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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

How about we describe our efforts towards the AGA contest biotope catagory. The following numbers of entrants for the past contests have been:
2000 4
2001 9
2002 3
2003 7

If you study the entries and judges' comments you'll see that many people seem to disagree on what is a biotope.

I think with all the discussion and interest I've seen here we can submit a lot of meaningful entries either for this year's contest or for next year.

So lets start asking questions and telling everyone what we been working on biotope-wise.

Since the AGA contest has no rules, each of us is going to have to decide what guidelines to use for the contest. First, we need to define what a biotope is. I'll say for now that it is a recreation of a specific natural aquatic environment.

Phil Edwards is one of our distinguished contributers who is also the moderator of the biotope forum at Aquabotanic. From one of our previous discussions he stated the following which I believe really breaks down the types of biotopes which can be modeled for the contest. I have paraphrased and embellished his ideas below.

1) True Biotope
A True Biotope tank is the most specific type of biotope that can be modeled. Every feature found in the aquarium can be found in the immediate vicinity of the natural environment that is modeled. In theory, the footprint of this modeled environment will be the same size as the base of the tank. In a perfect execution of this type of biotope every feature in the tank (fish, plants, wood, stones, soil, etc) will occur naturally together within this small area within the natural environment. An example of this type of tank is Lori Shimoda's Red Mangrove Swamp Biotope, exhibited in the 2000 AGA contest, which can be seen at:
http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2000.cgi?&op=showcase&category=1&vol=-1&id=93
A True Biotope will typically have a smaller diversity of plants and accessories.

2) Habitat Biotope
With a Habitat Biotope tank the restrictions are slightly less stringent than with a True Biotope tank. Specimens may be found in multiple areas contained within a closely related geographical entity. Examples are:
a) Two areas of a stream, which are geographically in close proximity, but harbor dissimilar plants and/or fish. The fish or plants may never exist together in one place, but live in close proximity to each other.
b) A village biotope, which contains plants from a stream, a lake, and a bog. Again these plants may never grow in the same specific location, but grow in very close proximity to each other.

3) Regional Biotope
The "Regional Biotope" will be the broadest classification of biotope considered for the biotope category. A Regional Biotope contains plants and fish from a potentially broad range of locations found within a relatively limited geographical area. An example would be plants from various ditches and streams within a county, or within a small part of a regional state or province. See S. Pituch's South Texas biotope for an example of this classification, which covered locations within three adjacent counties:
http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2001.cgi?&op=showcase&category=1&vol=-1&id=39
It is understood that there will be some overlap between these categories due to interpretation, and the nature of the subject. Despite this flexibility, the entrants should endeavor to carefully consider which classification to assign their biotope.

A fourth classification that will not be considered for the biotope category for the contest, but described here for completeness, is the "Theme Tank". These are tanks containing plants from broad geographic areas that have an amazing diversity of species. These are usually described in such general terms as "Amazon", "African Rift Lake", "Southeast Asian", "Cryptocoryne", etc. These types of tanks contain plants from too broad an area to be considered as being biotopes, and should be better placed in one of the aquascaping categories of the contest.

So let's start biotoping.

Steve Pituch
 

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Steve,

Right now I'm not working on any biotopes, the closest I've got is my discus tank with 3 E. bleheri and a carpet of Sag. sub. Not the most accurate representation of a discus habitat, for sure. :)

I think my next project will be another Sri Lanka tank combining submerse/emerse C. wendtii and some Black Pepper vine. One of my wife's favorite fish is a labyrinth fish native to the lowlands of Sri Lanka and some slow moving shallow water with lots of overhanging vines would be a near perfect representation of their habitat.

Working at a botanical garden has really spoiled me. The more time I spend with the orchids and bromeliads the more interested in doing a Paludarium I am. I doubt I'll have one ready for this year, but next year ADG had better watch out! :)

Best,
Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Biotope Contests

Does anyone have any experience with biotope contests other than the AGA contest? I am wondering how other contests, if any, are organized. Whether they have judging rules , categories, etc.

Steve Pituch
 

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NBAT is the Dutch national organization and they've got a natural/biotope section for their aquascaping contests.

www.nbat.nl

It takes some searching but the putzing around is fun.

Best,
Phil
 
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