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Hi,

As I've been posting a bit already I thought I'd better introduce myself.

*waves*

I guess maybe it's best to talk a bit about why I like planted tanks. After years of keeping more or less every kind of aquatic coldwater creature that managed to find it's way into the family pond I started out like most people with my first tropical tank, which was an 18", powered by a single grolux tube and undergravel filter. This was stocked with a some sucking loaches and a collection of black neons, one sans eye which we named Pegleg....odd family....Anyway I started buying a magazine available in the UK called Practical Fishkeeping, it also had a sister magazine called Fishkeeping Answers and it was in this I saw what they termed an Amazonian Tank, I immediately got hooked on the idea of keeping plants, prior to this I had only had limited success with elodea and duckweed, so I decided I needed a bigger tank. I bought a second hand 3 footer and installed a triton tube, pea gravel and a collection of large pebbles, along with a more powerful undergravel filter and powerhead, I think I started keeping keyhole cichlids and polka dot catfishes in that tank and ran it for quite a while. I had it planted with Amazon Swords and Vallis both of which seemed to grow pretty well. Then one day on a trip to High Leigh Garden Centre I had a look in their aquatic department which I had previously not known about, I remember clearly the man that ran the shop had a big planted tank, using CO2 which I'd never seen before and to say it was lushly planted would be an understatement, but what was most striking about it was that he had java moss covering the backing of the tank and I must say it looked incredible, from that moment I was hooked. So I began reading about planted tanks and found a copy of The Natural Aquarium by Satoshi Yoshino and Doshin Kobayashi. This was my first real planted tank book and the pictures really inspired me to try and create planted tanks like these aquarists had created.

However a while later I came across a booked called Nature Aquarium World by Mr Amano and quickly bought every Amano book I could. This book I suppose like so many other people completely blew me away and has been a constant reminder of everything I love about planted tanks. So I began with a 24" juwel tank with about 5 power glo tubes and CO2 injected at about 10 bubbles per second! The tank quickly turned into an algae display tank, I think I managed to grow every type of algae known to man, and even possibly discovered some new strains. Anyway since then I have upgraded my tanks to a point now where I am running a 125 litre tank and it's going ok after a slight detour. About this time last year I got so frustrated with trying to keep a planted tank that I decided to try a marine aquarium in my rio 125, as I figured it might be an idea to get into a side of fishkeeping where algae is encouraged rather than scorned. I spent a huge amount on live rock, T5 lights, tubro snails, hermit crabs, clownfish, and green chromis's. The tank was actually functioning quite well but the impossible to control nitrate swings eventually resulted in amazingly thick brown hair algae coating everything in the tank. This combined with the constant buzzing from the protein skimmer and foul smell in my living room began to really annoy me. The clownfish seemed quite happy, I wasn't and at that point I had an epiphany and realised I should stick to planted tanks and really try and figure out how to make a planted tank work.

I still haven't created anything as good as some of the tanks I see on these pages but I'm getting better as I read more and learn from whats been posted here. If ever I feel myself getting frustrated or bored with the hobby a quick look through Amano's work gets me back on track. Of course the frustration about not being able to accomplish what he has done is still there, but it's also something to keep striving for, I guess it's the actual process not the result that is most important, I'm sure that's Zen isn't it? :oops:

Anyway I hope you guys don't scoff at my stupid questions.

Neil.
 

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I'm late posting this, but welcome to APC [smilie=d:
 

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Let me be the first to say don't get frustrated about your tank not looking like Amanos tanks, I think we would all be out of the planted tank hobby if we did. He is the best at aquascaping, his tanks are gourgeous; however he has some tricks up his sleeves when he photographs his tanks. Meaning he photographs his tanks when their at their best, after maintance, water changes etc.

There is ups and downs in the hobby but more ups then downs and once you learn and get comfortable with the whole process of having a balanced tank it only gets better.

Remember there is no stupid questions, it is only stupid not the ask them :wink:
 
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