Marginal zone of Chilika Lake in the area of Puri, Odisha, India

56th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Russia. Anastasia Chistyakova

Volume: 140 L
Dimensions: 80x40x42 cm
List of fishes: Pethia ticto, Danio rerio, Pisodonophis boro.
List of plants: Eichhomia crassipes, Carex acuta, Juncus compressus.
Description of decorations: Natural soil for aquariums “Light sand” UDeco River Light, 0.1-0.6 mm, desert mini driftwood UDeco Desert Driftwood XXXS, driftwood “Chinese” for aquariums and terrariums UDeco Chinese Driftwood XXL, leaves DECOTOP Catappa S, stone composition for aquariums DECOTOP Helicon 6.
Description of equipment: External filter AQUAEL MAXI KANI 250, heater AQUAEL FIX ZONE HEATER 75W, air pump AQUAEL OXYBOOST 150 Plus, TETRA Tetronic LED ProLine 780 lamp.
Water parameters: Temperature – 25 ° C, pH – 6.8, kH – 4, gH – 8, NO3 – 30 mg / l, NO2 – 0.
Additional info: The aquarium was created primarily to monitor the behavior of Pisodonophis boro, which appeared in the zoological trade of our country recently. The aquarium contains 4 young individuals with a length of 30 – 35 cm. Most of the time they spend buried in the sand entirely, and bury themselves with amazing agility, both head and tail forward. Therefore, in the aquarium, the minimum soil layer is 6 cm, so that the eels can demonstrate their natural behavior. They accept only live or frozen bloodworms, which are often also dragged into the sand to eat without bothering. In nature, their food is invertebrates, larvae, and crustaceans. They do not show interest in fish, you can safely keep moving fish of a rather small size with them, you just need to make sure that the eels get enough food, too active neighbors can leave them hungry. According to various sources, the maximum size of rice eel in nature is 70 – 90 cm. What size these fish can reach in the aquarium, we do not know yet, judging by our observations, they grow quite slowly, but as they grow, we plan to provide them with large aquariums and proportionate neighbors. To maintain the necessary mineralization, when changing 15% of water per week, the mineral salt SERA was used.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The state of India Odisha is located in the north-east of the Indian subcontinent, washed by the Bay of Bengal. On the slopes of the mountains of the Eastern Ghats grow dense deciduous monsoon forests, dropping foliage in the dry season; thickets of mangroves are found along the coast. The plain territory is almost completely plowed up. 80% of the total cultivated area in the state is reserved for rice (about 10% of the total rice production in India). The state of Odisha occupies the coastal plains along the Bay of Bengal, in the deltas of the Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baytarani rivers. The coastline is slightly indented and there are no convenient natural harbors. Cyclones causing catastrophic floods are frequent. Odisha refers to those states of India that are more likely than others to suffer from natural disasters. Lake Chilika is located south of the mouth of the Mantei River and is India’s largest lagoon. The lake appeared due to the siltation of the Mantei River, which flows into the northern part of the lake and carries its waters to the Bay of Bengal, forming a shallow along the east coast and creating a shallow lagoon. If not for its smooth surface, Lake Chilika, the largest lagoon in Asia, could well be mistaken for the sea. From its muddy front shore, you can hardly distinguish a narrow strip of marshy islands and sandbanks that separate 1,100 square kilometers of brackish water from the Bay of Bengal. The area of ​​the lake varies from 1165 km² in the rainy season to 906 km² in the drought. There are several small islands on the lake. The largest of them, such as Parikud, Fulbari, Berahpur, Nuapara, Nalban and Tampara are separated by shallow channels. These islands, together with the Maloud Peninsula, form part of the district of Puri called Krushnaprasad. Perfect ecology and amazing flora and fauna of Krushnaprasad attract tourists from all over the world. The north coast of the lake is part of the Hordha region, and the west coast is part of the Ganjam region. Lake Chilika is a habitat for both migratory and permanent waterfowl, in particular flamingos. Migratory birds arrive in October from such distant places as Siberia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Himalayas and winter on the lake until March.
The lake is home to a variety of aquatic animals. 225 species of fish live in the waters of Chilica, and the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris).

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: Since this lake used to be part of the Bay of Bengal, the bottom is sandy, flat, soft soil, brackish water, and plants are only in shallow water. In the underwater landscape there are stones, driftwood, fallen leaves. The water is clear, along the coast there are moisture-loving plants such as reeds, sedges.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Chilika is the largest salt lake in Asia, which is located in the east of India, is actually a lagoon separated from the Bay of Bengal by a long sand spit. Salt waters fall into it through the mouth, which, mixed with the water of the rivers flowing into the lake, form a unique ecosystem. In drought, between rainy seasons, the area of ​​the lake is halved. Due to silt sediments, the amount of salt per unit volume of lake water decreases. This leads to a rapid growth of water hyacinths, a decrease in oxygen in the water and – as a result – to a reduction in fish stocks, which is the only source of food for the local population. The water is clear, brackish, T 17-25 ° C, pH 6.7-7.0, GH 6-15.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Pethia ticto, Danio rerio, Pisodonophis boro, Uca naulipes, Acentrogobius griseus, Bathygobius ostreicola, Pisodonophis boro, Oryzias dancena, Parambassis ranga, Ailia coila, Dussumieria elopsoides, Amblygaster sirm, Tenualosa ilisha.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Eichhomia crassipes (invasive), Carex acuta, Juncus compressus, Phragmites australis.

Threats to the ecology: The Ramsar Convention recognizes Lake Chilika as an internationally important wetland. The Ramsar Convention was based on the fact that:
• Over a million migratory water and coastal birds spend winter on the islands
• More than 400 species of vertebrate animals live here
• Unique representatives live in the lagoon, living in both sea and fresh water
• Several rare and endangered species survived only in this region.
• The lagoon plays a big role in maintaining ecological diversity
• Weeds, rosehips and aquatic plants grow on the coast
The main reason for the current changes in the ecology of the lake was the new dam that separates the lake from the ocean. This highly controversial modification was approved by the government in 2001, mainly for tourism development. Aborigines of Lake Chilika, primarily living from fisheries, faced malnutrition and starvation. Irrawadd dolphins suffer from a constant hit in fishing nets and their number has already decreased to 50 individuals.
Part of the lake is under the protection of Chilik Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Sources of information:
Ecosystem info:
Species of Chilika:
Research and publication:
Science articles on ecology of Chilika:
Rice eel info:
Danio rerio info:
Pethia ticto info:

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