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Aleron

Member
Joined
19 Nov 2023
Messages
28
Location
Ukraine
Greetings from Ukraine!

Here, as promised to Tim Harrison, I start a new thread dedicated to the European temperate freshwater biotopes.
And let me introduce my first project - biotope of the Chorhun river in Ukrainian Crimea.
This project is special to me as I explored and reproduced the biotope of the river that flows on the Ukrainian territory that is occupied by the russian federation and Ukrainians can access it only virtually :(
bam-Chorhun river-fts-Crimea-Ukraine-akhtem-akyar.jpg

This biotope won the third prize in the Heiko Bleher's Biotope Aquarium Contest (BAC) 2022, survived russian missile attacks in winter and still rocks!

When I started this project I encountered a lack of information about the river so I switched to study similar ecosystems and came across the British chalk streams. But this natural wonder is anouther Terra incognita and requires our attention.

In my further post I will share my experience in creating a successful chalk river ecosystem. Stay tuned :)
 
I've received some critique for my ranting about aquascaping and "nature aquarium". They look artificial to me. But THIS! This is truly nature aquarium. What a beauty! I wish I could create things like that.
Thank you for so kind words :) In my next posts I will share the process of creating this biotope

To me the term "nature aquarium" is associated with Takashi Amano and his commercial approach of creating artificial landscapes that have nothing common with the real nature.
I create biotope ecosystems that most correctly replicate real nature habitats. This is a long process that takes time, efforts and money. It starts with the research and study of the real area, then comes the search of available inhabitants to add, then comes the phase of creating and maturing followed by solving new problems. In my photo you see the fourth phase of the biotoping process - boasting the result.
 
Very nice. Is there a species list?
Yep, here it is

I started this ecosystem in May 2021 and from that moment till now it's changed significantly (mainly because of the war) but on the day of filming for the BAC 2022 contest (2022.08.14) it included:

Aquatic plants:
Myriophyllum spicatum
Stuckenia pectinata
Potamogeton natans
Ceratophyllum demersum
Elodea canadensis
Nuphar lutea
Najas marina


Fishes:
Leucaspius delineates
Rhodeus amarus
Gobio gobio
Gymnocephalus cernuus
Rutilus rutilus


Molluscs:
Unio pictorum

This was not the easiest set to keep in the wartime.

In the winter period we suffered terrible missile attacks of the russian federation army on our energy infrastructure with power outages for 16 hours every day. In these conditions more vulnerable species had no chances to survive.
This winter I keep only the hardy plants and fish species and hope to get through better.

Present species list I will post with fresh photos later, when I find time (war leaves not a lot of spare time)
 
Fishes:
Leucaspius delineates
Rhodeus amarus
Gobio gobio
Gymnocephalus cernuus
Rutilus rutilus

Nice to see a native river set-up - very similar to what you'd find in a UK river too - perhaps with the exception of the Bitterling. My first ever aquarium was a cold water set-up like this, with Roach, Gudgeon and Minnows . . . takes me back!
 
Nice to see a native river set-up - very similar to what you'd find in a UK river too - perhaps with the exception of the Bitterling. My first ever aquarium was a cold water set-up like this, with Roach, Gudgeon and Minnows . . . takes me back!
Wow, this is great to know that I'm not the only one fan of local biotopes!
can you share pictures of your aquarium? And do you have such aquarium now?

Pity for bitterlings, as they are very beautiful and surprisingly easy to keep

_MG_0780.jpg

these males look gorgeous in their spawning colours.
 
Wow, this is great to know that I'm not the only one fan of local biotopes!
can you share pictures of your aquarium? And do you have such aquarium now?

Pity for bitterlings, as they are very beautiful and surprisingly easy to keep

View attachment 213389
these males look gorgeous in their spawning colours.

No, no pictures I don’t think of that old tank - we’re talking 25+ years ago, pre-digital photography.

Those Bitterling looks stunning - fantastic photo! We do have some in the UK in some isolated places I think, but they are not a native species.
 
They don't get a lot of love in the hobby, but there's something to be said for coldwater fish that require no water heater. Even more so when the power supply may be unreliable.

From an ecological standpoint, the Black Sea itself is quite a fascinating body of water...

https://www.researchgate.net/public...Microbial_Community_Dynamics_of_the_Black_Sea

Slava Ukraini!

