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For this month's interview, I've chosen Frode Roe for a slight change of pace -- this one is for all you Dutch aquascaping fans out there.

Name: Frode Roe
Location: Norway
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Carlos: How did you become interested in the planted aquarium hobby? How long have you been in the hobby?

Frode: I have always liked the fresh coloured plants in aquariums. My experience is if the plants thrives so do the fish. The interest for planted aquariums started when I was about 8-9 years old. Now, I am 29 years old.

Carlos: Could you please describe your the fertilization and maintenance routines you use on your various aquaria? What liquid and base fertilizer brands gives you the best results? How often are water changes performed, and how much?

Frode: I have always used Master Grow from Tropica in my planted aquariums. And, of course, supplemented with liquid iron. Standard water changes have been 25% each week.

Carlos: Your layouts in the very first AGA contest were undoubtedly Dutch in appearance and influence, with neatly pruned and tiered stem plants. Your best of show tank used the fast growing Limnophila sessiliflora extensively. How did you accomplish such a design with the usage of such fast growing plants as Limnophila sessiliflora? Constant pruning, lower lighting, or something else?

Frode: I always use a minimum number of fast-growing plants in my setups. With this species, some pruning is required. That's only a part of this hobby that I love to work with.


Carlos: In contrast to your AGA 2000 layouts, the last layout you presented to the general public was considerably more open and used far fewer species. What inspired you to do this type of aquascape? Were the blue discus a factor in making your decisions?

Frode: I decided to make a setup with large space in the front mainly for the discus to thrive; they seemed to love the open space. I did also want to create a setup with strong contrasts: a mix of intensive red and blue with the fresh green plants.

Carlos: What are you working on now, Frode? Do you continue to actively aquascape your aquariums to create captivating impressions? If so, what do use for inspiration? How has your personal style changed from four years ago?


Frode Roe: These days, Ii am setting up my dream aquarium. The tank is 250x65x85cm and should be a mix of dutchstyle and my own personal style. Creating the best contrast and a deep impression seem to be my main goals.


Carlos: The aquascaping trend across the world has continued to move toward layouts influenced by Japan, Taiwan, and other east Asian nations -- with a continued decline in aquaria arranged in the Dutch style, which are often labeled as aesthetically boring or as 'vegetable' gardens. They are also described as harder to maintain due to the constant maintenance of the plant streets. Do you have anything to say about these comments? Do you feel that Dutch design and technique has a place in contemporary aquascaping?

Frode: Personelly, I have never cared much for the Japanese aquascaping style. Its too boring for me. With the Dutch style, the aquarium tend to have a new expression from one week to another. This leads you to never get tired of it.


Carlos: What are you trying to create in your layouts? Recreate the impression of mountain ranges, biotopes, formal gardens -- or perhaps something more abstract?

Frode: I always goes for the deep overal impression and high visual contrast.

Carlos: What are your main goals when setting up a new tank? How have your goals changed over time?

Frode: Same as above.

Carlos: Are there any tactics or techniques you use to make arrangement decisions in your designs? Do you use any guidelines or rules for wood or rock placement? How about the use of colored plants? Do you place any special consideration on choosing the right fish for your layout?

Frode: When I create a setup, I always use 3 or 4 selected highlights. This could be a special plant, a nice piece of bogwood, or a special stone. I tend to choose the fish after I have completed the setup. Then, I see what kinds of fish that would be perfect for the whole setup. In other setups than the Dutch, I could of course choose the fish first.

Carlos: What do you enjoy most about designing and creating aquariums in this hobby?

Frode. I like to think that I make a perfect place for the fish I`ve chosen, and there nothing more beautiful than an indoor aquatic garden.

Carlos: What is in the horizon for you in terms of aquascaping? Are there any particular ideas you look forward to implementing in future arrangements? Do you feel that you have anything left to learn?

Frode: I really looking forward to finishing with the large tank experiment. This has been a dream for several years. Yes, of course, I have a lot to learn. Thats whats so interessting with this hobby.


Carlos: Finally, is there any particular advice you would give to a hobbyist creating his first planted aquarium layout?

Frode: My advice should be to never be afraid of using 1 or 2 difficult plants in a setup. Just use enough light and substrate fertilization. This is extremely important.
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Dimensions: 63 x 22 x 24 in (160 x 55 x 60 cm)
Volume: 140 gallons (530L)
Lighting: 5x 58 watts philips flourescent. 3x philips 950, and 2 x philips 965 -- 2.2wpg
Plants: Vesiculariana dubyana Microsorium (javamoss) Glossostigma elatinoides Hemianthus micranthemoides Ludwigia repens Ludwigia perennis Limnophila sessiflora Crinum natnas Crinum thaianum Cryptocoryne balansaee Hygrophila strichta Hygrophila "synnema" Anubias nana Rotala wallichii Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Fish: Congo tetra Red-nose tetra Bristle nose catfish Otocinclus sp Siamese Algae eaters Apistogramma agazissii Apistogramma cacatuoides Apistogramma nijsseni Clown loach Silver hatchets


