Rocky Coastline, Southwest Coast Lake Tanganyika, Cape Kaku, Zambia

_th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020

Volume: 200 liters
Dimensions: 60x50x70 cm
List of fishes: Altolamprologus calvus, Lamprologus ocellatus
List of plants: None
Description of decorations: I used approximately 50 kg of rocks that I collected from nature, in addition to a lateral bottom and two large artificial rocks, both made by me in my project. I placed the rocks according to the sample views of the rock structure of the region, where we see large outcrops towards the surface, forming huge walls. The larger rocks are arranged at the top and the smaller, flatter ones at the bottom, providing a welcoming atmosphere to the inhabitants of the Altolamprologus calvus rocks, leaving a small piece of sand where my Lamprologus ocellatus lives, with some snail shells, using river sand. with some broken shells, to give a more natural and similar appearance to the region. My goal was to recreate the intermediate rocky area, with the steep slope of the soil, characteristic of the region. By positioning the rocks at the top, I planned to cut off the light coming from the surface, creating shaded areas for the fish. The stones I used on the substrate were used to give the appearance of small fragments that were detached from the large rocks of the lake.
Description of equipment: As a habitat, I would like to point out that the area receives intense sunlight, as it is close to the surface. Based on this situation, I installed a light system composed of a 50W Aquanano luminaire with white and blue LEDs and a 2700K 7W hot spot, positioned at 45 degrees to simulate the incidence of sunlight. For filtration, I use a 900 l / h Jebo container, using only a biological blanket for mechanical filtration and 2 liters of Oceantech ceramic for biological filtration. Given the climatic characteristics of the region where I live, with small thermal amplitude and high annual average, I use a ventilation system controlled by a thermostat, keeping the aquarium temperature between 27 and 29 degrees. In the rear window, I used a blue vinyl panel to promote the feeling of infinity.
Water parameters: PH 9,0 / KH 12º dKh / GH 15ºdGh / Temp 27-29ºC
Additional info: TPAs of 25% biweekly and use of buffer for correction and maintenance of parameters.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Tanganyika Lake in East Africa, one of the Great African Lakes, located in the East African rift zone. The lake is divided among four countries, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia. It covers an area of 34400 km², is the longest freshwater lake in the world and the deepest African lake. The lake is located at an altitude of 773m above sea level. The average depth is 570 m, while the maximum reaches 1435m. The lake is located in the tropical climate zone. The average annual rainfall is 200mm. Average annual temperature around 20C.
The chosen biotope is located in the Southwest part in the coastline belonging to Zambia, more specifically Cape Kaku. Cape Kaku is a small piece of land that juts out into the lake and that the characteristics of the topography of the coast, just a few meters down and the clarity of its waters make it a very special place for diving in an aquarium natural. As in other parts of the lake, here we find huge rocky outcrops, which like marine reefs are home to a diverse community of fish.
We also found piles of rocks zones of small and medium size where smaller species thrive exploit any crack to lay their eggs.
Near here is the Kasaba Bay, where wild catches eventually reach the shops around the world.
It is within the limits of Sumbu National Park, in a sparsely populated area of Zambia.
Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The intermediate habitat consists of sandy bottom with numerous rocks which provide shelter for the species-rich community. The rocky part can cover up to three quarters of the sandy bottom. The most important characteristic is the gradual inclination of the bottom. The biocover on the rocks is usually overlaid with a thin layer of fine sand. There is no real depth restriction for this habitat, but it is most heavily populated between 5 and 40 meters. The intermediate habitat harbours the most species rich communities of the lake. Altolamprologus calvus endemic to Lake Tanganyika, found in the southwestern part of the lake; deep and laterally very compressed body wih permits it to enter narrow cracks and shallow caves; feeds mainly on shrimps and other crustaceans. Lamprologus ocellatus, endemic to Lake Tanganyika, a dwarf cichlid which lives in Neothauma shells or at least breeds in them. Has been found in small schools and often mixed with L. brevis, with which perhaps the species competes for possession of the shell piles. Is a microfeeder on invertebrates.
Description of the parameters of the habitat: The water of the Lake Tanganyika is very basic and its pH varies between 8.6 and 9.5. Due to the high algae photosynthesis on the water surface, there is a low concentration of carbon dioxide and the pH is slightly higher. Total hardness is 11-17 dH, carbonate hardness is 16-19 dH. Water is mostly clear, the water is rich in oxygen at the first 40 meters. The water temperature on the surface varies between 24.5 degrees C and 27.5 degrees C.
List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Altolamprologus calvus; Altolamprologus compressiceps; Callochromis macrops; Chalinochromis brichardi; Cyathopharynx furcifer; Cyphotilapia gibberosa; Cyprichromis pavo; Cyprichromis sp; Cyprichromis zonatus; Cunningtonia longiventralis; Enantiopus melanogenys; Eretmodus cyanostictus; Julidochromis regani; Lamprologus ocellatus; Lepidiolamprologus elongatus; Lepidiolamprologus kendalli; Neolamprologus buescheri; Neolamprologus cf. petricola ‘Zambia’; Neolamprologus multifasciatus; Neolamprologus. mustax; Neolamprologus pulcher; Neolamprologus sexfasciatus; Ophthalmotilapia nasuta; Ophthalmotilapia ventralis; Petrochromis ephippium; Petrochromis famula; Petrochromis fasciolatus; Petrochromis macrognathus; Petrochromis polyodon; Tropheus moorii “Kaku”; Variabilichromis moorii; Xenotilapia singularis; Xenotilapia sp. ‘papilio sunflower’.
List of plants found in the nature biotope: None
Threats to the ecology:
Sources of information:

Mergulho em Cape Kaku, Zâmbia, costa sudoeste do Lago Tanganyika. Créditos Alex Jordan.

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020