Lake Tanganyika, Congo, rocky bottom with open space, Africa

82th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Poland. Paweł Jaremko

Volume: 1680 L
List of fishes: – Cyphotilapia Gibberosa Blue Zaire Kapampa (3M / 6F)
– Gnathochromis Permaxillaris (1/1)
– Haplotaxodon Microlepis (3M / 4F)
– Benthochromis Horii (2M / 3F)
– Altolamprologus Co mpressiceps Gold Head (1/1)
– Neolamprologus Leleupa (1/1)
– Mastacembelus Cunningtoni (1M)
List of plants: Vallisneria
Description of decorations: will begin my description of the interior decoration from the structural background. The background was made of polystyrene, resistant to moisture and mortars and paints safe for living organisms. I tried to make the background similar to the rocks found in nature. The aquarium has a lot of nooks and gaps, where young and adult fish can be protected. I took 200 kg of gray rocks to the background, as they reminded me that they reflected the bottom of the lake in the area of Congo. As for the substrate, I used a few granulations of natural sand (0.5-1.2mm), a total of about 150 kg and 50 kg of gravel (2-2,5mm), which most closely reflects the view from biotope films. To complete the decorations, you can find the shells of the Tanganyican snail Neothauma tanganyicense scattered around the aquarium.
Description of equipment: Filtration (SUMP) 150x60x50h ( 450l ) pomp Jebao DCP 20,000 L / min. Aeration pump Hailea ACO-318 3600L / h. Aquael 300W heater. The lighting consists of 3 LED lights , each with 8W. One lamp has 14 white LEDs (10,000K) and 4 blue LEDs (15 000K). SINUS PRO INVERTER 12V 500W UPS VOLT and gel battery 120 ah.
Water parameters: The water in my aquarium is very clear and clean. The water temperature is stable and is 25 degrees Celsius. PH-8.0, GH-10, KH-15, water conductivity within the limits of 600-620 μS
Additional info: I will describe in brief my SUMP type filtration. The aquarium is separated into four filtration chambers. The first chamber contains sponges responsible for mechanical filtration. In the second chamber there is a fluidized bed filtration filled with 30 liters of kaldnes deposit (aerated with an aeration pump of 3600l / h).The penultimate chamber is a spray chamber, where 40kg of coral grit and almost 1200 balls of biobal drops the spraying water. In the last chamber there is a JEBAO DCP-20000 l / h filter pump. Thanks to such a filter, the tank is very stable. Thanks to the SUMP type filtration and the use of two types of filtration in it, i.e. fluidized filtration and filtration with a sprinkled bed, the water in the aquarium is very oxygenated, which significantly influences the behavior and development of the fish. The aquarium is also equipped with an automatic water refill and excess water is discharged into the sewage system, thanks to this the NO3 level is very low. The whole aquarium – in case of power failure – is supported by UPS emergency power supply, which is enough for about 2 days of power failure.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Lake Tanganyika is located in East Africa in the area of the Great African Trench between the states of Burundi, Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. The geographical coordinates for this lake are from 03 ° 20 ‘to 08 ° 48’ south latitude and from 29 ° 05 ‘to 29 ° 31’ east longitude. The average width of the lake is about 50 km. It is the longest freshwater lake on Earth – 650 km long. Its total area is 32800 km2. In terms of depth, it is the second lake on Lake Baikal and is 1470 m deep. Along almost the entire coastline ( 1828 km long) there are mountain ranges. Lake Tanganyika was created – similarly to other large lakes from this area – as aresult of tectonic movements from the beginning of the neogene (tertiary period). The lake’s age is estimated at about 10 million years. Lake Tanganyika is located in the medium-humid tropical climate zone. The average annual rainfall is there about 200 mm, and the annual average temperature of about 20 ° C. The climate is quite humid and hot , especially on the east and west banks, while from the north it is slightly colder (high mountains). Large water surface of the reservoir by evaporation of water has an impact on the creation of a specific microclimate on the lake itself, and this in turn on the physio-chemical properties of the lake’s waters. It is estimated that almost 90% of annual precipitation to the lake evaporates back. The lake has been isolated from other African water systems for over 6 million years, resulting in the evolution of a huge number of endemic species of fauna and flora. The coastline with a length of over 2,000 kilometers are very diverse. The most interesting from the point of view of the aquariums are steep rocks list fragments of the coast, which are a refuge for many species of fish, but the lake also has sandy and sandy-rocky beaches. The longest fragments of the rocky coastline can be found along the three most important reservoir basins: Zon gwe, Kalemie and Kigoma. The lake has several islands, among which the most important are: Kavala Island and Mamba Island – Keyenda. On the line there is Lake Tanganyika. Along the shores of the lake there are growing oil palms, which are characteristic for the flora of the most – southern Africa. Rice and crops are grown around the edges, and fishing matters. Hippos and crocodiles abound, and the life of birds is different.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The rocky shore biotope can be divided into three different parts: the rocky sediment-free habitat, and the rocky sediment covered habitat. Close to the surface, you will find the shallow rock biotope and its inhabitants. As you proceed farther down, you will enter the steep rocky environment where no sediment can congregate – the rocky sediment-free habitat. Below this biotope is the rocky sediment covered habitat. Shallow rocky coast habitat. The habitat is characterized by the presence of rocks, which can vary in size from small pebbles to big footballs. The Tanganyika cichlids are a part of the habitat, you should ideally provide them with a lot of differently sized rocks. The shallow rocky coast habitat does not have to be extremely shallow; it can actually be found as far down as 22 meters in Certain parts of Lake Tanganyika. In most regions of the lake, it is however much shallower. The shallow rocky coast habitat provides a quiet setting for suitable grounds. In order to stay camouflaged, many cichlids native to this habitat feature a shallow water background. When living in shallow waters you do not have to stay away from predator aquatic species – birds will also be a constant threat. This barred group provides the fish for the shimmering waves. Rocky sediment free habitat The rocky sediment free habitat does not have a lot of pebbles; the rocks are instead of medium to large in size. Boulders many meters across, and more than 1 meter in diameter. The sediment free habitat is usually very steep and there is no sand for the rocks to rest upon. Since there is no sediment, the entire habitat can be covered in algae. Herbivore cichlids from this habitat will appreciate lush algae growth in the aquarium and many of them need occasional meaty treats from wild algae carpet when grazing, thus receiving necessary protein. Rocky sediment covered habitat This habitat is located next to 3 and 14 meters . The habitats described above. It will still provide enough for the small cichlid species that you can find sheltering between the rocks

