August 19th, 2007
Iwagumi Rock Garden
by Jordan Reece
I'd like to tell a little about myself. Where to start? My name is Jordan Reece (arowanaman). I have been practicing nature scaping "Amano style" for little over 7 years now and have done planted tanks for many years before that. Even though I am only 27 years old, I have always had an interest in aquariums. When I was 18 years old, I saved up my own money and bought a 750 gallon tank from a pet shop. I bought it for $1,800, complete.
I was always interested in big arowana's and now have owned 2 different Asian red arowana's. In addition, I've kept almost every other type: Arapima, silver, black, Jardini, Leiichardtii, and african arowana. This is why I go by arowanaman for my user name.
August 2007 Tank of the Month - Iwagumi Rock Garden
HC Foreground Closeup
I started working on this tank in February of 2007 for the ADA contest. A journal of the setup can be found here.
Lighting: Coralife aqua light pro 2X65 watt Power compact light 6,700k
1X 150 watt HQI with a ADA green 8,000K bulb
2X 1watt moon lights.
CO2: Beetle 30 diffuser, Spiral counter @ 4 bubbles per second
Filter: Eheim pro 3e, Media pro, Tourmaline F, Bacter 100.
Substrate: Clear super, Tourmaline BC, Bacter 100, Power sand special, Aquasoil amazonia, and Amazonia soil.
Water change: Every week 1/3 of tank changed with softened water using KATI/ANI ionizers.
Additives: Green bacter 70 drops every water change, ECA 15 drops every 3rd day, Phyton Git as needed, Brighty K, Green Brighty step 2, and Special Lights - 5 pumps of each every day.
Plants: Blyxa japonica, Riccia fluitans "3 types", Narrow-leaf java fern, Ludwigia arcuata, Hemianthus callitrichoides , Rotala sp. 'Green', Echinodorus tenellus, Monosolenium tenerum, and Micranthemum umbrosum.
Fish: Microrasbora nana, Rasbora waterifloris, and Paracheiredon simulans.
Inverts: Cardina japonica, Red Cherry shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimp, Zebra Shrimp, Diamond Shrimp, Bee Shrimp, and Ninja Shrimp.
Editor's notes: I'd like to thank arowanaman for sharing this fabulous aquarium. Top-end aquascaping requires top-end photography as you can appreciate in this image:
My other Aquascapes:
I hope you enjoyed my Iwagumi Rock Garden. - Jordon Reece (arowanaman)
July 9th, 2007
Nature is Bleeding
by Michaël Leroy
Hello, my name is Michaël Leroy (Kirua 666). I'm French and 19 years old. I live in Bruyères le Châtel, a little village about 40 kilometers from Paris. I am currently an Economics student and I spend Sundays working in an aquarium store. My first aquarium at the age of 15 was a 60 liter tank with classical "newbie" fish like guppies. My interest in planted tanks was quickly aroused when I first saw Dutch tanks, but the challenge appeared difficult at first, and it was two years before I finally tried a real planted aquarium.
My first attempt at a planted tank was a 240 liter setup inspired by the Dutch style but the result wasn't very good. I then learned of Takashi Amano. It was a real shock when I first saw his beautiful creations. At that moment I realized that I had discovered a real passion! I began my first Amano-inspired tank at my aquarium store as a display tank and other creations followed.
Nature is Bleeding
First of all, the title was selected to represent an exaggerated, choking red thicket with an obvious environmental connotation. I wanted to make this a simple presentation with an extraordinarily red thicket for a centerpiece. The white panel background helps to emphasize the incredible color of the Ludwigia and Nesaea.
The tank doesn't represent a true Nature Tank or a Dutch tank, but is a combination of the two styles. I had the idea to let the plants grow to the surface to accentuate the blood effect that I sought.
The second challenge was to find a way to create a sense of depth without wasting the impact of the red thicket. Finally, my last challenge was to create a relatively natural environment in spite of the dominant red color. I tried to achieve this with Microsorum pteropus, Sagittaria subulata, and the driftwood.
Dimensions: 125 liters (33 US gallons) - 80cm x 35cm x 45cm
Age: 8 months currently, but 3 months at the time of the photo
Lighting: 2x18W T8 (10,000K & 4,000K) + 2x24W T5 (4,000K) = 2.54 wpg
Substrate: Deponit mix Dennerele + Black quartz
Plants: Sagittaria subulata, Glossostigma elatinoides, Rotala sp 'Green', Cryptocroyne wendtii 'Brown', Microsorum pteropus, Rotala sp 'Nanjenshan', Ludwigia repens 'Rubin', and Nesaea crassicaulis.
Fish: Paracheirodon axelrodi (cardinal tetras), Sphaerichthys osphromenoides (chocolate gourami),
nannostomus eques (pencilfish), Otocinclus affinis, Crossocheilus siamensis, and Cardinia japonica.
