Welcome to the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest!

BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Project is the unique online database 100% dedicated to BIOTOPES IN NATURE (BIN), BIOTOPE AQUARIUM MODELS (BAM), fishes (FISH) and aquatic vegetation (PLANT). The online competitions such as BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest (BAC) is a natural extention of our activity and excellent way to involve the aquarists into BIOTOPE SCIENCE.

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.

In 2023 BAP-Map has tripled its user’s data entries, the BAP Community has impressingly grown, while the BAC2022 was truly an amazing experience – 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!

BAP is gearing up for BAC2023 with a pre-registration announcement on April 20st, 2023, and opening the registration on May 20st, 2023. We invite you and all hobbyists that take great pride in creating natural-looking environments in their aquariums.

We challenge YOU to get involved in the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest (BAC2023)!

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 previous contests we learned the important rules we apply today:

  • all biotope entries must be submitted online following the unified procedure
  • the biotope data must be structured following BAC standardized system to allow 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 fishes and plants from that region

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


In 2016 our team organized the 1. INTERNATIONAL BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest online, inviting the finalists to compete live in Italy.

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
AQUAEL, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest
Fluval, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest
Project Piaba logo
SICCE, Sponsor of the BIOTOPE AQUARIUM Contest