Unnamed forrest stream, west of the city of Coxim

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of your aquarium: 98 liters

Dimensions of your aquarium: 80x35x35 cm

List of fishes: Characidae:
Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi (11)

Apistogramma trifasciata (3)

List of plants: Submerged plants:
Limnobium laevigatum (Hydrocharitaceae)

Emerged plants:
Nephrolepis exaltata
Chlorophytum comosum
Pilea depressa
Philodendron scandens

Description of Decorations and Substrate: A center piece of my decoration is the plants growing above the water level, trying to imitate the bank of a small forrest stream. The plateau, of which the plants are growing, are made of roots and small rocks, on which there is a layer of peat. This is decorated with small branches to imitate the look of a rooted water surface. Those two plateaus are making ideally hiding spots for the Apistogramma trio.

Two large roots are balancing the look of the aquarium. On the right side the fern is providing shade and cover for the Apistogramma male, which likes to hide in the shadows. The shaded look is providing both cover and protection, and trying to imitate the jungle, crowding down to the bank of the stream.
The substrate is a mix of sand, gravel and small pebbles. Underneath this there is a layer of substrate, which is helping to keep the pH in level.

Dead leaves, branches, roots, pebbles, alder cones, peat and a single nut-shell is imitating the messy substrate of a small forrest stream.
The color of the water is colored black to make it look like wellknown Southamerican blackwater.

Description of Equipment: Aquarium: OW 98 litres Opti White

Filtration: Fluval 207 cannister filter – 780 L/h.

Lightning: two IKEA Nymåne lamps with some special Osram Parathom GU10, 550 lumens 4000 k, LED spots. The spots are trying to imitate the single sun rays penetrating through the water of the forrest stream.

Others: Eheim Skim 350 surface skimmer.
Two Sonoff S26 smart plugs

Water Parameters: Color: Blackwater.
Temperature: 26 °C
pH: 6.8
GH: 6 mg/l
KH: 5 mg/l

Additional Info: Daily dosis of Tropica Specialised nutrition
Weekly waterchange of 20-25%

At the same time I am making the weekly waterchange I am adding 1 Alder cone the water. This is both for the coloration of the water and for lowering the pH.

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope: Mato Grosso do Sul state is a large area, covering the same size as Germany. The area is well known for its rich wildlife, and presents a variety of flora and fauna, with forests, natural sand banks, savannahs, open pasture, fields and bushes. Furthermore there is a rich and unique wetland area, The Pantanal, which is the world’s largest flooded grasslands.

In the countryside of the North of Mato Grosso do Sul state, just west of the city of Coxim, there is a little forrest stream. In this jungle terrain there is countless of small streams, water holes and flooded areas – due to the rain.

The area is dominated by jungle and dense forrest, and in the rainy season theres also various types of water holes, small streams and flooded areas.

Primitive roads with potholes and red mud is the main access to this beautiful jungle landscape. Underneath a small wooden bridge, over a unnamed forrest stream, the biotope is located.

Crowded jungle surrounds each site of the stream, and grows from the banks of it, casting shadows over the water. The water has the same color as tee, the classic look af South American blackwater

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: The substrate is primarily sand and gravel, which is covered by leaf litter, roots, fallen branches and sunken logs.

On this time of the season visibility is very low, only about 30-60 centimetres, due to rain stirring up the sediment. As a result of this the vegetation is sporadic, and only possible where the light actually do penetrate, except for a small amount of floating plants, hiding close to the banks of the stream, isolated by some fallen logs.

The banks of the stream is a maze of roots leaves and fallen branches that forms ideal hiding spots for different types of fish.

Description of the Habitat Parameters: Blackwater
Water temperature: 27 °C (variying)
pH: 6.5
GH: 6 mg/l
KH: 3 mg/l
Conductivity: 70

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: Moenkhausia dichroura (Characidae)
Moenkhausia forestii (Characidae)
Moenkhausia oligolepis (Characidae)
Jupiaba acanthogaster (Characidae)
Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi (Characidae)
Characidium af. zebra (Crenuchidae)
Characidium laterale (Crenuchidae)
Corydoras areio (Callichthyidae)
Satanoperca pappaterra (Cichlidae)
Apistogramma trifasciata (Cichlidae)

And more

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope:
Eleocharis minima (Cyperaceae)
Salvinia auriculata (Hydropteridales)
Nephrolepis exaltata (Nephrolepidaceae)
Chlorophytum comosum (Asparagaceae)
Pilea depressa (Urticaceae)
Philodendron scandens (Araceae)
And many more

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope: Agricultural pollution, deforestation, habitat conversion for cattle ranching and forrest destruction/cutting along the river.

Sources of Information:
1) R.H.G. Jongman – “Pantanal-Taquari Tools for decision making in Integrated Water Management” by ALTERRA Special Publication 2005/02 ISBN 1574-8227
2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYreZVRWwNc&feature=youtu.be
3) Interviews with biotope-expert Tai Strietmann, who has been traveling in the area, recorded the video material for the YouTube and helped providing the measurements and info.