We present to you the results of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014. Congratulations to all participants to excellent results, and thank you for your invaluable contribution to the development of the biotope aquaristic. On pages of some aquaria you can find comments by the jury members. Just click on thumbnail of an aquarium and you will go to its page with its detailed description, photos and video. Prize pool is EUR 2,400 Enjoy viewing!

Sponsor of the contest:



The final round of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014 was held on November 26th-29th in St. Petersburg, Russia, during ZooSphere 2014 exhibition. The contestants had the aquaria, all the equipment, fishes and plants and had to set up their biotope aquaria during those three days.


1st place

Burster Creek, Jardine River wetlands, Cape York, Queensland, Australia, 180 L

croatia Croatia. Petra Bašić


2nd place

Slow flowing forest duct of the Nun River basin, in the north of Bayelsa State, Nigeria, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


3rd place

Subbasin of Valle Nacional River, Oaxaca, Mexico, 180 L

mexico Mexico. Victor Manuel Ortiz Cruz


4th place

Tamnang River, Si Phang Nga national park, Province Phang Nga, Southern Thailand, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga


5th place

Llullapichis River, province Huanuco, Peru, 180 L

croatia Croatia. Ivan Frank


During the qualifying round of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2014 the participants sent to us the photos of their aquaria with the descriptions. On September 25th, 2014 the members of the jury chose five participants, who went to the final round of the contest to St. Petersburg on November 26th-29th, 2014.


1st place - 548 points

Backwater in the rainforest in the lower Ogun River in NigeriaSouth American Blackwater Stream, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


2nd place - 540 points

Profundulus oaxacae habitat, 140 L

mexico Mexico. Víctor Manuel Ortiz Cruz


3rd place - 528 points

Waterhole near Douglas Creek, 140 L

croatia Croatia. Bašić Petra


4th place - 504 points

A mountain stream in southern Primorye, 100 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga


5th place - 495 points

Tributary of the river Mamberamo, 200 L

russian_federation Russia. Natalia Zakharova


6th place - 484 points

Flooded forest in the bend of Rio Tapajos, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


7th place - 466 points

Lake Tanganyika, 400 L

turkey Turkey. Cevher Savranbasi


8th place - 460 points

New Guinea, 112 L

poland Poland. Jakub Kijak


9th place - 456 points

Rainforest creek of Warey River, Batanta Island, New Guinea, 240 L

greece Greece. Dimitris Ioannou


10th place - 437 points

Congo, 200 L

poland Poland. Jakub Kijak


11th place - 432 points

Rio Tapajos Biotope, 300 L

india India. Abrar Ahmed Khan


11th place - 432 points

Congo Rapids Near Brazzaville, 568 L

 USA. Marcus Beilman


11th place - 432 points

Green Dream of Tanganyika, 500 L

turkey Turkey. Mert Kinali


14th place - 429 points

Banks of Malebo Pool, Congo, 260 L

france France. Emmanuel Bultel


15th place - 422 points

Malawi Biotope: The rubble zone, 1400 L

germany Germany. Alexander Görz


16th place - 420 points

Río Guarumo – Panama, 130 L

United_Kingdom Great Britain. Tom Austin


17th place - 418 points

Rio Shanushi tributary near Yurimaguas, Peru, 182 L

croatia Croatia. Ivan Frank


18th place - 405 points

Rio Abacaxis, shore of the lake Lago Glemende, 300 L

United_Kingdom Great Britain. Pawel Nowotko


19th place - 400 points

Rio Shishita, Rain Forest, 180 L

portugal Portugal. Claire Moreira


20th place - 397 points

São Gabriel da Cachoeira do Rio Negro, 160 L

belgium Belgium. Philip Shaw


21st place - 387 points

Everglades National Park, Florida, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Evgenia Moiseeva


22nd place - 378 points

Archipelago, 240 L

romania Romania. Adrian Calin


23th place - 376 points

Lake Malawi, Rocky Paradise, 400 L

bulgaria Bulgaria. Nickolay Nikolov


24th place - 370 points

Coastal zone of Musa river in the Safia valley, Papua – New Guinea, 40 L

belarus Belarus. Yriy Shamkalovich


25th place - 358 points

Underwater forest of Congo river – Yangambi population, 200 L

romania Romania. Visan Emil


26th place - 357 points

Rio Negro – Dark Forest, 160 L

poland Poland. Dominik Woroch


26th place - 357 points

Rio Paracon – Amazon, 300 L

United_Kingdom Great Britain. Tom Austin


26th place - 357 points

West Africa, 130 L

romania Romania.  Binder Marius


29th place - 351 points

At the bottom of the Amazon Basin, 200 L

russian_federation Russia. Kamil Habibullin


30th place - 350 points

Rio Nanay, Fallen Tree, 180 L

portugal Portugal. Nuno Matos


31st place - 343 points

The coastal zone of the African river, 250 L

russian_federation Russia. Evgeniy Lukyanchikov


32th place - 337 points

Stream near Lake Biwa, 90 L

russian_federation Russia. Tamara Davidova


33rd place - 335 points

Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City, 40 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


