Submerged forest in Atabapo basin of Colombia

57th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018

russia Taiwan. Hsu Hung Hsiao

Volume: 338 L
Dimensions: 65x65x80 cm
List of fishes: Pterophyllum altum
List of plants: N/A
Description of decorations: Dead woods are similar to those found in the biotope. White sand is 0.1-1 mm.
Description of equipment: External filter 1230L/H, Internal filter 500L/H , Led-spotlights 20 W (7000K+4000K).
Water parameters: Temperature is 26°C, pH is 6, KH is 2 , TDS is 40 ppm.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The Atabapo River commonly known as the “river of black water” is a tributary of the Orinoco River. It forms part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela, The river originates in the low plain forests of the transitional Amazon biome and stretches 185 km in length. The basin includes a variety of ecosystems, such as seasonal savannas, basal rainforests, and basal gallery forests. The depth of the river is up to 15 meters. The river is up to 1 km wide. There are heaps of boulders and dense tropical forest on both sides of the river.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: The entire Atabapo is underpinned by vast areas of igneous granite rock. There are bare rocks, large and small boulders along the river. The substrate consists of white sand with a fraction of 0.1-1.5 mm and small fragments of rocks. The river passes through the jungle. As vegetation decays, tannins leach into the water, making a transparent, soft, acidic water that is darkly stained. It resembles the dry season with more clearer water.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: During the rainy season the temperature of water is around 22-26°C, water pH is about 6. During the dry season, the temperature of water is around 27-31°C, water pH is about 3.5-4.5.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Pterophyllum altum, Dekeyseria sp (L052), Apistogramma lineata, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Pseudolithoxus anthrax (L235), Mesonauta cf. insignis.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: N/A

Threats to the ecology: Main threats within the basin are exploitation of natural resources and gold mining. Destructive methods used during gold mining, including the use of water dredging techniques and unregulated mercury use for extraction of ore. Together, both are very damaging to the environment as well as the indigenous communities that inhabit the basin. The Amazon rainforest has an impact on the biotope and the overall climate of the Earth. The logging of the Amazon rainforest presents a serious threat to the natural habitat of this biotope.

Sources of information: video:
James S. Albert & Roberto Reis. (2011).Historical Biogeography of Neotropical Freshwater Fishes .London: University of California
Practical Fishkeeping Magazine(April 2015)

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018

Please buy a bigger tank for these beauties.

Jeroen Vanhooren