BAP history

The idea of a nature-like aquarium can be traced back to 1858

Historical Excursus into BIOTOPE HOBBY

In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s different companies of the aquatic industry such as Sera, Tetra, the German DATZ-magazine and later Takashi Amano started to promote nature-like aquariums. The first documented exhibition of authentic biotope aquarium set-ups accompanied by detailed descriptions of the original habitats came with Heiko Bleher.

AQUAXPO 2001 in Hasselt, Belgium

In 2001 Heiko Bleher was invited by Belgian aquarium club DE ZILVERHAAI to exhibit at Aqua-Xpo, Hasselt, where he exhibited 23 biotope tanks, some with his newly discovered species. This couldn’t ever have happened without the support of Rolf C. Hagen, Holger Windeløv, Herbert Nigl, Peter Frech and Christian Hofer.


Heiko Bleher’s experience in decoration of the biotope aquariums as close as possible to Nature goes back to 1963 when he exhibited a 4000 litres aquarium at the IGA63, the International Garden Show in Hamburg, Germany, where the German President Heinrich Lübke awarded him with a diploma for such an authentically decorated aquarium.

First BIOTOPE AQUARIUM exhibition

In the very same year 2001, on the occasion of the Zierfische & Aquarium (Ornamental Fish & Aquarium) Exhibition 2001 in Duisburg, Germany, Heiko’s special biotope aquarium stand with 9 aquariums of the total volume of 10 thousand litres was exposed for the first time. This so called “Kaaba” was built up then at several aquatic shows throughout Europe in the next 11 years.

BAP archive and database

The result of these events combined with more then 900 of Heiko Bleher’s aquatic expeditions worldwide is an enormous archive of photos, videos, articles, books and scientific records on authentic habitats, generously donated to BAP. They underpin the only existing monograph on biotope aquariums: Bleher’s Biotopes and became part of the BAP Database.


Since then, the biotope aquarium concept was adopted by such design events and competitions, like:

And continues its growth worldwide.


BAP is working on the BAP App, for adults and kids. In fact, the App will be designed both for biotopers and aquarium lovers and for the little ones, with games, explanations, videos and funny stories that will make the discovery of the world and nature more at hand for everyone, to let grow in everyone the respect for the natural habitat and of those values.

Educated by Nature

BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Project enhances the work of years of research, the LEGACY created in many travels, battles and successes. And all this to make the world of fish and aquarium closer to us, to teach respect for the environment, to make children become more aware and the adults more attentive.

The importance of this action will give an unprecedented input not only to the aquariumhobby but also to the aquatic industry in general.

Awareness for CONSERVATION

The phenomenon of the biotope aquarium, through the motivation of the aquarium hobbyists to create accurate biotopes, is producing a cultural shift in the hobby that is substantially raising awareness for conservation of freshwater habitats around the globe.