Filtration: Eheim 2213
CO2: JBL Set Easy 2 - 500g bottle (1 bps)
Heating: 100W, substrate
Fertilizer: Dennerle S7 VitaMix + Dennerele V30 + Dennerele E15. Dosed once per week
Water Change: 20% per week
240 liter tank
I am very honored to have this tank chosen for the "Tank of the Month" series. I would like to thank Jean-Philippe for his help at the store, Nicolas and Pierre for their help with plants such as the Rotala species, and all of the French aquascaping community, including Dimitri Roger (November 2006 TOTM). Please refer to the website: http://www.paysages-aquatiques.com/inc.php. Thank you.
By: Faruk Gençöz
May 1st, 2007
My nickname Quantronghoang is my name too. Or you can call me Hoang Quan. I'm 21 years old student studying at Hochiminh City University of Architecture. I live in Hochiminh City, Vietnam. I am a fat guy who likes rock music and drawing. A hah, you can find my artworks (2D and 3D) on my website.
How did I get into planted aquariums? Yep...must say that I love animals, all kinds of them, especially fish, and birds. I love to see fish swimming in an environment which is as green as possible. When I saw a planted aquarium for the first time I said to myself, "Oh, I must have one!". At that time, I was 15. Soon, I had to forget about it because I didn't have enough money to buy one..Yep, a planted aquarium...only in my dreams till I turned 18.
I found a website in which people showed me how to make a planted tank as cheap as I can set up. My first planted tank was complete DIY, but I was very proud of it. Although nowadays I have a lot of high-tech tanks, I'm still proud of my first tank . Anyway, four years passed by, not a very long time, but enough for me to learn "something" in this hobby.
This tank is my third tank. You can read the process from the beginning in my thread: Wild Paradise
Lighting: There are two lights for the middle area and the background. Because I have only moss in the foreground, I don't need to use another light for them. Each of bulb is 25W and 90k. That's 50 watts of light. People may think the light source is too weak for this tank to grow up but I think it works well. In summer, Vietnam is very very HOT (around 35--36 oC). So we must be very careful when deciding to have add more light. I also use a little fan to make the water cooler. The fan looks like the fan in CPUs. With the fan, I can cool the tank's temperature to around 27--28oC in the tank.
C02 System: I bought it from a local store. This is the picture of my Pressurized CO2 System. I use a Glass CO2 diffuser placed halfway down the tank.
Substrate: I use Aquabase from Ferka. Within the substrate I have three layers: The first layer is the gravel, the second is a mixture of graveland Aquabase, and the third level is gravel again.
Hardscape: I only used driftwood, I don't like using rock in my tank.
Filtration: Jebo 508 it's a bio-filter water-fall style. I think this filter is strong enough for my tank, but if I have enough money, I will use an external filter.
Fish: I don't keep too many fish, because I want this tank to have a "wild" feeling. I got rid of the fish that are bright and colorful like Neon Tetras. The fish that blends perfect with this layout are Rummy Noses, Emperor Tetras, and some of my native fishes. I also have some algae-eater fish, Ottos. They do their job very well.
Plants: There are a lot of different plants, as you can see in the tank. Here are some of my favorites:
Barclaya longifolia 'red
Glosso + moss + fern + anubias
Water changes: I do water changes twice a week during the first two weeks of set up. After that, I change water once a week, each time 1/3 of water.
Fertilization: Until now I didn't need to use liquid fertilizers. My plants seem to be in very good health. I may use Ferka Water fertilizer later this month. This fertilizer works well for all of my tanks.
Feeding: I feed my fish once a week.
Aquascaping Technique: I'm not the kind of guy that always plans for the layout, and then tries to find driftwood, rocks, plants etc. to fit with the layout. I get used to do my layouts with anything I have. That's a "free" feeling.
I had a hard time selecting driftwood from my friend. Some of my friends said, "The driftwood looks so stupid. You'll need to cut it into two pieces to fit the layout." But I did not agree with them. I decided to use some pictures I took during a trip in a forest to get inspiration to be able to scape this tank successfully. Now I think my decision was not wrong. I really love it. What a free and wild style!
My greatest challenge aquascaping this tank came from the driftwood. It's been out of the water long ago that it didn't sink when I put it in my tank. I didn't know it until my friend said, "Ough, Hoàng, look, it's floating!!". Oh my gosh, what a big surprise! I used a rock to hold the driftwood to sink it. After 4 weeks, I was able to the rock out..Phew!
Aquascaping is a very interesting hobby. The aquascaper must be patient, and very very patient.
Some of the newcomers in this hobby may be afraid when they see algae growing in their tank after set up. I know that feeling. But believe me, they all soon disappear. I think every tank has some algae. The point here is the amount of it. I still have algae problem in my tank. To get rid of them I know that I must be patient but sometimes they make me go crazy.
