Wetland creek, tributary of the Biała river in Białystok, Poland

_st place in Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2022

Volume of aquarium: 120 liters

Dimensions of aquarium: 87 x 44.5 x 33 cm

List of fishes: Gasterosteus aculeatus

List of plants: Spirogyra sp., Veronica beccabunga L., Phragmites australis, Salix sp.

Description of Decorations and Substrate: All elements in the aquarium are taken from the natural biotope, the hardscape includes big stones overgrown with algae, gravel, sand, mud, branches, leaves and roots of Salix sp.. Most of the bigger stones were collected from a smaller creek, up to the main location of the biotope.

Description of Equipment: The following filters are installed: Aquael Pat Mini (400 l/h), Aquael internal filter from 1990s (400 l/h) and Aquael cascade filter from 2000s (300 l/h) with ceramic medium. Light: 3 spot LED lamps GU-10, 6500K providing 1650 lm in total.

Water Parameters: KH 15°, GH 20°, pH 7,6 and the temperature 21 °C

Additional Info: The aquarium was made of glass waste, with front and sides selected for not having too many defects. The fishes will be released back to the creek before the temperature increases during the spring season, so no cooling system was installed. The water hardness was decreased gradually from GH 30° to 20°, the fishes were adapted to the tap water for technical reasons. About 20% of water in the aquarium is changed every second week in combination with filter medium maintenance.

Aquarium video:

Description of the Area Surrounding the Biotope: The coordinates are: 53°09’22.0″N 23°06’51.6″E. The biotope is located in area characterized by a temperate climate with continental influences, with mean annual temperature 7,5°C and precipitation of 598 mm. The area is partially shaded by Salix sp. trees and long grasses, including Phragmites australis. The creek has a length of about 255 m (value estimated from a map) and is very shallow – 15 – 30 cm, its banks are supported with a wooden man-made construction to prevent the soil from falling down. The creek becomes deeper until it reaches the Biała river (fragment #13 in “Studium hydrograficzne…” with aesthetic and natural values), which is a tributary of Supraśl and then Narew.

Description of the Underwater Landscape of the Biotope: There is a yellowish white sand with some mud, and groupings of gravel and bigger stones. The stones are covered with algae, mud and calcifications which give them an uniform appearance and dark color. Spirogyra algae are mostly attached to the wood construction and Salix roots grown into the water, forming the banks of the creek. Many fallen leaves and branches from the surrounding Salix trees are present which are retained in place due to the algae.

Description of the Habitat Parameters: The water sampled in October 2021 was transparent with a light amber color, the chemical parameters were as follows: KH 19°, GH 30°, pH 7,6 and the temperature 15 °C.

List of Fishes and Invertebrates Occurring in the Nature Biotope: Rutilus rutilus, Alburnus alburnus, Gasterosteus aculeatus, Aplexa hypnorum, Asellus aquaticus

List of Plants Found in the Nature Biotope: Spirogyra sp., Salix sp., Veronica beccabunga L., Phragmites australis

Threats to the Ecology of the Biotope: The wetland around the creek has become a favorite place for dog walking and other recreational activities. However, there are people who still do not care about the common good and pollute the water with empty cans and bottles, wheel tires, used clothes and other waste. Also there could be found remains of the domestic sewage disposal which had taken place in the past, such as razor blades.

Sources of Information:
1. Studium hydrograficzne doliny rzeki Białej z wytycznymi do zagospodarowania rekreacyjno-wypoczynkowego i elementami małej retencji oraz prace hydrologiczne niezbędne do sporządzenia dokumentacji hydrologicznej (edited by Sylwester Tyszewski and Ignacy Kardel)

2. https://una.city/nbs/bialystok/revitalization-biala-river
3. https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bia%C5%82a_(dop%C5%82yw_Supra%C5%9Bli)
4. https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Przetacznik_bobowniczek
5. https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%C5%9Bliczka_wodna
6. http://www.gios.gov.pl/images/dokumenty/pms/raporty/PODLASKIE.pdf
7. My own exploration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWRswXtKIDQ