Lake Tanganyika Shores of Kipili In Wet Season, Vegetated Rocky Habitat, Tanzania

19th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Turkey. Fatih Özdemir

Volume: 536 L
Dimensions: 150x65x55 cm
List of fishes: Tropehues brichardi Kipili, Eretmodus cyanostictus, Telmatochromis vittatus
List of plants: Phragmites australis (Common Reed)
Description of decorations: 1- 40 kg of natural argonit sand (well known brand, taken from sea floor)
2- 25 kg of natural soil suitable for plants (taken from lake where reeds are collected)
3- 20 kg of Lecat for bottom of plants (Physically processed natural clay)
4- 120 kg of rocks in variable sizes
5- Turquaz Transparent Background
6- Watered Pearl Tree Root Part
7- Roots and parts of dead reeds
Description of equipment: Ligthining: 2 x led fluorescent (24 watt,120 cm,6500 K, Dayligth), 6 x Led Ufo Bulbs (26 watt, 6500 K, Dayligth), Pink coloured T8 Fluorescent (30 W,850 Lm)
2- Filtering: 2x External Filters, Fall Filter Totaly 3500 L/H
3- Heating: 300 watt heater.
Water parameters: Ph: 8,4-8,6, Temp: 25,3°C, Electirical Conductivity:660 µS, GH:16, KH:12 in addition Nitrate: 5-10 ppm and Nitrite: 0 ppm
Additional info: To avoid accumulation of h2s from dead organics %10 Water change in every three days. In weekly maintenance; glasses are cleaned and %20 water change done by vacuuming bottom for unnecessary dead organics. In every sixth months filters and pipes are cleaned in a weekly row.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Lake Tanganyika is a lake in central Africa (3° 20′ to 8° 48′ South and from 29° 5′ to 31° 15′ East). After Lake Baikal in Siberia it’s the second deepest and largest lake by volume in the world. It’s divided between four countruies.(1) Surrounding area effects to underwater life dramaticly because of Lake prime importance for the regional economy in East Africa (*,3) Lake is surrounded by mountains and extension of these mountains can be regonized underwater. Three major river feeds Tangayika is the Malagarasi River, the Ruzizi River, and the Kalambo River and it has one outflow the Lukuga River,(1,*) Main water loss is caused by evaporation.(2) Lake experiences two seasons annualy they are wet seasons between October and April with high percipitation ,thurnderstorms and dry seasons from May until the end of August with continuous winds and little precipitation.(3) My biotope point is from Kipili Shores (7°26’40.0″S 30°35’32.0″E) (11) which is flooded in wet season so some parts of surrounding area left underwater. Surrounding area in this part of lake has slowly rising bushy,grassy and partly rocky shores. Vegetation of area is consist of cyperus papyrus, phragmites australis, grassy small plants and various small busyh trees.(4,5,7,*) After shores land rises and thick bushy forests starts. Area is heavily residented in purpose of tourism and fisheries.(4,*) During flooded period flora of land stays underwater , grassy plants and bushy trees cant survive underwater but Phragmites australis and Cyperus papyrus existance gets stronger.(*,7) For getting advantage of Phragmites australis and cyperus papyrus’s camoflage ability famous Tanganyika’s water cobras and alligators come to area. (*,8)

