Tamnang River, Si Phang Nga national park, Province Phang Nga, Southern Thailand

The 4th place in the final of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga

Volume: 180 L
List of fishes: Devario cf. aequipinnatus, Puntius lateristriga
List of plants: Microsorum pteropus
Biotope description: Tamnang River starts on the western slopes of the mountain range, flows through ancient rainforests and empties into the Andaman Sea. Typical decorations here are partly smooth stones, lots of live roots and driftwood. There are no aquatic plants here, except for the fern Microsorum pteropus, which often grows above the water because of the high humidity. Along with shallow rifts there are deep parts in the river where big barbel Neolissochilus lives. The river is home to smaller fishes: various carps, e.g., Puntius lateristriga, Puntius aurotaeniatus, and representatives of Devario species. They are good swimmers and do not avoid areas with a rapid current. Such place is shown in the aquarium.
Svetlana’s comment about the contest: I participated in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest for the third time. I can say that I was always interested in natural habitats of aquatic animals and plants. Events such as this, in my opinion, are very important for making people responsible for natural freshwater biotopes, which, unfortunately, are currently experiencing extremely strong anthropogenic pressure, and many have already disappeared or are threatened with total destruction. It is difficult to prepare for this contest, but it is also very interesting. First of all, I always try to find an opportunity to see the places that I plan to recreate in an aquarium. In addition, communication with hobbyists, travelers and scientists can be very helpful, I always learn something new about the habitats of freshwater fish and plants. It is strange enough, but very little useful literature and information available on the web can be found. Now Biotope Contest has become very serious indeed, there are professionals in this field involved both as participants and as members of the jury. Many thanks to the organizers of the contest, and I hope that despite some economic difficulties, the contest will develop and will continue to fulfill its basic purpose: to attract public attention to the problems of conservation of freshwater biotopes on the planet.

The set up looks really nice and very close to some rivers in the Phang Nha region, where I have been snorkeling in that kind of rivers for hours. But the tank reminds me on the Asia-tank of 2013 and was too close to that set up. But the Biotope itself has been copied perfectly.

Heiko Blessin (Germany)

3rd place must be Biotope by Vyacheslav, because it’s biotope description is very correct, well researched, but there are also Eleocharis and Cyperus species growing here and no Devario aequipinnatus can be found (the latter only in Assam and Bhutan). The décor is very nice, well made and very close to this habitat.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

I find the decor does distract and detract from the fish and I feel the rock hardscape has been laid out in an unnatural way. A different choice of rock would be better. It doesn’t shout Thai river to me and I would prefer to see more in-colour, mature specimens of the species selected to be represented.

Jeremy Gay (Great Britain)

This asien biotope tank is a clean well done example of a stony river beeing home to some cyprinid species. The tank has a nice clean look and conveys a freshwater stream full of life. On the other hand these biotope is quite hard to put into a ‘standard’ aquarium’. The conspicuous stones on the left side are too prominent for the layout while the right side is too unspecific. But I have to remark that I think it’s a good enviroment for the fishes to feel comfortable even if the layout has some small lacks. All in all an interesting aquarium with a lot of ‘barb-action’.

Benjamin Hamann (Germany)

Very thorough job, but it showed me a great artificiality. I could not project myself to the natural environment. Despite the hardscape be very well worked, I saw much artificiality in your arrangement. I believe that lacked a little bit of Wabi-sabi concept.

André Longarço (Brazil)

The layout looks good, but there are little shortcomings in it. Due to a misplaced inner filter the current has the wrong direction. Marginal zone in this case should be located along the back glass (in the entry online in this category it was done this way). If the author was trying to portray a rift, then no plants will grow after it except algae. And the fine sand can be added (on top in some places).

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

In this biotope aquarium Vyacheslav Veriga includes a very interesting choice of different types of rocks. The slanted dark driftwood, black background and layers on the light stones made me look at the tank again, again and again. I felt like I was trying to understand an abstract piece of art more than an underwater biotope representation.

Ivan Mikolji (Venezuela)

It is a real pleasure to see the same fish I have witnessed snorkeling rivers in Thailand in a set-up that allows their natural behavior in strong currents. I find this biotope very appealing aesthetically, and the shoreline effect with the grass-like plants works well. However, the type and coloration of the rocks is not similar to what I have seen, or what is in the photo representing the wild habitat. Likewise, there are some fish that are nearly always found in these habitats that are missing – Garra sp. and loaches. Also, the Microsorium pteropus looks out of place as it is probably only found emerse under waterfalls in this area. Still a very nice environment for the inhabitants though.

Michael Salter (Canada)