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I'm posting on behalf of Jeff Senske:

I don't normally like to show layouts just after set-up and don'y ususally even shoot tanks at all until they are starting to take form. But this tank is special to me and the opportunity to work with all the ADA product one I covet, so I made an exception.

I will update these shots every couple of weeks so that we all may monitor the progress of what I believe is the first fully ADA compliant system here in the U.S. I am making it a point to use only ADA products on this tank in order to gain a better understanding of any differences and/or benefits of the ADA line. I welcome any questions you may have on any topic related to this aquarium the ADA products used.

Also, an update on ADA product line availability: We have made great progress on firming-up ADA product availability. The last real hurdle at this point is finalizing pricing. It has proven a little trickier than I first thought but we have just about got it. Rest assured we will have the e-commerce site with the entire line up and ready very soon- I would estimate sometime before Christmas barring any other unforseen issues.

Keep checking the ADG website at www.aquariumdesigngroup.com where you will click on "ShopADG" or any number of other obvious links to the ADA line. At this point I can now offer approximate pricing that I feel will be very close to actual so if there's something you are looking for in particular, please do give me a call at (281) 924-8894, and I'll be happy to assist. You mail also e-mail me directly at [email protected].

The Tank

Species used:
  • Anubias nana
    Cryptocoryne wendtii - green
    Cryptocoryne- "bronze"
    Bolbitis heudelotti
    Microsorium sp.- "narrow-leaf"
    Blyxa japonica
    Eleocharis acicularis
    Java Moss
    Isoetes japonica
    Rotala nanjean
    Rotala rotundifolia "green"
    Ammania multiflora
    Ludwigia arcuata
A "rough draft" of the wood is laid out to establish the general direction of the layout.



The POWER SAND is added as a first layer. In this 36in.X18in. tank I will use 3- 2 liter bags (6 liters total).



The orangish powder visible already on the POWER SAND is BACTER 100. Here I am adding the CLEAR SUPER.



Next I add the TOURMALINE BC.



The white powder visible is PENAC P ("P" for "Plants" variety). Not a necessity, but a product Amano uses regularly. Here I add the AQUA OIL "Amazonia", 3- 9 liter bags (27 liters total).



I layout the wood, referencing my original "rough draft".



With the hardscape in place, I prepare to add the aquatic plants. Here I have already attached Java Moss to some key branches as it is much asier to do so before adding the individual pieces of wood to the tank.



Laying out the preped plants.



I begin this layout by establishing the midground.



Using pincettes I add Blyxa japonica. I would not have chosen this plant if I were using my prior substrate mixtures as it has never done well here in Texas with our hard water. I am confident the quick pH reducing characteristcs of the ADA substrate will enable me to finally grow one of my favorite aquatic plants. (so far so good!)



Adding Isoetes japonica and background plants as a final step before slowly filling the tank.










Updated January 2005:





 

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That is really good art. DId you set it up or the Senske's. I am surprised at how well the hardscape and all is!
 

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Where is the wood from, ADA? Could we have any more info on the setup of the whole tank. Every bit of info possible to show off the ADA products better. Thank is a nice looking tank, IMO. That tank looks better right after setup than mine do after a couple months:(
 

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Thanks for the kind words. I (Jeff) set up the tank here in our gallery in Houston. The wood comes from a supplier here in Texas and we went ahead and bought her entire inventory as- you all know- good hardscape materials are very difficult to come by. It is very similar to types Amano uses and when he saw it, he wanted to buy a whole skid! It was very hard to say "no" to Amano!!! But we are nothing as a company doing planted tanks without such materials.

The tank is the 90cm (same dimensions as a U.S. 58 gallon-36"X18"X18").
The substrate is all ADA - Power Sand, a highly pourous peat-coated bottom layer. On top of that is Bacter 100- a bacteria and enzyme supplement containing over 100 different microorganisms in a dormant state- Clear Super- a powder-grade carbon to polish water and absorb excess organic substances and also help promote the proliferation of nitrifying bacteria. Also added is Toumaline BC- a mineral compound of iron, aluminum, sodium, boron, lithium and magnesium. These minerals are gradually dissolved and enrich the water (and roots) of important elements. I am also trying out a product from Germany called PENAC. It's function is really a whole other topic unto itself. The whole mix is topped with ADA AQUA SOIL- here I have used the "Amazonia" variety.
Lighting is the ADA Grand Solar fixture which features a 150watt HQI 8,000Kelvin bulb flanked by 2- 32watt power compacts. The 8,000K bulb just looks perfect- not too blue, not too yellow. I've had one on my tank at home for some time now and it is magical.
I could go on and on here, but probably it would be best if anyone interested just posts their questions and I'll keep checking back and answering. I also plan to do a full article on my observations of this system at different intervals that will be posted here or in the new APC online magazine.
Also, we should have the full ADA product line available and posted on our website. We have gathered/translated full and detailed product descriptions for the whole line- but with special emphasis on the substrate system as that is where I see the most interest here in the U.S. I mean, all the ADA stuff is exceedingly cool and has a great "visual energy" to it, but the substrate system is something anyone/everyone can use with their other existing equipment and really benefit. I think folks will find the description information there very enlightening. I find there's still a lot of myth/mystery surrounding the ADA products and I hope to clear a lot of that up. I think you are going to find it a lot more affordable than you might have thought as well.
I will also be using the ADA liquid fertilizers which are broken into "steps" and correspond the various phases of a planted tank- from initial set-up to long term care. I will offer a full report w/ photos on these products as well though I can tell you some tanks on Oliver Knott's website (which many APC members are already familiar with) feature the ADA liquids and I think those tanks- as far as being "non-Amano" - layouts really speak for themselves in terms of health and vigor.
 

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I am so excited. The tank looks great! That is the 'Porsche' of all setups. Are the tanks, cabinets and light hangers going to be available?
 

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Did you use ADA heater cables or do you not carry them? Also, is it true that ADA Amazonia, etc. have to be replaced yearly? How effective is the diffuser, does it provide near 100% diffusion?
 

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jsenske said:
the ADA Grand Solar fixture which features a 150watt HQI 8,000Kelvin bulb flanked by 2- 32watt power compacts. The 8,000K bulb just looks perfect- not too blue, not too yellow.
Jeff, I guess ADA use power compact 36 W not 32 W 8000k square pin. I really want to know ADA ECA, Pyton-Git, Green Gain and PnacA (Stick form) Just let me know if you have chance to test it
 

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IUnknown- Yes, everything in the entire ADA line will be available.

Raul-7 -I did not use the ADA heater cables. Here in Houston it stays very warm with only 1-2 months of "cold" weather. I have used heating cables before but ultimately did not find them necessary. But yes, the ADA heating "plate" will be available, but they come in preset sizes to fit only specific dimensions and of course they correspond to the different sized ADA tanks but they basically match the following U.S. standards: 20gallon (ADA 60cm), 58 gallon (ADA 90cm), 75 gallon (ADA 120cm), 135 gallon (ADA 180cm).
Regarding the AQUA SOIL- by no means does it need to be changed out every year. Amano himself has it tanks going on 3+ years now. I can assure you that is a myth. As well, 3 or so of the last 5 AQUA JOURNALS focus was on long-term maintenance and on designing layouts specifically to be maintained for a long period of time (2+ years). This is one of the reasons I encourage people to subscribe to AQUA JOURNAL even if you don't read Japanese- you can learn a lot from the photos and the article titles and such that are in English. Also, as a side note, Amano expressed interest in doing AQUA JOURNAL in English transalation again. Clearly if a market emerges here in the U.S. (encouraged by subscriptions to Japanese version) it increases those chances. AQUA JOURNAL is more than just pictures and ads for ADA product these days as the whole back section is full of Q and A and technical info. not to mention a bounty of aquascaping inspiration.
Regarding the diffuser- it is truly a thing of beauty and simplicity and really works great. ADA even makes different size and shape diffusers to correspond to different tank sizes and needs/desired looks. The one I am using has a much greater surface area than any other diffuser I used before and was what ADA specs for the 90cm. Everything in the line strikes me as very targeted and function specific.

Red Baron- ADA 8,000K bulbs are typically included when you purchase the fixture though you can certainly specify either 8000 or 10000. Amano does at times use 10000K also, but predominantly 8000K. His regular flourescent NA bulbs have always been 8,000K. It can't express to you just how "right"/appropriate the 8,000 Kelvin bulb looks in the aquarium. Of course plants will adapt to and grow under a wide range of lighting types and temperatures, but I have always felt Amano was on to something with 8000 K - it just feels right. I have also had AQUA JOURNAL articles about the development of the 8000K bulbs translated and it is based on actual extensive field research where the under water light field of numerous aquatic plant biotopes was measured, so it's based in nature itself, not just what is easiest/cheapest to produce. No one else offers a bulb of this color temp. that I am aware of. We plant hobbyists are either getting old production/dated-theory type bulbs like 5000/6000K range, or we are sold reef tank/saltwater bulbs that are either merely repackaged to target planted tank consumers or just get a blurb on the packing that it will grow aquatic plants "also".
 

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I dont really have much to add in the way of questions but what you are doing with this is brilliant and very interesting. I can't wait to see how the tank develops. 8) 8)
 

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jaxal- you are correct, my mistake- 36 watt, not 32 watt. I will be using ECA, PHYTON-GIT, and Green Gain and will let you know how they work. I can offer you the following description of each, if you are not already familiar with their functions:

ECA- is rich in iron in a form that does not easily combine with other ions and thus helps prevent color-loss and improves overall condition of the plants ( similar concept to DuplaPlant 24 or "PMDD" types). Also contains other beneficial natural acids.

PHYTON-GIT- Aquatic plants are known to secrete Phytoncide to protect themselves from disease. This product works with naturally extracted Phytoncide as well as other disinfectant agents to help plants regain their natural strength. It contains no "chemical" agents- it is natural extracts.

