Rainforest creek of Warey River, Batanta Island, New Guinea

The 9th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014

greece Greece. Dimitris Ioannou

Volume: 240 L
List of fishes: Melanotaenia synergos
List of plants: Microsorum pteropus, Microsorum sp., Nymphaea sp., Cryptocoryne ciliata, Cyperus helferi
Biotope description: The aquarium was set up based on a rainforest stream of Warey River on Batanta Island, New Guinea. Batanta is one of Raja Ampat Islands, and lies 36 km from Sorong near the western end of New Guinea. The island is long (61 km), slender (averaging less than 10 km in width) and mountainous with a maximum elevation of about 1,050 m. It is separated from Salawati by the Sagewin Strait, which averages only 5 km in width, but has impressive depths to 521 m. The southern Salawati-facing slopes are steep and drained by numerous small, steep gradient creeks, but no rainbowfishes occur there. The opposite side of the island is also steep, but is dissected by a few gradual valleys. M. synergos have been collected from the Wei Bin (type locality) and Warey River, at the respective eastern and western ends of the island. Warey River consists of narrow clear rivers with gradual gradients flowing initially through second growth forest, but entering primary, nearly closed canopy forest after about 1 km upstream from the sea. The substrate of the river consist from sand and limestone cobble-gravel. Temperature and pH values of 25.5°C and 7.8 respectively were recorded at the type locality. In this case I represent a rainforest creek into the river where are mainly found Melanotaenias synergos around submerged logs and aquatic plants. This species was first collected in 1992 by Heiko Bleher while exploring the freshwaters of Batanta Island.

My 1st place was The Rainforest Creek of Warey River on Batanta Island. Possibly also here the other judges did not read my extensive reports about this creek, already published in the early 1990, and again this millennium. It is, of all entries under Australasia, the most correct one, as I have encountered it when I discovered the species today called M. synergos. The description is near to perfect, also the fishes are those from the biotope, the plants as well as gravel and rocks, the Greek guy, Dimitris, did a perfect research and a beautiful biotope-correct aquarium in every sense of the word. Dimitris, I am sorry you were miss-judged by others.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

Despite the simplicity in design and small errors in the technical execution (you cannot determine the direction of flow), this entry in my opinion is the best in its category. The decisive factor during evaluating was the quality and behavior of fish in this biotope aquarium.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

A biotope is very nice with a fresh appearance even if the flora is poor.

Victor Mihai (Romania)

A beautiful rendition of a fast-flowing rainforest creek. The substrate is noteworthy, as it accurately represents the description of sand and limestone cobbles with the mixture of light and dark coloured rounded stones. The organisation of stones looks natural as they smoothly transition from a hill on the left sloping down towards the right and towards the front, enhancing the appearance of depth. The placement of plants and wood (which appears to represent tree roots extending into the stream) is balanced and realistic. Having a variable size distribution among the fish represents what would be found in nature with a mix of mature and juvenile fish. The tank has been beautifully photographed and is a credit to the hobby!

Michael Salter (Canada)