Forest stream near Popondetta. Papua New Guinea

The 21th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015

russian_federation Russia. Elena Mazurek

Volume: 20 L
List of fishes: Tateurndina ocellicauda
List of plants: Blyxa novoguineensis, Microsorum pteropus, Vallisneria sp., Hygrophila corymbosa аngustifolia
Biotope description: The peacock gudgeon is a very beautiful, peaceful fish with interesting behavior. In nature it inhabits shallow waters with slow flow or still water near the small towns Safia and Popondetta in the south-east of Papua – New Guinea. This aquarium presents a sunny shallow stream that slowly carries its crystal-clear water through the tropical rainforest. Its sandy-muddy bottom is covered with leaves, branches, roots of coastal plants, sometimes there are piles of driftwood, in open areas aquatic plants grow, pH is about 7, the temperature is 21-23°C. In shallow parts the water warms up to a higher temperature. In the aquarium there are small caves among driftwood for shelter and spawning.

The Popondetta biotope will appeal to those with small tanks and small budgets, with a biotope which is easy to plant and décor, and rewarding colours and breeding behaviour from the Peacock gobies.

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

I ranked this tank first place, because in my opinion it provides the best living conditions for the fish, comparing to other tanks (Backwater of Urunga creek – too small volume of water, Calm bay of small tributary of Mamberamo River – dead plants will start to rot very soon, fouling the water), and / or it looks in the most natural way (Stream which flows into Lake Sentani and Unnamed Stream, in Utikini Baru, Timika. West Papua, Indonesia do not). Besides, there is something interesting in an idea of “House for Gobies”. It is easy to imagine a pair of gobies, swimming along the bottom of the stream and looking for a place to settle down, and when they saw this small part with two fragments of driftwood, they decided: “This is it! We can live here!” It’s just my imagination, of course, but if the layout triggers such stories, then it means it’s a good layout. The composition looks slightly random, so to say, but hey – this is how it looks in the wild, isn’t it?

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

I put this entry on the 1st place. When you look at the overall panorama, it seems that the volume of the aquarium is 80-100 liters, not 20. A small biotope aquarium is harder to set up than the aquarium of medium size. Also in this entry I liked biotope details (i.e., mechanics). Every detail (branch, leaf) is in its place. The only thing that is not clear is the location. Is it transverse or longitudinal section of the stream?

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

A simple but very pleasant forest stream biotope, but unfortunately without much depth. This is due to the lack of any sloping effect, or layering of layout materials from side to side or back to front. Also the very bright background seems a bit artificial. Otherwise though, the dead fern leaves are a very nice touch and the dense stands of plants give it a sense of lushness. The gobies certainly are showing off and displaying their instinctual behavior, and appear to be healthy and vigorous.

Michael Salter (Canada)