Welcome to the page of international Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2018!

This year we received a record number of applications: 135 aquaria from 43 countries of the world. Participants showed 304 species of aquatic animals: 2 reptiles, 2 amphibians, 252 fishes, 22 arthropods, 32 mollusks. This makes our contest one of the most exciting events in the world of aquaristic.

From the 10th to 31st of October, the entries were evaluated by professional members of the jury, the organizers and the participants of the contest, who chose winners in the special nominations for the best photo, video and so on.

Now you can see the results of the contest.

The prize pool: 3000 euro + BADC magazine with the best aquaria 2018 + Commemorative honorary diplomas and certificates + PRODIBIO BioKit Fresh + Free 1-year digital subscription to AMAZONAS Magazine for all participants of the contest.

Enjoy viewing aquaria!

Sponsor of the contest:


1st place. GOLDEN TROPHY

Banks of the El Espinillo creek in the dry season, Magdalena, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 540 L

russia Argentina. Walter Vázquez


2nd place. SILVER TROPHY

Stream of Mount Lao after a rain in summer, Qingdao, China, 324 L

russia China. Sun Kai


3rd place. BRONZE TROPHY

Rocky shallow water. The confluence of the rivers Kumaradhara and Netravati, near the city of Appinanagadi, Karnataka, India, 750 L

russia Russia. Sergey Lobanov


4th place. HONOR TROPHY

Sources of the Krężniczanka river near Bełżyce, Poland, 150 L

russia Poland. Bartłomiej Paśnik


5th place. HONOR TROPHY

Tra Su forest An Giang, Vietnam, 356 L

russia Vietnam. Luong Quoc Hung


6th place. HONOR TROPHY

Upper Bladen River, Belize. Overhanging tree branches shoreline habitat area, 540 L

russia United Kingdom. Lee Nuttall


7th place. HONOR TROPHY

Cape Kabogo. Tanganyika Lake. Tanzania, 135 L

russia Poland. Bartłomiej Paśnik


8th place. HONOR TROPHY

Subin River, shallow grassy river bank area, Usumacinta drainage, Guatemala, 375 L

russia United Kingdom. Lee Nuttall


9th place. HONOR TROPHY

Rivulet shallow shoal of Huaijiu River, Beijing, China, 400 L

russia China. Xiaolong Lu


10th place. HONOR TROPHY

Upper Bladen River, Belize. Submerged wooded stream bank area, 540 L

russia United Kingdom. Lee Nuttall


11th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Small stream in Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama, USA, 96 L

russia Poland. Dominik Woroch


12th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Peat swamp forest in Selangor, Malaysia, 375 L

russia Poland. Bartłomiej Paśnik


13th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Shallow part of Lata Kekabu hill stream in Lenggong, Malaysia, 324 L

russia Malaysia. Mohd Khairul Fadzly


14th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Flooded area under tree in middle Rio Guapore drainage, Bolivia, 345 L

russia Poland. Kamil Hazy


15th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Carland Creek on the border of Cooloola National Park in South East Queensland, Australia, 235 L

russia Australia. Jason Sulda


16th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Slow flowing stream under the trees, Halmahera, Indonesia, 67 L

russia China. Nan Li


17th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Lake Tanganyika, shallow rocky shores of Ikola, Tanzania, 487 L

russia Turkey. Fatih Özdemir


18th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Nature of aquatic life at season the water came bad, Tram Chim National Park of Dong Thap Muoi, Vietnam, 290 L

russia Vietnam. Tran Hoang Nghia


19th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Riverbank in the Rio Sucuri near Bonito, Brazil, 150 L

russia Poland. Łukasz Barwicki


19th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Rio Unini and junction to the basin of Rio Negro, Brazil, 240 L

russia Turkey. Ali Türkmen


21st place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Mahambo Swamp, district of Fenerive Est, Analanjirofo Region of Madagascar, 600 L

russia Poland. Paweł Łukasz Kocik


22nd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Flooded area on the Krężniczanka river, near Bełżyce, Poland, 150 L

russia Poland. Bartłomiej Paśnik


22nd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Flooded area, drainage canal to the Capanaparo river, state of Apure, Venezuela, 180 L

russia Italy. Daniele Maxia


22nd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Eastern middle reach of Tung Chung River, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, 60 L

russia Germany. Julia Bindl


25th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Brazil, Rio Negro, flooded forest at the source of a small igarapé in Cambeua, 480 L

