~ § Aquascape § ~


Due to the amount of large-resolution images on this single page, I have to publish future updates as individual posts under the category of “~ § Aquascape § ~“. The primary challenge is the WordPress web editor crashing on me (& specifically, FireFox browser) every time I wish to make edits. This page will serve solely as a fundamental introduction to my pursuit of this hobby, for now.

************ click here to leap to MAIN tank’s latest progress ************

My office tank, right after scaping. No water is introduced yet, in order to ease its transport to final location (photo taken at home; on my kitchen table, highlighting the tank's small footprint).

My office tank, right after scaping. No water is introduced yet, in order to ease its transport to final location (photo taken at home; on my kitchen table, highlighting the tank's small footprint).

And if we could only step aside and trust in nature, life will find a way. – John Hammond

Hors d’oeuvre

There are many ways to make one’s cubicle space more personalized. Some choose to scatter photos of their loved ones all over their desks. Some hoard delightful snacks in their drawers. Some mark out their office boundaries with a paper trail of Post-it notes. I tend a small aquarium on my table-top. Aquariums are not unfamiliar to me, i.e. I used to keep various assortments of plecostomus, corydoras, mikrogeophagus ramirezi, paracheirodon axelrodi, pangio kuhliipolypterus variants & a few other locally available species during my secondary school days. But this is the first time I have ever invested decent effort into the presentation aspect of the aquarium itself (I would say, almost as much as the environmental variables of the inhabitants). That is to say, this is my official preliminary foray into the concept of Aquascaping (think landscaping, but subjected to the constraints within a body of water).

View of the tank from another perspective. The illumination of the surroundings is provided solely by the LED lamps mounted on the tank. Observe also, the rounded edges of the tank's front glass panel.

View of the tank from another perspective. The illumination of the surroundings is emanating solely by the LED lamps mounted on the tank. Observe also, the rounded edges of the tank's front glass panel.

Truth be told, the tank you see in the photo above, isn’t how my first office tank looks like. There was a previous iteration where every single empty spot in the foreground is plotted with Glossostigma elatinoides & the boundaries of the tank are demarcated by a wall of Limnophila sessiliflora. However, I soon realized the notion of “less is more” can be applied to fabricate a more elegant style. & that is how I ended up with version #2 of my office tank. It was quite cumbersome to implement this current iteration. I remembered I had to:

  • tear down version #1,
  • drained out all the water,
  • standby a durable interim habitant for the inhabitants,
  • & lug the entire tank home.

To be even more cliché, all these occurred within the span of one rainy evening.

Even before this “exodus”, there were some preparation work that was executed in parallel to ensure I can revamp, & then return the tank within one night. These include:

  • procurement of new components to drive the new tank operations,
  • preparation of the driftwood,
  • disinfection of the (new) plants,
  • & most time-consuming of all, binding the plants to the driftwood.

There are more intricacies to each of these processes, but I will bore you readers when the main dish is served; this is just the appetizer  😉

Scaping the tank that night took only a while as the main layout was designed during the procurement of the driftwood. I took half a day to choose 5 pieces of wood. To be honest, I thought this inaugural effort was quite up to par; luckily this sentiment extends beyond myself. The plant species were shortlisted based on their ease of maintenance & the equipping level of this tank, i.e. informally known as a “low-tech” tank as neither explicit supply of carbon dioxide, dosage of specific fertilisers, nor the presence of high-wattage illumination will be supplied during its course of operation.

A side view of the office tank setup, showcasing the "nano"-class canister filter: Eden 501; as well as the LED lamps providing illumination for the tank. The length of the inlet & outlet pipes proves to be too much, even though this filter model is intended for "nano" tanks. I am hesitant to saw the pipes as the action is permanent & deny the same filter be reused for tanks of different dimensions. I am unable to connect the rubber hoses directly to the strainer & rainbar as their gauges are the same (hence one cannot be inserted reliably into another). Observe also, the telescopic nature of the lamp clamps.

