An aquarium trib­ute to a mas­ter ’sca­per.

This lovely Na­ture Aquarium style lay­out was set up to hon­our aquas­cap­ing leg­end Takashi Amano — and de­spite the ap­pear­ance, it’s sur­pris­ingly low main­te­nance. Here’s how it all came to­gether...

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Welcome - WORDS AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: GE­ORGE FARMER

Most of my aquas­capes at home tend to be on the smaller side, usu­ally rang­ing from 25 l nano tanks to around 100 l. I rely on cre­at­ing new aquas­capes fre­quently, so I can test cre­ative ideas, hard­ware, plants, and also as a source of ma­te­rial for PFK mag­a­zine and other me­dia out­lets. Large aquar­i­ums cost too much to reg­u­larly strip down and start afresh, and they gen­er­ally take a lot longer to main­tain.

But I’ve been crav­ing a larger tank for ages, with a view to run­ning it long-term and fairly low main­te­nance. So, I de­cided to set up one of the new Evo­lu­tion Aqua aquar­i­ums — an Aquas­ca­per 1200, mea­sur­ing 120 x 60 x 45cm/48 x 24 x 18in. With a to­tal vol­ume of 324 l, it’s the largest aquarium I’ve had in my cur­rent home. The tank was built at Evo­lu­tion Aqua’s fac­tory in Wi­gan, so I went to col­lect it per­son­ally. I took the aquarium home, some­how manag­ing to lift it alone into my house (not rec­om­mended). The cab­i­nets usu­ally come pre-built but I had to take it flat-packed due to lack of space in my car.

Big de­ci­sions

I spent the next few weeks with the empty tank in its fi­nal lo­ca­tion, pon­der­ing on what I would do with it. It’s no se­cret that I’m a big fan of the Na­ture Aquarium style that was pi­o­neered by the late, great Takashi Amano. So, I de­cided to cre­ate a lay­out in his hon­our and pay re­spect to the mas­ter that started me off on my aquas­cap­ing jour­ney.

I had been hoard­ing a load of de­cent large-sized hard­scape ma­te­ri­als for over a year, hop­ing that one day I’d be set­ting up a big­ger tank. My favourite style of aquas­cape in­cor­po­rates both wood and rocks and I had

two beau­ti­ful large pieces of Red­moor roots ready to go. They had al­ready been soak­ing for sev­eral months so were guar­an­teed to sink.

I chose mini land­scape rocks to serve as a base that would span the length of the aquarium. I knew I wanted some­thing rel­a­tively low main­te­nance so de­cided against a car­pet­ing plant. In­stead I opted to use a cos­metic open fore­ground con­sist­ing of an off-white quartz fine gravel from Den­nerle. The rocks would serve as the ideal bar­rier be­tween the gravel and the soil that would be home to the rooted plants.

I de­lib­er­ately avoided or­der­ing the plants for a while so I could cre­ate the best hard­scape lay­out I could with­out rush­ing. I even filled up the aquarium with wa­ter so I could see ex­actly how it would look long-term (your vis­ual per­spec­tive changes sig­nif­i­cantly when view­ing the aquarium empty or full of wa­ter). Even­tu­ally I or­dered my plants from Trop­ica — a mix of ferns,

Anu­bias, Crypts, and fast grow­ing stems. Later on in the aquas­cape’s life I added a va­ri­ety of Bu­cepha­lan­dra and I re­moved the stem plants as they were prov­ing to be too high main­te­nance.

Move­ment and colour

Around five weeks after plant­ing I added the first fish — 30 White Cloud Moun­tain min­nows. As beau­ti­ful as these are, they were swal­lowed up by the large aquas­cape. I was kindly given a shoal of Ras­b­ora

bo­rape­ten­sis from a local shop that was strip­ping down one of its dis­plays. I wanted some­thing large so went for a dozen Scis­sor­tail ras­b­o­ras to add a sense of move­ment. A fi­nal splash of colour was pro­vided by a shoal of Har­lequin ras­b­o­ras.

After a huge in­fes­ta­tion of snails I was rec­om­mended six Dwarf chain loach that

Such a large foot­print re­quires some in­vest­ment in fil­tra­tion to en­sure suf­fi­cient cir­cu­la­tion, al­low­ing the plants to have ac­cess to CO2 and nu­tri­ents. This is sup­plied by two JBL 1501e fil­ters that have a great flow rate, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing their low power con­sump­tion. I fit­ted the fil­ters with clear hos­ing and glass in­lets and out­lets to min­imise any dis­trac­tion on the aquas­cape.

Light­ing is a big in­vest­ment in a set-up like this, with two Kes­sil A360we Tuna Sun LED lamps from Evo­lu­tion Aqua. I had never used these be­fore but am se­ri­ously im­pressed with their abil­ity to grow plants. The glit­ter lines they pro­duce due to their point source LED looks very nat­u­ral. A Kes­sil Spec­tral Con­troller al­lows me to con­trol their in­ten­sity and colour. Rated at 90W each, run­ning them at 50% is more than enough for my cho­sen plants and I sus­pect much more would give me al­gae is­sues.

Pres­surised CO2 is al­ways my pref­er­ence for planted tanks. In this case I’m us­ing a Green Leaf Aquarium CO2 reg­u­la­tor from the US and a 5kg CO2 fire ex­tin­guisher.

An ex­ter­nal in­line dif­fuser and a Hy­dor ex­ter­nal in­line heater both help to keep equip­ment out of the tank, min­imis­ing any dis­trac­tion from the aquas­cape.

Thanks to:

Evo­lu­tion Aqua (tank, cabi­net, light­ing) JBL (fil­ters, sub­strate) Aquarium Gar­dens, Trop­ica and Den­nerle (plants and quartz gravel) Maiden­head Aquat­ics @ Hunt­ing­don (fish) Green Leaf Aquarium (CO2 reg­u­la­tor and aquas­cap­ing tools)

Iain Suther­land (as­sis­tance with cabi­net, plant­ing and main­te­nance).

This aquas­cape uses easy, un­de­mand­ing plants com­bined with Red­moor root and mini land­scape rocks. See Ge­orge’s set-up on PFK’S Youtube chan­nel by click­ing HERE!

The tank was plant free for some time, so that Ge­orge could get the hard­scape ex­actly how he wanted it.

Shrimp were added as an al­gae con­trol.

Ras­b­ora bo­ra­p­aten­sis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.