Interzoo 2008 – Biotope 5

Authentic Biotope Aquarium

Victoria Lake – Uganda


Tetra presents Heiko Bleher’s authentic
Biotope from the shore of the Lake Victoria, in Uganda, sponsored by Tetra.
Habitat: The Victoria lake is probably the most talked about lake in recent years, because of its said introduction of the Nile perch. In any case it is Africa’s largest lake and the second largest in the world. More than 300 cichlid species are known, probably as many still un-described. But some for sure have become extinct, mainly due to over fishing. The biotope of these haplochromines is in part rocky, in part muddy and in part full of floating plants and aquatic vegetation (Eichhornia has become a pest on the lake). And the biotope shown is one were it is still not all murky and polluted. There are characoids, but not many species, the biggest biomass after the cichlids were the catfishes and mormyrids. But the latter are almost exclusively night active fishes and live in deeper sections. The Synodontis species dwell together with Haplochromis in the same biotope, several species including S. sorex.
Fishes: Haplochromis flavipinnis (12) and Haplochromis sp. “rockkribensis” (20) and Synodotis sorex (6).
Plants: Nymphaea lotus, Vallisneria gigantea, Hydrotriche hottoniiflora and Eichhornia crassipes.
Heiko’s comments:  This lake is bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and when I first visited it in the late 1960s and early 1970s a mere 6 million people were living around this large lake. About 30 years later the number of people living from the fishes were five-fold, more than 30 million by turn of the last century. Everyone needs to live and the only gross economic product in the region comes from the lake catchments (US$3-4 billion annually), which supports almost everyone, financially also the tenth of thousands of fishermen (25 000 alone in Kampala, Uganda) and with the (only) protein all the inhabitants around the lake. The fishes provide their livelihood and the smallest of cichlids or characoids are eaten… In addition the tremendous pollution  (everything flows into the lake, the waste of more than 30 million) adds to the continuous deterioration of the lake. Almost not to believe the ecological disaster of once one of the African Queens …

The chemical water parameters in this biotope were pH 7.2-8.6, the conductivity between 90-134µS/cm and temperatures from 23.5 – 29.7°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 – different stones and Aquaria gravel 2-4mm reddish and also black 2-4mm.
Aquarium Dietzenbach and others: Fishes – the fishes have been quarantined by Aquarium Dietzenbach, Germany.
Tropica:  Plants have been supplied by Tropica, Denmark
Idea and authentic biotope decoration: Heiko Bleher, Italy



5. Aquarium – 600 litre –

Heiko Bleher’s aquarium display of Victoria Lake Biotope below water





In an biotope created as in Lake Victoria the alpha animal shows immediately its dominating colours…



…but, everyone is happy in such an authentic biotope…


…and the leader immediately starts to prepare the nest for its chosen female, already a few hours after introduction

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