Welcome to the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest!

BAP is the online database of BIOTOPES IN NATURE (BIN), BIOTOPE AQUARIUM MODELS (BAM), fishes (FISH) and aquatic vegetation (PLANT). Organization of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest (BAC) is a natural extention of our activity and an excellent way to involve the general aquarists into BIOTOPE SCIENCE.

The year 2020 was a very particular year – we launched the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Project (BAP) on January 20, and the global population had to confront the Covid-19 pandemics. Difficult time, for sure!

But BAP-team stayed focused and kept working hard. In 2020 BAP-Map has doubled its user’s data entries, the BAP Community has impressingly grown, while the BAC2020 was truly the best experience in 2020 – we worked with hundreds of passionate and knowledgeable people, aquarists and experts. Thank you so much to all our fans for your support and our sponsors for believing in our values!

The BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest is the best way to bring together aquarists and scientists in an effort to document and monitor the conditions of aquatic habitats, their inhabitants, water quality and possible introduction of alien invasive species that cause damage to native species, ecosystems and even to people. Public awareness and active involvement of the aquarists have an important role in contributing to the successful implementation of the biotope mapping worldwide.

Our goal is to get our aquarium hobby as close as possible to its origins, the natural biotope. To be EDUCATED BY NATURE. Like the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Project.

From our contests we learned a few important rules that we apply today in BAC2021:

  • all biotope entries must be submitted online following the unified procedure for everyone
  • the biotope data must be structured following one standardized system to allow their precise and fast elaboration
  • the data must be presented online in a clear and manageable form to allow the judges to give the best possible evaluation
  • every judge must be specialized in a certain geographical region and know all the fishes and plants of that region

Want to take part in the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest? Pre-register here!


In 2016 our team had the first biotope competition experience by organizing the 1. INTERNATIONAL BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest in Italy, not only as an online competition, but also by inviting the finalists to compete live.

This was an amazing experience and we truly enjoyed the spirit of competition and the masterpieces created by our contestants. It was beautiful to see how simple aquariums were transformed into reproductions of Nature!

Biotope Aquarium Contest 2015, Italy. ©BAP, photo N. Khardina

BAP Experts about biotope

BAP Expert Ken Boorman

Ken Boorman, Canada

Ken Boorman, Naturalist and professional aquarist, Canada:
The practice of creating aquatic biotopes to show your fish in an environment as natural as possible is one of the best ways to bring out the beauty and natural behaviour of the fishes in their natural setting. This also raises awareness as to how precious fishes and these habitats are, and the challenges that our natural water bodies face around the world.

A Biotope is an environment, formed by a complex of biotic and abiotic factors for a specific biocenosis, a community of living organisms, typical for a given region.

Biotope aquarium is the man-made ecosystem in a home or exhibition aquarium, created on the basis of knowledge, attained from the researching of a nature biotope. Elements of the environment and living organisms should be selected correctly and grouped from the point of view of design, viability and belonging to a biotope.

Reproducing a biotope (habitat) usually starts with some specialised literature and internet research.

Following are some pertinent questions for a biotoper to research:

  • Does the desired biotope fit within your available aquarium size?
  • Which animals live there, & don’t eat each other or permanently fight for territories?
  • Which plants grow there? Do they grow in groups or individually?
  • What kind of substrate can you determine to be likely found there? Dark, light, rocks, sand, gravel, etc.?
  • Are there stones, if yes, what kind of rock? How would they be positioned?
  • Is there wood in the biotope? If so, what kind of wood? Does it lie on the ground, such as driftwood or are there tree roots which intrude into the water? Do plants grow on the wood? If so, how do the plants grow on the wood? If parts of the biotope are not available (e.g. a specific type of wood), what looks similar?
  • What water values can be found there?
  • Are there leaves on the substrate, & if so, what kind of leaves? Can you get these leaves locally or can you also use Catappa leaves eg., as an alternative? Are there any special features in the biotope, e.g. empty snail shells for the shell dwellers of Lake Tanganyika?
  • Can you add light effects to imitate natural sunlight in the water?
  • How can you hide technical items (heating or cooling elements, filtration, etc.)  in the aquarium with the help of natural decor?
  • Do you want to include an area above water? Very attractive, but can be difficult to achieve realistically.
Sponsored by
Fluval, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest 2020
ELOS, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest
SICCE, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest 2020