The Biotope Aquarium Explained
In a biotope aquarium, the aquarist attempt to simulate a natural habitat, assembling fish species, plants, water chemistry and decorations found in that specific ecosystem. A “true” biotope should be a mirror of a natural habitat.
There are many good reasons for setting up an aquarium that simulates a natural habitat. Those of us who have done everything, bred everything and kept most fish might simply want a new challenge. Another good reason to setup a biotope aquarium is to see the fish interacting in their “natural” environment which is completely different from what you will see in a community setup.
In my opinion, there are several types of biotopes.
1. The true Biotope is a recreation of a specific environment. Everything kept in a true biotope should be found together in an area that fits within the dimensions of the tank. It should be a “chunk” of a real natural environment. An example of this could be a small channel of the Amazon River where small fish take refuge among driftwoods, plants and dead leaves.
2. The Habitat tank can be a good option for those who do not want to deal with all the requirement a true biotope involve. Instead of using organism from a specific ecosystem, we get a little looser and use organism from multiple areas of a given body of water. As an example, an Amazon habitat would include fish, plants and decoration from anywhere in the river, as long as they can be found in the Amazon and its tributaries.
3. The theme tank doesn’t even come close to a biotope but since many aquarist consider it as one, why not include it here. In a theme tank, we use organism from an entire country or continent. The traditional “Asian” or “African” tanks where fish, plants and decoration are from anywhere on the continent are good examples.
Here are some popular biotope ideas (to only name a few):
Cenotes Cave system
Asian Blackwater Pool
Asian Mangrove Estuary
New Guinea River
Popularity: 6% [?]