GREEN-GAIN- Primarily helps speed regrowth of stemmed-plants after major trimming. A natural blend of trace elements and aminos that help ease stress and allow plants to grow back more vigorously- fuller and nicer. Probably how Amano achieves that amazing lush growth of stem plants. Aids also in disease resistance. Basically, you can trim a lot and trim heavy with a much faster grow-back time and with much more consistency (like when you major-trim multiple species and certain ones grow back faster/nicer than others. This helps "level the playing field" somewhat for all the trimmed species so the more stressed/disease-prone species can better keep up with the hardier ones. (remember that Amano is one of the few people who has acquired so much experience over his 30 years of aquascaping with these issues. At first it may seem a little unlikely that a company would develop such targeted products, but that is in fact the very way in which Amano has applied his experience to the industry- develping products that deal with so many of the issues we are constantly trying to figure out through our own trial and error. I think that could play a part in why the Japanese (and European) aquascape designers are currently operating at a little higher level than here in the U.S. - they have products and researched expertise that has become common knowledge so they are thus able to focus their energies on aquascaping and creativity and not so much plant/water health and maintenance concerns.
 

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Jeff,

Are you able to supply a printed catalogue of ADA products in English (eventually)? I have the Japanese version but would be quite interested in having some in-depth descriptions of items such as Clear Super, Penac (German origin, I think), and the various substrates. Or will the catalogue be ADG's web site and available electronically in PDF format?

Your website re-design is great by the way. The only minor (in my humble opinion :) ) artistic failure is the photo of Amano 'drinking' with the Senske Bros. Being of English content, I certainly have nothing against imbibing and having clients in the Far East can understand the inside of this quite well. But I think you must have a great shot of the trio looking artistic. Perhaps one of the Senske Bros. visiting ADA in Japan?

I wonder whether you would be interested in starting an ADA forum here - or perhaps at ADG.com? A concentration of the information would be beneficial for you and for potential buyers/clients who must ask the same questions time and time again.

I hope your investment in time and money goes well. I will be looking forward to working with you when ADA goes live here.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Andrew, I agree about the photo of us w/Amano. It will be a temporary thing and I did stop and ponder its appropriateness (drinking and all). That shot you describe will happen.
The online catalog at the ADG site will have detailed descriptions of all the products. They are translated from the Japanese text so some of the overall syntax my be a little "different" than we are used to, but the info. and content is there. As for a PDF scenario, we will offer that soon, but probably not at first as we play catch-up for a few weeks after dedicating a lot of time to just getting things launched. I think you'll find the online catalog/pricing very informative overall. Thanks so much for the input!
 

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Jeff,

That's beautiful! The only other time I've seen that tank look better was in DC. :) Seriously though, great job on the design. I'm looking forward to seeing how it matures, especially with it being an all ADA system, and how it compares to your usual fare.

Would you also forward me the information for the lady you bought that wood from? I've always loved the stuff you get from her and would like to start carrying it at the store here in Charlotte.

Regards,
Phil
 

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Thanks Jeff for detail of ECA, Pyton-Git and Green Gain. It look pretty expensive for a very small bottle. l guess they properly use only few drop each time. Do you know how much to use and how offen. As I know Green Gain use only when you trim the plants.

I also very interest in Penac A (Stick form). ADA clam that help water in good condition. I'm too late for PenacW (powder) because it has to be under substrate. Some Article say that it will dissovle oxigen for keep bacteria healthy. For PenacA, some Aticle say just drop the stick (not the wood container)in the tank. Does it really help a better water. So a stick(PenacA) should be some material the dissolve some oxigen too. Also they claim it will help for water wave motion movement. I'm so confuse. If you have any experienced please let me know.

Do you will get ADA test kit, I have use it before. It the most easy test kit in the world. Just make a hole on plastic tube, let the water in, shake it. Done. Because all chemical powder is ready in tube. This is so creative test kit.
 

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Phil,
Unfortunately, the source for the wood has "dried-up" so to speak. She simply does not have that wood anymore and worse still- she doesn't know if she'll get it again. It's a scary prospect for me too as I have developed quite a dependence on the stuff. The next phase for me would be to start sourcing out more stone/cool rocks from around the country. Rock is everywhere. Wood is so much harder to come by.

Thanks for all the kind words about the new layout! Thank you Oliver!
 

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Jeff,

I believe many people here would be interested to hear about the light period that you use for that tank. Is there a time of the day when only the CF's are on?

Also, if you indeed run the CF's only for some time how does that affect the look of the tank? The light fixture is pretty high above the tank...

--Nikolay
 

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I was both impressed and dissappointed with that light setup. Everything was great till I looked at the PC setup....the reflector setup in there is extremely inefficient :(. IIRC, it pretty much was a small cavity that the PC sat in where the back had a mirror and the sides had nothing. It just begs to be modified with an AH reflector LOL
 
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