A side view of the office tank setup, showcasing the "nano"-class canister filter: Eden 501; as well as the LED lamps providing illumination for the tank. The length of the inlet & outlet pipes proves to be too much, even though this filter model is intended for "nano" tanks. I am hesitant to saw the pipes as the action is permanent & deny the same filter be reused for tanks of different dimensions. I am unable to connect the rubber hoses directly to the strainer & rainbar as their gauges are the same (hence one cannot be inserted reliably into another). Observe also, the telescopic nature of the lamp clamps.

At this current moment, the tank is home to a handful of Neocaridina Heteropoda var. red, a shoal of Corydoras Pygmaeus, a pair of Otocinclus macrospilus & an accidental bunch of dwarf pond snails. The plant community is composed of 4 bunches of Anubias barteri var. “nana gold”, one bunch of Anubias barteri var. “nana petite”, some rows of Microsorum pteropus, both the normal & “Windalov” variants, & generous servings of Vesicularia dubyana. In the beginning (couple of weeks) the plants exhibit near-zero revival, especially the Vesicularia dubyana. Perhaps the one night of desiccated environment triggered the plants to transit from submerged to emersed form (Prior to ingress, the plants were stored in tubs of water). I did ensure a high-humidity atmosphere though.

A close-up view of the Anubias Nana Sp Mini. Observe the darker shade of green of its leaves compared to the "Golden Nana" (far left).

A close-up view of the Anubias barteri var. “nana petite”. Observe the darker shade of green of its leaves compared to the Anubias barteri var. “nana gold” (far left).

Presently, my Anubias are unfurling new leaves, the Microsorum pteropus are spawning daughter plants in multiple spots, & the Vesicularia dubyana are turning a very beautiful shade of green & creeping along the driftwood. It’s a pity my workplace ain’t camera-friendly, but if a “glass-half-full“-type of person like me is convinced, I supposed that is good enough 😉

Environment Specifications

Tank Ocean Free AT-364M of dimensions: W35cm * D21cm * H23cm & capacity: 16.91litres (4.47 US gallons)
Filter Eden 501 (using rainbar as outlet)
Filtration Media Sponge (mechanical filtration); default ceramic rings mixed with some Biohome Plus (biological filtration)
Substrate GEXシュリンプ一番サンド2kg (“GEX Shrimp Soil“)
Substrate Additives Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder
Illumination 2 sets of “UP Aqua Pro-LED-A-16” (currently augmented with a tube of “PowerPac SL1208 cabinet lamp”) at 12 hours per day
CO2 Supply Nil
Chiller Nil
Stand Nil
Hardscape 4 pieces of driftwood
Liquid Fertilisers Seachem Flourish Excel (very occasional dosage)

Water Conditions

Temperature 23 ~ 25 degrees Celsius
pH 6.0
Nitrate 12.5mg/L

Inhabitants

Flora
Fauna

N.B. Planting the Microsorum pteropus turned out to be a hoot. Their rhizomes are not meant to be buried within the substrate, but the flowrate of a brand-new filter within a small tank that isn’t heavily planted will tend to uproot them easily. Fortunately, due to their designated positions (rear perimeter) within my tank, I simply lay them onto the substrate, & use the adjacent driftwoods as a handy method to sandwich them in place.

Main Dish

There can be multiple methods to pursue a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind a topic of interest. One such method is to embark on a primarily hands-on endeavour to accomplish a scaled-down appreciation of the subject, followed by a quest to see how far one can take it. The final echelon is almost invariably attained in the combination of one or more of such circumstances:

  • Exhausted one’s resources, i.e. money & time
  • Exhausted one’s patience
  • Exhausted things to “learn”, e.g. attained a measurable & desired degree of success

I have gotten my fingers wet (pun entirely intended)  from sustaining a small aquascape in my office. I have had my fair share of typical beginner’s problems with this tank. Now it is time for me to dive into the deep end (do stop me if you can’t take any more puns). It is always prudent to ascertain one’s goal(s) before embarking on any venture. Mine is quite straight-forward:

  • I hope to attain a thriving aquatic domain that has a balance of flora & fauna to adorn the scape within
  • This aquascape should reach maturity phase around 2 years & last me till my next residence
  • Lastly, propagation of quality succession will serve as a major indicator of success

So, if you will humour me, let’s walk through the few stages of my preparation.

