We present to you the results of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2013.
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 2013 was held on November 20th-23th in St. Petersburg, Russia, during ZooSphere 2013 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

Western Ghats – Chalakkudy river, India, 180 L

croatia Croatia. Petra Bašić


2nd place

Ichetucknee springs, Florida, USA, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Anastasia Melnikova


3rd place

Coastal area of Essequibo river, Rockstone, Guyana, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Evgenia Moiseyeva


4th place

Malebo pool, above Kintele, coastal area, Republic of the Congo, 180 L

russian_federation Russia. Vera Gladyshenko


5th place

Stream at the beginning of Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, 180 L

ukraine Ukraine. Nikolay Muzhichuk


During the qualifying round of Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2013 the participants sent to us the photos of their aquaria with the descriptions. On October 20th, 2014 the members of the jury chose five participants, who went to the final round of the contest to St. Petersburg on November 20th-23th, 2013.


1st place - 402 points

Creek in Guangdong province, when time stops, 385 L

croatia Croatia. Bašić Petra


2nd place - 396 points

South shore of Lake Chad near the village of Sangaria, 140 L

russian_federation Russia. Vera Gladyshenko


3rd place - 390 points

Malaysian peat swamp, 243 L

poland Poland. Jakub Kijak


4th place - 389 points

Marshy stream, Phang Nga province, southern Thailand, 300 L

russian_federation Russia. Sergey Veriga


5th place - 381 points

Big cypress swamp, 40 L

russian_federation Russia. Anastasia Melnikova


6th place - 379 points

Under the waterfall of the forest river on Borneo, 65 L

russian_federation Russia. Anastasia Melnikova


7th place - 374 points

Stiphodon river, 900 L

france France. Michael Reinke


8th place - 371 points

Mouth of the unknown African river, 250 L

russian_federation Russia. Eugeniy Lukyanchikov


9th place - 370 points

Сoastal zone of Lake Matano, 30 L

russian_federation Russia. Natalia Zakharova


10th place - 368 points

The Summertime in a shallow North European pond, 243 L

 Latvia. Zanda Sejane


11th place - 368 points

Everglade, 40 L

belarus Belarus. Yuriy Shamkalovich


12th place - 367 points

The island of Borneo. Plungpool under a waterfall, 250 L

russian_federation Russia. Konstantin Pakhomov


13th place - 367 points

Privetnaya river, 220 L

russian_federation Russia. Vera Gladyshenko


14th place - 364 points

Flooded forest area of the Rio Negro during the rainy season, 30 L

russian_federation Russia. Eugenia Moiseyeva


15th place - 363 points

Llanos of Venezuela. Biotope for Ramirezis, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Anastasia Melnikova


16th place - 362 points

Small tributary of the Mamberamo River, 130 L

russian_federation Russia. Vera Gladyshenko


17th place - 361 points

Black Heaven, 243 L

india India. Achintya Shankar Adhikari


18th place - 360 points

Florida backwater, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Anna Tetereva


19th place - 360 points

Near the tributary of the Lorentz River, 60 L

ukraine Ukraine. Nicolay Muzhichuk


20th place - 358 points

River in the tropical forests of West Africa, 19 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Smirnov


21st place - 355 points

Small pond in Indochina, 100 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexei Kovalyov


22nd place - 352 points

Forest stream in Cameroon, 45 L

russian_federation Russia. Albert Vendel


23th place - 351 points

Amazon cichlids in darkness, 405 L

poland Poland. Rafał Stawowy


24th place - 351 points

Tributary of the Sangha River in the Congo River basin, 144 L

ukraine Ukraine.  Tamara Davidova


25th place - 350 points

In the shade of the forest of Porto Velho, 200 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexei Shabalin


26th place - 348 points

Somewhere in Brazil, 72 L

 Serbia. Branislav Mandic


27th place - 347 points

Aripuanã River, a tributary of Madeira River, 300 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga


28th place - 345 points

Pond in the park area on the north of St. Petersburg, 40 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


29th place - 344 points

Khwae Yai – the river of contrasts, 25 L

belarus Belarus. Aliaksei Kirhizau


30th place - 343 points

Lake Malawi theme, 700 L

romania Romania. Silviu Poiana


31st place - 342 points

Stream in the forest of Sri Lanka, 170 L

russian_federation Russia. Anna Tetereva


32th place - 339 points

Lake Tanganyika, 700 L

greece Greece. Sakis Koumantzelis


33rd place - 339 points

Forest stream with slow flow in the river Jelai-Bila, 40 L

belarus Belarus. Yuriy Shamkalovich


34th place - 339 points

Southeast Thailand, 140 L

poland Poland. Paweł Pomian


35th place - 338 points

Сoastal area of the Kamusi River, 40 L

belarus Belarus. Yuriy Shamkalovich


36th place - 337 points

Ussuri River. Among the debris of the Ussuri region, 300 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Veriga


37th place - 336 points

Backwater in the forest of Sri Lanka, 140 L

russian_federation Russia. Mikhail Golomysov


38th place - 336 points

Coastal zone of the Congo River, 60 L

ukraine Ukraine. Alexander Galusha


39th place - 336 points

Backwater of mouth of the forest river, which flows into Lake Sentani in Papua New Guinea, 170 L

russian_federation Russia. Arseniy Kukushkin


40th place - 335 points

Backwater of a small forest river on the island of New Guinea, 170 L

russian_federation Russia. Vladimir Shvedov


41st place - 335 points

North shore of Lake Inle, 119 L

poland Poland. Blazej Berner


42nd place - 334 points

Coast of West Africa, 150 L

russian_federation Russia. Marina Rymar


43th place - 333 points

South American Rio Tefe, 960 L

netherlands Netherlands. Leon Bouwman


44th place - 332 points

Malebo Pool Biotope, 568 L

 USA. Marcus Beilman


45th place - 331 points

Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, 24 L

ukraine Ukraine. Svetlana Goncharyonok


46th place - 330 points

Lake Tanganyika Kasanga biotope, 300 L

greece Greece. Nikos Gletos


47th place - 329 points

Lake Tanganyika, 60 L

greece Greece. Theodoros Kartsanas


48th place - 328 points

Malaysia. Borneo swamp, 60 L

 Austria. Anton Lamboj


49th place - 327 points

The flow of the stream of the Içana River, 240 L

russian_federation Russia. Marsel Yakhshegulov


50th place - 326 points

Сoastal part of the forest river, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Albert Vendel


51st place - 325 points

Rio Nanay, Shore, 540 L

poland Poland. Marcin Mirkowski


52nd place - 324 points

Forgotten pool, 175 L

poland Poland. Jakub Kijak


53rd place - 323 points

Amazon river, 610 L

greece Greece. John Boutos


54th place - 323 points

Basins of the Rio Meta and Rio Negro in Brazil, 128 L

greece Greece. Nikos Marinos


55th place - 321 points

Lake Tanganyika, the bay near Mpulungu, 100 L

russian_federation Russia. Airat Ismagilov


56th place - 318 points

West African Paradise, 85 L

romania Romania. Emil Visan


57th place - 318 points

The stream of the Niger River, 54 L

ukraine Ukraine. Alexander Moskalyov


58th place - 318 points

Amazon Rainforest, 400 L

croatia Croatia. Jurica Sostar


59th place - 317 points

Forest stream in Southern Thailand, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Airat Ismagilov


60th place - 316 points

Bornéo, 200 L

france France. Emmanuel Bultel


61st place - 315 points

Orinoco River, 480 L

greece Greece. George Pantazopoulos


62nd place - 314 points

Rio Ucayali, blackwater jungle creek, 60 L

greece Greece. Thanos Bonias


63rd place - 312 points

Small pond becoming dry in savannas of East Africa, 6 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


64th place - 311 points

Meilun – the river flowing between mountains and forests, 44 L

ukraine Ukraine. Anna Burkaltseva


65th place - 311 points

Amazonian river, 61 L

poland Poland. Adam Lebioda


66th place - 310 points

Cameroon, rain forest Kienke River region, 180 L

 Austria. Anton Lamboj


67th place - 310 points

Rain forest, 300 L

Czech_Republic Czech Republic. Martina Chválová


68th place - 309 points

Brazil, Santarem region, 465 L

croatia Croatia. Tomislav Sobota


69th place - 306 points

Forest stream in Cameroon, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Anna Tetereva


70th place - 306 points

Autumn Underwater, 125 L

greece Greece. Tasos Fassaris


71st place - 305 points

The Bukit Barisan – on the ridge slopes, 285 L

russian_federation Russia. Artyom Filippov


72nd place - 303 points

Swamp in the floodplain of the Paraopeba River. Minas Gerais. Brazil, 19 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Smirnov


73rd place - 303 points

Amazon basin, 500 L

greece Greece. Dimitrios Nikos


74th place - 301 points

Backwater in the Araguaia River basin, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Airat Ismagilov


75th place - 301 points

Volcano cave, 320 L

greece Greece. Stavros Amanatidis


76th place - 301 points

Small forest river of the Apure River basin, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Svetlana Kirillova


77th place - 299 points

Small forest lake in Northern Australia, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Airat Ismagilov


78th place - 298 points

Amazon, the mysterious river, 300 L

ukraine Ukraine. Sergey Filimonenko


79th place - 298 points

Rio Lago Nhamundá, 450 L

greece Greece. Stelios Litsios


80th place - 297 points

Amazon river, 500 L

greece Greece. Thanasis Papachristopoulos


81st place - 295 points

Colours of Africa, 270 L

romania Romania. Robert Marcas


82nd place - 292 points

Under the bridge over a forest stream in Udmurtia, 60 L

russian_federation Russia. Andrei Glukhov


83rd place - 290 points

Swamp on the island of Phu Quoc. Vietnam, 19 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Smirnov


84th place - 289 points

A small stream in the Rio Orinoco basin, 54 L

italy Italy. Andrea Vannini


85th place - 289 points

Small river in the rain forest, Papua New Guinea, 16 L

ukraine Ukraine. Tamara Davidova


86rd place - 284 points

Nhamundá River, 300 L

russian_federation Russia. Andrei Kazakov


87th place - 281 points

Deep water zone of Lake Tanganyika, 300 L

russian_federation Russia. Yuriy Chikhachyov


88th place - 281 points

Lower Casiquiare river at its junction with Rio Negro, 200 L

russian_federation Russia. Denis Rymar


89th place - 276 points

Under the splitting rock, 500 L

russian_federation Russia. Artyom Filippov


90th place - 273 points

Sandy backwater of Madeira River basin, 20 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexei Kovalyov


91st place - 273 points

La Charca, 1 L

 Spain. Jose Angel Madrid Gonzalez


92nd place - 271 points

Malawi – rift lake, 320 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexander Kozhukhov


93rd place - 269 points

Thailand betta, 60 L

greece Greece. George Pantazopoulos


94th place - 266 points

Nirvana, 450 L

greece Greece. Spyros Stavropoulos


95th place - 261 points

Thickets of the Amazon, 80 L

russian_federation Russia. Marina Rymar


96th place - 257 points

South America, 300 L

poland Poland. Tomasz


97th place - 252 points

Shallows and backwaters of the Congo River, 250 L

russian_federation Russia. Denis Rymar


98th place - 242 points

Rio Belem, smaller portion of beautiful river, 125 L

 Spain. Jose Maria Naranjo


99th place - 240 points

Neon Lake, 240 L

germany Germany. Jörg Obernolte


100th place - 234 points

Cuba. Swamp. Platies, 19 L

russian_federation Russia. Vyacheslav Smirnov


101st place - 232 points

Rio Ica – a fragment of the Andes, 230 L

russian_federation Russia. Vadim Sharifulin


102nd place - 229 points

Amazon stream theme, 180 L

romania Romania. Silviu Poiana


103rd place - 228 points

Shallow waters of the river in autumn, 660 L

russian_federation Russia. Eugeniy Lukyanchikov


104th place - 221 points

The Amazon River with big fish, 1500 L

russian_federation Russia. Alexander Polimonov


105th place - 219 points

Mini Tanganyika, 1 L

 Spain. Jose Angel Madrid Gonzalez


106th place - 216 points

South Asian Swamps, Solstice, 395 L

russian_federation Russia. Roman Brazgin


107th place - 213 points

Nicaragua, 45 L

russian_federation Russia. Albert Vendel

First of all I wanted to thank all participants and I want to add that almost all did a fantastic job and each one should be proud of his work and his research done to create such a beautiful most of them biotope – nature correct. And information from me to almost all: You should do better research before you finalize the biotope and text. Most of the errors which occurred were (in this order): firstly error in mixing species not found together in the named biotope (mostly fishes, but also plants); secondly the names/locations/area and geographic location of the decorated biotope have to be more precise; and thirdly the description of the biotope (which some made excellent, but some also missing most of it) should be more accurate.

Heiko Bleher (Italy)

It was an honor and a privilege to have had the opportunity to see how well European hobbyists approximate the biotopes inhabited by tropical fish all around the world. I know I am extremely lucky to have experienced this first hand in my travels, and am very impressed to see how beautifully your contestants have duplicated it. I sincerely appreciate your time and efforts in being a judge on this year’s panel.

George Fear (USA)

First of all I’m glad to have participated in this event with so great response. I would like to congratulate the organizers for the excellent organization and all of the contestants for their participation. In our case now, the right biotope aquarium is a very difficult thing, often because it requires knowledge of the habitat we want to setup regarding fishes and plants, but also in decoration. Also the collecting of these is extremely difficult. However I saw some excellent aquariums. The level was very high and I hope in appropriate continuity in St. Petersburg. Since my knowledge on habitats is based on literature rather than personal exploration of them, my judgments were mild. Until next time…

Dimitris Ioannou (Greece)

The biggest surprise for me was that numerous tanks were too small for the fish kept inside. Also, some tanks were clearly not a biotope tanks – and I was not sure how I should judge them, because they were very good planted aquariums, but had nothing to do with real biotopes. I liked very much the organization of the contest – I mean, the form was prepared very good and careful, all titles of layouts were exactly the same as titles on the website, this was done very well.

Piotr Kierzkowski (Poland)

We have all one thing in common. We love nature and especially all what is in and around the water. A little piece of untouched nature in our own habitat at home. The Russian Aquarium Design Contest is one of the most interesting ones worldwide with a great number of participants. I have been a judge in many contests worldwide and it’s never easy to judge especially if the people create these scapes with a lot of love and dedication. Nevertheless we have to decide who is the best in scaping, shaping and naturing these little glass worlds. I am always curious to see how creative people are and this time there has been a lot of good entries to look at. What I think is the most difficult is the Nano Competition. It is for sure not easy to scape a glass tank with very limited space. As an underwater photographer specialized in freshwater it’s a pleasure to look at the natural biotope aquariums. Some of them have been outstanding.

Chris Lukhaup (Germany)

The quality test of the Biotope Contest is over. I was honored to evaluate entries as a member of jury. There was a lot of entries. Some mistakes were obvious: fishes and plants from different continents, selectively bred or species that inhabit different natural biotopes, but originating from the same region. It was not easy to judge. In particular, entries with an uncertain geographical name such as “Somewhere in Brazil” or a small part of a water body: “Under the bridge over a forest stream in Udmurtia”. I had to read some special literature and surf the websites. In the entries, where it was difficult to determine the accuracy of biotopes, I judged on the basis of the mechanics of biotopes in nature: location of the substrate and natural decoration in the aquarium, presence (or absence) of organic residues, amount of schooling fish, species diversity, correct selection of neighbors who occupy different ecological niches in particular biotope, and natural behavior of fish. On the basis of categories for evaluation, I judged strictly because in the quality test each contestant had plenty of time to create a natural biotope. The highest points (it is 50) were not given to anyone, because even in the most successful entries there were shortcomings. Of course it’s hard to get the substrate, rocks and driftwood of those places that you can use to create a biotope. But in any case they should be similar, simulate the native ones as accurately as possible. Therefore I reduced points for maple and oak leaves in tropical aquariums (at home it is possible, but not in the contest), mismatched colors and fractions of substrate, lack of inhabitantas on the photo, the only species of fish in the biotope rich in inhabitants in nature.

Alexey Malyshev (Russia)

I want to congratulate all the contestants in the JBL Biotope Aquarium Design Contest. When I opened the web page and started looking at the tanks I asked myself smiling… “How were they able to create such extraordinary biotopes?” I looked at every picture. I tried to imagine myself replicating each aquarium and setting them up at home. I tried to think of the steps that I would have to take from beginning to end until they looked like the pictures on the website. My conclusion was that every biotope aquarium in the contest shows the dedication, the passion of its creator, and his/her ability to think beyond the aquarium.

Ivan Mikolji (Venezuela)