bam Very demanding level

Son River Stream, Phong Nha-Ke Bang NP

Sponsored by

Viet Nam, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Bố Trạch District, Quang Binh Province

The 300l aquarium shows a fragment of the Son River bank near the world’s most powerful Son Doong Cave in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Vietnam. The mysterious and unique atmosphere of this area inspired me to create a biotope for the Macropodus opercularis inhabiting this area. Thought I’d create a Paradise Biotope for the Fish of Paradise. It is the first exotic aquarium fish, after the goldfish that reached Europe in 1869. The species that complements the cast here is Barbodes semifasciolatus.

The river bank, modeled on nature, has numerous roots and branches. A small stream of water placed small stones on the sandy bottom of the reservoir between the larger rocks. At the bottom of the aquarium there are a lot of dry leaves, dried fruit and thus many organic compounds that provide tannins and humic compounds. Delicate lighting, sufficient for the plants found here, creates a unique atmosphere and emphasizes the mystery of the recreated place.

Submitted by
Magdalena Szubska
Approved by
Greg Martin & Peter Unmack
17.5645008, 106.2996674
Geographical region
Southeastern Asia
Drainage Basin
South China Sea
River catchment
Gianh River
Water body type
Water body name
Son River Stream
Water body part
Water body course
Lower course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Son River

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
21 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

11 mg/l
8 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen
60 %

Aquarium information

Aquarium description

Set-up date
February, 2021
Aquarium decoration

Stones of a color similar to those found in the biotope as well as sand and river gravel purchased in an aquarium shop were used to build the arrangement in the aquarium. Larger and smaller (personally found) roots served as an additional decoration.

The effect of a naturally silted bottom was created by sprinkling a small amount of garden soil, which was sifted through the finest sieve, and after rinsing it was gently poured onto the surface, and then everything fell to the bottom and this effect was created over time. Additionally, a mixture of peat and dried leaves was used.

All elements of the aquarium décor have been properly cleaned and heat treated to ensure the safety of the fish. The whole thing is to imitate the flooded bank of the stream with tree roots, reeds and ferns. To obtain the effect of depth, it was used: sticking a matte foil on the rear glass in the aquarium, placing the roots behind the aquarium and lighting the entire surface behind the aquarium. All lighting is well balanced to resemble a stream in nature illuminated by the sun.

Aquarium equipment

Lighting: WFS D-Edition 6500k 50W – Aqua-Dreams, 4000K-10W LED lamp with warm light imitating sunlight and a similar lamp of the same power to illuminate the area behind the aquarium

Filtration: JK EF 1200

Fish care

Macropodus opercularis (5) and Barbodes semifasciolatus (11) – both species have conditions similar to natural ones, numerous hiding places in roots and plants. The water parameters are also properly maintained. The fish are fed a variety of foods, mainly frozen artemia and dry food (Tropical Soft Line, Tropical Pro Defense).


  • Macropodus opercularis (Osphronemidae) – 5
  • Puntius semifasciolatus (Barbinae) – 11
Plant care

Plants used in the aquarium do not require frequent care, except for gentle pruning. The lighting imitating sunlight used in the aquarium promotes photosynthesis and proper plant growth.

Aquatic plants:

  • Limnophila indica (Plantaginaceae)
  • Pogostemon stellatus (Lamiaceae)
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii (Araceae)
  • Dryopteris filix-mas (Polypodiaceae)
Water care

The water in the aquarium is changed every 10 days in the amount of 20%. Bacteria are added after the water change (Tropical Bacto Active). The filter’s soiling condition is checked and cleaned of excess dirt every 5 months. The biology in the filter remains intact. The water is properly oxygenated, imitating its slight current from the water outlet of the filter.


120 cm
50 cm
50 cm
300 L

Substrate in aquarium

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Comment by the expert

Greg Martin: A first class biotope aquarium and a beautifully reproduced biotope.

Peter Unmack: Lovely aquarium, seems to replicate the wild environment really nicely and managed to do it in a way that made it a very attractive display. Excellent use of “tricks” to make the tank look much wider than it was.