Gathering of Components

Tank

The ever-classic & ever-popular Aqua Design Amano (ADA) Cube Garden 60-P. Accompanied by the tantalizing "The Book of ADA".

The ever-classic & ever-popular Aqua Design Amano (ADA) Cube Garden 60-P. Accompanied by the tantalizing "The Book of ADA".

I am a firm believer of investing money in the core components, e.g. frame of a bicycle, sensor & lens of a camera, etc. In the case of an aquarium, the core components will be the tank itself & the filter (more on this later). I opted for a 2-foot tank because it is deemed the smallest volume that can still buffer against any effervescent effect of water fluctuations. A tank of such size will also not be too imposing for the confines of my current room. Likewise, the scale of equipment required to foster a 2-foot tank will not be too imposing on my wallet as well. I selected Aqua Design Amano (ADA)’s Cube Garden 60-P because I received information that ADA tanks have 2 outstanding qualities:

  1. Low-iron glass, which improves visual clarity. Not too critical when my tank glass is only 6-mm thick, but good to have nonetheless. This is easily verifiable by comparing the colour of the edges of other glass crockery against the edges of this tank (assuming they are of same thickness & the glass edges are not artificially painted).
  2. Quality workmanship. I never paid attention to this until I owned an ADA tank; entry-level tanks typically have excess silicone sealant splashed exuberantly at every adjoining edge of the tank. With ADA tanks, minimal but adequate quantity of sealant is applied in a more precise manner. In addition, the edges of the tank glass are bevelled (adds a nice touch).

Stand

The GEX Steel 600 stand. In its original packaging.

The GEX Steel 600 stand. In its original packaging.

Assembled, it looks utilitarian & straightforward. N.B. the tank actually has a “front” side, i.e. the horizontal rack with the “GEX” logo is supposed to face forward.

Assembled, it looks utilitarian & straightforward. N.B. the tank actually has a “front” side, i.e. the horizontal rack with the “GEX” logo is supposed to face forward.

Foam pads are attached at the points of contact with the floor to prevent scratching (both to the stand & floor tiles) & also to further iron out unevenness in the tank setup’s levelling.

Foam pads are attached at the points of contact with the floor to prevent scratching (both to the stand & floor tiles) & also to further iron out unevenness in the tank setup’s levelling.

Procured a simple steel stand. There was a small hiccup when the first unit I purchased, exhibited significant unevenness upon assembly. As the stand is intended to support heavy weight for extended period of time, I returned the first unit to the shop for another set. Fortunately, the store which I patronise has no qualms about giving me an exchange & the process was all-smiles. I soaked the stand using 2 cans-worth of WD-40 (a type of water-displacing spray) & left it out to dry. This is followed by the application of copious amount of grease to each point of assembly to prevent moisture from penetrating the innards of the stand & to ease assembly as well. Lastly, foam pads are layered at points of contact with the floor to further aid in preventing any unevenness from evolving into a bigger problem. At the end of all these, I will say the hiccups I encountered, is characteristic of most steel stands that aren’t custom-made. I could have gone for a wooden cabinet stand instead, but I have not bought into that kind of look so far. I also wish to point out that I ain’t too big a fan of the design of the horizontal racks of the stand, i.e. the single brace in the middle parallel to the 2 external lengths, as well as the lack of any “lips” along the lengths of the horizontal edges, but I have seen less-attractive designs out there, e.g. those stands with a lot of curvy patterns here & there. Perhaps my next stand will be custom-made.

Chiller

The relatively-new Hailea HS-28A chiller. This is an improved version of the Hailea HC-150A.

The relatively-new Hailea HS-28A chiller. This is an improved version of the Hailea HC-150A.

