The Biotope aquarium
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The Biotope aquarium

by Akua Design 21 Jan 2023

Do you want to deepen your knowledge in biology and discover new horizons? One way, head to the Biotope ’aquarium.
This achievement consists of the most faithful reproduction possible of a natural ecosystem, the population being sometimes made up of wild specimens or close descendants.We aim for few species but fish that accept each other well, while giving great importance. to the recreated environment and water parameters.

This type of aquarium takes more time to design, but you should gain in-depth knowledge about several species and their ecosystem. Depending on the environment (biotope) chosen, the aquarium may or may not be rich in vegetation, with a more or less complex decoration.

Several atypical environments particularly fascinate many aquarists. this is the case, for example, of the African lakes Malawi and Tanganyika, and of the South American rivers devoted to fish and provide them with an aquarium as close as possible to their natural environment. From black water bogs to brackish berries.

One thing you need to understand and accept when embarking on a biotope aquarium project is that what you are about to create is recreate your natural aquatic animal habitat. This often results in an aquarium that may look a little different from your aquarium. What you will likely end up with is a messy, unorganized, dark aquarium with the untrained eye. However, if done correctly, you will have very happy fish displaying behavior that you may never have seen in a standard setup.

When you decide you want to create your biotope, the absolute most important thing to do is research your chosen species - more specifically, your fish's environment can be found in the wild. There are specific elements of their habitat that you need to understand in order to help you create the best aquarium possible.

Specific elements

  • Aquatic life found in that specific ecosystem or in a section of river / lake. Fish, snails, shrimp should all be noted and everything should be done to include the correct species.
  • Plant life is important in creating the right look. Not only that, the correct choice of plants gives some fish a place to spawn or graze, just as they do in the wild.
  • Identifying the right substrate for your chosen habitat and providing it in the home aquarium is vital for bottom-dwelling species.
  • Autry chemistry should be matched. This can be done with certain conditioners or by adding specific wood or rock to your aquascape.
  • Water flow can often be overlooked in the home aquarium however with biotope aquariums it is important to replicate this to promote the normal behavior of your tank inhabitants.
  • The temperature of your water plays a very important role. In the wild, fish are reproduced during certain seasons when the water temperature drops or increases. Knowing the temperature behavior of your habitat will promote reproduction in your biotope.
  • Lighting can make or break a good biotope. Some habitats are deep in the jungle with very little sunlight reaching the water.

    Assessment of a BIOTOPE

    At first glance, some aquariums may appear to be a biotope, however, they can only be seen as partially such. Consider some examples:

      • In an aquarium geographical*, aquatic organisms are selected by belonging to a zone, without being bound to a certain biotope and environmental conditions. For example, an aquarium for large fish in the aquatic area of the Amazon River or an aquarium for cichlids in Lake Tanganyika.
      • In a quarium ecological*, aquatic organisms are selected according to requirements similar to environmental conditions, without binding to a certain area or biotope, for example, an aquarium for fish preferring cold water and strong current, or fish that have need for stone shelters and an increased content of total hardness and carbonate salts.
      • In an aquarium of species*, special conditions are created for the life of a specific species of fish, without binding to a certain area or biotope. For example, an aquarium with "black water", lots of branches and leaves for cichlids Apistogramma agassizii .


    Biotope aquariums present the aquascaper with a set of challenges that no other aquascape does. If special attention is required when thinking about the arrangement of rocks, plants and wood, the overall goal is to achieve an ecosystem. Some of the world's rarest tropical fish are cared for in aquariums and in order to give these fish a chance the importance of habitat adaptation is unmatched.

    Heiko Bleher is known the world over for his biotope books. For 50s, Heiko studied the natural habitat of tropical fish and taught hobbyists how to recreate these environments in the home aquarium. Recently, Heiko and his wife Natasha launched the excellent Biotope aquarium project. Their objective is to create an online database on fish species and their information on biotopes. Having a database like this will provide anyone looking to provide the best environment for their fish with an invaluable database of information to access.

    So, if you are looking for a new challenge, we highly recommend that you research the Biotope Aquarium. Not only will you challenge yourself, you will provide a natural and healthy home for your fish. But before you start, don't forget to research EVERYTHING.

    If you want to know more.
    You can go to the website: Biotope Aquarium


    Here are some examples of Biotope available on:Biotope Aquarium Design Contest 2020













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