Southern of peninsular Malaysia, peat swamp

37th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

Malaysia Malaysia. Mohd Khairul Fadzly

Volume: 324 L
Dimensions: 120x60x45 cm
List of fishes: 10 x Trigonopoma pauciperforatum, 12 x Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, 10 x Rasbora bankanensis, 10 x Trigonostigma heteromorpha, 100 x Boraras maculatus, 7 x Desmopuntius hexazona
List of plants: Blyxa Aubertii, Nymphoides Aquatica, Cryptocoryne Affinis, Cryptocoryne Cordata.
Description of decorations: Fine river sand similar to where cryptocoryne sp can be found in nature biotope. Driftwood taken from river. Dried cattapa leave (indian almond leaves) and local plant leaves known as Kemahang used to produce tannin and low down ph naturally. These two leaves can be found easily at the biotope area.
Description of equipment: E-JET 3378 external canister filter 1590/1750LH. 2 x LED Bulb 11watt 6500K
Water parameters: Temperature 28 – 30c, tds is 60ppm, Ph 6, gh 1, kh 0

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The Peat Swamp Forests in South Peninsular Malaysia are mostly located in the lowlands of Johor and extend  south to state of pahang. Water flows that fall from the highland and rain to peat soil form a stream and catchment area in dense forest or bushland. In some areas, peat swamps have a slow flow of water while some are water reservoirs through the process of absorption of rainwater.  This peat swamp biologi is a unique wetland ecosystem where it is a combination of two peat swampforests and a growing tropical rainforest for thousands of years. Referred as “black water” due to it stained dark brown color, associated with soft water conditions in terms of hardness, lower nutrient content and acidity ph as low as 4 in certain locations. It is caused by release of tannins and humid acid from organic matter such as driftwood, branches twigs and fallen leaves. Sun ray throughout the year has also created an ideal biological environment for unique species of flora and fauna, some ofwhich are endemic. Typical habitat is a closed forest where there is a dark forest bottom and there are thick vegetation on the banks of black rivers and peat swamps where these fish live among submerged trees. Sometimes it may be necessary to temporarily stay in the wet leaf garbage during the period when the pool is dry in the summer. In addition, peat swamp forests also contribute to the benefits of its complex ecosystem as carbon stock. Peat soil comprising organic material acts as a very high carbon deposit. The ability of this forest to absorb carbon dioxide can help stabilize the climate by slowing down the global warming process. Peat swamp has an important role in hydrology, its physical properties can absorb and regulate the stability of water supply through the natural function of organic matter. Its absorb water from the rain and acts like a sponge and keeps it in the ground. Hence, it can control the sudden rise in water and prevent flood and drought.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The water is stained brown due to the tannin and other chemicals released bt decomposing matter and peat.The substrace scattered with fallen leaves, driftwoods, twigs and branches.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Water hardness very soft. Acidic condition where ph value can be as low as 4. Tds range between 15 – 90ppm. Average temperature is 27c and can reach until 30c in summer.

List of fishes: Rasbora pauciperforata, Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, Rasbora bankanensis, Trigonostigma heteromorpha, Boraras maculatus, Betta sp, Desmopuntius hexazona, Parosphromenus sp, caridina sp.

List of plants: Blyxa Aubertii, Nymphoides Aquatica, Cryptocoryne Affinis, Cryptocoryne Cordata, Cyptocoryne Schulzei, Cryptocoryne Nurii, Crytocoryne Purpurea, Barclaya Motleyi, Eleocharis sp.

Threats to the ecology: Biotope in this area are under serious threat from major deforestation for rubber and palm oil plantations, building developments or other human activities. Global warning causes extraordinary high temperature which make peat swamp forest become dry and flammable. Improper disposal of industrial waste causes it to flow into the nearby peat swamp area causing damage and destruction of its habitat. Some of the flora and fauna species for example Betta Persephone and Barclaya Motleyi has been listed as critically endangered in IUCN red list of the threatened species.

Sources of information:

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

It’s a beautiful Malaysian biotope. I think it is right to position the materials, even though it is a simple-looking design, I particularly like the base of this aquarium. I only wish you to use a few tree roots reaching the surface of the tank. The volume and the number of fish are very good. When you watch the video, you see a harmonious whole. Lighting is also very natural. I am grateful for the sufficiency of the information given about the habitat and for the information sources mentioned. Congratulations.

Mert Aykuta (Turkey)