By: Faruk Gençöz
March 31st, 2007
"Plantado vs Discus”
by Filipe Oliveira
Hello, my name is Filipe Oliveira (FAAO), from Porto-Portugal, I'm 31 years old and I work for a civil engineering company as IT Manager.
I started this hobby in 2001 like everyone else. My interest in Aquascaping started in 2005 when I created the “Across the River” and “Rise beyond the limits”, my first aquascapes. Before creating these aquascapes, I made some exercises about growing and fertilizing plants, forming a texture, colouring the aquascapes, trimming the plants, etc.
The last year was great for me as an aquascaper; in my first year of experience I got three prizes at AGA with two aquariums made in the same year.
Aquascaping for me is a way of relaxation and recreating a small part of nature in the middle of five glass walls. There are only two kinds of scapes for me: “Nature” and “Landscape”. I love the landscapes. I love recreating some part of the nature like a river, mountain, a field and why not a tree near the river?!…
This is what I love to do…
In bigger aquariums, I prefer something more natural and a good scape where the fishes can swim and feel well day after day.
I usually spend one to two months to prepare and organize all the stuff before starting a new setup. I spend few hours to finish it (hardscape and planting). It doesn't take so much time to do the setup, since it’s all in my head. I only need to put the pieces on the right position and plant. Sometimes I need some improvisation and imagination to go through, but I always find a way to finish it quickly.
“Plantado vs Discus” is my first layout with discus and it has been a great experience for me with all the problems that I’ve passed through. For this scape, I tried to make a “U” layout. I always keep a nice volume of plants on the corners and a free space in the middle.
I never give up of a fight after I start a setup. I always improve it with a patience and then I overcome the problems.
At beginning it was quite difficult for me to know the appropriate amount of food to feed the discus and I never thought that I would need a cleaning team to remove that mess. So the algae strongly attacked the plants and the gravel. I lost the control. While I was feeding the discus at one side, I was cleaning and establishing the aquarium at the other side. It was a real nightmare during the first two months… I lost three discus; they refused to eat even after treatment. After I lost three of them, I gave two of the smallest discus to a friend with the hope that he could save them. Unfortunately they also died… So, at the moment I keep 3 of 8 discus in this aquarium and there are living and eating without any problem. Since they started to eat very well, I changed the priority and started the algae cleaning. It was a real mess, algae and more algae! Sometimes I thought “what have I done…” I didn’t believe what my eyes were seeing!
With patience I started to clean it with my hands and added some Ameca splendens into this aquarium. Amecas are the fastest algae eaters that I’ve seen in my entire life. It was amazing to see how fast they can eat algae and at same time eat the discus’ food. It was a total cleanup. In two weeks they cleaned all the algae and I started to smile again…
When I thought that I could finally sit down and relax, I saw that Amecas were damaging the plants, “ohhh no, not again…” It took me three long weeks to catch them!
Now the aquarium is stable and finally I can sit down and relax, but I am compulsively checking if something is going wrong again…
Never give up; you only need to have a patience. All the problems have their solutions… The only thing that has no solution is the death!!
First Week of the layout
The tank's aquascape is further defined as the plants slowly fill in
Eleocharis aciculares fills in the foreground and while the stem plants are neatly maintained
“Plantado vs Discus”
Aquarium size:121 x 41 x 55 (cm)
Substrate System:ELOS Terra medium and small (30L) + Terra Zero bottom fertilizer
Lighting: ELOS Aquaplanet II 2x70watts HQI 10.000k + 4x39w T5 (3x10.000k + Flora)
14h-23h 4x39w T5 and 16h-20.30h HQI
Filtration:Rena XP2 1000L/h (regulated flow) Mechanical
CO2 System: ELOS Complete Co2 system SET A with REA 30 Reactor, Pressurized system 2b/s
Decoration:Xisto's Rocks, Redmoor Wood
Water parameters: pH 6.5 / gH 6/ kH 7 / No3: 10ppm / Po4 1.5ppm
Fertilization: K40, Fase1 and Fase2
Schedule fertilization: *Sun, Mon, wed and Fri - FASE2 (Micro and macro)
Tue, Thu and Sat – K40 and Fase1 (Potassium and Iron)
*Sun – After TPA of 25%
TPA: once a week 25%
Plants: Eleocharis aciculares, Juncus repens, Blyxa japónica, Ludwigia arcuata, Rotala green, Rotala rotundifolia, Vesicularia dubyana and Cryptocoryne brown.
Food: Tetra PRO Discus flakes and Sera granulate (only 1x a week)
Fish: Symphysodon aequifasciata axelrodi, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Otocinclus affinis, Lda25, Aspidoras pauciradiatus, Crossocheilus siamensis and Hemigrammus rhodostomus
By: Faruk Gençöz
March 1st, 2007
Introduction and background
I am Cliff, from Hong Kong, China. As I was born and grown in country side of Hong Kong, I am so familiar with the natural environment. I love trees and plants, and I have a dream that I want to be a farmer when I retire. Aquarium is a dream place for me to experience that with no snakes and rats. Firstly I started with a planted tank, enjoyed watching the plants growing, and felt the energy of living things. While growing plants in two years, I understood many different kinds of plant characteristics. I started to have a thought that I should be using them at another level. I decided to use them to present ideas, so I started aquascaping.
