An Australian court heard testimony yesterday in a case invovling a mother who reportedly put her nine-month-old daughter into an aquarium filled with water after she was unable to stop the baby from crying.

The 22-year-old, who was not identified, has pleaded not guilty in the District Court to endangering the life of the baby at her Blakeview home in May, 2007.

The father, who also cannot be named, told the court he and his then-partner had been arguing on the night the baby was allegedly put into the aquarium.

He said the child had been crying and his partner was not able to make her stop. He saw his partner walk past their bedroom and then saw her walk back without the child.

"Five to 10 seconds later I heard coughing, spluttering, splashing and screaming," he said. "I saw (the baby) face up on her back in the tank splashing, screaming, panicking."

He said he picked the child up out of the freezing water, which was about 30cm deep and called police.

During cross-examination by the mother's lawyer, Robert Kane, the father agreed he did not call an ambulance for the baby despite being worried about hypothermia.

The father said he thought he told police on the phone his partner had put their daughter in the aquarium but a transcript given to the court showed he did not.

He denied being so frustrated after an argument that he made a false report about his partner putting the child into the aquarium. He also denied assaulting his partner that night. The trial is continuing.

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