In the first part ( Biotope Aquatics Part 1: South America, a Tributary of the Rio Negro near Barcelos ) we reported on the winner of the Biotope Aquarium World Championship, who replicated a habitat in South America near Barcelos where the Red Neon is captured and exported all over the world.
By the way: this is done without endangering the species of red neon in any way!
Today we’ll have a closer look at the runner up. The cichlid pair with juvenile fish in the middle is going to be the first thing you notice, of course, but after a while you’ll see that this aquarium looks like a piece of nature. The decorative objects are all arranged so naturally that it reminds me of snorkelling in Mexico and Central America. In 2012 a JBL expedition took us to Mexico and Costa Rica ( Expedice 2012 Střední Amerika & Galapágy ).
Wood, stones, few to no plants and a bright substrate dominate the underwater landscapes. Lee Nuttall’s aquarium from England is lovingly and very accurately based on the original. With a truly spartan decor, Lee manages to capture the natural beauty of these rivers. The impression is that the branches protrude from above into the water, as opposed to the usual direction of from bottom to top. The latter is a cardinal mistake in many aquariums. Of course there is a lot of wood on the ground. But fine branches are still quite fresh and actually always protrude from top to bottom into the water. The livebearers who live in this aquarium then find shelter between this tangle of branches. The pH value of such rivers is usually always above 7 and has a medium hardness. Experts use osmosis water ( JBL Aquadur ) and then add some special salt to adjust the hardness they want to replicate. With JBL Sansibar River a substrate is available which is water-neutral and looks extremely similar to the substrates of many tropical rivers. With tropical almond leaves ( JBL Catappa XL ) you not only replicate the foliage at the bottom of the river, but you’re also doing your whole aquarium a favour. The leaves are effective against fungal infections, bacteria, ectoparasites, spawn fungal infections and mucous membrane damage, and they help to heal bite marks (according to Wikipedia).
Unfortunately, manufacturers are not allowed to write all of these proven effects on the packaging, as otherwise they would have to register the product as a medication, which is a very complex process.
This design of a 160 liter aquarium with such authenticity and so little deco material has really deserved its vice world champion title!