russia Ukraine. Bogdan Oleynik


25th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

The shallow waters of Gorgulho da Rita, Rio Xingu, Para, Brazil, 420 L

russia Greece. Dimitris Lysikatos


25th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Middle course of Tung Chung River, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, 96 L

russia Belgium. Xavier Bourdet


28th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Lake Eacham, Crater Lakes National Park, Queensland, Australia, 360 L

russia Russia. Angelina Sporsheva


28th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Confluence between Jhuoshuei River and its major tributary Qingshui River near Ershui and Zhushan Township, Taiwan, 110 L

russia Taiwan. Jun-Xiu Chen


30th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Cuitzeo lake near riverside, Ejido las Trojes, Mexico, 326 L

russia Mexico. José Ramiro Linares Buenrostro


31st place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Coastal waters of the Kapas River in the dry season of Harapan Rainforest in Jambi, Sumatra, 125 L

russia Argentina. Walter Vázquez


32nd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

A small clearwater forest brook emptying into igarapé Yavuari, Brazil, 200 L

croatia Belgium. Vern Van de Weyer


32nd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Tributary of the Taehwa River, Ulsan metropolitan city, Republic of Korea, 64 L

russia South Korea. Tae Hyun Kim


34th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Igarapé Puxurituba, Barcelos, Amazonas, Brazil, 144 L

russia Brazil. Flavio Henard Jorge de Freitas


34th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Lake Ravelobe, Ankarafantsika National Park, west of Madagascar, 840 L

russia Poland. Paweł Łukasz Kocik


36th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Shallow waters of the Caspian Sea near the mouth of Kigach River, Kazakhstan, 54 L

russia Kazakhstan. Alen Shakirov


37th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Blackwater stream Batu Pahat, Johor Peatland of South west Peninsular, Malaysia, 34 L

russia Malaysia. Mohamad Zul Aizad


37th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Tres Chimbadas lake, Tambopata oxbow, Peru, 54 L

russia Poland. Bartłomiej Paśnik


39th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Lateral channel, near Zadubravlje village, Croatia, 160 L

russia Croatia. Stjepan Erdeljić


39th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Main stream of the Kapuas river in western Kalimantan, 375 L

russia Poland. Piotr Gajewski


39th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Taiwanee Reef near Chizumulu Island, Lake Malawi, 240 L

russia Poland. Jakub Pałasz


39th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

The Kulismajoki River at the bottom of the Jukankoski Falls, in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, 80 L

russia Russia. Igor Repin


43rd place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Small creek in Rio Negro system, Amazonas state, Brazil, 112 L

russia Poland. Arkadiusz Skrzycki


44th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Blackwater peat swamp near Muar, Malaysia, 250 L

russia Greece. Christos Nikolakoulis


44th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Lokoti kiki creek, Suriname, 350 L

russia Greece. Bill Koulosousas


44th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

The Peipia River. Russia. Leningrad region, 250 L

russia Russia. Artyom Boykov


44th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

River Amboaboa, a tributary of the Mangarahara river in northeastern Madagascar, 450 L

russia Poland. Paweł Łukasz Kocik


44th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Flooded forest of middle Amazon basins in Brazil, 840 L

russia China. Han-Jun Cai


49th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Oxbow of upper Paraguay River, Alto Paraguay, Paraguay, 54 L

russia Poland. Mateusz Lewandowski


49th place. SUCCESS TROPHY

Rio Nanay, Amazon River tributary, Peru, 182 L

russia China. Wang Peng


51st place

Quiet backwater of the Essequibo River in Kurupukari District, Guyana, 400 L

russia Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


52nd place

Río Paraná coast, Santa Ana, Misiones, Argentina, 250 L

russia Argentina. Cesar Gabriel Schmitke


53rd place

Rummy-nose tetra habitat, floodplain drainage stream, middle Rio Orinoco, Colombia, 117 L

russia USA. Rich Schram


53rd place

Slow-flowing coastal areas of Seyhan River, Adana, Turkey, 88 L

russia Turkey. Mert Yılmaz


55th place

Backwater of the Barito River, the northern outskirts of Buntok, Kalimantan, 50 L

