#307: 35L Biotope Aquascape Small blackwater brook in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Martin Kronvall Landvetter, Sweden


This is a solid display and the aquascaper has shown that a lot of thought has gone into it's production while also displaying an intimate knowledge of the habitat helping them to render a faithful representation.

The display clearly provides a good habitat for the fish thanks to careful research and artful composition. One point that was raised among the judges was the use of Pistia. On the one hand this is an invasive exotic species which according to competition rules shouldn't be included. However we recognise that this plant is now incredibly cosmopolitan across the tropics and has become ubiquitous in aquatic habitats globally. Therefore we are accepting its use in displays because the plant is present in the habitat but perhaps in future aquascapers might stick to only using native species to avoid any judging confusion.
— Tai Strietman
Very nice biotope aquarium. When I finished reading the entry description I was pleasantly surprised that you had a conversation with ChatGPT read various articles from ResearchGate went into SeriouslyFish and Flowgrow to investigate. I thought that was really cool and something more people should do.
— Ivan Mikolji

Aquascape Details

Dimensions 40 × 35 × 25 cm
Title Small blackwater brook in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Volume 35L
Background none
Lighting Chihiros c201 running at 30%
Filtration Aquael Versamax mini, Hang on back filter. max flow 230l/hr.
Plants Cryptocoryne albida brown
Limnophila Heterophylla
Blyxa Japonica
Pistia Stratiotes
Animals Boraras brigittae x 8
Materials Sand mixed with pebbles as bottom layer. Larger stones and small twigs found outside from a small brook near my home. Catappa leaves/bark in various stages of decomposion for detail as well as second bottom layer.
Additional Information I wanted to create a really low maintenance biotope aquascape in a restricted space. Having a fascination for smaller species of fish, the beautiful Boraras brigittae was a good candidate. After researching the natural environment of Boraras brigittae, I assumed that I would be able to maintain a tank with a limited number of individuals without to much weekly maintenance.

Boraras brigittae, commonly known as the Chili Rasbora or Mosquito Rasbora, is a small, colorful, and peaceful tropical fish species native to Southeast Asia. My reasearch found them to be particularly found in the Indonesian island of Borneo, including the province of West Kalimantan. Hence this is what I set out to replicate.

The biotope of Boraras brigittae in Danau Sentarum National Park comprises a complex network of blackwater rivers, streams, and flooded forests. The area experiences seasonal fluctuations in water levels, which can rise or drop by several meters throughout the year. This creates a diverse and dynamic habitat.

The biotope's substrate predominantly consists of fine sand, silt, and peat, which may be covered in a layer of decomposing leaves, twigs, and other plant debris. This layer of organic material provides hiding places and foraging opportunities. Rocks are probably most often covered in algae or biofilm.

The aquatic vegetation in the Boraras brigittae biotope is diverse, with various species of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants.

My research listed several variants of Cryptocoryne and Limnophilia growing in the geographical area of where I wanted the scape to represent, as well as Blyxa and Piastra. And due to them being available for purchase in Sweden I used Cryptocoryne albida brown, Blyxa japonica, Pistia stratiotes and Limnophila Heterophylla.

The scape has proven to be really low maintenance since biofilm are both needed for the appearance as well as serving as a source of food for the fish.

Conversation with ChatGPT,
Various articles from ResearchGate

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