Video: Ivan Mikolji's biotopes on the shore


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Back from recent expeditions, Ivan Mikolji of the Fish From Venezuela foundation treats us to a spectacular acidic Amazon biotope, says Nathan Hill.

Photographer and videographer Ivan has various documentaries and fish videos under his belt, but this latest really caught our eye. Setting up a tank on a shoreline in Amazon State, Venezuela, he puts together a tank based solely on what he can forage and catch at the scene. For biotope accuracy, it doesn’t get better than this!

In this layout, Ivan copies a slow flowing, sandy river with leaf litter and sunken wood. His only real problem is getting wood to fit in the tank to begin with.

The substrate used could easily be replicated with aquarium grade silver sand, and a handful of leaf litter completes the effect. In the home tank, you’d want to soak any wood first, but for Ivan, the river’s already done that.

For fish, he teases us with a couple of unknowns. One fish is easily recognised as the true Penguin tetra, Thayeria oblique and there's also a Dekeyseria scaphirhyncha, but after that he’s hunting down unidentified Ancistrus, and a diminutive Apistogramma species. Keep an eye out at 18:57, where he stumbles across a lounging Electric eel, too.

To recreate a biotope exactly like this at home will require extreme conditions. Ivan measures the water at 5.0pH, KH of around one degree, and GH of less than that. Temperature sits high at 28.5°C.

Because he’s only putting the tank together for show, Ivan omits the use of filtration, but in the home aquarium the use of a sturdy internal, or fair sized external canister would be ample.

Scroll through to 14:50 to see the underwater action, or even just zip through to 24:10 to see the finished product. However you choose to watch it, we just hope you get some inspiration to try something like this at home! Enjoy!

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