Coward Springs Lake Ayre Basin South Australia

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of aquarium: 126 litres

Dimensions of aquarium: 100 x 42 x 30 cm

List of fishes: Chlamydogobius eremius

List of plants: Carex appressa, Ficinia nodosa, Eleocharis acuta.

Description of Decorations and Substrate: Natural coarse river sand hand collected, Sandstone rock, Natural root collected, spring is made from man made ceramic to look like a build up of mineral rock build up from where the bore water comes out of the ground.

Description of Equipment: Aqua One Aquis 1200 Canister Filter, Aqua One StripGlo Plant LED Light 120cm, aquarium made by me.

Water Parameters: Temperature: A value between 20 – 28 °C seems best for general care. pH: 7.0 – 8.5 Hardness: 90 – 357 ppm

Additional Info: I do a water change once a week with aged water collected from a holding tank that has coral pieces added, no heating or chilling is required as these fish are very tough.

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope: Coward springs is a man made bore, The South Australian government completed a 400 feet (120 metres) borehole in 1886,[6] from which water from the Great Artesian Basin rose 15 feet (4.6 metres) above ground. The salty water corroded the bore head and casing, flowing uncontrolled to form a large pool and, by the 1920s, a wetland, in the dry gibber plain.
The wetland created its own dynamics as an oasis providing water and food, shelter and breeding areas for a wide range of wildlife. As of 2008, the site was recorded as hosting 99 plant species, 126 bird species and numerous small native mammals, reptiles, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
The name refers to a nearby mound spring, situated on the Oodnadatta Track adjacent to the Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. The site is within the locality of Stuarts Creek, 236 km (147 mi) from Coober Pedy and 216 km (134 mi) from Coober Pedy.
The fish and aquatic animals have made their way from the Lake Ayre Basin and have made the bore drain their home.

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: The habitat where the Desert Goby lives can range from shallow flowing trickles of water to larger size water bodies or pools, the bore drain is located in gibber desert named after the red Gibber stone that is scatted across the landscape, it also consists of salt and mineral lowland flats called flood plains that take on a white look in the dryer periods from the sedimentary salt and gypsum, the drains themselves can be nice and clear and lined with sedges and algae with a good water flow, there is also sediment rock that looks a lot like sand stone ridges that have been cut away from the water flow, the sand in most parts has a yellow look to it mixed with some rock, where the water comes out of the ground there is a build up of minerals and almost has the look of coral, once it is weathered it can be stained a light to dark brown.

Description of the Habitat Parameters: There are extreme variations in temperature and water (5-41°C/41-105-. 8°F), pH (6.5-11.0), salinity (1-37.5 ppy) and dissolved oxygen (down to 0.8 ppm O2). Depending on the time of the year and whether it is dry or wet season which can be pretty rare in this part of the country, it may rain only once every 5 years.

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: This species uses a resistance strategy, with air-breathing and broad physiological tolerances that allow populations to re- main in marginal habitats not suitable for other larger fish, there are shrimp, aquatic snails and other invertebrates but their names are unknown to me and some may not yet be described.

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope: These plant may be found in this biotope, Juncus pallidus, Baumea arthrophylla, Eleocharis acuta, Carex tereticaulis, Sarcocornia quinqueflora, Baumea juncea, Ficinia nodosa, Distichlis distichophylla, Eleocharis acuta.
Some plants may still not be described.

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope: Coward Springs was “rescued” by an ambitious couple in 1991. Prue Collis and Greg Emmett purchased the square mile of government-owned land and set to work.
They restored buildings, planted native trees, preserved the wetland generated by the artesian spring and established a campground. Coward Springs Campground is now a popular camping spot for travellers on the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia.
The South Australian Government sold parcels of land along the Old Ghan route in the early 1990s. The railway line had closed, so the government had no further use for the land on which stations and sidings had been built. Most were bought by surrounding landholders and became grazing country.
Prue and Greg had other ideas. By preserving the square mile, just a tiny piece of this country is now back to some semblance of what it once was.
So the fish are safe in this area for now.

Sources of Information: