Fallen branch on a sunny morning in a bay of Laguna Larga in dry season, Los Lagos, Bolivia

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of aquarium: 500 liters

Dimensions of aquarium: Length 130cm x Width 55cm x Height 70cm

List of fishes: 42 x Aphyocharax rathbuni. Found in the broader region of Matto Grosso. In the expedition of Dr. Stefan K. Hetz to Bolivia they were found in Los Lagos lkes complex and specifically in Laguna Larga.
10 x Nannostomus trifasciatus
Found in the broader region of Matto Grosso. In the expedition of Dr. Stefan K. Hetz to Bolivia they were found in Los Lagos lkes complex and specifically in Laguna Larga.
12 x Carnegiella marthae
According to Fish base there was a documented occurrence 10 kilometers south of Costa Marques (approximately 6 kilometers from the Los Lagos lakes complex) in isolated ponds, or other drying up bodies of water therefore its extremely likely to appear in Laguna Larga as well.
5 x Apistogramma trifasciata
Found in the broader region of Matto Grosso. In the expedition of Dr. Stefan K. Hetz to Bolivia they were found in Los Lagos lkes complex and specifically in Laguna Larga.

List of plants: Philodendron, fern (overhanging vegetation)
Helanthium bolivianum, Bacopa monnieri, Cabomba aquatica, Ceratophyllum demersum, Sagittaria subulata, Limnobium laevigatum, Salvinia natans, Water hyacinth, All the plants are found in the Los Lagos lakes complex in Bolivia according to sources found in the references section.

Description of Decorations and Substrate: Driftwood and roots in shape and color similar to those found in the natural biotope. It was collected from the forest, not identified. Botanicals: A whole branch of Magnolia with leaves. Also 3 x Magnolia pods and 3 other different types of pods (bolsa pod, Chapeuzinho pod and cocoa pods). The pods that originate from those trees grow in the area and it’s a common occurrence that the pods and seeds end up in the lakes/ streams.

Description of Equipment: Filter is an Eheim 2080 filled with 6,5L of Siporax. Heater is a titanium sheggo 600watt which is connected to an STC – 1000. Lighting: A simple LED which measures 120cm and is 6000 kelvin.

Water Parameters: pH 6.6, TDS 157 μS
Temperature varies from 26.5°C in the day to 24°C in the night.
dkH: 3, gH:6

Additional Info: Water clarity: Clear with little particles from the fallen branch
Additional info: 20% Water Change every 10 days

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope: Laguna Larga is a lake in the Beni Department, Bolivia. At an elevation of 148 m, its surface area is 100 km². It has a coastal perimeter of 102 kilometers.
Reserva Natural, Área de Manejo Integrado.
A very large mosaic of ecosystems formed basically of recent alluvial plains, rivers, lakes, and marshes, which Los Lagos is part of. Located in a transition zone, the site presents unique characteristics in terms of ecosystem formation processes and vegetal succession. It is estimated that the site supports more than 50,000 waterbirds; some 13 migratory species visit, and the site hosts more than 1% of the global population of the Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. The fish community of the Marmoré river basin numbers 394 species, representing 55% of the fish species in the Amazon basin, and the site hosts more than 1% of the global population of the Bolivian river dolphin Inia boliviensis. There also 24 threatened species of vertebrates, including the Giant Otter. Between the Beni, Mamoré, and Guaporé rivers is the vast Llanos de Moxos (Mojos) comprised of rivers, lakes (including Laguna Rogagua and Laguna Rogaguado), gallery forests, permanent swamps and marshes, and seasonally flooded savannas and wetlands. This area is flooded four to eight months a year due to rainfall and overflow from the Mamoré and its tributaries. Thousands of oxbow lakes line the floodplain of the Mamoré.

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: The banks of the bay, which drop steeply to a depth of two to three meters, bordered directly on solid land, so that the banks with the pronounced root layer the shore trees were covered. This created a very dense root system for fish to thrive in.
Water clarity: The water is clear and visibility is 1-1,5 meters. There is a lot of detritus so any movement or interacting with the soil or meadows could disturb the clarity of the water. The sandy bottom of the river, old remnant channels and lakes was covered with large quantities of organic material, mainly made up of tree leaves. Lake is covered in thick meadows.

Description of the Habitat Parameters: Water parameters: pH between 5.1 and 7, dkH between 1 and 2, gH between 3 and 7
Water flow: As it is a lake flow is limited, if any, especially in the dry season.
Temperature: The water temperature in the canals in dry season was 26 to 29 ° C, in shallower areas even up to 33 °C.

