Rio San Lucas, sub-basin of the Atoyac River in San Lorenzo Cacaotepec, Oaxaca, México

The 1st place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015

mexico Mexico. Victor Manuel Ortiz Cruz

Volume: 200 L
List of fishes: Poecilia sphenops, Poeciliopsis fasciata, P. gracilis, Heterandria bimaculata, Astyanas fasciatus, Physa sp.
List of plants: Nasturtium officinale, Eleocharis acicularis, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Heteranthera reniformis, Bacopa caroliniana, B. monnieri, Fissidens sp., Baccharis salicifolia
Biotope description: The biotope aquarium is inspired and performed with some elements of the sub-basin “Rio San Lucas” belonging to the basin Atoyac River state of Oaxaca. It is located in the northern part of the municipality of San Lorenzo Cacaotepec. It is characterized by predominantly gallery vegetation willow (Salix sp.) and on the edge a lot of grasses Poaceae, patches of Bacopa monnieri in conjunction with B. caroliniana (clearly distinguishable in flowering season ), also in areas where there are small water seals can find lots of plants Ludwigia peploides, Heteranthera reniformis, Hydrocotyle umbellata, Nasturtium officinale in low proportion (exotic plant) and Eleocharis acicularis. Another of the plants that grow abundantly on the banks of the river are shrub known as locally as “chamizo” (Baccharis salicifolia), mosses are not so frequent although there is little gender presence Fissidens. As corresponds to the bottom of the river sand it is yellowing and metamorphic rocks that may have gray, blue, white or mixed colors. As for wildlife are the following fish: Poecilia sphenops, Heterandria bimaculata, Poeciliopsis gracilis, P. fasciata and Astyanax fasciatus as native species. It is possible to find Oreochromis spp. as invasive species. In terms of aquatic reptiles turtle is Kinosternon integrum; amphibian: spotted frog (Lithobates spectabilis). The purpose of the biotope aquarium is to show the people of Oaxaca and Mexico primarily our native species are “nice” and it is important to care for them, because they are usually neglected when they named “charales” at all, when they are not, the other purpose is to spread to the world the beauty of our waterways.

This aquarium truly represents authentic river bank. Plants growing on the edge are adding depth to well balanced underwater part. For final touch I would add just little bit of dead plant material or fine sand between rocks.

Petra Bašić (Croatia)

And the Atoyac River looked incredibly realistic and like a natural scene. Three very tempting biotopes!

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

Very good bottom – carefully designed, naturally looking “mess”. Stones of various sizes placed in a more or less random style, yet in a very aesthetic way. Very good example of how the space of the aquarium should be used – underwater you can’t see the back wall, which is concealed behind the stones, and there is plenty of space for fishes to swim in the foreground. This makes very good, natural impression. In my opinion this might be the best aquarium of this year’s edition of the contest.

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

Very nice work, but unfortunately I cannot evaluate the aerial portion. If I could, this layout would be a great candidate of the title of this contest.

André Longarço (Brazil)

Undoubtedly, this entry deserved to win the 1st place. It is obvious that the author not once has seen this biotope with his own eyes. Everything is very harmonious. There is nothing unnecessary here. Fish feel fine. Bravo.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

The thoughtfulness of this biotope arrangement is incredible. Much research has gone into it, and firsthand experience – there is a story behind it, and a purpose to educate. Every detail has been considered, even down to the species and growth pattern of the marginal vegetation, the color and texture of the rockwork and sand, and the verdant appearance of the shoreline. It truly evokes the wild state of the waterway with its “patterned chaos”. Nothing looks staged here, and it has a maturity to it so it also does not look thrown together. This Oaxacan biotope is exploding with life and variety. Not only are the correct species used for the biotope, but there is a diverse mix just as would be found in nature. Set ups like this raise the level of biotope to a living work of art.

Michael Salter (Canada)