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The waters of Lake Tanganyika are characterized by alkaline reaction (pH 7.5-9.2) and high hardness (carbonate hardness 7-11 degrees German, general hardness 16-18 degrees German). The secret is the fairly stable water temperature, which varies between 24 and 29 degrees Celsius and only slightly differs on the surface and in the depths of the lake. Oxygen is present only in the upper part of the reservoir, which reaches 200 m deep into the south and up to 100 m in the northern part. Below is a “dead zone” in which, due to lack of oxygen and high saturation with sulfur compounds, there is almost no life. Despite the strong winds blowing on the surface, the waters of these two zones do not mix with each other. Conductivity 606- 620 (μS) (generalized). The water in the lake is very clean, its transparency is about 20 meters .

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: The lake contains at least 250 species of cichlids (Cichlidae) and 150 other species of non-cichlid fish, most of which live on the shore of the lake at a depth of180 meters . The lake is also an important place for research on the evolution of species. Almost all (98%) cichlids from Tanganyika are endemic to the lake. In addition to many species of endemic cichlids, which are a kind of showpiece of the lake, you can also find here a rich representation of molluscs and crustaceans. 68 species of snails (45 endemic) and 15 species of molluscs (9 endemic) were found in the lake’s waters. Endemic species of snails (eg Tiphobia horei) have unusual thickening of the shells typical of freshwater species, characteristic of sea snails. Snails occur in large quantities in the lake, and their shells (especially of the species Neothauma tanganyicense), which due to the water parameters do not decompose, are used by the shellfish of the genus Lamprologus and Neolamprologus.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Ceratophyllum demersum, Myriophyllum spicantum, Najas marina spp. Armata, Hydrilla verticillata, Anubias barteri var . Nana, Hygrophila corymbosa, Microsorum pteropus, Vallisneria americana ( gigantea )

Threats to the ecology: Currently, too much intensity of trapping species from Lake Tanganyika for both consumption and commercial purposes is so high that in some regions it has been restricted or completely banned due to the imbalance in the biological balance of some populations. The next threat, as shown by recent studies on the climate of Lake Tanganyika, the mixing of water layers is weakening due to global warming (the temperature of the water increases in proportion to the increase of air temperature above the lake). This has a negative impact on changes in the lake’s ecosystems, biological balance is disturbed as a result of limited supply of nutrients for organisms that form the basis of food chains.

Sources of information:,30.039141,8.46z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x19a364ddf9976709:0xb116148f7c582969!8m2!3d-6.2555679!4d29.5107708?hl=pl

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