Swamp of the Apalachicola River at Chattahoochee, Florida, USA

38th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

China. Lu Xiaolong

Volume: 250 L
Dimensions: 180x60x60 cm
List of fishes: Macrochelys temminckii, Gambusia affinis(These fish are kept in my aquarium as a feed for Macrochelys temminckii.), Neocaridina denticulate(Shrimp from the original habitat are not available in my area, but these shrimp have been added to enrich the turtle’s diet)
List of plants:
Description of decorations: Due to the locomotion of the turtle, the stones and sands are stick by using glues with mud and sand mixture above. Leaves and stick are also added. Dead leaves and wood are decorated on the riverside with grass.
Description of equipment: Two Oase BioMaster600, 1250L/H,ODYSSEA T5H0,640w
Water parameters: Temperature is 23°C, ph is 7.5
Additional info:


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: The Apalachicola River, originated in Apalachicola, Florida, USA, is a confluence of two rivers, the Chattahoochee River and the Flint River. It belongs to the ACF river system. It is 180 kilometers long and has a drainage area of 19,500 square miles (50,505 square kilometers). The Apalachicola River Basin is the most biologically diverse area east of the Mississippi River. The basin contains important forests throughout the country, with some of the highest biodiversity east of the Mississippi River. It has a large area of temperate deciduous forests as well as long-leaved pine trees and flat forests. Flooded areas have large floodplain forests. All of these southeast forest types were destroyed by logging between 1880 and 1920. The highest point in the basin is the Blood Mountain, 4,458 feet (1,359 meters) above sea level, near the source of the Chattahoochee River. A total of 356 wild species are currently known, of which 130 are endangered protected animals.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: In a tributary of the Apalachicola River, the water level is sometimes deep and sometimes shallow, and usually the deepest part of the river is no more than 2 meters. The substrate is mixed by sand and mud. There are many rock and gravel under the water, and there will be some algae on it. In some places, there are a lot of water plants, fallen branches and leaves. There are not many creatures.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Because the ACF River basin spans about 5 degrees of latitude, it has a sharp gradient in growing seasons. Average annual temperature ranges from about 60 ° F in the north to 70 ° F in the south. Average daily temperatures in the basin for January range from about 40 ° F to 55 ° F, and for July from 75 ° F to 80 ° F. In the winter, cold winds from the northwest cause the minimum temperature to dip below freezing for only short periods. Summer temperatures commonly range from the 70’s to the 90’s. Water in the main channel of the Apalachicola River usually has a pH between 7 and 8.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: Macrochelys temminckii, Gambusia affinis

List of plants found in the nature biotope: There are no aqua plants in the habitat I described.

Threats to the ecology: As early as the American Indians were on the surrounding land of the Apalachicola River, the ecology of the area was already small. During the period between 1868 and 1940, hydropower mining, gold mining, and logging led to large-scale deforestation. Until now Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF basin including the Apalachicola River), the concentration of nitrite and nitrate in the pesticide residues around the ACF basin is on the rise. The environmental ecology is worrying. The ACF basin has been escalating water conflicts over the past two decades and the inaction of local governments. The upper reaches of the basin are the main source of water for Atlanta, Georgia, and the lower reaches are agricultural water sources in Alabama and Florida. In recent years, upstream water demand in Georgia has grown rapidly, while downstream agricultural water use remains high. The increase in total water demand has led to a crisis that is once the most developed fishery in the United States. In the face of the current water crisis, the government has not solved the problem in the past two decades. On the contrary, various measures have promoted the phenomenon of plundering water resources such as indiscriminate mining and interception, which has worsened the situation of river dryness. The US Corps (Army Corps) manages the flow of several major reservoirs and hydropower stations in the ACF basin. However, due to the inability to reconcile the upstream and downstream water supply requirements, it does not increase the downstream flow of water in the case of dry river downstream. Eventually, the ecosystem of the ACF Valley Bay Area was devastated. As a result, the balance of the entire ecosystem was destroyed, and many plants and animals were reluctant to survive. However, in the case, the local original product of the Apalachicola River almost disappeared was called the Macrochelys temminckii, which was forced by the human needs at that time. The big snapping turtle has been paralyzed because the number of snapping turtles is large and easy to catch and is the largest meat miner in the world. It has been harvested and processed into canned food and various eating methods. In addition, the reduction in habitats is believed to have caused a significant decline in the number of snapping turtles that have ever been numerous. At the beginning of the 20th century, from the rivers and lakes of the Upper, Middle, and West to the swamps and bays of Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, there were a large number of snapping turtles in the American water system that flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. But recent surveys of snapping turtle populations show that in Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee, the snapping turtles are likely to be extinct. A 2014 study showed that the snapping turtle was considered a species in the earliest cognitive studies, but it was actually divided into three different species and was therefore more endangered than previously thought.

Sources of information:

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019