bam Demanding level

Riverbank area of the Río el Subin, Guatemala

Sponsored by

Guatemala, Sayaxché, El Petén

The Río El Subín is a relatively small river in central part of Guatemala, it flows approximately 76 km in total. It’s part of the Usumacinta drainage, and connected to much the larger Río de la Pasion.

Guatemala is home to a lot of interesting species of Central American fish, and some of these live in Río el Subín as well. The river is interesting for several reasons: first of all, is it a slightly atypical Central American river, since there’s more aquatic vegetation than most other rivers in the area. Furthermore is it interesting to notice the abundance of life in the river, who seems to live there despite some major threats to the ecosystem, and despite the relatively small size of the river.

Submitted by
David Nørholm
Approved by
Juan M. A. Azas & Jairo Arroyave
16.6368752, -90.1828613
Geographical region
Central America
Drainage Basin
Rio Usumacinta
River catchment
Rio de la Pasion
Water body type
Water body name
Rio El Subìn
Water body part
Water body course
Middle course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Rio de la Pasion

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
26 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

7 mg/l
6 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen

Aquarium information

Aquarium description

Set-up date
March, 2022
Aquarium decoration

I have chosen round river rocks to imitate the look from the habitat. I have also used a lot of driftwood and roots to imitate the look of roots from the overhanging emerged vegetation, along with fallen logs, wood and other materials fallen into the river. The substrate is a mix of two types of sand mixed with different sizes of pebles. I have used botanicals that I’ve collected both locally and in Costa Rica. This is to imitate the bottom of the river as much as possible.

Above the water level I’ve used different types of grass, ferns and other plants that looks like the dense jungle-like grassy areas, that dominates certain areas of the river.

Submerged plants have been used carefully, since the habitat only have sporatic vegetation, and it’s not an underwater jungle.

I have used some Eleocharis palustris, although they are not present in the habitat, to imitate the high grassy plants raising through the watersurface in the original biotope.

Aquarium equipment
  • Aquarium: Blau 300
  • Filtration: OASE BioMaster Thermo 850
  • Light: Chihiros AII 1201
    4800 Lumen
    53 Watt
    (running at 65% max, and dimmed 4 hours daily)
Fish care
  • Thorichthys meeki – 4 individuals (2 pairs)
  • Poecilia mexicana – 7 individuals
Plant care

Daily dosis of Tropica Premium Nutrition.
Blau Terra Activa soil underneath the sand in some areas.

Water care

Emerged plants:

  • Arachniodes adiantiformis
  • Acorus calamus
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Cyperus sp.
  • Hydrocotyle tripartita

Submerged plants:

  • Ceratophyllum demersum
  • Myriophyllum sp.
  • Hydrocharis laevigata
  • Eleocharis palustris

Waterchange 30-40% every week.


122 cm
50 cm
300 L

Substrate in aquarium

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Comment by the expert

Juan M. A. Azas: I found the tank and its balance very beautiful, I almost wished more of the beautiful specie found in the river were used in the aquarium but I understand that for such a sized tank no more species can be housed and that many would not be compatible for long term maintenance.

Jairo Arroyave: The BAM is beautiful and balanced, but it only has 2 of the almost 20 species of fishes documented for this system. The photos and video are of excellent quality. The resemblance of the BAM with the BIN is a bit hard to assess given the quality and limitations of the video used to represent the BIN. That being said, the BAM looks more minimalistic and much more “polished” and “doctored” than the BIN.