A slow stream in the peat forest of Borneo. South Kalimantan

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of aquarium: 54 L

Dimensions of aquarium: 60*30*30 cm

List of fishes: Boraras Brigittae.

List of plants: Eleocharis sp.

Description of Decorations and Substrate:Light sand was used as the soil, with the probable ingress of grains of sand of greater value, which does not affect the water parameters. Variegated light tones observations in natural conditions in a modified biotope. Most sands were used to simulate the bed of a stream – DECOTOP Atoyac 1-2 mm, DECOTOP Roanoke 2-5 mm. To form the superiority of promotional materials. They also play the role of a biofilter. Also checks are removed DECOTOP Jackfruit S, DECOTOP Catappa S, plants of these genera are found in the natural biotope. A small amount of DECOTOP Bambusa S imitates the small leaves of shrubs. Used old sunken driftwood with bark, they do not have a massive outer bacterial film.

Description of Equipment: Aquael Pat mini до 400 l/h , Aquael LED Lighting 8W , Aquael Fix 2 50W .

Water Parameters:Soft water kH 0, gH 2; acidic, pH 6. temperature 25-26°C.
Low mineralization of water is achieved by using water from a reverse osmosis filter.

Additional Info:Changes are made once a week, 20% each, fish are sensitive to water quality, but do not like sudden changes. The amount of accumulated organic matter in the water in the aquarium is checked by tests.

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope:

Such streams flow under the canopy of a tropical peat-bog forest located in the south of the island of Borneo.

This biotope was formed under the influence of factors such as high temperatures and a large amount of total precipitation, due to which plant remains (fallen leaves, branches, ground grasses) cannot quickly decompose, as they are flooded with water. This creates a peat bog. Soils are poor in minerals and have a very acidic reaction (pH 4 and below). Despite the difficult conditions of existence, a large number of diverse plants grow in the peat swamp forests of Borneo. Basically, they have very dense, leathery leaves that prevent excessive evaporation of moisture in the dry season. The water supply of such soils is exclusively rain, but even in the dry season, peat remains waterlogged, and puddles remain among the trees. During the rainy season, streams fill with water, the current increases, and particles of suspension appear in the water.

These forests are home to a huge number of animals. Despite difficult fish habitats, the Borneo peat swamp forests are home to a wide variety of fish, many of which are endemic to the island of Borneo.

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: Due to the large number of falling leaves, the water takes on the color of tea, and is saturated with humic acids and tannins, and also has a low pH. In places where debris is carried away by the current, you can see a light sandy bottom, tree roots, and fallen branches. And where there is some light coming through the canopy, water plants such as Cryptocoryne cordata var. grabowskii, mosses, ferns, as well as Eleocharis sp., which, apparently, was once introduced from rice plantations. These plants are flooded during the rainy season and continue to live under water. But there are no plants growing under water on a permanent basis, as water refracts and retains light. In backwaters with little or no current, Salvinia molesta can be found floating on the surface, but it is a dangerous invasive species, as it can drag the entire surface of the reservoir.

Description of the Habitat Parameters:The water is colored in light brown tones, but transparency is preserved. During the rainy season (November-February), the amount of precipitation always exceeds the amount of evaporation. In water, the number of small particles increases, and it becomes less transparent. Since the swamps are fed exclusively from rains, and the peat layer isolates mineral deposits, the values of kH 0 gH 0-1 , pH 3-5, depending on the amount of precipitation. pH 5.5, TDS 5-7 ppm were recorded by a local resident, in a place remote from the Martapura settlement.

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: Rasbora einthovenii, Betta edithae, Boraras merah, Borars brigittae. Limnonectes paramacrodon, Chalcorana raniceps.

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope: Salvinia molesta (introduced) , Cryptocoryne cordata var. grabowskii , Eleocharis sp (introduced), Pelia sp. Stenochlaena palustris, Terminalia catappa, Artocarpus heterophyllus.

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope:

The peat swamp forests of Borneo are subject to negative human influence, and today are under the threat of degradation and extinction. Deforestation, development of land for agriculture and, as a result, fires. Fish are also threatened by poaching and habitat destruction by locals.

Human use of peatlands is usually associated with the drainage of peat through artificial channels. This is usually done to make the land more suitable for agriculture or habitation, and to have loggers transport timber from the forest to processing stations along the rivers. The worst example of development is the failed Mega Rice Project of the mid-1990s, which aimed to drain 1 million hectares of peatlands in Central Kalimantan and turn them into rice plantations. Large-scale fires are now frequent in this region, destroying the remaining forests and wildlife, along with new agricultural land. Peat forests are particularly vulnerable to fires and produce the most carcinogenic haze of any forest type, due to the release of large amounts of fine particulate matter. This caused serious health problems associated with smog. They have had a severe negative impact on the livelihoods of people in the area.

Felling is usually carried out selectively – the most valuable tree species are cut down. At the same time, mechanical disturbances occur in the community, and the plant composition of the forest often changes. When felling one of the most valuable species – Gonystylus bancanus – its natural renewal is disturbed. Gonystylus bancanus has been assessed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. The species is also threatened by habitat loss due to the development of palm oil plantations.

Peat swamp forests are very important for the conservation of a number of endangered primate species. But among the wide variety of different animals, fish show the greatest endemicity of peat bogs. The peat bogs of Southeast Asia are home to a variety of miniature fish, such as Paedocypris progenetica, the smallest known vertebrate. And Betta persephone, Betta miniopinna and Betta spilotogena are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List as a result of habitat loss.

For Boraras Brigittae, the biggest damage is caused by uncontrolled fishing for commercial sale, as well as habitat destruction by local residents who set up diamond mines on their own. It is in South Kalimantan that the largest Chempaka Mine is located, bordering on the habitat of Boraras Brigittae.

Despite ongoing reforestation efforts, many animal species are endangered. But, if warm-blooded animals and other terrestrial animals can be preserved in nature reserves and zoos, then less attention is paid to fish. Many species have not yet been described, and may already disappear. Aquarium is not only beauty in the house, but also the opportunity to save some species in collections. I created this aquarium in order to create the best conditions for Boraras Brigittae, so that later I would try to breed them. The more fish will be artificially propagated, and the more people will keep them, the less chance of losing this species.

Sources of Information: