Río Peyán, Guatemala, Jungle Area, Submerged Roots Habitat

_ place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Volume: 540 L
Dimensions: 150 x 60 x 60 cm
List of fishes: Thorichthys meeki, Poecilia mexicana, Xiphophorus hellerii
List of plants: NA
Description of decorations: Sand and gravel mix substrate. River boulders and small cobbles/pebbles, wood root, beech tree branches and windmill palm all collected locally.
Description of equipment: EHEIM classic 600 with both biological and mechanical filtration, 1 x Arcadia T8 38W freshwater lamp, EHEIM thermo control 250 heater
Water parameters: Temperature is 27°C, 80.6F, pH is 7.5, Ammonia is 0 ppm, Nitrite is 0 ppm, Nitrate is 20 ppm, GH is 18.
Additional info: Temperature is 27°C, 80.6F, pH is 7.5, Ammonia is 0 ppm, Nitrite is 0 ppm, Nitrate is 20 ppm, GH is 18.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Lachuá is an oligotrophic and meromictic karstic lake in the region of Alta Verapaz and belongs to the southern upper reaches of the Usumacinta River drainage basin. The lake is located in the centre of the Laguna Lachuá National Park (LLNP, 15°53’ N, 90°40’W), south of El Petén and the south-eastern Mexico border. There are 5 affluents which flow into the main lake. My biotope is based around the River Peyán, which is positioned on the Western side of the basin. The Peyan River forms the main water inflow and the Lachua River its outflow. The area is lined with tropical rain forest. Riparian areas around the Río Peyán are composed of mainly trees, palms and submerged grasses.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The Río Peyán is one of 3 permanent affluent river mouths to the main Lake. Habitat is reported to be a mainly calcareous rocky bank where the mouth opens on to muddy shore. Canopies of shading trees contiguously go down into water surface, where there are lots of tree trucks, roots and general wood and leaf litter mainly composed of surrounding trees and palms. Substrate is reported to be sand and gravel, but mainly a dominant emphasis towards gravel and small rocks. A greater number of fish species is recorded around the River mouths and littoral zones.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Water is reported to be very clear with a blueish tinge. Water velocity can be slow to moderate depending on the seasons. Increased velocity is reported during the wet season. Water parameters recorded are T=28.2oC, pH=8.0, C=960.5 μS, H=1081 mg/l, S=390 mg/l, NP=0.21 mg/l.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Cichlid species: Chuco intermedium , Cincelichthys pearsei , Cribroheros robertsoni, Maskaheros argenteus, Oscura heterospila, Parachromis multifasciatus, Petenia splendida, Rheoheros lentiginosus Thorichthys helleri, Thorichthys meeki, Thorichthys pasionis, Trichromis salvini, Vieja bifasciata, Vieja melanurus. Non cichlid species: Astyanax aeneus, Belonesox belizanus, Gambusia yucatana, Heterandria bimaculata, Hyphessobrycon compressus, Poecilia Mexicana, Xiphophorus hellerii.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: True aquatic plant life is devoid apart from submerged grasses and fallen palm leaves from the canopy above.

Threats to the ecology:

Sources of information: Fishes from Lachuá Lake, Upper Usumacinta Basin, Guatemala, Pablo Granados-Dieseldorff 1,2*, Mäds F. Christensen 3 and P. Herman Kihn-Pineda 2012

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