Patakata Village in mangrove forest, Sundarban area, Ganges delta, Bangladesh

7th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

poland Poland. Jerzy Kielan

Volume: 576 L
Dimensions: 160x60x60 cm
List of fishes: Toxotes Jaculatrix – x 8
List of plants: Rhizosphora mangle – x 4
Description of decorations: Arrangement of the aquarium is very strict, the various branches of trees imitate the natural roots of mangrove trees and the natural mangrove plants themselves. At the bottom of the aquarium is a layer of fine-grained yellow sand about 7 cm high, the leaves of deciduous trees are floating on the water, the water is clear, however, the remains are left in it. They look natural and are a source of nutrients for mangroves. The only treatments are every two weeks replacement of 10% fresh water with the addition of synthetic sea salt. The aquarium is poorly lit so as not to stress the fish. Above the aquarium is a special platform where insects are moving, which are willing to hunt fish spitting on water in a characteristic way. This is important because this species can lose this ability when it is not trained.
Description of equipment: External filter JBL CrystalProfi 1501 ( 1200l/h), 1x Powerhead (1200l/h), DIY Protein Skimmer with wood cube areator and Aquael air pump ( 300l/h). 2x Fluorescent bulbs ( 2x 36w) – 4500K, 1x JBL Aquarium Heater – 300w
Water parameters: Temperature is 25 °C, pH is 8.0, salinity is 10 ppt( 10 ‰), NO2 – 0.0, NO3 – 5.0, NH3/NH4 – 0.0, water is clear with some dirt.

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Sundarban national park is the world’s largest mangrove forest area in the Ganges delta, which is widely occupying 10,000 square kilometers, on the border between India and Bangladesh on the Bay of Bengal. It is crossed by rivers and waterways leading water from the rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra to the Indian Ocean. The mangroves grow there which stop the sediments carried by the river, creating mangroves, brackish marshes and land which is a living environment for many species of animals in this endangered Bengal Tigers and various species of trees and there are large human settlements too.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The mouth of the Ganges is overgrown with mangroves, that form a network of labyrinths from its roots, as if underwater forest. They stretch in a large area and are a great refuge for many aquatic and aquatic species, which often provide verymuch fish food. The roots of the mangroves form a dense network of sediment trapped by river water and thus create saltwater swamps that are flooded and drained depending on the tides. There are many particles of vegetation in the water and pieces of fallen and rotten trees. The bottom is dominated by sand and mud carried with the river and dissolved from limestone, due to the increased salinity there are no water plants, and significant changes in salinity caused by tides and monsoon rains.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The water is clear but slightly muddy, and temperature oscillates around 24-30 degrees Celsius, salinity is variable and in this region it is approximately 10 ppt. PH 7.8. The water depth is very different and it is from 0.5m to 8m.

List of fishes: Crocodylus porosus, Platanista gangetica, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, Periophthalmodon schlosseri, Pristis zijsron, Batagur baska, Varanus salvator, Python molurus, Varanus albigularis, Cerberus rynchops, Caridina gracilirostris, Scatophagus argus, Toxotes Jaculatrix, Toxotes Chatareus, Mystus gulio, Monodactylus kottelati

List of plants: Rhizophora mucronata, Nypa fruticans, Acanthus ilicifolius, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Rhizosphora mangle, Sacrobolus globosus, Phoenix paludosa, Vitis trifoliata, Derris trifoliata, Cynometra ramiflora

Threats to the ecology: Sundarban is an area that is severely threatened with destruction for several reasons.  Mangrove forests are over-harvested due to logging and human development, the dirt from the sea salt production process which has a negative impact on this habitat.
Sundarban is also home to the almost extinct Bengal Tigers, this preserved world’s largest mangrove forest  saved many lives before the tsunami. In 1997, this area is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Sources of information:

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

Sometime less is more. Simplicity of this tank makes it feel natural and healthy for the fishes. Also the size of the aquarium is adequate for the species inside it.

Petra Bašić (Croatia)

The idea of creating a saltwater biotope of a mangrove zone is certainly wonderful, but more attention needs to be paid to design. In the entry it can be seen that mangrove (?) branches are simply stuck into the ground, and upside down. There is no feeling that we see mangroves. For a given biotope, it is perfect to grow live mangroves.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)