Stream at the beginning of Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, 180 L

The 5th place in the final of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2013

ukraine Ukraine. Nikolay Muzhichuk

Volume: 180 L
List of fishes: Glossolepis incisus, Iriatherina werneri, Melanotenia praecox, Popondetta furcata, Tateurndina ocellicauda.
List of plants: Vallisneria nana, Ceratophyllum demersum, Staurogyne repens, Microsorum pteropus Trident, Fontinalis hypnoides, Vesicularia sp.
Biotope description: Sepik River is the longest river in the island of New Guinea, and at the same time it is the state of Papua New Guinea. Most of the river flows through the province of Sandown and East Sepik, only a small part is located in the Indonesian province of Papua. With the high headwaters near the village Telefomin many streams flow into the river, like a blood artery that fills the main vein of Papua with strength and power. The biotope shows one of the creeks joining the river, a piece of the underwater and landscape and its banks for easy understanding of the beauty of this paradise on our planet.
Nikolay’s comment about the contest: The high level of organization shocked even Ukrainian aquarists spoiled by many contests! I can only dream that in Ukraine there will be such companies and aquaristic fans who can raise biotope direction to a decent level, and with their help aquaristic in our country will develop as quickly and comprehensively as the contest organizers showed here. From the old skeptic with aquascaper’s point of view during few days of the contest I turned into an ardent admirer of biotope aquariums, and I hope I can give this feeling to my countrymen, so that next year we all were able to show biotope aquariums in all their glory to the world and to reveal the fullness and vastness of this aquaristic trend.

Nicolay, you made a real great decor job, very beautiful, but note the following errors: 1. Not one of the species of fishes you have placed and mentioned lives in the Sepik anywhere. (G. incisus only in Lake Sentani in West Papua – endemic); T. ocellicauda only in the far away Safia Valley, Papua New Guinea, together with Ps. furcatus. And M. preacox only in the Mamberamo Valley (West Papua). All discovered and introduced by me…And Bolbitis is only found in West and Central Africa. Also: Papua New Guinea is a well established country independent since 1975. West Papua (former Irian Jaya) is an Indonesian Province and is the western half of New Guinea. Try to do better research next time and do not rely on Internet.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

It is a very spectacular aquarium, no wonder it won the Audience Award Prize. The stones are laid attractively, the creek bed is simulated well, the part above water looks very naturally and harmoniously completes the underwater part. But the choice of the fishes is more appropriate for fish aquarium set up on a geographical basis, since none of the selected fishes lives in Sepik River. Pseudomugil furcatus and Tateurndina ocellicauda live on the same territory, but it is located much further to the south near the town of Popondetta. Iriatherina werneri lives in coastal rivers in the territory closest to Australia, approximately between Merauke and Fly River. Melanotaenia praecox lives in the basin of Mamberamo River and Glossolepis incisus lives in Sentani Lake. There are mistakes and with plants too. Microsorum pteropus ‘Trident’ should not be used, Bolbitis heteroclita does not grow in Papua New Guinea, but there are other species of Bolbitis there. If it is necessary to use a species of plant instead of other one (it is not always possible to get the needed plants), then the reason for the replacement should be specified in the biotope description. Members of the jury will treat this fact differently, but knowing the biotope will be demonstrated.

Elena Mazurek (Russia)

In terms of setup it is very beautiful entry. And it is not an aquascape, as many people think, but a small stream, which flows in the middle, “crawling” on the right and the left banks, where the plants are. In geographical terms, the model is almost ideal for showrooms, as an illustrative example for a natural biotope in an aquarium. But… the biotope here has a lot of mistakes, both with plants and with fishes. Bolbitis and Microsorum species are absent in New Guinea. Eleotris and Popondetta (Pseudomugil correctly) can meet, but not in this biotope (in the geographical meaning). Glossolepis is endemic to Lake Sentani and neon Melanotaenia lives in small rivers of Mamberamo (Indonesia). Nevertheless, I respect the author. It is very difficult to get fishes from one Australia and Oceania biotope.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)