"Il Caridino" by Alberto Sosa Introduction and Background
My name is Alberto Sosa. I am 53 years old and live in Sevilla, Spain.
I have been a fan of aquascaping and planted tanks since 1963, when I was 8 years old. I shared this passion with my father. Everything was wonderful during this time, as we had to hand-craft through our own work all the accesories needed to make a functional tank.
As time passed, I got interested in plant cultivation and the proper growth of plants. I had a lot of difficulties in acquiring equipment and finding different types of aquatic plants. In 1974, I made significant progress in my planted tanks with the addition of CO2. I had the collaboration and support of my brother, Francisco M., who is a Biologist and a doctor in Biochemistry. He encouraged me to use CO2, the ‘miracle gas’. The first device used to produce CO2 was handmade and I use CaCO3 + HCL(diluted) to produce the gas. The success was spectacular and we later moved to the use of a fire extinguisher and pressurized CO2 bottles. It was a time when I was looking for different light sources for the aquarium and argilo-humic substrates to further help in the growth of plant.
In the 80’s, I started to be interested in aquascaping and the planted tanks of Strasbourg through a very scientific magazine called Aquarama. In it, I found great teachers such as Jackes Tetón, Stanislav Frank, Arend van den Nieuwenhuizen, Karel Rataj, Herbert Axelrod, etc.
With the arrival of the Internet, I had the opportunity to meet people like Ruben Caro and Jose Manuel Oliva(Tetrax) through national forums. We have become great friends. Both of them have been in the Tank of the Month here at APC. We and 3 other aquarists founded CAE (Colectivo AquaDiseño Español), whose focus is to share with the Spanish and international community the beauty of the aquascapes in our country. Setup
“Il Caridino” was done with the idea of creating a healthy environment for the shrimp. From the start, I knew that moss would be the main focus in the middle and front of the aquarium layout.
The progressive maturation of the aquarium was done with the help of fast growing plants that later were removed and substituted with the ones in the final version of the layout.
I really love planted aquariums that achieve harmony by means of their form and tones creating a scenery of my liking. I did not have any model to conceive the layout in my aquarium.
I have tried to achieve the effect of depth by doing two big blocks of Hemianthus micranthemoides, leaving the center more open to achieve a focal point and enhance the perspective of the layout. Tank Specifications
Tank installation date: June 2007
Tank size: 62x30x35 cm (65 liters) – 24½”x12”x14” (17 Gallons)
Lighting: 4x18w T8 (2 685 + 2 965). 10 hours per day.
CO2: pressurized external exchanger. design staff (2 b/s)
Substrate: Akadama covered with gravel quartz
Filtration: Eheim 2215 (Foamex – Eheim Ehfisubstratpro - perlon wool)
Conductivity: 300 µS / cm; GH = 9º; KH = 4.5 º Flora and Fauna
Flora: Hemianthus micranthemoides; Ludwigia brevipes; Taxiphyllum barbieri; Cryptocoryne sp.
1.- Hemianthus micranthemoides
; 2.- Ludwigia brevipes
; 3.- Taxiphyllum barbieri
; 4.- Cryptocoryne sp.
Fauna: Nannostomus marginatus; Hyphessobrycon amandae; Otocinclus affinis; Caridina cf cantonensis; Neocaridina heteropoda. Maintenance
Water changes: 100% water changed "trickle down".
Fertilization: 3 mg/l NO3 (KNO3); 0.7 mg/l PO4 (KPO4H2); 3.6 mg/l K (K2SO4); 0,05 mg/l Fe (SO4Fe + EDTA) on a daily basis.
Trimming: Regular trimming of stem plants, removal of old leaves to Cryptocorynes and special care in maintaining a moss.
The change of water “drop by drop” is very relaxing while I maintain my planted tank.
Nutrient addition to the aquarium is done by gravity through a time controlled container with the daily dosage. I use a container for N,P, and K, and a different one for iron chelate. Challenges
My principal interest is to achieve longevity in my aquariums with the most health posible. It is as important to achieve an attractive layout as it is to maintan the health of the aquarium during the longest period of time posible.
Healthy water, healthy plants, healthy fauna, for as prolonged a period as possible. Final Thoughts
I want to thank APC and especially hooha for being selected for the tank of the month in March. It has been very satisfying to join this forum, a leader in the world of planted aquariums.
(editor’s note – thanks to milalic for his assistance with translation – hooha).