What is HABITAT?
Habitat is almost synonymous with the term biotope, but while the subject of a biotope is a biological community the subject of a habitat is a species or a population.
It is a natural environment in which a particular fish, plant or invertebrate species lives. The space where they find food, shelter, protection and mates for reproduction.
The conditions that each species needs to thrive can vary from general ones like soil, water parameters, range of temperature, presence of aquatic plants, availability of food, presence or absence of predators, to a very specific requirements. Like certain species that have adapted to one particular ecological niche, live in symbiosis with other species, need a very strong current with high oxygen dissolved, or are food specialists, etc.
A habitat is not necessarily limited to a geographical area. It can be a rotten log like in case of some loricariids, a rocky area for cichlids, strong water current for garras, or a clump of moss for shrimps. It can also be a body of its host for a parasitic fish like the fish gills for candirú.
Over extended periods of time the ecological processes and functions taking place in aquatic habitats can influence the health, composition, and structure of dependent aquatic communities.