The tank environment will be augmented with a chiller. Selection of chiller model was greatly affirmed by information from newly-found like-minded acquaintance at the workplace. It is critical to select a chiller with adequate horsepower to chill the tank in a most efficient manner. For my budget, Hailea chillers appear to be the better brand I can afford. I was going for the 150A model, but “breaking news” came in of a very new model, the HS-28A. The following is what my acquaintance said:

The HC-100A & the HC-150A are using rotary motors, which is noisy. HC-2XX & higher-end models are using piston motors, which is a lot more quiet. This new model, the HS-28A, is intended as a replacement for the old HC-1XX series, but it is using a piston motor. – Mr. A, from the adjoining office

And I found out it is priced the same as the HC-150A. Which explains why it was out of stock for more than a couple of months. Which explains why I rushed down like a mad man to grab it the moment the storekeeper notified me. As a matter of fact, my new acquaintance also said another thing:

Actually, for a 2-foot tank & pairing it with an [Eheim] 2224 [filter], you can go for HC-2XX series. – Mr. A, from the adjoining office

I didn’t catch the rest of what he said as my budget distracted me.

Substrate

The components forming my tank's substrate, i.e. ADA Power Sand Special (left),  ADA Aqua Soil "New Amazonia" (right), ADA Substrate Base (centre) & Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder (white bottle). I'm glad MizuWorld sells rationed quantities of the ADA Substrate system; to purchase the original quantity of said system will be significantly more expensive, as well as excessive.

The components forming my tank's substrate, i.e. ADA Power Sand Special (left), ADA Aqua Soil "New Amazonia" (right), ADA Substrate Base (centre) & Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder (white bottle). I'm glad MizuWorld sells rationed quantities of the ADA Substrate system; to purchase the original quantity of said system will be significantly more expensive, as well as excessive.

I am using the ADA Substrate system, on top of a layer of Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder. The break-down is as follows:

  • ADA Aqua Soil (9 litres) – New Amazonia: this is the 2nd revision (source; see “Tech Specs” tab) of ADA’s Amazonia Aqua soil (the 1st revision being the “Amazonia II“). This is the main substrate material, rich in organic substances & possessing water condition adjustment effects, it promotes plant growth.
  • ADA Power Sand Special (2 litres): Power Sand is the base of the Nature Aquarium substrate. Power Sand is composed of porous volcanic stones to secure proper water circulation (source; see “Extended Information” tab) and of organic materials including fertile peat to provide rich nutrients to aquatic plant roots. Ideal conditions for bacterial activity and development of plant roots are created and maintained for long periods with Power Sand. What’s so special about this version of Power Sand? Unlike ordinary Power Sand, Power Sand Special provides more minerals and nutrients to the substrate, as it also contains Bacter 100 and Clear Super.
  • Bacter 100: containing more than 100 different kinds of micro organisms in a dormant state. Bacter 100 improves the conditions in the substrate and the aquarium water and then stabilizes the eco-system within the aquarium.
  • Clear Super: improves water quality while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Clear Super is a highly refined activated carbon powder mixed with several nutrients that promote the growth of beneficial nitrifying bacteria. Supplying some to the substrate and some to the water, Clear Super absorbs excess organic substances and promotes the appearance of nitrifying bacteria. Clear Super thus removes organic substances from within the aquarium and keeps the water crystal clear.
  • Tourmaline BC: this is a mineral compound of iron, aluminium, sodium, boron, lithium and magnesium which are gradually dissolved, enriching water of important elements. Tourmaline BC is an electrostatic mineral that increases roots plant nutrition.
  • Penac W: helps to improve the substrate environment. Highly recommended as an additive towards improving aquarium ecosystem health. Primarily, it prevents the substrate from becoming anaerobic and improves the substrate environment (when applied at the bottom of the substrate upon setup). It also can be added directly to aquarium water in case of an oxygen shortage (such as in the case of co2 overdose), causing rapid oxygenation of the water.
  • Penac P: improves the immune system that plants have naturally while promoting more healthy growth. It is commonly used for both horticultural and agricultural purposes. This substrate additive improves the soil substrate system by helping plants spread roots and “grow in” healthier. It is extremely effective for plants such as cryptocoryne and echinodorus that suffer from root swelling problems.
  • Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder: a natural product which enhances water quality, replenishes and enhances minerals and trace elements in the tank water that has been depleted, either by the local utilities, water changes or by excessive filtration, and remove certain harmful substance like decomposed organic carbon, amines and glysxerols from the water, it is also capable of removing heavy metals, free radicals and pesticides in the water. Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder contains very high portion of trace element, that is close to 3% by weight and close to 70 different trace minerals and compounds have been identified, making it very suitable to re-mineralize the tank. Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder is capable of polishing the water by attracting impurities in the water, the aquarium water get clearer after Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder is used in water column. This product can not only improve the well mean of fauna and also improve the growth rate of flora because of the concentration of trace elements in it. In summary, it has these functions: – Increasing good bacterial activities – Improving water quality by removing toxic such heavy metal and free radicals. – Deodorizing unwanted smells – Reducing the number of water changes – Re-mineralization of tank water for shrimp, fish and planted tanks.