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Dimensions: 63 x 22 x 24 in (160 x 55 x 60 cm)
Volume: 140 gallons (530L)
Lighting: 6x 58 watts philips flourescent. 3x philips 950, 2 x philips 965 and 1 philips 940 --2.5wpg
Plants: Vesiculariana dubyana Javamoss Cryptocoryne wendtii, "Tropica" Didiplis diandra Heteranthera zosterfolia Hemianthus micranthemoides Ludwigia repens Ludwigia perennis Limnophila sessiflora Crinum natnas Crinum thaianum Cryptocoryne balansaee Hygrophila corymbosa "compact" Anubias nana Rotala wallichii Myriophyllum tuberculatum Bacoba carolineae Hygrophila polysperma "Roseanervig" Lysemachia sp.
Fish: 2 Blue diamonds Discus 2 Marlboro red Discus 2 Red tourquise snakeskin Discus Bristle nose catfish Otocinclus sp Siamese Algae eaters Apistogramma cacatuoides Apistogramma hippolytae Clown loach 4 chocolade gouramies

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Dimensions: 79 x 24 x 24 in (200 x 60 x 60 cm)
Volume: 190 gallons (720L)
Lighting: 1x 58 w philips tld 840. 3x58w philips tld 950. 2x58w philips 965 -- 1.8wpg
Plants: Vesicularia dubyana, Nesaea crassicaulis, Micranthemum umbrosum, Ludwigia repens, Echinodorus tennelus, Cryptocoryne crispatula, balansae, Vallisneria natans.
Fish: 4 Pigeon blood discus, 4 blue diamond discus, 60 cheirodon axelrodi, 5 Apistogramma cacatuoides, 5 Apistogramma agasizzii, 5 Apistogramma hongsloi ll, 1 clown loach, 20 Cardinia japonica, 10 Otocinclus sp. 3 S. flying fox. 1 Hypancistrus zebra

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And some images of his newest setup, a gigantic discus aquarium:


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Carlos
 

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Hey nice, Carlos!

Frode Roe's web site is what drew me back to planted tanks in 2000. Since the site rarely has updates I thought that Frode had abandonded the hobby. Nice to see he hasn't.

--Nikolay
 

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His first AGA is one of my all time favorite tanks, unfortunately the Dutch style has a bit of a black eye now due to Amano. Carlos, Frode speaks pretty good English (or was that translated)?, I'm very curious as to what kind of substrates they are using, any chance of getting him on the board. Most Europeans only add trace, but I wonder if its the tap water quality (high N/P) thats allows them to get away with it. They also keep lots of bait, big bait too, I imagine that must help.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jeff Ludwig said:
His first AGA is one of my all time favorite tanks, unfortunately the Dutch style has a bit of a black eye now due to Amano. Carlos, Frode speaks pretty good English (or was that translated)?, I'm very curious as to what kind of substrates they are using, any chance of getting him on the board. Most Europeans only add trace, but I wonder if its the tap water quality (high N/P) thats allows them to get away with it. They also keep lots of bait, big bait too, I imagine that must help.
I had to edit the spelling and grammar of that interview quite a bit, but his English is understandable.

I believe that his tap water has high N/P, which coupled with his large bait, allows him to get away with it.

However, please note the lighting levels on these tanks: none of them is higher than 2.2wpg! And he is using normal flourescents. One detail that we often forget with Dutch tanks is that they use very little late compared to our high octane systems.

Carlos
 

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Nice interview, thanks!

I am sure it's the lighting. I have never seen as much light on any tank here, that you are all using in America. Even the most difficult plants don't seem to bother.

Almost all European tanks use normal fluorescent with good reflectors.
 

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We don't have access to CF bulbs that are usable for plants here in norway, so we have to settle for fluorescent. But now T5 is the big thing here, and more and more are aiming towards the 4wpg rule. But the general advice here in norway are usually 2wpg, but I think this is because very few norwegians dose or even know about no3 and po4. I have tried T8, T5 and MH, and so fare the T5 is my big favoritt. MH was good, but way to limited in selection of bulbs, and I found that decore easly shadowed the bottom part of my plants causing them to uproot...
 

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Svennovitch said:
Almost all European tanks use normal fluorescent with good reflectors.
Hi,

I have to disagree on a particular case: im in Portugal, and people here when go to setups like 3 or 4WPG choose always HQI or PC stuff.

Best Regards
 

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Great interview Carlos. Frode Roe's tanks from the 2000 AGA (especially his 2nd place entry) have been my absolute favorites since the very first time I saw them. They made such a striking impression, even on my untrained eyes, that I couldn't help but be deeply moved. His work has had the strongest influence on what I like to see in planted tanks.

I do feel that Dutch aquascaping has been marginalized by the (fairly) recent influence of Eastern tank design. While Amano's aquascapes are beautiful in their own right, I don't like the idea of trying to imitate or duplicate nature nearly as much as I like the expression of one's own creativity, in whatever form it might take. Thanks for letting us in on what Frode's been up to, I was wondering myself :D
 
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