Yep, here it is

I started this ecosystem in May 2021 and from that moment till now it's changed significantly (mainly because of the war) but on the day of filming for the BAC 2022 contest (2022.08.14) it included:

Aquatic plants:
Myriophyllum spicatum
Stuckenia pectinata
Potamogeton natans
Ceratophyllum demersum
Elodea canadensis
Nuphar lutea

Najas marina

Fishes:
Leucaspius delineates
Rhodeus amarus
Gobio gobio
Gymnocephalus cernuus

Rutilus rutilus

Molluscs:
Unio pictorum

This was not the easiest set to keep in the wartime.

In the winter period we suffered terrible missile attacks of the russian federation army on our energy infrastructure with power outages for 16 hours every day. In these conditions more vulnerable species had no chances to survive.
This winter I keep only the hardy plants and fish species and hope to get through better.

Present species list I will post with fresh photos later, when I find time (war leaves not a lot of spare time)
 
No, no pictures I don’t think of that old tank - we’re talking 25+ years ago, pre-digital photography.

Those Bitterling looks stunning - fantastic photo! We do have some in the UK in some isolated places I think, but they are not a native species.
bitterlings as any other temperate fish species create different challenges than tropical fishes we are used to keep. And lack of our attention, experience and information makes keeping locals a worse challenge than the most vulnerable tropical species.
pity for your not photographing local aquarium experience🥲
 
They don't get a lot of love in the hobby, but there's something to be said for coldwater fish that require no water heater. Even more so when the power supply may be unreliable.

From an ecological standpoint, the Black Sea itself is quite a fascinating body of water...

https://www.researchgate.net/public...Microbial_Community_Dynamics_of_the_Black_Sea

Slava Ukraini!
Heroiam Slava!

The Black Sea deserves a separate thread (which I plan to start later if there is interest in it here) as it is a unique ecosystem and has its own creatures: the sea is young, its salinity is lower than standard saltwater and it is situated in temperate climate zone.
Here is my post about it with an underwater video:

And again, sorry for delays - these days we are suffering the worst russian attacks of Shahed kamikaze drones on our infrastructure. Cessation of military aid also doesn't contribute of elation mood...
 
Chorhun river (Chorna), Crimea, Ukraine
Spot near Chornorichia village

1. Natural biotope description


Chorhun is a river in the southwest of the Crimean Peninsula, it originates in the Baydar Valley and flows into the Sevastopol Bay in the city of Sevastopol. The length of the river is 41 km, in the Baydar valley there is the Chorhun reservoir on the river, then it flows through the Chornorichenskyy canyon and into the Black Sea in the Inkerman district of Sevastopol.
Chorhun river map.jpg

It is the second full-water river of the peninsula. The nature of the river changes from a rapid mountain stream in the upper part and in the canyon to a wide, slow, full-water river in the Inkerman part before the estuary. It is high-water in the winter-spring period, low-water in the summer-autumn period. In recent years the river has suffered extremely low water in the summer, and in 2021 it even dried up in some places.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (1).jpg


The river is located in the subtropical climate zone, but its water is always cold because of the mountainous relief and fast flow. Water temperature doesn’t rise above 15 °C in summer, in cold winters water surface is covered with a thin layer of ice. In the springtime and after heavy summer rainfalls there are floods when its waters become murky and extremely dangerous.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (4).jpg


Chorhun river flows in the Crimean Mountains, its underwater landscape is typical for mountain rivers: bottom in different areas is covered with rough sand and silt, different sized pebbles and stones; driftwood, leaf litter and sediments are carried with strong water flow and are always changing the underwater landscapes.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (5).jpg

Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (6).jpg


The area around the river is covered with different trees and bushes, there are popular hiking routes on its banks. This area is heavily polluted with garbage.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (9).jpg


Before russian occupants’ interference the river was very rich in aquatic flora and fauna. Now only the hardiest species survive there.

