"models the physical conditions in a biotope and is populated by plants and animals that are found together in that biotope. In an accurate biotope aquarium, the water temperature, water movement, water chemistry, color and turbidity mimic the natural habitat. Stones, wood and debris, if present in the biotope, are also present in the biotope aquarium. The substrate in the biotope aquarium is similar to the natural substrate."
Despite the restrictions of a biotope aquarium, many hobbyists have been able to create spectacular masterpieces that rival the best Amano style aquascapes. After all, Amano style aquariums are inspired by nature, while biotope aquariums aim to mirror nature. There are also other reasons to set up a biotope aquarium. The natural habitats create different behavior in fish than seen in a community aquarium and make it much easier to get fish to spawn. Finally, the challenge of setting up a successful and true-to-nature biotope aquarium is certainly something to brag about. Here are some examples from the biotope category of the 2007 AGA Contest to get your creative juices flowing:
For more information on biotope aquariums and examples of freshwater biotopes, try Badman's biotope page.