100cm X 40cm X 40cm
Lights, tubes, watt, spectrum, K
T5HO (39Wx 4) and T8 (30Wx 2), all 6500K
pressurized, very normal setting.
ADA red soil, re-used
I use fat and re-used woods with few yellow rocks
One 900L/hr filter and a 600L/hr pump
This tank needs less trimming and maintenance since I used moss and front-ground plants mainly. I just tried to move the woods and moss when I found the layout being 2 dimensions...
I change water 1/3 every week.
Plants: I mainly use moss. Willow moss, triangle moss, mini moss, christmas moss, Glossostigma elatinoides, Anubias barteri var. nana, Cardamine lyrata, Eleocharis ''parvula'', Hemianthus callitrichoides ''Cuba'', Hydrocotyle leucocephala, Microsorum pteropus ''Narrow'',Glossostigma elatinoides
Fish and invertebrates : Black and white angel fish, Rasbora heteromorpha, Neon Tetra, Beckford's Pencilfish, Red moon, Siamese Algae Eater
TMG, ECA, Kent K+, Seachem iron bottom.
I never measure that.
Idea and Motivation
The taste of the wild
Some years ago, I went back to my old home, walked along my old primary school...
It is a school forgotten in a country side, It was closed for about 15 years, it was sad... I saw broken walls, broken stairs, windows, trees and grasses are mess everywhere... growing thru walls to walls...
It was sad, but I smell something....The taste of the wind.....
I closed my eyes, I feel them, the smell of the soil, the smell of the tree leaves, the smell of the empty playground, the smell of the dog just walked thru..... All brought me back to my memories.... I call them the taste of the wind....
I remember the garden keeper was always coming to me and asked me to teach him the spelling of simple words...CAR....TREE.....
I think he will be angry if he knows his garden is being mess up like that....
anyway, he was about 50 when I was a kid.... I hope he is still healthy now....
I backed to city after the holiday, backed for works, backed for living, backed for something... or most of the thing I don't understand....
Everyday, I was living in the smell of fast food, cigarette, air-conditioning, rubbish bin with 8 Starbucks cups inside, 5 males and 13 females sitting in the same room
I started to forget the Taste of the Wind......
But I remember a Japanese movie I had seen... Dodes' Kaden...by Kurosawa..
Kurosawa's first film in color, and it is also the most pessimistic one.
Though he used surrealistic color and setting to achieve an atmosphere, combined with the 70s color film textures, the film inevitably gave audience an intense depressing feeling.
the Story is about a retarded kid, Dode, he and his family is living in a rubbish area, which also have many other people live there, also have no hopes and they are also someone who left by the entire world....
Dode always imitates a tram drive and " Drive " around his town. The film focused upon the slum life who debase themselves to survive. Kurosawa attempted suicide after finished the film.
Kurosawa's films always reflect his own view and feeling of the world... when he was young, he always filmed about love, relationships, friendships, past, family, beliefs..... and one of his film "Dreams" was about environmental problems....
the motion film technique was upgraded at 60s to 70s.... and the world was going into another stage also, everything was improved so fast, science, economics, tradings...everything...... but at the hopeful moment, Kurosawa chose to make a most hopeless view...
to the theme of my thought, and the idea of the film...
I started to make a natural by a bit mess up feeling layout..
use old ADA red soil... what a nightmare....
Clean up with a DIY water in-flow....
be careful , it is easy to hurt your hands...
build up the right hand side's soil...
because the first idea was only moss and few foreground plants...so I did not need ferts in the substrate
fixed the area of the sand (changed few weeks later..hehe)
build up the right side
place the drift wood and stones... (cheap and re-used ones.... used only for supporting)
it is OK clear after put in water.... the re-used soil method was fine..
As the time goes by
I wish I could do more layouts. I am too slow. I need 8 to 10 months to complete an aquascaping layout. I still keep a 35cm layout on which I have been working for 18 months.... still not yet finished... And also, I wish I could travel more to have more fresh ideas.
Anyway, Good luck everyone. Cliff.
By: Faruk Gençöz
January 31st, 2007
This month we are proud to present Diana Walstad's low-tech aquarium. She is the author of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium and has a great impact on our hobby, especially for those who go El Natural. Let's enjoy her style.