russia Russia. Tamara Baranova


55th place

Kelani river. Rocky shore shallow stream, wet zone, Sri Lanka, 112 L

russia Poland. Łukasz Kułakowski


57th place

Santa Ana, Nuevo León, Mexico, 366 L

russia Mexico. Marco Antonio Arroyo Torres


57th place

Submerged forest in Atabapo basin of Colombia, 338 L

russia Taiwan. Hsu Hung Hsiao


59th place

A forest brook emptying into Igarape Yavuari, a tributary of the Rio Uaupes, Brazil, 84 L

croatia Singapore. Andrzej Skraba


59th place

Overgrown stream to the east of the Ayutthaya city, Thailand, 25 L

russia Russia. Marina Kolodan


59th place

Small stream Mako’s Morichal in Southern Venezuela, 125 L

russia USA. Cory Hopkins


62nd place

Gravel and sand bank of Rio Tocantins below Tocantinópolis, Brasil, 430 L

russia Poland. Piotr Stolc


62nd place

Itani, Amazon River tributary, French Guiana, 300 L

russia China. Wang Peng


64th place

A stream on private property, habitat for Girardinichthys multiradiatus. El Pedregal, Ocoyoacac, Mexico, 112 L

croatia Mexico. Amadeo Hernández Pérez


64th place

Flooded forest at Paraná Ataú river, Santa Isabel do Rio Negro, Amazonas, Brasil, 250 L

russia Brazil. José Antonio dos Reis


64th place

Flooded waterfront of the Rio Ivaí, a branch of the Rio Parana, 60 L

russia Germany. Erik Schimpf


67th place

Black water stream Sungai Nibong, Sibu District, Sarawak, Malaysia, 59 L

russia Russia. Stanislav Labay


67th place

Negro River, Amazon branch, Brazil, 122 L

russia China. Wang Peng


67th place

Rio Demini, Upstream area near the community of Tabocal, 330 L

russia Greece. Anastasios Fassaris


67th place

Wetland pond in the territory of the “Mshinskoye Boloto” sanctuary, Leningrad region, Russia, 204 L

russia Russia. Anton Khristenko


71st place

Flooded area in El Culebrón wetland, protected area in Coquimbo, Chile, 121 L

russia Chile. Esteban Yáñez Valdivia


71st place

Overgrown bank Rak river, around Zawiercie, Poland, 14 L

russia Poland. Kamil Mikoda


71st place

Rio Nanay, Rio Itaya, Rio Mamon meeting, Iquitos, 120 L

russia Turkey. Muhammet Saylavcı


71st place

Yeonggang stream, Nakdong river branch, South Korea, 320 L

russia South Korea. Seonghee Ryu


75th place

Rio Liz spring area. Leiria, Portugal, 60 L

russia Portugal. Luís Gândara


76th place

Shallow water channel in the “Boloto Ozernoye” reserve, Leningrad region, Russia, 20 L

russia Russia. Vasily Stolyarov


77th place

Drying part of the Tonle Sap lake near the village of Kampong Phluk, Cambodia, 108 L

russia Russia. Anastasia Chistyakova


77th place

Flooded area of Lago Verde on the Tapajós River, Alter do Chão, Brazil, 126 L

russia Czech Republic. Michal Klacek


79th place

Lake Tanganyika, biotope Cape Chaitika, Zambia, 400 L

russia Slovakia. Andrej Rybár


79th place

Rio Caquetá upstream blackwater, Colombia, 70 L

russia Netherlands. Ruben Kamphuis


79th place

The Musi River, coastal swamp near the settlement Teluk Kijing, Indonesia, 32 L

russia Russia. Matvey Sokolov


82nd place

Guerrero stream, Uruguay River basin, Misiones, Argentina, 160 L

russia Argentina. Philip Cortesi


83rd place

Coastal part of blackwater river in Rio Ampiyacu drainage, Peru, 200 L

russia Russia. Alexander Dergalev


84th place

Backwater in a forest channel of the Putumayo River basin, Colombia, 160 L

russia Russia. Anna Romanchik


84th place

Forest pond in the Negro River, Brazil, 486 L

russia China. Yin Qi


84th place

Lake Tanganyika at Kasanga biotope, shallow precipitous rocky habitat, 546 L

russia Turkey. Uğur Ruşen Doğan


87th place

Backwater in the rainforest, Asahan River, Sumatra, Indonesia, 70 L

russia Russia. Varvara Kozmenko


88th place

Halda River сannal, Bangladesh, 112 L

russia UAE. Rex L. Ribay


88th place

Peat swamp forest in the eastern part of Malaysia, in Terengganu state, 70 L

russia Hungary. Daniel Szabó


88th place

Tanganyika, Zair, south of Kalemie, Lamprologus speciosus, 54 L

russia Poland. Arkadiusz Skrzycki


91st place

Lake Tanganyika, at Pemba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 325 L

