Wild Aquarium | Mikolji

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Wild Aquarium


Wild Aquarium is a movement within the fish-keeping hobby which involves visiting an aquatic habitat such as a lake, river or stream and setting up a temporal aquarium in situ with the aim of mimicking the habitats seen on the spot. For the creation of a Wild Aquarium, only materials and animals collected from the specific habitat are used and are usually returned to their original setting once complete.

The first Wild Aquarium was created in Amazonas state, Venezuela by the Venezuelan photographer and audio/visual artist Ivan Mikolji in 2011. The creation of this aquarium was filmed and then uploaded to YouTube under the name of "Wild Aquarium 1" and has over five million views (November/2017). This video features wild specimens of Apistogramma hongsloi and Nannostomus anduzei. Ivan Mikolji has now posted 4 Wild Aquarium videos on his YouTube channel (November/2017). ​​Subsequently, more Wild Aquariums were then recreated by inspired fish-keepers such as Giorgi Khizanishvili, (Georgia) based on the Mejuda River in Gori City, Central Georgia in 2016 and other hobbyists around the world have since followed suit, including Enrico Guida in Italy, Paweł Vogelsinger in Poland and Elena Mazurek in Russia.

The key distinguishing difference between a Biotope Aquarium and a Wild Aquarium can be illustrated with the following example, a Cinaruco River “Biotope Aquarium” may be created anywhere on Earth. However, in contrast, a Cinaruco river “Wild Aquarium” may only be created in the Cinaruco River. 

Wild Aquarium has huge potential as an educational tool and its value lies in that it is built from what is found in the exact habitat within which it hopes to highlight some conservation requirements. Building a Wild Aquarium allows local people to know what species live in their local rivers and the creation of these aquariums also helps to inform people around the world what is in a particular river and how all of the organisms coexist. 

An example of this is that many people keep “Rams” (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) all over the world, but not as many know that they come from the Orinoco River basin. An even greater percentage of people do not know what their environment really looks like, leading to a lot of fish-keepers coming to the conclusion that they absolutely need a heavily planted tank to thrive. The reality is far from that, although some Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) do in fact live in heavily vegetated areas some others live in sandy areas with decaying tree leaves and no live plants at all. 
Creating more than one Wild Aquarium from a specific body of water does not subtract any value from the second one, as water systems are complex and in one body of water there are usually several different biotopes housing different organisms. In one river a rocky area may be found on one bank and the other bank may comprise a sandy substrate. Different organisms thrive in different conditions and areas with high water flow often house entirely different species than low flow areas despite being all part of the same waterway.

Above: Wild Aquarium in Venezuela.

Above: Process of creating a Wild Aquarium.

Above: Wild Aquarium in Georgia.

Above: Wild Aquarium in Georgia

AboveWild Aquarium in Georgia.

AboveProcess of creating a Wild Aquarium.

AboveProcess of creating a Wild Aquarium.

AboveWild Aquarium in Venezuela.

External Links


Wild Aquarium 1 Venezuela: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X22kKZ98oCY

Wild Aquarium Georgia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96Z9AIPzzfw

Wild Aquarium Poland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v242KwlFr3g&t=528s