Flooded area under tree in middle Rio Guapore drainage, Bolivia

14th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018

russia Poland. Kamil Hazy

Volume: 345 L
Dimensions: 180x60x32 cm
List of fishes: Apistogramma trifasciata, Corydoras sterbai, Hyphessobrycon eques
List of plants: Helanthium bolivianum
Description of decorations: Well watered driftwood covers a sandy substrate (0,4-1,2mm). Mix of peat, leaves, bark and small branches lays in the parts of tank with small current.
Description of equipment: Eheim 2228 external filter, Eheim skim 350, Rossmont mover M4600 circulation pump
Water parameters: Temperature varies from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius (depends on time of the year) but for most of it stays in about 23-24 degrees. KH 1, GH 1, pH 6.5-6.8, conductivity 50 µS/cm.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Rio Guapore/Itenez is a 1530 km long river lying at the Bolivian-Brazilian border. Unlike other rivers in the Madeira system it’s a “clearwater” right bank tributary to the Rio Mamore and drains the eastern Bolivian lowlands and southern Brazilian Shield. It originates in the Mato Grosso Plateau, Brazil and therefore variety of flora and fauna is similar to those found in the Pantanal wetlands region. Extensive areas of seasonally flooded forests and savannas, swamps, marshes, and shallow, flat-bottomed lakes creates a unique ecosystem with variety of specialized habitats. Whole area is extremely rich in flora and fauna species. Literature says there is about 600+ different fish species in Itenez drainage. Some people call Rio Guapore the most rich river in aquatic plants all over the South America.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: Specified biotope represents flooded area of “grassland” near the small enclave of trees, quite far from the main riverbed, so the water level varies from 50 cm to almost completely dry depends on time of the year (in aquarium it is 30 cm). Occurrence of trees in the area gives a perfect habitat for small fish like Apistogramma sp. because of many hiding places between roots, wood pieces lying here and there, or in leaf litter. Slow flow and quite low level of water creates a perfect spot for other small fish to search for food and spawn, because it keeps the big predators away. Dense growing of Helanthium bolivianum gives a nice shelter, and algae growing on almost everything fills water with plenty of microorganisms that are a good secondary source of food. During daytime, when sun operates high, small fish hides in the “grass” and rest, while in morning or evening the migration in search for food begins filling the areas uncovered by plants with plenty of specimens.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Water parameters varies depends on time of the year, but water is almost crystal clear (small amount of tannins occur in the areas where trees grow), soft and slightly acidic with parameters: pH 6.0-6.8; hardness 1 dH; electrical conductivity 5-20 µS/cm (to 100µS/cm in the seasonally almost drying lakes and oxbows), temperature 22-28°C.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Aphyocharax sp., Hemigrammus sp., Gymnocorymbus sp., Hyphessobrycon sp., Corydoras sp., Otocinclus sp., Apistogramma sp. and many more, commonly in high numbers.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Helanthium sp., Echinodorus sp. (many species), Ludwigia sp., Cabomba furcata, Myriophyllum sp., Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Egeria najas, Salvinia auriculata, Eichhornia crassipes, Eichhornia azurea, and many more depends of water mark during high and low water levels.

Threats to the ecology: Like everywhere on Earth main threat is human. Exploring of natural resources, cutting trees, planting soy and other crops. Fortunately the Bolivian government reacts very good in the area of wetlands, and National Parks preserves the natural beauty of the areas, but… people are always threat that cannot be forgotten, so education and showing of this area beauty is highly needed.

Sources of information: – “Bleher Biotopes” book (Pantanal area – similarities to the Guapore region)
– Chemistry of different Amazonian water types for river classification: a preliminary review, 2014 (https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elibrary/papers/WS13/WS13002FU1.pdf)
– CATÁLOGO DE LOS PECES DE LA CUENCA ITÉNEZ (BOLIVIA Y BRASIL), diff. authors (https://www.academia.edu/7619380/Catalogo_de_los_peces_de_la_cuenca_Itenez_Bolivia_y_Brasil_)
– Peces del Rio Mamore, L. Lauzanne, G. Loubens, Paris 1985
– BRASIL DAS ÁGUAS Gérard e Margi Moss – Rio Guapore presentation
– AMAZONÍA BOLIVIANA (http://www.fundacionlasalle.org.ve/userfiles/11-Memoria%20152%2089-104.pdf)
– Preliminary study of fish fauna and aquatic habitats in the Lower Paraguá River, Santa Cruz, Bolivia (http://www.scielo.br/pdf/bn/v8n1/a10v8n1.pdf)
– talks with other aquarists and hobbyists from around the world

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

I like these long, wide and low aquariums. They look longer and bigger. It means a lot of area that can be used for design. Good choice. The species combination is impressive in this biotope. General aura is good but l would like to see more details and less plants. Your videos and photos are one of bests of this competition. Congrats.

Mert Aykuta

I like your work Kamil. Your most recent work is wild, easy to maintain: the way I like it. Healthy fish, interesting color combination and behaviour. Nice size of the tank. Good job!

Jeroen Vanhooren