russia Iceland. Migle Milinauskaite


91st place

Lotus Mountain Stream, Shanwei, Guangdong Province, China, 300 L

russia China. Vion Luk


93rd place

Everglades Park, wetland, Florida, USA, 360 L

russia Russia. Daria Kondakova


93rd place

Lake Tanganyika, East Africa, Tanzania, Kasanga, 390 L

russia Lithuania. Inga Ragėnė


93rd place

Peat swamp forest in southern Johor state, Peninsular Malaysia, 70 L

russia Netherlands. Christian Hidalgo Brandt


93rd place

Upper Volga River in the Kostroma region, near the Gribnoy Island, Russia, 700 L

russia Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


97th place

Rio Caroni, Orinoco tributary, Venezuela, 27 L

russia China. Wang Peng


98th place

Caño Tarapoto, near the mouth of the Nanay River, province of Maynas – Loreto, Peru, 350 L

russia Peru. Luis Alejandro Silva Paima


99th place

Afternoon of sun in Rio Negro, in the community Santa Isabel do Rio Negro, Barcelos, Amazonas, Brazil, 595 L

croatia Brazil. Antonio Candido de Oliveira Neto


100th place

Lake Tanganyika. Tropheus duboisi at Cape Kabogo, 820 L

russia Lithuania. Mantvydas Strikauskis


101st place

Sandbar in Ndola Bay. Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, 110 L

russia Ukraine. Konstantin Radoutsky


102nd place

Humid and forested area, affluent of the Polochic River, Izabal, Guatemala, 192 L

russia Guatemala. Alejandro Hernández


102nd place

Little creek of West Africa with killifish, 35 L

russia Ukraine. Vladislav Tsepoday


102nd place

The mouth of the Orinoco River, 620 L

russia Russia. Dmitry Zemskov


105th place

Chisanse beach, North side of Nkamba bay, Lake Tanganyika, Zambia, 130 L

russia Croatia. Mirko Baković


106th place

Lake Victoria. Sublittoral areas of the Mwanza Bay. Tanzania, 60 L

russia Russia. Ivan Chaika


106th place

Pool of the Golden Venus near the southern part of Lake Tanganyika between the Kalambo River and Lunzua in the province of Zambia, Africa, 240 L

russia Italy. Sostene Colosi


106th place

Rocky areas, the coast of Lake Tanganyika between Moliro and Kombe, 320 L

russia Ukraine. Sergey Kovalev


109th place

Floodplain of the Rio Negro River in the lower reaches, Igarapé-Açu, 1000 L

russia Russia. Arthur Popov


110th place

Morazan river, El Progreso, Guatemala, 192 L

russia Guatemala. Adolfo Hernández


111th place

Rak river near Zawiercie, Poland, 30 L

russia Poland. Kamil Mikoda


112th place

Frontosa reef, Lake Tanganyika, Afrika, Kollwe Point, Cape Mpimbwe, 1000 L

russia Ukraine. Sergey Kovalev


113th place

Pool of Rio Negro in dry season, 52 L

russia South Korea. Lim Hyun-Geun


113th place

Vyadya River, a coastal zone, Penza region, Russia, 144 L

russia Russia. Danila Bryunetkin


115th place

Autumn in biotope. Jojkic’s Dunavac is a natural entity with a living world specific to Serbia, 200 L

