Under the waterfall, Ulu Temburong National Park, Brunei, Borneo Island

23rd place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2017

Czech_Republic Czech Republic. Michal Klacek

Volume: 126 L
Dimensions: 80x35x45 cm
List of fishes: Betta macrostoma, Macrobrachium
List of plants: Due to the acidity of the environment and the minimum of light there are no aquatic plants in the water and therefore they are not in my aquarium.
Description of decorations: With the alluvial substrate I could not maintain the quality of the water, so the bottom is covered only with a layer of leaves. Also I used decayed wood, roots, stones of various sizes, mosses, lichen, tropical plants originating from Borneo such as Microsorum sp., Dischidia sp., Pyrrosia, Homalomena sp., Homalomena sp. Metallica, Selaginella wildenowii, Hydnophytum sp., Pachycentris glauca, Begonia amphioxus, Bucephalandra sp., Scindapsus. Under the plants, there is a layer of river gravel with a small layer of peat.
Description of equipment: External filter Eheim cllasic 250, 440 l/h, full-spectral fluorescent lamp 2x 18W.
Water parameters: Temperature is 25°C, pH 4.8, GH 1. Water treated with reverse osmosis system.

Description of the area surrounding the biotope: Ulu Temburong National Park is located in the eastern part of Brunei. The main rivers are Temburong and Belalong, which get water from a lot of smaller shallow rivers flowing through hilly countryside, where many waterfalls with pools and ponds are created. Along the watercourses there is a wide variety of tropical vegetation: from small shrubs to huge trees such as Shorea, Dryobalanops, Dipterocarpus and many other species. We can find ferns, mosses and lichens in the humid soil. The whole forest is interwoven with rattan ponds. There are many flowering plants such as Ginger, Begonie, Gesneria or Ixora in the coastal stretches of the river.

Description of the underwater landscape of the biotope: Under the waterfalls there are shallow pools with standing water, which is enriched with a lot of tannins and humic acids, giving the water a slightly brown coloring. The bottom is sandy with many large stones of predominantly gray color. The surface of the bottom is almost impossible to see in such ponds due to the large number of leaves, branches, roots and stems from the surrounding vegetation. Despite the dense vegetation, few sunlight penetrates into the pools.

Description of the parameters of the habitat: The water is clean with no brownish sludge, the temperature varies between 24-27 degrees, the pH fluctuates between 4.5-6 depending on location and weather conditions, GH and KH is below 1.

List of fishes: Betta macrostoma, Macrobrachium anamensis, Staurois guttatus and many other types of frogs.

List of plants: Due to the high acidity of the environment no aquatic plants are present in the pools.

Threats to the ecology: Due to growing economic and social development, some small rivers will disappear gradually, and this will lead to the desertification of the locality where this rare fish occurs. Similarly, the black market of fish of this species is on a big upswing. Mostly fish breeders from Thailand and Singapore use their status as a protected animal for profit. The places where Betta macrostoma is found in Brunei has been declared a national park. Let us hope that this will prevent her from extinction. Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’Izzaddin Waddaulah has a great interest in saving Betta macrostoma and has declared this wonderful fish to be protected. Among the protected animals, it was also included by the international union.

Sources of information: https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunej, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulu_Temburong_National_Park, http://www.fishbase.org/summary/betta-macrostoma.html, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX9z1fTJpo0, http://ziva.avcr.cz/2014-3/tropicke-lesy-ostrova-borneo-3-les-nejsou-jen-stromy-aneb-zajimave-skupiny-flory.html

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

It is always nice to see rare species in contest works. As for the design, it was frankly difficult not to notice the excellent above-water part. But the underwater part, despite the minimal amount of details, looks very stylish and, at the same time, natural. I would not call this aquarium perfect, but I think it deserves a high place. I can’t help but noticing how harmoniously Betta macrostoma look among the red-brown leaves on the bottom. It can be seen that the aquarium was made with great love.

Yuriy Yancher (Ukraine)