Introduction and Background:
I come from a family that always had tanks in the house and a pond in the backyard. I never had any luck with aquarium plants until I started using a soil underlayer in the tanks. Plant growth was phenomenal- like nothing I had seen before. With the robust plant growth, I found that I could keep fish healthy without a lot of tedious work (water changes, gravel cleaning, etc). I began combing the scientific literature for more information and started writing articles for the Aquatic Gardener Association. One thing led to another. I first published Ecology of the Planted Aquarium in 1999. The book has done well. It has been translated into German and Italian and is now available as an e-book.
I trained in microbiology and spent many years doing medical research. I work now as a cell biologist for the federal government.
I set up this 45 gal (170 liters) in 2001. I had problems with green water algae and mat algae the first year. However, plants always did well in it. Eventually it became my favorite tank.
Tank dimensions are (48” X 13” X 18”). Tank is next to a large window with a sunny Western exposure.
Lighting: two 40-watt T-12 bulbs in a dual strip-light fitted with an aluminum reflector. One bulb is a cool-white; the other is an Aquarium Plant Bulb (pinkish color). Tank gets muted sunlight (slatted blinds drawn across window to reduce sunlight intensity and cut down on algae)
CO2 system: No artificial system. Fish respiration and bacterial decomposition of organic matter provide CO2 naturally.
Substrate: I layered the bare bottom with 16 lb of an inexpensive potting soil designed for growing houseplants. Layer was about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. The manufacturer listed the following ingredients: Organic compost from mushrooms and other materials, peat humus, sand and bark fines, vermiculite, perlite, and dolomitic limestone. I mixed 2 tablespoons of phosphate fertilizer with the potting soil. Then I covered the gravel with 25 lb of medium-size gravel.
Filtration: Submerged Powerhead (AquaClear 301) with an attached Quick filter.
Maintenance: I change about 50% of the water every 3-6 months. I clean the filter cartridge, trim plants and remove mat algae about every month.
Inhabitants: Twelve Rainbowfish. Ramshorn and Malaysian Trumpet Snails.
Fish feeding: Twice day with mostly flake food or dried bloodworms. Fish get treats like chopped chicken liver or hard-boiled egg yolk once a week.
Plant fertilization: None.
Water Parameters (approximate): Ammonia = 0. Nitrite = 0. Nitrates = 5-10 ppm. GH = 8. pH = 7.4 (late morning). Specific Conductance = 250 microSiemens/cm.
Aquascaping: I planted tall, strap-leafed plants (Cryptocoryne balansae, Sagittaria graminea, C. wendtii, and a single Echinodorus major) on one end of the tank. I put Anubias nana and . Rotala indica on the other end. Small plants (Echinodorus tenellus and Sagitarria subulata) went in the center. Cryptocoryne cordata “blassii” began to propagate well enough that I let it become a central focus for the tank. Initially, I planted many other species, but these are the plants that survived. Most of the trimming/plant removal is designed to keep C. balansae and R. indica from taking over the tank.
This picture shows me and the film crew of NOVA NOW, the science show on the USA's PBS (PublicBroadcasting Station). They came last year to take pictures of my tanks. This picture includes the 45 gal tank I wrote about, me (blue shirt and white slacks), and some of the NOVA film crew.
By: Faruk Gençöz
January 1st, 2007
January 2007 Tank of the Month: Roy Deki
Introduction and background:
I am 46 years old and live a suburb of PhoenixArizona. My wife, Beth and I have 1 beautiful daughter named Emma. I started this hobby a little over 4 years ago. My first tank was an Eclipse 6 with Tiger barbs and a lot of plastic plants. While surfing the web for more information on responsible fish keeping, I was cordially invited to join The Tropical Resources Family of Sites, by its owner Cindy Williams. This soon became my home on the web and there I discovered the world of planted tanks. From that moment on I have been addicted to this wonderful hobby.
I spent 12 years in the landscaping business in MontereyCalifornia in the early 80’s. At that time my father was heavily involved in the Monterey Bonsai Club and was an instructor as well. I guess you can say aquascaping is in my blood.
This past year (2006) has been a very fruitful time for me and my passion. Along with 2 other fellow hobbyists (Bryan Lafollette and Mike Talley) here in the Phoenix area we managed to form Arizona Aquatic Plant Enthusiast, AAPE for short. We started with about 8 attendees to our first meeting back in December 2005. We have now grown to consistently have 20+ attendees at every monthly meeting. Along with the club I started to work part time at my favorite LFS, Pet’s Inc in Tempe. I have been given free reign with the display tank and the retail plant isle. This consists of 10 40 gallon breeders, 4 of which have high light and co2 injection.
My inspiration is one that is quite common, Takashi Amano. While doing research on aquascaping I came upon his first book. I have since fallen into my own style, I really don’t know what it would be classified as, but I feel it is a combination of Amano’s nature aquariums and Dutch style. I try to incorporate natural hardscape placements along with manicured plants. The best example of this style would have to be my AGA 2006 entry called “Mizu Ikebana” Which literally means “Water Flower Arrangement” (2006 AGA Aquascaping Contest).
