#292: 160L Biotope Aquascape Protected Natural Area 'Lagunas de Zempoala National Park', habitat of Ambystoma altamirani. Huitzilac, Morelos. México.

Amadeo Hernández Pérez Toluca, Mexico


General Impression/Faithful Reproduction of Biotope:
Overall this a very nice aquarium display that successfully combines some elements of pleasing aquascape with attention to biotope requirements. The use of non-native species to represent the presence of a threatened species is ADMIRABLE and to be ENCOURAGED. Unfortunately the rules of this biotope competition are specific: "Plants and animals should be indigenous to the specific location." and "Exotic non-native or invasive species of plants and fish should not be used in a biotope aquascape. All flora and fauna should be native species originally indigenous to the biotope being described." The only reasons that I am deducting points from this biotope is because of the use of non-native species of animals and plants and for an unnatural distribution and density of plants in the display. See remarks below.

Accuracy of Plants and Animals for Biotope:
Egeria densa - naturalized invasive
Lemna sp. - there are many... please be specific
Azolla sp. - there are a couple possibilities... please be specific. One is probably another would be an invasive.
Eleocharis sp - there are many... please be specfic

The use of Eleocharis in this displays is somewhat unnatural. These plants form dense mats and reproduce through runners so it is unlikely to see small clumps spread around the habitat.

G. multiradiatus - yes
Ambystoma dumerelii & A. sp. - not found in the habitat even as a naturalized invasive

Accuracy of Hardscape
The materials used and their distribution in the display are good representations of a natural habitat.

The aquarium appears to be well maintained animals healthy and plants growing well.
— Ted Judy
Egeria in a setting like this would invariably be lying heavily on the top of the water. I realize that you could not manage the tank that way long-term but for the sake of the contest it would have added to your entry to allow the plants to grow out to their natural sprawling length rather than having them trimmed almost hedge-like across the back.
— Karen Randall

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 100 × 40 × 40 cm
Title Protected Natural Area 'Lagunas de Zempoala National Park', habitat of Ambystoma altamirani. Huitzilac, Morelos. México.
Volume 160L
Background For aesthetic purposes a black background is place in the aquarium.
Lighting For lighting, 3 fluorescent white light bulbs (32w, 6500 ° K each one) are used with a photoperiod of 6 hours a day and daylight influence of 2 hours in the morning.
Filtration FLUVAL 205 external filter (680 L / H); inside with ceramic tubes for biological filtration, activated carbon for chemical filtration and sponge for mechanical filtration. FLUVAL Brand filter materials.
Plants Egeria densa (invasive exotic), Lemna sp., Azolla sp., and Eleocharis sp.
Animals Girardinichthys multiradiatus (Native species, wild, adult specimens; 3 males and 5 females), Ambystoma dumerelii and Ambystoma sp. (Captivity, adult specimens representing the endemic species of the habitat Ambystoma altamirani.
Materials The elements used in the aquarium (substrate, logs, rocks, some plants and organic matter) were collected from the natural habitat in a responsible way. Egeria densa was purchased from a retail aquarium.
Additional Information A strict biotope aquarium of the “Tonatiahua” lagoon (margin of the southwest side of the lagoon) is recreated. Specimens of Ambystoma dumerelii and Ambystoma sp. are used in the aquarium (legally acquired), since Ambystoma altamirani is classified as a threatened species in the “Official Mexican Standard NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010 Environmental Protection-Native Mexican Species of Wild Flora and Fauna -Categories of risk and specifications for their inclusion, exclusion or change-List of species at risk”, while in the red list of threatened species of the IUCN it is classified as an endangered species. There is no, currently, form of legal use of the species within the country. Because axolotls are hunters and their natural diet is based on live foods, they are offered as diet worms (Eisenia foetida), Tubifex sp., Acociles (Cambarellus sp.) and fly larvae. A partial water change of 30% every 7. days is made, inside the aquarium. Because the water temperature in the natural habitat is low (12 ± 3 ° C), it is not necessary to use a thermostat in the aquarium, that is why it keeps at room temperature.

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