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: In the region of Beni, Bolivia there are nearly 80 endemic species, over a third of which are characids. Various fish could be caught in the lagoons. So among others: Apistogramma inconspicua, A. trifasciata, black phantom tetra, Corydoras hastatus, Carnegiella marthae, Apistogramma sp. “Rio Guaporé”, a species of ancistrus, Hypoptopoma, Astronotus ocellatus, A. crassilabris, Cichla pleiozona, goitre tetra, Pacus. In the Laguna Larga there were found Cichla, tetra (Acestrorhynchus, Nannostomus, Pyrrhulina, aphyocharax rathbuni), flag cichlids, crenicichla, Heros appendiculatus, , Apistogramma erythrura and trifasciata.

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope: In a lake nearby there were recorded 57 species of aquatic plants, distributed in 44 genera and 26 families (Table 1). The richest family was Poaceae (9 spp.), followed by Asteraceae, Convolvulaceae, Fabaceae, Onagraceae and Polygonaceae (4 spp. each), and Pontederiaceae (3 spp.). Also near were found zolla spp., Cabomba furcata, Cabomba piahuyensis, Caperonia spp., Ceratopteris pteridioides, Cyperus giganteus, Cyperus spp., Eichhornia azurea, Eichhornia crassipes, Echinochloa polystachya, Elodea granatensis, Fuirena robusta, Hymenachne amplexicaulis, Hymenachne donacifolia, Lemna aequinoctialis, Lemna minor, Limnobium spp., Limnocharis spp., Ludwigia spp., Nymphaea spp., Oryza grandiglumis, Oryza latifolia, Oxycarium cubensis, Panicum elephantipes, Paspalum repens, Pistia stratiotes, Polygonum spp., Pontederia spp., Potamogeton spp., Rhynchospora sp., Sagittaria spp., Salvinia spp., Scleria spp., Thalia geniculata, Victoria amazonica.

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope: As elsewhere in the Amazon basin, the importance of rubber exploitation generates severe cultural and socio-environmental impacts which can have drastic effects on the indigenous population. (https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/2094?language=en). There is rising evidence that the structure and function of Amazonian freshwater ecosystems are increasingly impacted by rapid expansions in infrastructure and economic activities (Castello et al., 2013). Four main drivers of freshwater ecosystem degradation are recognized: deforestation, construction of dams and navigable waterways, pollution, and overfishing.
These disturbances have generated negative effects on fish communities not only in the Amazon (Petrere et al., 2004;
Castello et al., 2013; Pelicice et al., 2014) but also worldwide. For instance, a recent study considering twenty well-sampled Central and North American river basins with riverine fish extinctions caused by human perturbations, shows that the present extinction rates for these basins are some 150 times greater than natural extinction rates (Tedesco et al., 2013). Thus our general message here is that these latest disturbances should be much more stressful for Amazonian fishes, and therefore of much more immediate concern than will be climate change. We believe that conservation actions should focus preliminarily on reducing the effects of these ongoing anthropogenic threats. Furthermore, given the multiplicity of disturbances, there is also an urgent need to develop a better understanding of the combined and interactive effects of these stressors (including climate change) on Amazonian fish biodiversity (Oberdorff et al, 2015).

Sources of Information:
My main source of information and inspiration was the expedition and the publications of Dr. Stefan Karl Hetz. I am grateful for the content he shared on his site: https://native-fish.org/de/allpages/bolivialoslagos .
Bleher’s Biotopes, pages 334-337, 342-347, 362,

Lagoon biotope at Baìa Grande


Shallow pond in Pantanal region, border Brazil-Bolivia


RG Nordbayern: Treffen vom 15.06.2013

Braz. J. Biol., 2012, vol. 72, no. 3, p. 519-531
P.A. Tedesco et al. / C. R. Biologies 330 (2007) 255–264
Lista preliminar compilada por
F. M. Carvajal-Vallejos, A. J. Zeballos Fernández, J. Sarmiento & R. Bigorne
Ref.: Sarmiento J., Bigorne R., Carvajal-Vallejos F. M., Maldonado M., Leciak E. & Oberdorff T. (Eds.),
2014. Peces de Bolivia / Bolivian fishes. IRD-BioFresh (EU), Plural editores, Bolivia, 211 p.