In this aquascape I was obviously attempting to create my first Iwagumi style tank. My thoughts before creating this tank, was to have a very low maintenance tank but also one with a very serene and minimalist aquascape. I chose to use Seriyu-seki stones because of the textures and the color contrast it has with Hemianthus callitrichoides. I chose to use Coralife NO T-5 28watt fixture over the back portion because I had notice in the past its effect on Blyxa japonica. Under these lights B. japonica seems to grow compact and has a very nice bronze hue to the leaves. The color of the Seriyu-seki stone, in combination with the lime green color of the HC sloping from front to back and with the bronze color of the B. japonica in the background gave this tank the visual depth, given its small dimensions.
Volume: 15 gallons
Light: Coralife 65 watts power compact (6700k) in the front, Coralife NO T-5 28watt (6700k/10000k over back…10 hours per day.
Filtration: Aqua clear 50 H.O.B.
Co2: Pressurized system with ceramic diffuser.
Substrate: ADA Aqua soil with Power Sand Special, TourmalineBC added at start-up.
Fauna: 11 Neon Green tetras, 7 SAE’s, 7 Amano shrimp.
Flora: Blyxa japonica and Hemianthus callitrichoides.
Challenges with this tank:
Algae, algae, and more algae…I knew going into this project that this would be an issue. I had all the healthy B. japonica I needed and I purchased some very healthy HC from a fellow member here at APC. Once the contour of the substrate was established and another fellow member sent me the Seriyu-seki stones. I planted the B. japonica and the HC, cranked up the co2 and let the tank do its thing. I only dosed with Flourish at 1ml per day and Flourish Excel 3ml per day, with weekly 50%water changes. I managed to grow every type of algae that exist. After about a month I did a 3 day blackout. The Blyxa survived better than the HC, but I didn’t have to replace any of it. Another month passes, more algae. This time I over dose with H2o2 I managed to kill off all of the algae and the HC. Continuing my dosing and water change regiment and replacing all of the HC, another month passes and the tank is “balanced”. Now the only trimming needed will be mowing down the HC to keep it tight and low.
This tank has been set up for about 5 months now and has become my favorite tank. It is now so low maintenance that I get to enjoy it more that work on it.
By: Faruk Gençöz
December 1st, 2006
December 2006 Tank of the Month: Tony Gomez
Introduction and background
My venture into aquariums started about three years ago, if my memory serves me well. I started with a basic fish only tank which was home to some rescued fish. That same month, I added a pressurized CO2 system and 3.8 WPG. I went off the deep end right away and loved it since.
The tank and stand are custom made for me by a local shop.
Lights, tubes, watt, spectrum, K
The lights are T5HO Techlights, using the GE Starcoats. Even though I have experience with PCs and NOs, I'll take the T5s over them any day.
CO2 system, pressurized, DIY, noCO2, diffusor, reactor
5 lb. cylinder with a DIY reactor
Substrate, type, layers, any fertilization in the substrate
ADA Amazonia and powersand special. The substrate is actually about one and a half years old right now and and still doing well for me.
Hardscape, driftwood, rocks
Manzanita from Manzanita Burlworks - The Source for Quality Handcrafted Manzanita Products. This scape uses a bunch of individual branches grouped together and rocks that were sent to me by a friend (thanks again!). Unfortunately, you can't see them in the final product.
Filtration, maintainance, water change, replacement of the tubes, trimming
I am horrible at this. I try to do weekly water changes, but sometimes I go three weeks without a WC (like right now).
Inhabitants, plants, fish, invertebrates
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis, Neocaridina denticulata, Otocinclus affinis and Planorbis corneus.
The Lemon tetras have an interesting story. In the previous scape, I had a large school of them, but a CO2 accident nearly wiped them all out. A few adults and juviniles survived and spawned again. resulting in the new school. They really liked to breed in the japonica.
Fertilization (in the water column) and feeding
I aim for daily dosing. However, these days, I tend to dose depending on how the tank looks. (Over time, I learned how to judge the tank’s nutrient needs by observation.)
As for trimming...practically non-existent. I re-planted the blyxa once and periodically trimmed the ludwigia.
The fish are fed daily, with periods of no food.
Basically, I just enjoy the tank and hardly touch it.
I don't know. I stopped measuring water parameters about six months into the hobby.
When I scape, I kinda just go with the flow. I get my hardscape material in hand and just play around with it. When things look like how I want them, I set it and go from there.
Every tank I created was a new learning experience. This time, I wanted to have a full-blown scape with both rock and wood as a hardscape. This was my first experience in using both materials in a serious project. I used my personal classic combo of plants and then tossed in the stems. I didn't go overboard with stems by any means, because I wanted this tank to be extremely easy to maintain.
My advice to new people in the hobby: don't get overwhelmed. Take things slowly and look at lots of aquascapes. Take your time in finding what appeals to you and learn what scapes are low and high maintenance. When you know what you want, get your hardscape materials and play around with them for a while.
