Uaupés River at Trovao, flood plain about 20 kilometers from mouth of Uaupés, Brazil

51th place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2019

Poland. Magdalena Szubska

Volume: 112 L
Dimensions: 80x35x40 cm
List of fishes: -Apistogramma elizabethae,
-Corydoras adolfoi,
-Paracheitodon simulans,
List of plants: Eleocharis acicularis Echinodorus amazonicus Echinodorus sp. Myriophyllum braziliensis Ceratopteris spp.
Description of decorations: Well watered driftwood covers the substrate, which is a mixture of sand, clay and fine gravel. Mix of peat, leaves, bark and small branches lays in the parts of tank with small current.
Description of equipment: AQUAEL UNIMAX 250 Lighting:
light color 10000k warm color 3000k
Water parameters: KH 4, GH 4, pH 6, conductivity 50 μS/cm
Additional info: I have already provided all the information in other sections.


Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Description of the area surrounding the biotope*
Type locality is ‘affluent of Rio Uaupés at Trovao, about 20 kilometers from mouth of Uaupés, 0°02’N, 67°26’W, Amazonas State, Brazil’.
Rio Vaupés (port of Rio Uaupés) – a river in Brazil and Colombia; main (right) tributary of the Rio Negro river. Rio Vaupés from its sources to the estuary of the River Querary flows through the territory of Colombia (about 845 km). This, to the mouth of the river Papurí, is the border between Brazil and Colombia (about 188 km). From there, to its outlet to the Rio Negro, it flows through Brazil (about 342 km). In its course or Uaupés receives water from other large rivers, such as Tiquié or Papuri, or Querari or Cuduiari.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: In the natural environment, the water is very soft, sour and tinted with tea thanks to tannins. Tannins are in the water due to the large amount of roots lying on the bottom and fallen leaves. The light reaching the bottom is very weak, scattered due to the large number of trees growing on the banks of the river. Sandy bottom, with stones, covered with a thick layer of detritus.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: Parameters of water in the natural environment
Soft and sour water. Total hardness 1-4 and pH 5-6, temperature about 25 – 28 degrees conductivity 40 μS /cm. High tannin content.

List of fishes and invertebrates occurring in the nature biotope: In Rio Uaupes, a lot of fish species live, for example:
Apistogramma meinkeni, Apistogramma uaupesi, Tucanoichthys tucano, Nannostomus spp., Corydoras imitator, Corydoras adolfoi, Ivanacara adoketa, Paracheitodon simulans.

List of plants found in the nature biotope: Due to the prevailing conditions, there are few plants in the river. There are places where plants are more. There are, among others:
Eleocharis acicularis, Echinodorus amazonicus, Echinodorus sp., Myriophyllum braziliensis, Ceratopteris spp., Eichhornia crassipes

Threats to the ecology: The Uaupes, a tributary of the Rio Negro, is a blackwater river. The ecology of blackwater rivers differs from temperate aquatic systems. In temperate climates, the base of the food chain is usually micro flora, produced by photosynthetic and chemosynthetic action on nutrients in the water. Early researchers were faced with the apparent paradox that many Amazonian rivers, while containing both low levels of nutrients and low in situ production of primary phytoplankton, nonetheless support flourishing fish populations. Food supplies in blackwater rivers come from external sources. River margins provide food for fish – vegetable matter such as leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds, and microflora, and numerous animal forms such as insects, insect larvae, arachnids, crustaceans, and worms. This food enters the river as floating and decomposed matter and mud. Water levels fluctuate with seasonal rain. When flooding peaks , waters overspill their banks merging aquatic and terrestrial zones, and allowing fish into the flooded forests to feed. Some of the fish populations of these rivers have evolved to exploit increased numbers of foods available during floods and to store these energy reserves as fatty deposits. Uaupes soils, podsols and latosols, are eroded from the ancient Guyana Shield through which the Uaupes River flows. These soil types are typical of blackwater areas.Podsols result from intense weathering of soils in a strongly acid medium. Leaching removes soluble minerals leaving the soil high in aluminum and iron compounds. The unweathered surface material is a white sand, devoid of important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Latosols are weathered soils rich in iron. When exposed to repeated drying and moistening, the iron segregates, forming nodules and concretions which cement to a rock-like hardness known as laterite. These soils’ principal source of nutrients is derived from the accumulation of leaf fall and other debris from the forest. Upon clearing, nutrients are quickly eroded. Thus, to remove the forest cover is to remove the nutrients of both the terrestrial and aquatic systems. Without the leaf litter from the forest, the soils become either white sands or brick-like laterites, both inhospitable to agriculture. Finally, were the forest margin to be denuded for agriculture, these soils would quickly erode, altering the river channel and depositing silt in the river. Agriculture is a short-lived phenomenon in deforested blackwater regions because nutrient supply is quickly exhausted. Greater protein yields per hectare from blackwater areas are obtained by maintaining the forest as a grazing ground for fish.
One can clearly see how the soil layer of fertile soil in the Amazon is unstable and how little it needs to be degraded. Tribes living in this area cultivate to a very limited extent, therefore their impact on the environment is small. Much worse results are caused by a lumbering timber economy, which by cutting trees in huge areas causes soil sterilization by removing a thin layer of humus. In the place of the cut forest, nature is reborn very slowly.
A separate threat to this region is the legal and illegal exploration of raw materials. When extracting, for example, gold, mercury or cyanide is used. The waste after the recovery of gold goes very often directly to smaller and larger rivers, causing mass poisoning of fish and other aquatic animals. This creates a huge threat to the people living in this area. It is very common to use violence against the Indians, and even murders of some tribesmen to intimidate others

Sources of information:
– talks with other aquarists and hobbyists from different parts of the world – Films from the Youtube portal, presenting the Rio Uaupes

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