This month's featured aquascaper is Diego Sandoval. Residing in Spain, Diego has made a prolific amount of stunning "pico" aquariums. His works have been gracing our forum over the past few months. Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Diego Sandoval. I was born may 22, 1960 in a small town called Barqueros, in the province of Murcia, Spain.
My nickname in most forums is “barqueros”.
I am a truck driver who started working all through Europe, a job that did not give me much time for other hobbies like drawing, going to movies, and aquariums. In 1992 I found a job as a truck driver, but this time only in Spain. This allowed me more time to start a planted tank. In 2005, because of a traffic accident, I started a new stage in my life working only in the province. This allowed me to get more serious into planted tanks as I had more free time.
I like to draw, especially caricatures of people. Here are some of the drawings I have made of some of my fellow Spaniard forum friends: You certainly have a gift for art. Has that helped you in your aquariums?
Talented artist? Thank you very much. Aquarium keeping I believe can help us in many ways. When creating "something from nothing", it is always good having experience before with other things like drawing, making minature models, painting etc. When you create a mini-aqarium, the steps are more or less the same - layout/design, key elements/focal points of the composition, great detail, and finally working with the small details that give the finished retouching necessary for our work. to resemble what we have tried to recreate from scratch.
Undoubtedly the greatest sources of inspiration are in the Nature, here you are some pictures that could serve as a model: How did you get into aquariums, and planted aquaria in particular?
Initially I was only interested in fish, specifically Tanganika fish. My aquariums were only made with stones, driftwood and not a single plant as it was too difficult to maintain them with these type of fish. One day, I had the idea to set up a 60 liter aquarium for Aspistogrammas and started to get interested in planted tanks. Later on I made a 340 liters aquarium and a couple of other sizes.
This is my 340-liter tank:
My 54-liter: You have made many stunning "pico" aquariums. What got you interested in these very small aquariums?
The first time that I got interested in mini-aquariums was when one day I saw a ‘mini’ which was a transparent container where birds drank water. It said ‘ the world’s smallest aquarium’. I liked it so much that I started to try the minis. For example:
Here is a step by step of one of my minis: What is your maintenance and fertilizing routine for these aquariums?
50% water changes every three to four days. I use liquid fertilizer onece a week, Some of the minis have CO2. What are your favorite books? Movies? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages? Dessert? Vacation spot?
I like Stephen King and horror novels (HP LOVECRAFT). I also like horror movies and playing horror games.
Here is a sample of my movie collection:
Some of my favorite games that I share with one of my two daughters:
Music wise, I like rock, heavy metal, punk, reggae, etc. Here is a simple of my music: “How horrible” Have your daughters shared your aquarium hobby as well?
I have two daughters, 19 and 17 years old. Both like animals, but the oldest likes aquariums more. And she helps me at times, she takes care of them when I'm not home, feed the fish, cleaning the aquariums, etc, But they have not made any mini-aquariums yet. Maybe some day, but at the moment they are more occupied in things typical of their age: going out, dancing, etc... I cherish even more now the fact that my 6 year old daughter still likes her aquariums! Do you have any tips for the aspiring aquascaper?
My only advice is to be original and be patient; in the end you will be rewarded. Do you have any "regular-sized" aquascapes you'd like to share?
This aquarium is not finished. I have had lots of problems with algae and I have had to replant it numerous times. At the moment, I am waiting for some plants to finish it. I still do not know if this will be the final layout.
With a change in lighting, 50 W for 54 liters: Do you have a favorite aquascape that you've created?
Right now, my favotite one is this 5 liter mini-aquarium:
And this one is my Sulawesi biotope. It is not a great work, but I'm in love with the inhabitants, Caridina sp. "Cardinal".
Some inhabitants: If you were stranded alone on an island and could have 3 things with you, what would they be?
It is very difficult to choose only three things, maybe something more like 3,000,000. One of them would be a pencil, so I do not get bored. Thanks for the interview! Keep us posted on your great aquariums!
(editor's note: Thanks to milalic for the execellent translation from Spanish)