Tram Chim Melaleuca forests, Dong Thap Province, Vietnam

3rd place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

Vietnam Vietnam. Tran Hoang Nghia

Volume: 290 L
Dimensions: 120x60x60 cm
List of fishes: Trichogaster trichopterus, Trichopsis sp.
List of plants: Nymphae lotus, Nymphoidesindicum, Pistia stratiotes
Description of decorations: Melaleuca roots,  Dried leaves Melaleuca, Melaleuca Driftwood
Description of equipment: External filter JBL , fluorescent lamps T5 2х48 W, 10000 K, 6500 k
Water parameters: Temperature is 28-29°C, pH is 6.8

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Tram Chim National Park of Dong Thap Muoi, Tam Nong district, Dong Thap province, in the Mekong Delta. During the time of the day when the highest tide occurs, normally from August to November, Tram Chim National Park is an eco-tourist area known as a “green island” with a typical natural landscape of the submerged region of Dong Thap Muoi. The park is home to many botanical species and nearly 200 species of water birds which account for about a quarter of the birds in Vietnam. This includes many rare and precious species of water birds. Among them, the most well-known are the red-headed cranes, one of 15 endangered species of cranes in the world. Nearly 60 percent of the population of red-headed cranes resides in Tram Chim National Park. Changing during the rainy season when flooled Melaleuca forests level in by 6-7 meters. At this time, where aquatic plants begin to develop vigorously, the shade of flooded Melaleuca, among their roots, various kinds of fish spawn and find their shelter.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: As the river passes through a dense forest, there are many branches and driftwood in the water. Delicious fall of leaves of Melaleuca creates a thick layer of leaves under water.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Temperature is 28°C, pH varies from 6.3 to 6.8 depending on the season

List of fishes: Trichogaster trichopterus, Trichopsis sp., Channa maculata, Anabas testudineus, Clarias batrachus…

List of plants: Nymphae lotus, Nymphoidesindicum, Pistia stratiotes, Nelumbo nucifera, Eichhornia crassipes, Salviniaceae, Ceratophyllaceae

Threats to the ecology: Capturing more and more natural areas, human pollute the habitat, farming land invades forestsm using pesticide, cutting Melaleuca, affecting the ecological system of the rain Melaleuca forests

Sources of information:

Comments of the members of the jury of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

It is one of the finest biotope aquaria I’ve ever seen. The choice of region, the selection of species and their presentation seems spectacular. Volume is adequate for numbers of species and species. Gold ratio, perspective and occupancy rate have been used very successfully. I knew this aquarium was the job of a good designer. The only problem is that there are more layout and visuality than naturalness here but the aquarium still looks natural. The fact that the materials used are imitated habitats has also increased realism. The information given about the habitat is satisfactory; the sources of information are abundant. Photography is really nice, but I wish the video to be longer and shorter in order to be able to see more of this beautiful biotope. It is very good work, congratulations.

Mert Aykuta (Turkey)

Although the photo could be better, on the video I could see that there was a lot of work to create this beautiful biotope. It is one of the best Asia biotope I’ve seen. I’m just little worried about amount of organic matter for long term keeping.

Petra Bašić (Croatia)

I like these small, delicate rootlets growing out from the driftwood which is the main decoration. Also the texture of the driftwood is very interesting, full of detail. The bottom is decorated with lots of leaves and small twigs, and all this looks very similar to what I saw when I was filming some underwater habitats. It is a very good work, both natural-looking and beautiful.

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

Every time I see this Biotope Aquarium I ask myself, “How did Tran Hoang Nghia do this?” The degree of habitat accuracy is just mind blowing and the whole setup seems to take you exactly to the flooded forest in Vietnam. Every year, a couple of super aquariums come up in this great competition and this is definitely one of them. I think I have said this before, but I would really want to sit and watch Tran create one of these biotope aquariums in front of me. Tran, film the process and share the video with the world, please!

Ivan Mikolji (Venezuela)

The overall mood is of an ancient forest in flux. Genuine Melaleuca trees and roots are the central feature in this ultra realistic flooded forest biotope. The author has done a superb job. The thick carpet of leaves and fine twigs on the substrate look exactly like those I have observed in forested parts of Thailand. Having quick-growing floating plants and water lilies growing among the trees gives the impression of the habitat being midway through the flood season. All the gouramis are active and seem right at home. One can sense the ephemeral nature of this biotope, as fish and plants take advantage of the rich bounty of nutrients from the forest floor to grow and reproduce.

Michael Salter (Canada)

The biotope aquarium, any aquarist can dream of. Complete naturalness. A large number of small natural debris on the bottom in this case is completely normal. Branches protruding from the water are one of my favourite techniques for decorating aquaria. The small labyrinth fishes are also my favourite.

Yuriy Yancher (Ukraine)