Interzoo 2008 – Biotope 1

Authentic Biotope Aquarium

Rio Mapuera – Amazon


Tetra presents Heiko Bleher’s authentic
Biotope from the Rio Mapuera, Amazon, Brazil, sponsored by Tetra.
Habitat: This is a stony island-biotope in the Mapuera, the largest right-hand affluent of the Rio Trombetas in the state of Pará, Brazil. The river has it’s source along the border with Guyana and during extreme floods it connects to the nearby source of the Rio Essequibo system (that is why some Guyana fish species can be found here as well, like the real Anostomus anostomus). It is a clear water river but natives call it água preta (black water) und almost countless black water creeks flow into it, mostly over rocky formations and the Mapuera itself is full of cataracts, a natural barrier for many species. But in such a biotope as shown, lives a very large fish diversity. Most are characoids, catfishes but also stingrays and cichlids, which are visitors. Aquatic vegetation is almost absent except for some floating plants and possibly large Echinodorus and Cyperus, which grow out of the water and Spatiphyllum wallisii along the edges.
Fishes: large catfishes like  Phractocephalus hemiliopterus (2), Sorubim lima (2), Pterygoblichthys multiradiatus (1), Panaque nigrolineatus (2), Pinirampus pirinampu and Luciopimelodus pati (4); larger characoids such as 3 different Myleus-species (22), Poptella obercularis and Tetragonopterus species (10), Anostomus anostomus (15), Bryconops sp. (12) and Boulengerella lateristriga and B. xyrekes (8), and some freshwater stingrays Potamotrygon motoro and P. yepezi (2).
Plants: aquatic plants are very rare in such a biotope. Along the edges sometimes grow large Echinodorus, Cyperus and Spatyphyllum species, which grow emers most of the time and are submerged during the rainy season. Sometime floating plants like Ceratopterus cornuta are found in the bays and members of the family Podostomacae live in the stony cataracts.
Heiko’s comments: The Mapuera is a river isolated from any civilisation, only Wai-Wai Indians live here near the border with Guyana.  Many fish species live in and around this stony island-habitats in the middle or along the rivers edge. Some in the currant in open waters (i.e. the Myleus, Bryconops and Poptella species) in groups to protect themselves from the large predatory catfishes. The Anostomus anostomus dwell more along the rocks feeding from the Aufwuchs, from algae and nibble on driftwood. Boulengerella lateristriga live only near the surface feeding mostly on young fishes and terrestrial insects. The larger loricariids and pimelodids live near the bottom, always in search for food, along the rocks and in the open water. Freshwater stingrays dig into the sand mainly during daytime, but are visitors, such as larger cichlids species. In this assemblage of a Mapuera biotope (exactly as I have encountered it) one can see that predators and community fishes can live well together, as long as they are feed and the habitat (aquarium decoration) is as close as possible to their own in nature.

The chemical water parameters in the Rio Mapuera biotope were from pH 5.5 – 5.85, the conductivity between 14-20µS/cm and temperatures from 28.5 – 29.5°C.

The following companies have contributed with materials and live stock:

Tetra: Filter and filter material, foods and water chemistry.
Kölle-Zoo – Stuttgart: Décor elements – mangrove roots, red-brown lava stone, reddish aquarium gravel 2-4mm and whitish gravel size 5-8mm, as well as fine sand.
Aquarium Dietzenbach: Fishes – the fishes shown have been imported and quarantined for Heiko Bleher by Aquarium Dietzenbach, Germany.
Tropica: Plants – have been supplied by Tropica, Denmark
Idea and authentic biotope decoration: Heiko Bleher, Italy



1. Aquarium – 1600 litre –

Heiko Bleher’s aquarium display of Rio Mapuera Biotope below water











In a biotope with the correct decorated environment every species finds its niche which can be seen on in these detailed photos – as long as the habitat is created accordingly to each species’ need 

This post is also available in: Italian German French Spanish Português

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.