croatia Serbia. Branislav Jakovljević


116th place

Shallow intermediate habitat of Nkhata Bay, Lake Malawi, 63 L

russia China. Han-Jun Cai


117th place

Mbuna group in Malawi Lake between Mozambique and Tanzania, Africa, 385 L

russia Turkey. Sefa Albasan


117th place

Riverbank in southern Mexico, 146 L

russia Denmark. Thomas Krænge


119th place

Lake Tanganyika at Chimba biotope, 140 L

russia Turkey. Uğur Ruşen Doğan


120th place

Habitat of Barbodes dunckeri at Mersing, Johor, Malaysia, 108 L

russia Malaysia. Mohammad Norhakimi Bin Mohd Nan


121st place

Upstream of Yangtze river between province of Sichuan and Hubei, China, 65 L

russia Taiwan. William Chang


122nd place

Amazon, Rio Negro, 230 L

croatia Turkey. Zafer Işık


123rd place

Coastal area in Itenez, Bolivian Guapore, 86 L

russia Romania. Emil Visan


123rd place

Stream in northeastern. Yilan, Taiwan, 36 L

russia Taiwan. Yi-Jie Lin


125th place

Lake Tanganyika, coastal zone, 100 L

russia Belarus. Evgeny Frolenko


126th place

Orinoco river, Colombia, South America, 96 L

russia United Kingdom. Piotr Sliwka


126th place

Papaloapán River basin, Mexico, 250 L

russia India. Sundar Rajan


126th place

Shallow water in lake Ajamaru, 81 L

russia South Korea. Jung Hyunki


126th place

Sunset in Pantanal, Alto Paraguay Department, 160 L

russia Austria. Uwe Zufelde


130th place

Little puddles of water near Mejuda River, Gori, Georgia, Caucasus, 77 L

russia Georgia. Giorgi Khizanishvili


131st place

Brunei River, 208 L

russia Canada. Carolina Bergles


132nd place

Shallows of Rio Xingu river near Altamira, 182 L

russia Japan. Kota Kanbe


133rd place

Veche Creek, Tver Region, Russia, 240 L

russia Russia. Mikhail Yakunin


134th place

Rio Negro Clear water, 486 L

russia Ireland. Marcin Schubert


135th place

The coastal zone of the Orinoco River, 46 L

russia Russia. Mark Martynov

I’ve been interested in fish and aquariums since I was a little. I’m even interested in everything about water. After feeding different species for years, I realized that something was missing in the hobby for me. I was no longer satisfied with feeding new species or having a larger aquarium. Years later, it was easier to reach the information; I started to gather information about the natural habitats of the living things we fed, using internet and watching videos about the regions. As a result of the information I gathered and the experience I have acquired, I have established my first biotope aquarium. The result was tremendous for me; the hobby was more enjoyable than before for me. The feeding habits of the species I have never seen so far, the social relationship between them could now be followed in my home. In addition, the image in the aquarium I look at is very similar to the natural habitat of the creatures I fed and visual aesthetically pleasing me. Since I have met the concept of biotope aquarium, my favourite area of the hobby is biotopes. I would like to thank the organizers for organizing such a competition. It is very important to reach enough information for the development and reproduction of biotope aquariums. This contest aims to provide more information to the next year with the support of the participants. The most important point here is that the competitors need us and the organizers as well as we need them. This year we reached 134 record participants. This means more information about more habitats for the next year. You will find a lot of information and steps you need to take to make the most accurate and most interesting biotopes available in this competition. If your level is lower than you expect, it should not disappoint to you of the year you participated in the contest. You can prepare yourself better next year, find a better place for yourself and contribute to our library with a well studied biotope. I wish next year that there will be more rigorous and attentive participations and an increase in the number of participants.

Mert Aykuta

I would like to thank organizers for inviting me to judge BADC. This has become the number one biotope contest in the world. The biotope scene is rising, this year we have a record number of contests and contestants. That is a sign we are doing something good. Ecology awareness is becoming more and more important today, and it is “cool” to be eco-friendly. Aquarists have a part in that, by preserving endangered and extinct species in aquariums, exploring the behaviour, diet, and habitats; and also telling us about habitat destruction around the world. Soon some of these creeks and rivers will be no more. And the only thing that will remain is biotope aquariums. This contest is educational; beginners can learn much from it. That is good for the scene, it becomes more mature. Take a look in the last 10 years. How many goldfish bowls can you see? Certain fish species have certain needs, and biotope way is the perfect way to fulfil the needs of fishes kept in captivity (our aquariums). Make them feel like home. You owe them that.

Petra Bašić

I was thrilled to have another opportunity to be part of the judging panel again for the BADC 2018. Over the years I have been judging the contest I have seen the quality of entries advance massively, with much more research going in to most of the entries, and so many more entries becoming more area specific, like an actual point on a specific river system in South America, versus just a generic Amazon River biotope or a South American catch-all. The use of materials has become more advanced, with some hobbyists collecting decorative materials from the actual biotope they were replicating. This is great, and doesn’t come more authentic than that. My personal favourites were those that looked exactly as if I were snorkelling in the habitat, which again shows skill and understanding of true underwater biotopes by the entrants, and how they actually look when viewed underwater, in nature. Representing fish species which live together in nature is key to every biotope, but making sure the aquarium is appropriately sized for long term care should also be one of the most important considerations with any biotope tank. Several entries lost valuable points this year by representing fish species which live together in the wild, but which could not possibly be housed together in their chosen aquarium long term due to eventual size, and other reasons such as territoriality or predatory tendencies towards tank mates.

