Tributary of the Sangha River in the Congo River basin

The 24th place in the qualifying stage of the Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2013

ukraine Ukraine.  Tamara Davidova

Volume: 144 L
List of fishes: Polypterus delhezi, Ctenopoma acutirostra
List of plants: Anubias barteri nana, Nimphea lotus rubra
Biotope description: The model for this aquarium biotope was Sir David Attenborough’s film “Africa”​​, Episode 3 “Congo”, which shows the inhabitants of the forest stream of the Congo River basin. The water flows among stones covered with Anubias, forming quiet backwaters with Nymphaea. Polypterus makes its way among the stems of the Nymphaeas, searching for prey, spotted Ctenopomas try to catch small fish.

This is a real and very well made near to authentic biotope of a habitat in the Sangha River basin. The fishes as well as plants and description are correct and it is my favorite of the African biotopes. I think the other judges did not evaluate it correctly because they have never been to the Sangha (and I was the first ever to explore it for aquatic life forms – long before Attenborough made the film in that region).

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

For me, this one has too many vertical and horizontal lines. These “rock cubes” on the left side don’t look natural at all.

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

It is a very nice biotope aquarium with a good selection of inhabitants. However, the stones are stacked somewhat artificial, in my opinion. Perhaps this impression comes from the large flat stones lying on each other. I would like to stir them up a little, to position them another way, or maybe it would be enough to add anubias between them. I would also like to dig the stones into the ground a little, so there was no feeling that they were just put here. It is important that there are shelters between the stones where adult Polypteruses can hide if there are several of them in the aquarium. Anubiases make quite dense thickets, where Ctenopomas may hide, waiting for prey. Ctenopoma acutirostra is an amazing in its adaptability. This species can be found in a variety of biotopes, from the fast-moving rivers to stagnant pools. I would like to see more Nympheas. Instead of Crinum kalamistratum, which is endemic to the island of Madagascar, it would be better to plant Crinum natans. 1-2 bushes of Crinum natans are able to create gorgeous thickets like giant Vallisneria where Ctenopomas would have hidden gladly. It would be another good idea to add several pieces of driftwood, I think that they would make the aquarium look more naturally and harmoniously, but without them it looks also good.

Elena Mazurek (Russia)

Beautiful aquarium but the rocks cluster in the left doesn’t look natural.

Dimitris Ioannou (Greece)