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I'd like to congratulate ryuken168 for being selected as the APC March 2004 Tank of the Month!

Introduction and Bio

I've been in the aquarium hobby for 10 years on and off. Aquascaping is still a new terminology to me and this will be my second year creating plant tanks. But art was always part of what I was skill at since my early age. My major in college is design drafting and graphic design. I've worked for NY ad companies and freelance in graphic design field for 10 years.

I would not be here on Aquatic Plant Central or in this hobby if it weren't for my brother. I credit him for showing me an issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine with amazing aquascapes from the AGA contest. I was so amazed on what can be done with plants. That was the same time I heard of the name Amano and spend endless hour checking out all his works.

My first try on a true plant aquarium was my spare 10 gal. The reason I used a 10 gal. is it's a standard size and everyone know how it looks like just like the 55. I believe a narrow foot print challenges your mind and skills more.

My 10 gal was the first time I realized aquacaping could be an art form, a living painting forever changing. I entered the 10 gal in the 2003 ADA contest hoping to get at least 500th ranking so I can get published in the ADA magazine. I never knew I'd get an honor prize of 10th place ranking out of 673 entries. Later I repeated the win in the 2003 AGA contest by getting 1st place.

Now I view aquascaping to be an art form and started my company Aquatic Bliss. My goal is to bring plant aquascaping tanks to the main stream.

Design Concept

The design concept is a standard 55-gallon built into a partition wall where you can view the tank from both sides of the restaurant. The challenge is to design a balanced view from both sides in a narrow footprint of 13 inches and also to have height. The reason I used a red clay substrate is because I used a black one for the 125 gal. on the other side. I wanted people eating at the sushi bar to be relaxed, so no red plants to take focus away from the overall design. The reason I choose these plants was the ease of maintaining and the amount of light I can use. The driftwood was hand picked for it's height and for it's ability to stand on its own without leaning on the glass.

Tank Specs

  • Size - 55 gallon standard 48" x 13" x 20"
    Lighting - Compact fluorescent 2 x 65 watts 6500k 10 hours
    Filtration - 251 gph canister
    Substrate - Flourite 6 x 15 lbs bags
    Plants - Anubias barteri var. nana, Christmas moss, Microsorium pteropus, Micromeria brownei, Cryptocoryne retrospirlis
    Fish - 6 Veiltail angelfish and 6 SAE
    Fertilizer regimen - Not much, sometime flourish, but testing Plant gainer from Aqua Arts
    CO2 - 10lb tank, CO2 regulator and glass diffuser

Advice for the newcomer to the hobby

Build your paint palette by studying how each plant type grows. When I check out an aquascape, I only study how the types of plants can be used not their layout. Never look at someone elses tank too long or it will be imbedded in your mind and down the line you will end up copying it. Create what feels right to you and not what others tell you. You are only limited by your own imagination. Also keep things simple, you will enjoy it more.

To discuss ryuken168's tank, please go to the Tank of the Month Forum.
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