34th place - 324 points

Lagoon Ocotal, Blue lagoon, 450 L

poland Poland. Bartosz Motyka


35th place - 316 points

Lake Tanganyika shallowness, 450 L

turkey Turkey. Fatih Bolat


36th place - 315 points

Wild river in the forest, 160 L

poland Poland. Marek Michalak


37th place - 314 points

Everglade, 70 L

belarus Belarus. Yriy Shamkalovich


38th place - 312 points

Rio Hondo, 300 L

romania Romania. Cristian-Stefan Bontas


39th place - 311 points

Rio Guapore, 45 L

turkey Turkey. Tolga Eldurmaz


40th place - 302 points

Rio Negro Biotope, 700 L

russian_federation Russia. Mikhail Yakunin


41st place - 294 points

North Bengal Himalayan hill stream biotope, 284 L

india India. Sujoy Banerjee


42nd place - 287 points

Swamps of Louisiana, 56 L

poland Poland. Bartosz Strzała


43th place - 275 points

Guardians of Darkness. Lake Malawi, 283 L

india India. Sabyasachi Patra


44th place - 269 points

Magic Dream, 120 L

greece Greece. George Pantazopoulos


44th place - 269 points

Chao Phraya river, flooded forests, 64 L

United_Kingdom Great Britain. Pawel Nowotko


46th place - 266 points

River mouth in Lake Sentani, 170 L

russian_federation Russia. Arseniy Kukushkin


47th place - 259 points

Lake Tanganyika community, 350 L

turkey Turkey. Gökay Yagar


48th place - 243 points

Inle Lake, Burma, 60 L

belarus Belarus. Yriy Shamkalovich


49th place - 232 points

Lake Malawi, at the bottom, 337 L

ukraine Ukraine. Sergey Revuckiy


50th place - 199 points

Rio Negro, beauty of the dark, 110 L

 USA. Danett Williams


51st place - 180 points

Rio Negro, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Tatiana Yakunina


52nd place - 170 points

Narmada – India, 35 L

russian_federation Russia. Elizaveta Fursenko


53rd place - 145 points

Sreng River, 280 L

 Austria. Oliver Hardt


54th place - 143 points

Part of the flooded Amazon forest during the high water, 780 L

ukraine Ukraine. Yriy Yancher


55th place - 134 points

Eurasia, 200 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexey Bondin


56th place - 128 points

Demonic Eurasia, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexander Michailovskiy


57th place - 123 points

Indus River – a large river in South Asia, 150 L

russian_federation Russia. Sergey Antonov


58th place - 105 points

South America, 400 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexey Bondin


58th place - 105 points

Eurasia, 450 L

russian_federation Russia. Denis Gavrilov


60th place - 99 points

Backwater of Congo river, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Elizaveta Fursenko


61st place - 92 points

Stony-sandy biotope of Lake Malawi, 830 L

russian_federation Russia. Ivan Viktorov


62nd place - 85 points

African biotope, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexey Bondin


63rd place - 77 points

Rio Subin – shallow river in the center of Guatemala, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Kirill Volkov


64th place - 68 points

Colosus, 225 L

Czech_Republic Czech Republic. Rudolf Kuchar


65th place - 45 points

Rio Chico, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Natalia Berbich


66th place - 35 points

Rio Churun ​​- the lost river, 450 L

ukraine Ukraine. Valeriy Sabadyr

The level of all entries has gone up. Beside 2 entries, all set ups are real Biotope Aquariums! All glasses have been cleaned and almost no technical items can be seen within the tanks. Most participants added a lot of specific information to the biotope and they really tried to follow the nature. “Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City” North America and “Backwater in the rainforest in the lower Ogun River in Nigeria” Africa are my favourites of all.

Heiko Blessin (Germany)

I must say that the standard of biotope-correct (or near to correct), has gone up very much in comparing to the previous 3 contests. What is still missing in some, very well written by Alexey, is the exact location of the biotope in the majority of entries, as a “Congo” (one of the 10 largest Rivers), “Amazon” or “Amazon basin” (over 7000 km long), “New Guinea” (second largest island in the world), “Rio Negro” (world’s largest black water river), “Wild River in the Forest” (there are over 100,000 in S.A.), or even “South America” or “Coastal Zone of Africa” (which are continents and not biotopes), and even similar wrong is just to say “Lake Tanganyika”, or “Malawi”, these and other such general texts on biotopes are simply wrong and make the best decoration loose many points, as these have really nothing to do with a small biotope, which is the essence of any aquarium.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

This year there were less entries in the quality test than the last one, but their quality was much higher. There were just a few of entries that were not biotopes with fishes and plants from all around the world. I was pleased that the authors of the entries began to leave scapes for the biotope side. Yes, in nature there are places looking like scapes at first sight, but in the world there are million different habitats and most of them are simple and at the same time beautiful in their simplicity. Because they were made by the nature. An important omission of some authors is a short or a bad description of their entry, and sometimes a mismatch of what is described with what the jury can see in the pictures. This includes uncertain title: Congo, Amazon and others. Particular attention I paid to the behavior and condition of fish in the aquaria. If the fish behave abnormally (schooling fishes are dispersed to the corners, bottom ones are hidden in plants, fishes of the upper layers of water are hidden under rocks), then no design, no external beauty cannot make your entry a biotope and there will be no hope to a high place. Special thanks to the organizers and sponsors of the contest!

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

I really have to congratulate the contestants, organizers and everybody involved in bringing us this Biotope Aquarium Contest. The aquarium setups this year impressed me, again. I have been sitting in front of my PC for days and days looking at the entries. I think I scrolled all the aquariums about 20 times before I even started judging them. If you are one of the contestants, feel proud of your entry (I felt proud just when looking at them) and if you are a curious hobbyist observing them, enjoy what I consider “the best aquarium contest”. I feel biotope recreation is a growing trend which makes a lot of sense to me as a freshwater underwater explorer. I always admire or think highly of people in the aquarium hobby. In some way they are all nature lovers. The aquarium hobby is probably the maximum exponent of a continuous connection with nature from all around the world. When you keep African cichlids and simulate their habitat, you have a little piece of Africa at home, when you have a ram cichlid, discus or Apistogramma you have a little piece of the Amazon jungle in your house. We need more nature loving people like you in the world today. Biotope aquariums have brought me much closer to the hobby and made me fall in love with it all over again.

Ivan Mikolji (Venezuela)