shelf fungi, Begonia uniflora, Ferns Thelypteris, Xanthosoma robostum, Lobelia cardinalis, among others; being important point to highlight the large number of butterflies that can be seen in the area such as, Battus philenor, Anthanassa texana, Euptoieta hegesia, Phoebis agarithe, Chlosyne lacinia, Heterusia atalantata and many more.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The rives pass throw very calcaric rocks and in some places make deep pools where you can find mainly the big fishes, the biotope i wan to replicate its from the dry season, you will see theres a lot of algae in the rocks and floating, these its ocassioned because of the lack of current, in the dry seasson the level of the water in the river its very low and great quantities of phosphates will acumulate and origen the bloom of algae. The substrate its compose of small pebles from different shapes and sand. The plants you can find under water are, Ludwigia peploides, Ludwigia reppens, Hydrocotile verticillata, Fissidens fontanus, Polygonum, Heleocharis cellulosa, Lobelia cardinalis.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The driest month is December, with 15 mm of rain. With an average of 145 mm, the highest precipitation falls in September. July is the warmest month of the year, the temperature in July averages 28.2 ° C. January has the lowest average temperature of the year. It is 14.0 ° C, The water stays allways trasnparent or clear, because its flowing all the time, and this are the parameters of the river, ph 8.4, kh 300ppm, chlorine 0 Mg/l, Gh 300 ppm, Nitrite NO2 1.0 Mg/l, Nitrate NO3 80 Mg/l.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: The list of fauna its complex, mainly because of the introduction of some fishes and invertebrates, you can find as a native fauna the Xiphophorus sp. Regio, Herichthys cyanogutattus, Dionda sp., Astyanax mexicanus, Gammarus sp., and introduce Oreochromis niloticus, Procambarus clarkii, Heterandria bimaculata.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Ludwigia peploides, Ludwigia reppens, Hydrocotile verticillata, Fissidens fontanus, Polygonum, Heleocharis cellulosa, Lobelia cardinalis.

Threats to the ecology: The porpouse of the biotope im presenting, its to encourage people to respect tha biodiversity by possitive actions, its very sad to see lots of introduce species that are competing in the same ecological nich, for example you cant find anymore any Procambarus regiomontanus cause where replace by Procambarus clarkii, also the introduction of Heterandria bimaculata tithe the population of the Xiphophorus sp, regio, also with the bad news that i find lots of hybrids, that means that somebody introduce maybe Xiphophorus variatus, and if that was not enough the most invasive species in the world its also present in the river, Oreochromis sp., all these pressure in the biodiversity its causing the decline of the species, and also the interaction with the people who contaminates the water throwing and leaving the trash from their festivities on the weekends its putting in highly risk the sustainability of the system; but why do we need to worry about the situation of “El Coyote”? well, the anwser seems to be very simple, as many know the species of plants and animals depends from others to subsist, some produce the oxygen we breath, others absorb the CO2, some decompose the organic materials to maintain the fertility of the land, and without them the live in the planet will be imposible to succed, so the biodiversity its the most important thing we have to subsist as a human being, we need to take care of our water systems and all the things that sorround them.

Sources of information:
Freshwater Fishes of México, Robert Rush Miller, The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
Video made by myself of the habitat where the biotope was inspired

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019