Jeremy Gay

This year the level of the biotope aquariums entered into the contest was very high, and it was very difficult for me to differentiate which one is better and which one is worse. There were some entries with no fish visible in the tank, even though the description said there were some. One of the biggest problems in this edition was that in many tanks fishes were breathing too fast (global warming effect, maybe?). I think one of the conditions for the future editions of the contest should be the demand to show fishes in the video, long enough to allow for evaluation if they are healthy and feel good. Fast breathing is definitely not something which should take place in a healthy aquarium. Another problem: some tanks were much, much too small for the size and amount of fishes. In my opinion, such entries should be not allowed into the contest, of course with clear explanation for the designer about what is wrong with his tank. All aquariums in the contest should be able to thrive in a long term; so, plenty of space for animals is an absolute prerequisite. Anyways, I congratulate all the participants, and cannot stress enough the amount of work they put into gathering all information about the habitats. I hope this was at least so much educating for them, as it was for me. Good job, and see you next year!

Piotr Kierzkowski

It has been a big pleasure and honour for me to act for the contest. And much more, I have been deeply impressed by the high quality of the tanks I have seen. My biggest compliments and thanks to all the participants, which have shown that the hobby is to only alive or a beautiful hobby. They also have shown the great sensibility of people to recognize and understand how nature is, has to look like and is functioning. This was much more than just designing a tank. No matter if you got a high rank or a lower one within the contest, you did a great thing. Keep on going like this!

Anton Lamboj

The Biotope Aquarium Design Contest this year has broken all records in terms of the number of participants. There were many biotopes in it. Some of them were presented for the first time (countries). Despite the high level of many entries, there were mistakes in them, and quite significant for this competition. I will not point to 2-3 aquaria with selectively bred angelfishes and swordtails (apparently they appeared in the contest occasionally), but I would like to analize the most common ones. The first mistake is the condition of the soil, fine sand. In some entries it is very noticeable that it was well washed, put in an aquarium, and covered with a few leaves and decorations. There cannot be fine sand of only one grain size in nature. In stagnant waters it should be abundantly covered with detritus, and in the current it will be washed and mixed with larger sand and small pebbles. The second drawback is entries imitating Lake Tanganyika. You can’t mix fish from different ecological zones, even if they live together in a bay: Cyprichromis, cichlids of open water and rocky areas, placed with Julidochromis, fishes of the surf zone and shell Lamprologus that live in deeper areas or different Tropheus races that never occur together in nature. Then, in addition to the design that is beautiful and biotope correct, you also need to use knowledge. For example, in an entry its author presents Puntigrus tetrazona, and in fact he has a different species – P. anchisporus, an inhabitant of the island of Borneo, which can never be found in Sumatra. In general, almost all entries were performed at a high level, especially biotopes that authors studied themselves (near the house, for example), and not from video and photos. Some of them turned out just perfect. P. S. Probably not only me, but other judges also noticed that the most realistic biotopes were setup by authors, who took decorations and aquatic organisms from their native habitats.

Alexey Malyshev

We are all living important times in the aquarium hobby today. Things are shifting and changing from what seemed like a “linear, nothing changes hobby” to a more modern up to date one. I’m not talking about a change of new tanks, filters and lights; I am talking about the way of thinking, the objective and philosophy in our hobby. This change and shift in philosophy is a result from the biotope aquarium movement worldwide. Biotope aquariums are not just about nature, they are about the connection that we once lost or never had between us, the aquarium and nature. There is a whole array of philosophies behind them. Some people seem to think they are better for the fish wellbeing, other people think that they are great educational tools to learn about nature and some even think they could help save endangered biotopes from destruction by awareness. If you ask me, well, they are all of the above and much more. Most of my friends on Facebook and Instagram are fish people, so on my feed I get 10% normal updates and 90% aquarium related stuff. This year I noticed that a high percentage of videos and images that were posted or shared were of people videoing biotopes outside and underwater in many countries around the globe. I have seen biotopes from Brazil, Russia, and Thailand, just to name a few. The same is happening with the look of aquariums. If I go back in time on my feed the aquariums start looking like, well, like 4 years ago. Nowadays the natural aquarium look is more natural, not just a clean, immaculate aquarium stuffed with an excessive amount of aquatic plants. All this change is just a product of knowledge, a knowledge that comes from the biotope aquarium movement. Before, we had to rely on books or what a few people would tell us or advise us to do. Today, if you are in this contest, you have a great possibility of becoming that advisor all due to seeking knowledge in nature. Look at the super incredible public aquariums Petra Bašić is creating or the impact Víctor Ortiz is having in his country on preservation of freshwater species. They both were BADC contestants a few years ago. The BADC contest is an extremely important platform. This is where the new proposals for our hobby are being shown. As you scroll down the 135 entries we had this year you start to wonder… why weren’t the aquariums done like this before? Now it makes sense because we are starting to really open our eyes and our minds. We are starting to think beyond the aquarium!