For my biotope aquarium I chose the section in the middle course of the river (GPS coordinates 44.542954, 33.662526) just after the aqueduct Chornorichia. This spot is located on the border of the Aqyar city (russian: Sevastopol) and symbolizes the fragile edge between wildlife and russian destruction of it.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (10).jpg


But what makes it special and similar to the British chalk streams is the presence of chalk bedrock. This rock positively influences the variety of the aquatic plants and significantly contributes to their growth (especially to pondweed). And this nuance brought me to the UKAPS forum, where I tried to find any experience info on setting up and keeping a chalkwater biotope aquarium. Unfortunately, I am the first biotoper to gain this kind of experience.
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (11).jpg


Chorhun river water chemical parameters

pH: 7.8; gH: 11 mg/l; kH: 8 mg/l


PLANTS:

Latin nameFamilyCommon name
Myriophyllum spicatum LHaloragaceaespiked watermilfoil
Stuckenia pectinataPotamogetonaceaesago pondweed
Potamogeton natansPotamogetonaceaefloating pondweed
Potamogeton nodosusPotamogetonaceaelongleaf pondweed
Ceratophyllum demersumCeratophyllaceaehornwort
Elodea canadensisHydrocharitaceaeCanadian waterweed
Nuphar luteaNymphaeaceaeyellow water-lily
Najas marinaHydrocharitaceaespiny naiad
Lemna gibbaAraceaefat duckweed
Ranunculus sceleratusRanunculaceaecelery-leaved buttercup
Mentha aquaticaLamiaceaewater mint
Berula erectaApiaceaecutleaf waterparsnip
Carex pendulaCyperaceaeweeping sedge
Schoenoplectus lacustrisCyperaceaelakeshore bulrush
Typha latifoliaTyphaceaebroadleaf cattail
Equisetum telmateiaEquisetaceaegreat horsetail
Salix alba LSalicaceaewhite willow
Alnus glutinosaBetulaceaeblack alder
Persicaria maculosaPolygonaceaelady's thumb
Hydrocharis morsus-ranaeHydrocharitaceaeEuropean frog-bit















FISH:

Latin nameFamilyCommon name
Leucaspius delineatesCyprinidaesunbleak
Rhodeus amarusCyprinidaeEuropean bitterling
Gobio gobioCyprinidaegudgeon
Gymnocephalus cernuusPercidaeEurasian ruffe
Rutilus rutilusCyprinidaecommon roach
Perca fluviatilisPercidaecommon perch
Carassius gibelioCyprinidaeGibel carp
Cobitis taeniaCobitidaespined loach
Unio pictorumUnionidaepainter's mussel
Planorbarius corneusPlanorbidaegreat ramshorn

Both lists are far from complete as the nature of the biotope section was very rich.


Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (3).jpg


Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (12).jpg


Ecological problems

The river Chorhun is on the verge of ecological disaster. Its water is now maximally used by the russian military fleet, which is based in Sevastopol. Because of this, it became very shallow, and last year it even dried up in several places. In the lower reaches of the Chorhun River, the waters are heavily polluted with oil waste and sewage waste from the russian military base.

Protection of the nature of Crimea is a huge environmental problem. After the illegal occupation of the peninsula by the russian federation, the russians made it their military base. They do not care about ecology at all, they keep destroying unique biotopes when they take water for the needs of their army (yes, not for the local population, but for the russian army).
Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (8).jpg


Photos for this post: Flickr: Explore everyone's photos on a Map

British chalk streams: Chalk stream - Wikipedia

My biotope description to Heiko Bleher’s Biotope Aquarium Contest 2022 (censored by the BAP): Chorhun river (Chorna), Crimea – BAP

HOW TO CENSOR THE BAC 2022 ENTRY AND DISCREDIT THE CONTEST

Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (2).jpg



Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (7).jpg


Chorhun river, Chornorichenskyy canyon, Crimea, Ukraine (13).jpg
 
Perhaps you don't realize, but we in Czech Republic have made a similar experience. The three areas which Soviet Army reserved for itself went through a serious environmental degradation - even compared to communist Czechoslovakia. I lived nearby and could observe the disaster; Russians' neglect for nature, or even elementary "order" is beyond belief.
Yet there's a good end to the story. It took years and a lot of money but remedy was possible, and in the end, very successful. So we can hope that Crimea will live to similar future.❤️
 
Utterly baffling how after everything that's happened Ukraine still hasn't seen delivery of real air power. The UK and Eastern Europe seem to know the score, but France, Germany, etc. with their very deep pockets apparently are paralyzed with denial, fear and complacency. Even with this horrific reality laid out right in front of them in plain view.

In the United States, fascists specifically siding with Putin are methodically consolidating power. And there seems to be no way to stop them, no matter which way any future elections go.

The clock is running out.
 
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Have you noticed how perfectly these times resemble 1930s? People could see the storm coming and could have prevented it yet there was no will in the Western powers to act until they were hit directly.
Good documentary series on BBC 4 about Berlin in the 1930s shows how a minority can take over a country, we see this today in Russia ,Iran as examples
 
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