River in the Yangkou area downstream of the Mount Lao, Qingdao, China

30th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

China. Sun Kai

Volume: 300 L
Dimensions: 120x50x50 cm
List of fishes: Rhodeus ocellatus, Carassius auratus, Pseudorasbora parva, Micropercops swinhonis, Abbottina rivularis
List of plants: Hydrilla verticillata, Myriophyllum verticillatum, Potamogeton crispus
Description of decorations: Willow wood,river sand ,soil and stone,
Description of equipment: EHIEM 600 filter ,30wLED*4
Water parameters: 28℃ PH7, GH10
Additional info:


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The rosy bitterling Rhodeus ocellatus is a very common fish in northern China. They live in rivers, lakes, ponds, and usually feed on algae. Rhodeus ocellatus have a very special way of reproduction via symbiosis with freshwater mussels. When breeding season, the male will show a beautiful marriage color, and the female will stick out a long spawning tube in the cloaca. They dance around the mussel, and the male fish stimulate the female fish with the pearl organ on the snout and above the eyes, prompting it to lay eggs in the mussel. At the same time, the stimulation of the mussel during the spawning process will cause the mussel to reproduce, and the larvae of the mussel will be hooked on the Rhodeus ocellatus for reaching a farther place. This interesting symbiotic relationship demonstrates the close relationship between organisms from different classes. They maximize their offsprings’ chance of survival by serving each other’s’ baby sitters.
When I was a child, I often linger by all kinds of water . A pool near my home was my heaven. Because of my young age, I didn’t have many tools to catch and observe fish. So the harvest of the fishers was a convenient way for me to understand the distribution of fish. Usually they were willing to fight with big fish, but they didn’t hinder the pleasure of fishing for small fish. In memory, the first time I saw a Rhodeus ocellatus was a summer afternoon. The sky was a bit cloudy, and cicadas were loud in the sweltering weather kep. I didn’t have any impression of other fish in the afternoon. I only remembered the bright body color when the Rhodeus ocellatus was landed. I was suddenly shocked. The fisher nearby called this fish “fire scale”. The fisher was also kind. He let children observe for a while before releasing his small fish alive. I was very shy, although I really wanted to get a Rhodeus ocellatus , it was difficult to speak out. Maybe he saw my mind in the longing eyes and from my whole afternoon waiting, so he left me a colorful Rhodeus ocellatus before went home. I ran back home as fast as I could and put the fish into my fish tank, so the story of Rhodeus ocellatus and I began.
It wasn’t until many years later that I knew the real name of the fish, but at that time I was just in contact with the colorful world, and I became interested in tropical fish around the world, leaving the natural world around me. With the development of the Internet, the more channels people have access to information. Occasionally, I learned the story of the symbiosis between the Rhodeus ocellatus and the mussel, and then I became interested. The reason why we neglect this beautiful fish is because they are widely distributed and easily to breed, but these characteristics cannot hide its beauty and other habits. After work, I moved to Qingdao and found a Rhodeus ocellatus when I snorkeled in the wild. At that time, it was in the rainy season. The mountain stream was abundant, and it was concentrated downstream to make the water quality of the river extremely clear. The Hydrilla verticillata thrives here, and the black algae jungle is the home of Rhodeus ocellatus . They shuttled among the greens and looked for the mussel in the open space. When I first saw the Rhodeus ocellatus squatting around the river in the water, I was deeply intoxicated. The shiny metallic color hovered in the water, constantly attracting the female fish to lay eggs, while still driving the competition. It’s really beautiful! Before I landed, I decided to show the beauty of the place to every biotope fans around the world with my own fish tank. Therefore, the constant conception and the original site inspection began. In the end I made this work and completed my wish. I hope everyone can pay attention to the original ecological biotopes around them, and don’t ignore their value and beauty because they are at your place. Earth is really a treasure house, we have to protect her.
This work selects the river in the Yangkou area downstream of the Mount Lao. Mount Lao is the most famous mountain range in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China. It is known as the first mountain by the sea. As a temperate monsoon climate, the temperature difference in the Mount Lao area is large throughout the year, and the rainfall distribution is mainly concentrated in the summer. The hydrological condition varies significantly with the seasons. In summer, the water depth is about one meter and the water temperature is between 24-28 °C. The riverbed is mixed with sand and soil ,more sandy. The water quality is neutral, and when the rainfall is abundant in summer, the hardness is very low and the water body is highly transparent. There are many fishes living here, such as Rhodeus ocellatus Carassius auratus, Pseudorasbora parva, Opsariichthys bidens, Rhinogobius giurinus, Micropercops swinhonis, Abbottina rivularis. Aquatic invertebrates are mainly shrimp, mussel and snail. The aquatic plants in the river make up, mainly the Hydrilla verticillata, Myriophyllum verticillatum, Potamogeton crispus and the reeds and willows live on the shore. Due to the large difference in rainfall each year, trees growing along the river in dry years will be washed down by heavy rain in the wet years. A fallen tree provides a well-protected small community habitat for a group of fish. My favorite thing is snorkeling to observe fish is to look for a similar environment. When I see the happy life of the fish here, I can’t wait to be in the water all the time.
Although there is no hot summer in Qingdao, there is a harsh winter. The average annual temperature in Qingdao is 12.3 °C, which is still suitable. In January, the coldest month in January, the average temperature was -0.9 °C; the hottest in August, the average temperature was 25.3 °C; the extreme minimum temperature in the past 100 years was the lowest at -16.9 °C on January 10, 1931, while the extreme maximum temperature appeared in 2002. On July 15, the highest temperature reached 38.9 °C.
The air is humid, the rainfall is abundant, the temperature is moderate, and the four seasons are distinct. In spring, the temperature rises slowly, one month later than the inland; the summer is hot and humid, but there is no heat; the autumn is high, the precipitation is low, the evaporation is strong; the winter wind is low and the duration is long.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope:

Description of the parameters of the habitat:

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Rhodeus ocellatus
Carassius auratus,
Pseudorasbora parva,
Opsariichthys bidens,
Rhinogobius giurinus,
Micropercops swinhonis,
Abbottina rivularis.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Hydrilla verticillata,
Myriophyllum verticillatum,
Potamogeton crispus

Threats to the ecology: In order to ensure smooth flood discharge in summer, the lush aquatic plants will be removed every few years. Fish live here and have certain threats

Sources of information: (ichthyography of Shandong)
Wild underwater observation by myself

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