Dimensions 25 × 25 × 25 cm
Title Upper Spa Creek Biotope.
Lighting Atledtis E6 LED. 6500K. 6.5W
Filtration Eheim 150 Canister Filter w/Chemipure.
Animals Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus variegatus).
Materials Sand, rocks, driftwood, and leaves from upper Spa Creek.
Additional Information Spa Creek is part of the Chesapeake Bay estuary. It is an inlet that feeds into the Annapolis Harbor. The Annapolis area is close to Washington DC, and is fully developed and heavily populated. The shores of Spa Creek are a magnet for boaters. However upper Spa Creek is relatively undeveloped, and is bounded by a municipal park and the grounds of a school. There is an active group, The Spa Creek Conservancy that works to preserve the headwaters and upper regions of this watershed. Invasive plants have been removed, and replaced with native species. Legal and political actions have been initiated to stop polluting runoff. Despite these threats, Spa Creek is teaming with wildlife. Osprey, Stripped Bass, Blue Crabs, even an occasional shark are part of this thriving ecosystem.
This location is the inspiration for this biotope. I myself have boated and fished in Spa Creek for many years and caught Stripped Bass, Chain Pickerel, and White Perch. These larger fish feed off of smaller species that are included in this biotope. The creek varies from 12 feet deep to shallow mud flats. Originally the creeks in this watershed had sandy bottoms, however, runoff from development has deposited a blackish mud. Sandy bottoms are still to be found in some areas including upper Spa Creek. Its salinity varies with the tide and rainfall. The salinity ranges from 5.7 ppt. to fresh water. The fish in Spa Creek have adapted to a wide range of salinity.
This biotope was created using materials gathered from a 50 yard area along one of the branches of upper Spa Creek. The sand, rocks, and wood were taken from the area I am reproducing. However, any aquarium, no matter how authentic, is artificial, and requires compromises that are not part of the original ecosystem. I have chosen a nano scale in order to take materials and animals from the area with the least disturbance. Though rocks, sand, and sunken branches are in abundance, I still felt like I was disturbing this precious remnant of nature that is surrounded by a bustling metropolis.
Killifish, Sheepshead Minnows, and Menhaden are several of the species of small fish to be found here. Many of the species, such as the Menhaden do not adapt well to captivity. Even those that do adapt well alter their behavior in an aquarium. The Sheepshead Minnows are aggressive. They will chase Killifish, though the Killifish out swim them. A dominant male Sheepshead Minnow will attempt to kill off any other males in the aquarium environment. Observing their behavior is fascinating, though one wonders how much is natural and how much is the result of captivity.