Some people have a talent for eyeing a good hardscape, while others work hard at it. This is ok.
Don't hesitate to post images of your hardscape and/or layout to get some feedback. If you are still stuck, DO NOT give up.
There is nothing wrong in copying another tank, if that’s what you enjoy doing. Even if you try really hard to duplicate it, you won’t. In the end, it will still be your handiwork, simply inspired by another.
November 17th, 2006
On the web, my nickname is Kookaburra. It’s the name of an Australian bird, and also the name of a French comic book. My real name is Dimitri Roger. I live in a small town near Orleans (France). I am 28 years old and I’m a “young manager” in the agro-alimentary industry.
I have been creating planted aquariums for the last 2 years. I bought a 250 liter tank when I purchased my house in 2004. Because I like plants and gardens, it is logical for me to form aquatic gardens in my tanks.
With the intention of learning more about my passion, I tried to find some information on the web. At the same time, I discovered the French forum www.forumaqua.com, and its specific section for the planted tanks. With the forum users’ help, I studied all the things to grow the plants well and to create the most beautiful aquascapes. So I want to thank all the people who have helped me in “Forumaqua”.
My first aquascaping attempt (October 2005)
My inspiration sources are the “Dutch style”, and what we call “les jardins à la francaise”. “French style” gardens are a specific type of terrestrial gardens, with a very strict organization of plantings. I truly like this kind of gardens, with various geometric forms and great contrast of colors.
An example for a French style garden (Chateau de Versailles)
Regarding the aquascape, I wanted to make a presentation in using the “V”shape in the background. In order to create contrast, I composed another “V” (but inversed) with Glossostigma in the foreground. The aim was that the 2 sides of the planting seemed to be symmetric.
I have to explain this particular choice of “symmetry” in my aquascape: I did it to surprise the viewers, who get used to viewing the “golden ratio” representation. And this geometric scape corresponds well to my intention of making an aquatic “French style” garden.
Moreover, I would like to say that I don’t use driftwood or rocks in this aquascape not by “choice”, but rather by “limitation” … In fact, it’s very difficult to find some good-looking driftwood or rocks in “aquarium market” in France!
A top view of the tank which makes it possible to see the great density of the plants
- Dimensions : Width 115 x Depth 35 x Height 65 (net volume = 220 Liters)
- Lighting : 160 W => 4x40W T8 neon tubes (2 "Sera-Daylight" + 1 "Sera-plant" + 1 "Sera-Bluesky"). 12 hours a day.
- Filtration: external filter EHEIM 2026.
- CO2: pressurized CO2, "JBL Proflora vario500".
- Fertilizer: PMDD (Macro-nutrients) + Flourish + Iron.
- Substrate: underlay with home-made nutritious soil (40 % heather ground + 40 % puzzolana + 20 % green clay) and ground layer with "sand of Loire".
Tank of the Month (November 2006)
3 Cleithracara Maroniis - 3 Laecatara dorsigera - 30 Paracheirodon axelrodi - 10 Carnegiella strigata - 10 Corydoras Aeneus.
One of my favorite fish : Cleithracara Maroniis
Heteranthera zosterifolia - Micranthemum umbrosum - Ludwigia Repens Xarcuata - Hygrophila polysperma "Rosanervig" - Bacopa caroliniana - Rotala hippuris - Lobelia cardinalis - Eusteralis stellata - Nesaea crassicaulis - Glossostigma elatinoides -Echinodorus tenellus - Ludwigia arcuata - Ludwigia repens - Rotala sp. "Green" - Rotala rotundifolia - Ludwigia Palustris - Hygrophila polysperma - Echinodorus "magdalenensis".
Rotala sp. green, a very interesting plant for her way of pushing in cascade
Ludwigia repens "Rubin": My favorite red plant to create beautiful contrast
Finding a good location for the plant groups was my first challenge. This should be very complicated in all style of planted tanks, but I think it is harder especially in this kind of densely planted tank. I have to consider the different shapes of leafs, the arrangement of the colors and the potential growth patterns of the plants.
Another challenge for me was to catch the most suitable time to take the best photo of the tank. Because of the large diversity of growth patterns of different plant groups it was hard to have all my plants in good shape at the same time for the best photo.
I stopped this tank 2 months ago due to a “broken” joint in the silicone.
Because I would like to create something totally different, I am going to make another tank with more suitable dimensions for planted tanks: 110x55x55. And I will use pendant metal halide (2 X 150 W HQI) lamps.
I intend to try another style of aquascaping, more of an “Asiatic” inspiration and totally different to what I do habitually. For my future work, my favourite source of inspiration is the planted tanks of the “Creative Aquascape Union” (Creative Aquascape Union).
See you at the beginning of 2007, for my next aquascaping!!!