Ivan Mikolji

Each year the level of the contest rises which is fantastic, but what makes it even more interesting is the fact that each edition shows more and more local biotopes of the places of the participants origin, which becomes a true “delight” for the knowledge of the world biotopes, where in addition to showing global biodiversity you can learn more about the local processes of each nature biotope. This can undoubtedly help generating more and more strategies for local knowledge of the world water bodies, their global promotion and thereby attracting attention to those nature biotopes or endemic species that require help. So it should be understood that the biotope aquarium is a strategy of environmental education, promotion of ecological awareness, distributing information about ecosystems and their species, as well as the promotion of the revaluation of these natural resources and, of course, their conservation.

Víctor Ortiz

Friends, as a general comment I would like to give some tips that will help you to take a high place in the competition. The first and most important is to explore nature more often. Look around, get inspired. A river, a lake, a stream is the world’s best idea bank for a biotope aquarium. The second tip is design. Do not try to put your entire “deep” inner world into one aquarium. Simplify. The aquarium is the same architectural form as any object around us, and obeys the same rules. The third. Do not use traditional “biotope” elements too much. More flooded leaves and roots are not always better. Chaos must be controlled. In the first place a concept should be, not design elements. The fourth piece of advice is as follows: over the years of the competition, a certain stereotype has developed what a typical biotope aquarium should look like. But the averaged image is the path to the average aquarium. Personally, I, as a member of the jury, always appreciate new ideas. If you want a high place, be original; create something not like the others. In this case, remember the second tip! In competitions of recent years, it is such aquaria that occupy high positions. Interest in biotope aquaria grows, and this makes me very happy. It is noticeable what love the authors put into their aquaria. Each year, the competition opens up new talents. I enjoyed studying the biotopes. Thanks to all participants, the competition turned out to be very interesting and diverse. I wish you all good luck, and we look forward to new entries next year! Participate and win!

Yuriy Yancher

I admired nature from the very first breath I took, I think. As a baby, when I cried too much, my parents gave me time-out. The only thing that calmed me down was the flowers on the tiles of the bathroom. As a young child I helped my father with our first aquarium. Helped is a big word. I enjoyed it and got fascinated in these beautiful creatures. But I stealed with my eyes how my father did things and started this journey. In the first ten years I learned a lot – sadly enough – by doing things wrong. Too much fishes in too small volume with non compatible behaviour and no real plants. A perfect recepy for disaster. After that I stopped the hobby for a few years and became fulltime student. But I learned fast. I began reading and stopped “collecting” fishes. I met a very inspiring person in the city where I lived. He had a small shop, a lot of knowledge and some special fishes. He was the first to me to talk about biotoping. I was convinced and wanted a brand new start in this hobby: I would make my own automated biotope tank room. Luckily my wife supported me. Thinking about the different biotopes for 8 tanks and designing the room was quite a task. But I got great help of friends to make my dream room. And I got inspiring conversations about biotoping with many people. My true inspiration is Janne Aho, administrator of Biotope Aquaristics Facebook group. He keeps me thinking further and further in this discipline and learned me a LOT. I am not an explorer, but I am interested in reading as many relevant articles, videos and pictures as possible. It gives me – at least – the chance to try showing how a possible biotope could look like. It takes some efforts, but the reward of your own stable biotope tank is excellent. The more you read and view, the more you realise how vulnerable these biotopes are. Sadly enough human impact is enormous. We as biotope aquarists have to teach and learn from each other as much as possible. Good luck to contestants and other members of the jury! Keep biotoping!

Jeroen Vanhooren