Interzoo 2008 – Biotope 7

Authentic Biotope Aquarium

Meruvambayi River – Western Ghats, India


Tetra presents Heiko Bleher’s authentic
Biotope from the Meruvambayi River, Western Ghats, Kerala, India, sponsored by Tetra.
Habitat: This biotope is very beautiful and still not as much polluted and destroyed as many other aquatic habitats in this part of India. It has clear water with a slight flow and in some areas it is rich in aquatic vegetation – also along its shoreline. This is why I was able to find a large variety of species living here in harmony. They have a place to find micro organisms, aquatic insects and terrestrial ones, and such untouched biotope offers ample breeding ground for many species (and protection for their young). In addition I found no aquatic predator in this river biotope, as shown. Its bed was full of reddish gravel.
Fishes: Barilius sp.*(10) (a new species), Puntius sp. 1 (12), Puntius sp. 2 (6), Puntius sp. 3 (4), Puntius narayani (12), Puntius chalakkudiensis**(12), Devario malabaricus (6), Danio cf. rerio (6) (probably new), Garra gotyla (12), Nemacheilus cf. fasciatus (20), Carinotetraodon travancoricus (30),  Monotrete (Tetraodon) conchinchinensis (6) and  Aplocheilus sp. from the lineatus group (5).
Plants: Limnophila aquatica, Eleocharis acicularis, Hydrocotyle sibithorpioides, Hygrophyla stricta, also Myriophyllum and Nymphaea species live here.
Heiko’s comments: This river which comes from the higher regions in the Western Ghats is still intact although in India – and specially in Kerala – there is an incredible housing-boom and rivers are dredged for construction purpose. Still this one was not much damaged, similar as the Chalakkudy river (not shown), from where the Puntius chalakkudiensis** is (and were it lives endemic). The latter is often confused with the smaller P. denisonii. I placed P. chalakkudiensis here to show its difference from P. denisonii (not shown), and because denisonii is widely distributed in Kerala and I found it in the Meruvambayi river. The second species absent from this Kerala habitat is the (possibly) new Barilius. I collected it in a small mountain creek, high up and placed it here, as it is similar to the here living Barilius bakeri (not shown).  

The chemical water parameters in this biotope were pH 6.61, the conductivity between 51µS/cm and temperatures from 28.4°C (in winter a little less).

The following companies have contributed with materials and live stock:

Tetra: Filter and filter material, foods and water chemistry.
Kölle-Zoo – Stuttgart: Décor elements – reddish aquaria gravel 2-4mm and beige sand as well as rocks and driftwood.
Aquarium Dietzenbach and others: Fishes – most of the species have been  collected by Heiko Bleher in the mentioned biotopes and also some for him imported and quarantined by Aquarium Dietzenbach, Germany.
Tropica: Plants have been supplied by Tropica, Denmark
Idea and authentic biotope decoration: Heiko Bleher, Italy.



7. Aquarium – 600 litre –

Heiko Bleher’s aquarium display of Meruvambayi River – Western Ghats, below water







Loaches and the Garra species find in such an authentic created habitat their niche immediately


Puffers, here Carinotetraodon travancoricus, as dwell as in nature…


…killis swimm in the upper regions…


Devario species feel with their barbles the right areas for food…


…and others show their brightest colours


The Puntius challakkudiensis lives in smaller groups and found right away its authentic habitat (note: this is not P. denisonii, this is the large one of the two similar looking species, see also the PFK Interview with Heiko Bleher

…Heiko’s new discovered Barilius species shows its bright colours – everyone was appreciated his new discovery…


…and also Devario malabaricus looked almost better than in nature in this authentic decoration


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

One thought on “Interzoo 2008 – Biotope 7

  1. Sigrun

    I was thrilled to find this biotope with C. travancoricus. I have spent hours searching the web for information about plants found in their habitats, but I could not find much. I have 5 dwarf puffers in my only fish tank, and I’d really like to know more about their natural habitats, although I’m not setting up a pure biotope tank for them (yet… ;-)). Where can such information be found??

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