Eubenangee Swamp National Park North Queensland Australia

_th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020

Volume: 500 L
Dimensions: 140x60x60 cm

List of fishes: Melanotaenia maccullochi, Pseudomugil gertrudae

List of plants: Vallisneria nana, Marsilea sp., Nymphaea sp., Phragmites australis, Ceratophyllum demersum, Plus plants above the water surface: Phragmites australis, Castanospermum australe, Ficus benjamina

Description of decorations: Stones of a color similar to those found in the biotope and river sand purchased in an aquarium shop were used to build the arrangement in the aquarium. Larger and smaller (personally found) roots served as an additional decoration. The effect of a naturally silted bottom was created by sprinkling a small amount of garden soil, which was sifted through the finest sieve, and after it was rinsed, it was gently poured onto the surface, and then everything settled to the bottom, and this effect was created over time. All elements of the aquarium decor have been properly cleaned and heat treated to keep the fish safe. The whole thing is to imitate a flooded swamp shore with tree roots, reeds and grasses. First, a matte self-adhesive foil was used to make the background, and then a blue mat about 1 cm away, which was additionally illuminated with RGB tape. Place the roots and dry grass in the space between the rear glass and the blue mat attached to the wall. This is to mimic the depth of the aquatic landscape. This technique has been called “Deep shadow”.

Description of equipment: Filtration: JBL CristalProfi e1901 greenline – 1900l / h.
15l bucket divided into 5 baskets with media, one is a protective sponge, the other four are ceramics, which creates a complete biological division in the filter.
The primary lighting is Aquatlantis Easy LED Freshwater, 1047mm, 6800 ° K-52w Eady Led Control, which simulates the natural and gradual effects of sunrise and sunset. I also use an additional 4000K-10W LED lamp with warm light that mimics the sun’s rays. The blue background behind the aquarium is lit by a strip of white RGB LEDs.

Water parameters: Temperature: 25°C, pH: 6,8, Hardness: Gh 9, TDS: 222

Additional info: The water in the aquarium is replaced at 20% every 10 days. Bacteria are also added with each water change.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope:

Eubenangee Swamp is a national park in the Eubenangee region of Cairns, Queensland in Australia, 1,332 km northwest of Brisbane. It is part of the important wet tropic coastal bird area, designated as such by BirdLife International for its importance in the conservation of lowland tropical rainforest birds. It is home to over 190 species of birds, is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

The Eubenangee Swamp, an important coastal lowland wetland between Ingham and Cairns. Located below the Bellenden Ker range (Australia’s wettest part), most of this park is flooded during the rainy season. In addition to being an important habitat for waterbirds and crocodiles, the park also protects some of the last remnants of various types of lowland vegetation.

The area has high annual rainfall, most of which falls in the rainy season (December to April). These summer months are characterized by high temperatures (usually above 30 ° C) and very high humidity, second only to intense downpours. The winter months are very pleasant, with lower humidity and temperatures (daily range from 16 to 26 ° C) and frequent, bright, sunny days.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The watercourses in this area have quite a lot of vegetation above and below the water. They are mainly grasses and reeds. There are also a lot of trees. A large amount of greenery immersed in water, as well as the roots of trees, shrubs and grasses give this place a very specific character. The water contains stones often covered with algae, river sand and sunken pieces of wood of various sizes. The clear, slightly shaded water shows the full color palette of fish living in these areas.

Description of the parameters of the habitat:

The parameters of the water in the Eubenangee Swamp are varied due to the dry and rainy season and the water level in the marshes. This suggests that a significant amount of runoff water from flooded meadows quickly reaches places with greater retention capacity. The quality of such surface runoff is therefore different depending on the type and condition of the runoff water.

The parameters of the water in the Eubenangee Swamp are varied due to the dry and rainy season and the water level in the marshes. This suggests that a significant amount of runoff water from flooded meadows quickly reaches places with greater retention capacity. The quality of such surface runoff is therefore different depending on the type and condition of the runoff water.

As a rule, the water there is quite acidic (pH 5.8 to 6.0), poorly buffered (very low alkalinity) and quite diluted (EC << 50 μS cm-1) with ionic ratios similar to sea water. It essentially resembles carbon dioxide-saturated rainwater, indicating that the runoff does not have enough time to flush out much salt from heavily weathered surface soil. All particles of dust, soil and organic debris are washed away from the surface of the earth and fall to the bottom of the swamp.

The natural habitats of M. maccullochi and Pseudomugil gertrudae are influenced by seasonal conditions, water depth, flow rates and the time of day at which measurements are recorded. The surface waters of the rainy season are among the most delicate in Australia, with the total amount of dissolved solids generally below 20 mg / l and the hardness and alkalinity consistently below 10 mg / l. The buffering capacity is therefore extremely low, as a result of which these waters are subject to significant a decrease in pH, sometimes even reaching 3.6. The relative uniformity of the rainy season clearly contrasts with the progressive deterioration of water quality during the dry season. Conductivity levels are generally higher in the dry season, when freshwater is not flowing into the catchment area. Towards the end of the dry season, the loss of evaporation causes a gradual increase in conductivity with more than ten times the solute concentration. Conductivity generally increases with river flow along the river, but significant discontinuities in this gradient can occur at the confluence points with other tributaries and groundwater sources etc. Slightly higher pH levels are characteristic of coastal streams, as the pH tends to increase with salinity. Based on their natural habitats, the following range of water conditions was recorded Hardness: 2-84 mg / L CaCO3 Conductivity: 34 – 200 µS / cm.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Giuris margaritacea, Tilapia mariae (introduced), Kuhlia rupestris, Cairns Ichthys rhomboides, Anguilla reinhardtii

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Hydrocotyle oraria, Azolla pinnata, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Potamogeton octandrus, Ludwigia octovalvis, Nymphaea immutabilis

Threats to the ecology: etlands are of great importance on a dry continent like Australia. They are a water reservoir for the areas around them. Besides this function, they are of great importance to Australian wildlife.They are the habitat of a huge number of animals. From the smallest ones, insects, through numerous species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, ending with mammals. There are species not found in other regions of the world, such as marsupials, giant Crocodylus porosus. Very important from the point of view of ecology, after last year’s fires, they inspired me to create an aquarium that, at least in part, reflects the beauty of this place.

Sources of information:

  1. Tappin A.R. (2011) Rainbowfishes – Their Care & Keeping in Captivity. Art Publications, Australia.
  16. A Compendium of Ecological Information on Australia’s Northern Tropical Rivers, report5, Water quality, Barry Butler (Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research, James Cook University, Townsville Queensland 4811 Australia). PDF

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020