Lake Tanganyika. Sandy sedimentary shore in Ndole Bay. Zambia

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of aquarium: 25L

Dimensions of aquarium: 38x25x25cm

List of fishes: Neolamprologus multifasciatus
It is a small species that forms colonies around shell formations, where a male lives and reproduces with several females. The parents live together with their young, who care until they become young and then integrate into the colony. They prefer the sandy sedimentary areas where they establish their territories and homes.

List of plants: Cladophora sp. (Algae species, not a plant)

Description of Decorations and Substrate: To replicate the natural base of the biotope, I used sands of various sizes making it look more natural. Rocks were added to give character to the composition replicating the natural habitat. Empty shells of snails used were added for their correct functionality since in my country it is not possible to get empty shells of Neothauma snails. Algae were generated on the shells by means of lighting, to cover sand, snail shells, and rock, in order to be able to resemble the chosen biotope. Crashing Wave Flow was depicted from left to right to depict the waves crashing back into the biotope from the rocky sandy stretch near the shoreline of Ndole Bay.

Description of Equipment: External Hang on Back Filter with biological and mechanical material, Warm LED Light 15 Watt

Water Parameters: Water Temperature is 25C
The pH of water is 8.5pH

Additional Info:

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope: Lake Tanganyika is the largest of the three large lakes of the African Rift Valley, with a surface area of 32.600 km², with 673 km of length, 72 km in it´s widest point and with a coastline of 1,828 km. Its the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the second deepest after lake Baikal in Siberia, with 1470m. and an average depth of 570m.
The lake is surrounded by four countries; Burundi in the Northeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo in the West, Tanzania in the East and Zambia in the South, forming a surface of 231.000 Km². Nearly one-sixth of the world’s freshwater is located on Lake Tanganyika. The lake is an important freshwater resource for people living in its vicinity.
The lake contains at least 250 species of cichlid fish (Cichlidae) and 150 other species of non-cichlid fish, most of which live on the shore of the lake, at a depth of 180 m. The lake is also an important site of study on the evolution of species. Almost all (90%) of the cichlid species of Tanganyika are endemic to the lake.
This aquarium represents the Ndole Bay area in Zambia, which is adjacent to Nkamba Bay in Nsumbu National Park on Lake Tanganyika.
Ndole Bay is part of Cameron Bay. It is located at 8 ° 28’1.14 “S of latitude and 30 ° 28’29.45” E. of longitude.

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: Lake Tanganyika has different habitats:
– Shallow, no sedimentary and sediment-rich shallow shores.
– The sand bottom, with little plant life.
– The muddy bottom near the rivers in flow.
– Pelagic waters, which are open waters rich in phytoplankton and zooplankton that support large banks of non-cichlid fish.
– Benthic Waters, zone of depletion of deep oxygen.
At a distance of tens of meters, the habitats of Ndole Bay change drastically, and different species evolved to adapt to them. In front of the beach, it’s found an habitat based on large rock and sand plates. Followed by these large rock plates, begins a great plain of sand. To the east, as the depth increases, the bottom of the lake has a new change, a dense area of sand and fine sediment with fields of Neothauma snail shells. In the North of the beach, two small habitats were created, each with its set of species, a coast filled by a dense canefield and rocks of little size.
On the south coast there is also a reed, but without rocks with a thick base of mud. Rock structures resembling a reef run parallel to the beach and are separated by bands of sand for only a few meters. It is a shallow area with a good water movement. A large number of fish inhabit rocky and sandy areas where they find protection, food, and their breeding grounds. Different species have different requirements in terms of territory.
Some species find protection among the rocks, and get their food from them like the Tropheus and Eretmodus; Others need sand to build their nests like Xenotilapia. Already about 200 meters from the beach is the sector of fine sand and sediment covered by a layer of empty shells of snails Neothauma tanganyicense. Some sectors also consist of dense clumps of algae in the substrate that serve as both protection for small fish or fry´s, as well as reservoirs of microorganisms that they use to feed themselves. This sector is represented in my aquarium, trying to resemble the habitat aesthetically and functionally to the cichlid species that inhabit it.

Description of the Habitat Parameters: The water in Lake Tanganyika is alkaline, with a pH between 8.5 – 9.0 depending on the depth and alkalinity surrounding the 650µS. The water temperature of the lake is very stable, due to the large body of water. The surface temperature of Lake Tanganyika ranges from 23-27°C, and the hypolimnion temperatura ranges from 23–24°C, although most fish inhabit areas with a temperature of 24-27°C.

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: he species that we can find in this area are: Altolamprologus sp. “Sumbu” (Boulenger, 1898), Lamprologus ocellatus (Steindachner, 1909), Lepidiolamprologus cunningtoni (Boulenger, 1906), Neolamprologus multifasciatus (Boulenger, 1906), Neolamprologus tetracanthus (Boulenger, 1899), Telmatochromis temporalis (Boulenger, 1898)

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope: N/A

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope: The lake faces a number of threats including excess sedimentation, overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, along with climate change.

Sources of Information:
Documentary video by Alfredo Reis Deus
Limnology and hydrology of Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi