Sundarbans Biotope: Matla Mudflats

The 4th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2015

india India. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay

Volume: 200 L
List of fishes: Scatophagus argus, Tetraodon cutcutia, Periopthalmus novemradiatus, Red Fiddler crabs
List of plants: Excoecaria, Cereops
Biotope description: Sundarbans is home to the worlds’ largest mangroves delta – 2/3rd of it in Bangladesh and the remainder is in India. My biotope is based on the Indian side, the upper portion of the delta. The Sundarbans delta is entirely created by tides, depositing silt, relentlessly carrying silt from one side of the bank to the other. Further south, bordering the sea, one gets sandy beaches, but areas near Sajnekhali, Basirhat, Gosaba etc, it is all about mud flats. Mangroves with superb root structures. There are various kinds of vegetation. However no tree are more than 20 feet height (from ground level). Dominant vegetation include Excoecaria, Excoecaria Cereops, Cereops, Avicennia-Oryza, Pheonix etc. Tides: Everyday Sundarbans witnesses twice….high and low tides. During high tides the water levels can rise upwards of 15 feet from the point where low tide water level is. The mode pH is around 8.0 and the salinity is around 20 ppt. Description of my Biotope: Main tank: 72X36X36 three sides, the front glass height is 18 Sump: 36X24X24. This is more a hold out tank for simulating tide. It has few liquid filters in it. Water: Brackish (salinity 1.017-1.02), pH: 7.7 Decorations (all in the main tank): 100 kgs of mud (got them from Matla mud flat), some Mangrove seeds and few mangrove plants (all seeds and plants procured legally through agencies who promote mangrove cultivation). Tide simulation: Currently I am using one small liquid filter a pieace in each of the two tanks. I am using timer that ensures the following takes place every day -high tide (00:00-06:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from sump to main tank -low tide (06:00-12:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from main tank to sump -high tide (12:00-18:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from sump to main tank -low tide (18:00-00:00 hours): About 150 litres flow from main tank to sump.

As I also experiment with unusual marine aquariums, I find this setup very interesting. It doesn’t look like a 200 liters aquarium, decoration is placed very good and in combination with right light, it looks very natural.

Petra Bašić (Croatia)

So often mangrove biotopes are done badly but the Sundarbans biotope looks incredibly realistic and a very suitable home for its inhabitants in more ways than one.

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

Represent a mangrove is very important to spread the preservation concept to everyone. I liked the atmosphere and mostly the plants. I just miss more fishes or some crustaceans.

André Longarço (Brazil)