Littoral zone in the western part of the reserve “Northern coast of the Neva Bay”, Russia

62nd place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

russian_federation Russia. Daria Kondakova

Volume: 60 L
Dimensions: 61x34x45 cm
List of fishes: Perca fluviatilis, Abrams brama, Alburnus alburnus, Rutilus rutilus, Scardinius erythrophthalmus, Gymnocephalus cernuus, Viviparus contectus, Anodonta cygnea, Unio tumidus, Unio pictorum
List of plants: Potamogeton perfoliatus, Eleocharis parvula, Eleocharis palustris, Sagittarius sagittifolia, Spirogyra
Description of decorations: As a decor natural ground (sand) and stones were used.
Description of equipment: Tetra Easy Crystal filter, T5 lamp 13 W
Water parameters: рН 6,5, КН 4, GH 6

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The reserve “Northern coast of the Neva Bay” is located in the Primorsky district of St. Petersburg between the settlements of Olgino and Lisiy Nos along the coast of the Gulf of Finland and has an area of 330 hectares. For the coastal part of the bay the biotope is characterized by a flat, gently sloping sandy bottom with a small number of rounded granite stones of various sizes. Trees (spruce, pine, mountain ash, aspen, birch, alder and others) are located at some distance from the water, so the driftwood, large sunken branches, washed up roots are absent. In the reserve oaks grow, uncharacteristic for this region. Part of the territory of the reserve was a park zone at the time of Peter the Great and was planted with oak trees by his order. Part of the coastal zone of the biotope is covered with reeds, its stems and rhizomes are taken to the shore by the waves and they go down to the bottom during low tides. The adjacent water area is one of the most significant places for seasonal stay of migratory birds in the Neva Bay.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: For the coastal part of the bay the site of the biotope is characterized by a flat, gently sloping sandy bottom with a small number of stones (mostly granite) of various sizes. Trees (mixed forest, with a significant proportion of broad-leaved species, including old-growth oaks and a natural oak undergrowth) are located at some distance, so driftwood, large sunken branches, washed up roots are absent. But nearby, to the left of the biotope, there are thickets of reeds. The wind takes leaves, also to the surface of the water. In addition, dry cane are taken to the shore, its washed roots can sink to the bottom during low tides. The illumination in the location of the biotope is good, since the coastline is fairly open, large trees are in the distance. Water has a yellowish hue and medium transparency. The eastern part of the Gulf of Finland, where the biotope partly located, is characterized by a very low salinity of water, which is determined by the large volume of rivers (mainly the Neva). Salinity changes when the direction of the winds changes, which can drive more saline water from the western part of the bay. The biotope zone is coastal with a shallow depth, there are no pronounced whirlpools, pits, and depressions. In sunny weather, the water warms up well. In this regard, the biotope is characterized by the presence of a large number of small fishes (bleak, ruffe, stickleback with three and nine needles), fry (perch, bream, roach, rudd). The most common aquatic plants of the biotope are Potamogeton perfoliatus, Eleocharis parvula. In the zone of the littoral, on the territory of the biotope, there are Eleocharis palustris, Sagittaria sagittifolia. The most common coastal plant is Phragmites australis.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The water is yellowish, medium transparent. The average annual temperature is from 0.0 to 7.5°C. The absolute minimum is -0.1 (December), the absolute maximum is + 30.8 (July). Salinity fluctuates from 2 to 6%.

List of fishes: Perca fluviatilis, Abrams brama, Alburnus alburnus, Rutilus rutilus, Scardinius erythrophthalmus, Gymnocephalus cernuus, Perccottus glenii, Gasterosteus aculeatus, Pungitius pungitius, Viviparus contectus, Anodonta cygnea, Unio tumidus, Unio pictorum.

List of plants: Potamogeton perfoliatus, Eleocharis parvula, Eleocharis palustris, Sagittarius sagittifolia, Phragmites ausntalis, Ruppia, Spirogyra.

Threats to the ecology: The aquarium was created to study the reservoir located in the place of residence. Due to the close location of a large city with a developed industry, an enormous anthropogenic pressure is exerted on the water area of the Neva Bay. There is a lot of chemical and organic elements entering the sewage waters, thermal water pollution. These factors lead to a gradual change in the species composition. Some types of fish are lost: salmon, there are not typical inhabitants: rotans. There is a development of a non-typical near-bottom microbiology. In connection with the construction of facilities for the protection of St. Petersburg from floods, the water exchange of the Neva Bay with the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland decreased by 10-20%, which contributed to an increase in the concentration of nutrients in the Neva Bay. The greatest changes occur in the dike zone at a distance of less than 5 km from it. Their contribution is provided by the unsuccessful choice of places for the ejection of northern and south-western treatment facilities in St. Petersburg, high soil contamination in some areas of the Neva Bay. Anxiety is caused by the gradual waterlogging of the shallow parts of the Gulf of Finland between the St. Petersburg and the dam, which began because the weakened autumn storms are not able to sufficiently clean the bottom of the Neva Bay from higher plants that are located there. The waterlogging and associated putrefaction of plant remains over time can lead to additional eutrophication of the reservoir and the exclusion of large areas of the Neva Bay from the water area (on which, in addition, a significant amount of harmful compounds will be buried into the ground).

Sources of information:;;;;;;
Methodical manual for students “Laws of Ecology” by Stadnitsky G.V.; SPbTURP 2000;
Fishes of the Baltic and the Gulfs by Kukharenko K.G., Tylik K.V.; Kaliningrad, Terra Baltika, 2013

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

It is quite interesting looking, but much too small for all these fishes. Much too small!

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)