Flooded forest in the bend of Rio Tapajos

The 6th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova

Volume: 180 L
List of fishes: Pterophyllum scalare, Mesonauta festivus, Hemigrammus ocellifer
List of plants: Limnobium laevigatum
Biotope description: Tapajos River flows through Brazil and is a right tributary of the Amazon River. Like other rivers of the Amazon region, it takes water from rains and during the flood period (November to March) the water level in the river rises up to 7-8 meters, flooding forests on its banks. Surprisingly, the trees, staying under water for several months, do not die, in fact their diversity on the flooded areas of the forest are higher. During the flood the living space of fishes significantly expands, some species move into the flooded forest area for breeding. The water tn the river is soft (total hardness is 0,31-0,82 dH), slightly acidic (pH 6,4-6,65), clear, has a slightly dark or greenish stain, so Tapajos commonly referred to as clearwater river. On the aea of the flooded forest there are no proper aquatic plants, except accidentally brought floating plants, the earth covered with a layer of leaves, and fish glide among trees in search of food and places for spawning. Branches with green leaves were placed in the aquarium the day before taking photo.

It is my 7th place because it has tank bred angelfishes, which have nothing to do with that biotope, also not the plant, and it is a “river bend”, but where on this large river? I am amazed how some others overlooked this! Michael said it correctly: “staged for photography”?

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

The use of terrestrial branches and leaves definitely sets the scene for a flooded forest and the aquascape is well balanced and appealing from top to bottom and a great biotope representation.

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

Particularly this is my favourite layout, but the only fault was to use too much plants. But the natural sensation is superb. For me it is like to take a swim into Tapajos River. Excellent!

André Longarço (Brazil)

A stunning and accurate representation of flooded forest with “living trees”. The placement of stones and woodwork on the bottom gives a realistic appearance of roots growing over stone, and the leaf litter on the bottom resembles the leaf-covered forest floor. The lighting has been done carefully to suggest sunlight penetrating a shady forest canopy, lending it a theatrical quality. Although not practical of course to keep fresh branches submerged, this is precisely what one would see during the rainy season before tannins stained the water. There is a strong impression that a section of fully terrestrial forest has been recently flooded, and fish have invaded the trees! All fish look healthy and perfectly at home, are biotope-correct, and can coexist. The biotope has also been thoughtfully set up and beautifully photographed. I am very curious how the other judges will respond – is this too “staged for photography”? Or is it “too authentic to be practical”?

Michael Salter (Canada)