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: My bitope (7°26’40.0″S 30°35’32.0″E) (11) is not one of well known kind of Tanganyika biotopes. I think main reason for these kind of biotopes mostly not filmed or studied is danger of alligators and water cobras around. In terms of bottom structure’s type and formation of my biotepe is one of typicall examples of Tanganyika litoral rocky/stoney biotopes but because of being underwater temporarly this habitat has so many dying or dead organic existances from surrounding land area and Phragmites australis starts thriving. It is only 0,5-1,5 meters deep and bottom is fully covered round or sligthly sharp edged stones whereever there s a empty place not covered with stones you can see dead grassy bushes, roots of phragmites australis or itself. This habibat temporarly is like a feast for underwater habitants omnivors, herbivors or carnivors because various kind of organic exsitance from land is now underwater and defendlessly waiting to be consumed. So lots of species which lives around in litoral areas comes to that new habitat to get feed. When needed stoney bottom helps them to shelter from each others or dangers from out of water. By help of strong waves on low depth organic waste which left underwater can’t effect quality of lake blurry and oxygen rich waters. Phragmites australis, which has been waiting for meeting with water on land, starts to build it’s reed bed as soon as it’s underwater.(*,7) Lack of another livestock to surpass, exsitance of strong Africa sun ligth and organic waste of flooded land creates perfect habitat for Phragmites australis, as a invasive specie first it sends it’s leaves out of water to reach sun ligth then produce enegry to move inside soil to create new branches. But fastly living people around trims upper leaves of reeds in order to continue transportation and avoid danger of alligators.(*,9,7) So new temporary life cycle starts underwater which will continue until dry season comes. Because of high comsume of nutrients by phragmites and being temporarly underwater only thin algea firm exists on stones. Growing algea consumed by species fastly . Sediment left from land can be found in habitat.(*,9) Tree trunks so rarely found in biotopes of lake Tanganyika. But one is found in this habitat. Sand type is dark coloured fine sand mixed with very tiny pebbles.Sizes of stones are variable but mostly middle size stones.(*,7)

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Alkaline with a ph 9 water can be found around depths 0-100 meters and at deepest it s 8,3. Electirical conductivity 670 μS/cm in the upper part to 690 μS/cm in the deepest. Surface temperature varies seasonably from 24 °C to 29 °C. But depths greater then 400 meters temperature is very stable between 23,1 °C- 23,4 °C. Oxygen devoid in deepest sections are without life except bacteria. (20)
Tempeture: Changing according to seasons (wet season/dry season) between 24-28°C, but at depths greater then 400 meters is more stable between 23,1-23,4°C, (1)
Ph: Around 9 at depths of 0-100 meters, 8,7 below this and 8,3 at deepest parts, (1)
Electirical Conductivity: Upper parts 670 and deepest parts 690, (1)
Other Parameters: GH 12-20, and the KH 10-15. (*)

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: If we accept region as Ulwile,
Altolamprologus compressiceps, Chalinochromis cyanophleps, Chalinochromis sp. ‘bifrenatus’ , Cunningtonia longiventralis, Cyathopharynx foae, exLamprologus callipterus, exLamprologus lemairii, Haplotaxodon microlepis, Haplotaxodon trifasciatus, Lepidiolamprologus elongatus, Lepidiolamprologus kamambae, Lepidiolamprologus mimicus, Lepidiolamprologus profundicola ,Neolamprologus furcifer, Neolamprologus sexfasciatus, Neolamprologus tetracanthus, Neolamprologus timidus, Ophthalmotilapia nasuta, Ophthalmotilapia ventralis, Perissodus microlepis, Perissodus paradoxus, Perissodus straeleni, Petrochromis ephippium, Petrochromis famula, Petrochromis polyodon, Petrochromis sp. ‘kipili brown’ , Petrochromis sp. ‘macrognathus rainbow’, Petrochromis sp. ‘texas blue’, Telmatochromis dhonti, Telmatochromis vittatus, Tropheus brichardi, Xenotilapia nasus, Xenotilapia sp. ‘papilio sunflower’, various invertabres.(10)

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Phragmites australis (Common Reed), Cyperus papyrus and some grassy aquatic plants.

Threats to the ecology: Unfortunately what i expose you here as a biotope actually is a proof of Lake Tanganyika demolishing underwater habitat. It is a well know fact that Phragmites Australis (Common Reed) is seen whereever and whenever water quality is dropped and habitat is diminishing. When invasive It shapes habitat according to it’s own needs and mostly doesn’t let other species thrieve around. There are lots of threads lake Tanganyika faces like other places in world. Main threads are overfishing, sedimentation, overpopulation, pollution and climate change (global warming). Even succesfully evolved to survive from lots of disasters during it’s long history this time lake can’t resist. Because now source of all these threads are we human. None of actions or measures will be enough effective to save lake unless we learn to respect nature and only take what we need from nature in a rigth way. But main thing we never need to forget is that at the end the one who wins will be always nature unless we learn to get along with it. What i learned from times passed in hard conditions in nature is that our high technology can’t stop nature if it decides to make human extinct.(12-19,*)

Sources of information:

*- My conclusions from resources, videos and maps.





















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