May 16th, 2006
This month we have the pleasure of presenting Justin Law's awesome aquarium- Summer Dance. The Tank of the Month series is not intended to focus only on accomplished and skilled aquascapers but with Justin we just couldn't resist. So, here's his interview along with the eye candy. Enjoy!
My name is Justin Law. I am 24 years old and I live in Hong Kong. Mostly I use "Gohan" as my net name coz I loved Dragonball Z so much when I was a child. I started keeping fish when I was 18 years old. But I didn't know how to keep them very well, I just kept on buying and they just kept on dying! Then I stopped keeping them coz I felt it was silly to keep killing them. Three years ago, I suddenly wanted to keep fish tanks again, but this time, I wanted to get some aquatic plants too. I did a search on the Net and finally I found www.aqugrass.com. I searched the old posts and kept on following the steps and finally made up my first planted aquarium. I cannot say it was a layout coz I just put in all the things I wanted!
Half a year later, I knew all the basic skills and maintained the tank well. I saw Wayne Sham's tank which had just won a prize in the Taiwan aquatic plant layout contest (I forgot the exact name of it already!) and the first image in my brain is.........WOO......how can an aquatic plant layout be so beautiful! Then I tried to learn more and kept many good aquatic plant layout photos (over 400 tanks already!) Finally, I finished my first layout:
I got addicted to aquatic plant layouts and I finished many layouts in that year! I also upgraded my 14" tank into a ADA 17" tank. In 2004, some aqua friends asked me to join the ADA Contest 2004, and by luck, I got 104 world ranking with this tank:
That same year, I set up a 6" tank too and entred another Japanese mini layout contest. This time I got the 4th place!
Winning the prize/ranking made me feel more confident about aquascaping! Getting closer to some aqua friends and going on more Internet web pages (e.g. www.aqugrass.com and www.aquariumfarm.com) made me more addicted. And I tried to think more and design more layout........so I set up Secret Garden, Breeze of Wild and Summer Dance in the year of 2005. Although my Secret Garden got 225 world ranking in ADA contest 2005, I did not give up and joined the AGA contest 2005 and finally I got Best of Show, First Prize and Second Prize in the small catagory. I hope the coming years, I will have more and better layouts.
My Tank (Summer Dance):
Aquarium Size: ADA Cube Garden [45cm (W) x 22cm (D) x 30cm (H)]
Substrate System: ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia
Filtration: Hydor P10 300L/H
Lighting: 4 x 15W ADA NA-LAMP, 11 hours/day
My tank have two light breaks, 4 hours – 1 hour break – 5 hours – 2 hours break – 2 hours. The reason of this unusual scheme has no particular scientific basis.
I was previously lighting my tanks with a continuous 8/9 hours photoperiod, but I occasionally had algae issues. After talking with some experienced aquarists, I decided to split the photoperiod into 2/3 intervals. With this technique, plants growth is not negatively affected and photosynthetic processes perfectly takes place. On the other side, algae seem to suffer this situation. I believe that one light break would be enough: the last 2 hours of the timing have a very practical function: to let me enjoy the tank when I am back from work!
Fertilizer: ADA Green Brighty Step 1, ECA, Iron Bottom. I just follow the menu of them to add.
CO2 System: JBL 500g CO2 bottle, 2 bubbles/sec
Plants: Rotala rotundifolia (green) , Eleocharis “parvula” sp., Hemianthus callitrichoides"Cuba", Rotala macrandra sp. , Rotala wallichii , Microsorium sp.(narrow) , Blyxa japonica , Bolbitis heudelotii , Fantinalis antipyretica
Fish: Paracheirodon axelrodi, Siamese Algae Eater , Nannostomus beckfordi
Invertebrates: Neocaridina sp.
Maintenance: I change 50% of water twice a week.
I like both photography and aquascaping. I usually go hiking and take photos, sometimes I find that natural places give me many ideas to make a new layout! Also, learning more about photosgraphy helps me know more about the golden ratio, the color, the contrast, etc. which improves my layouts!
As I am very fond of photography, I usually arrange my layouts using the Golden Ratio rule. In Hong Kong there are many specialized shops but often wood and stones are not in good shape and too big for small tanks. So everytime I see some suitable decoration, I buy it and store at home. Therefore, I can do my layouts anytime.
Planning a new layout is a very time consuming process. For example, picking the right decorative material and its placement can last for several days! I like colored plants but I try not to use them too much because they catch the observer’s eye and take it aware from the overall impression. I try to locate them only as focus points.
I like to use some colourful fish (e.g. Paracheirodon Innesi) if my layout is mainly based on green plants. Their size must be small because my tanks are small and big fish would make my tanks look smaller! Usually I do not use fauna in the start-up stage of my tanks, except Caridina Japonica and Crosseochelius Siamensis.
Only when the the layout is finished do I complete the fish population. I usually read Aqual Journal, I like Amano's work so much, so sometime my layouts are affected by his.