N.B. Power Sand Special already contains Bacter 100 & Clear Super. As a more economical alternative to using the “branded” Power Sand Special, one can also use crushed lava rocks and/or pumice stones for the mechanical effect of what Power Sand Special is intended for, & supplement with the aforementioned additives.

Test kits, Liquid fertilizers, disinfectants

Suites of water composition test kits, & my liquid fertilizers. Miscellaneous items include: bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide (oxidizing agent for plant sterilization), bottle of Mosura BT-9 (commercial bacteria "seed"), syringe & garden mister.

Suites of water composition test kits, & my liquid fertilizers. Miscellaneous items include: bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide (oxidizing agent for plant sterilization), bottle of Mosura BT-9 (commercial bacteria "seed"), syringe & garden mister.

I possess kits to test for the quantities of the following substances in the tank water:

  • Acidity/Alkalinity ( pH )
  • Ammonia ( NH3 )/Ammonium ( NH4+ )
  • Nitrite ( NO2)
  • Nitrate ( NO3)
  • General hardness ( GH )/Carbonate hardness ( KH )

The plant life in the tank will be supplemented with liquid fertilizers providing stable introduction of the following composition into the water:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Trace elements, i.e. { Total Nitrogen, Available Phosphate ( P2O5 ) , Soluble Potash, Calcium ( Ca ) , Magnesium ( Mg ) , Sulphur ( S ) , Boron ( B ) , Chlorine ( Cl ) , Cobalt ( Co ) , Copper ( Cu ) , Iron ( Fe ) , Manganese ( Mn ) , Molybdenum ( Mo ) , Sodium ( Na ) , Zinc ( Zn ) }
  • Liquid Carbon

N.B. I read that dosage of iron should be increased to bring out the colour intensity of red plants. Alternatively, some folks have discovered certain dry fertilisers can induce the same effect. In addition, I have also read that iron & phosphate should be dose separately from one another as they can form an insoluble precipitate (no longer in water column; plant cannot absorb).

A word of caution: when buying test kits is to check for their expiry dates & intended environment (freshwater or saltwater).

Backdrop & base support

Pieces of crafting foam (bottom) to stack between the tank’s exterior base & the stand’s horizontal rack. Roll of Oyama paper (top) to create a black background to bring out the colours of the tank’s inhabitants.

Pieces of crafting foam (bottom) to stack between the tank’s exterior base & the stand’s horizontal rack. Roll of Oyama paper (top) to create a black background to bring out the colours of the tank’s inhabitants.

Previously, I was always fixated on a pure black backdrop for the rear side of the tank to bring out intense contrast for the inhabitants of the tank. Browsing more material online exposes me to backdrops of other hues, i.e. light “sky” blue, “sunset” orange, “storm” purple. But in the end, I still choose black. The layers of crafting foam is to iron out any unevenness between the tank & the rack that it rests upon, as well as allow the weight of the tank to resolve any untrue levelling inherent in the entire vertical structure. Having a consistent layer of foam also reduces any stress point & allow for a more through weight distribution along the entire base of the tank.

Filtration

The external canister filter: Eheim 2224 (left). Coupled with extra filter bio-media (right) offered by Biohome, Biohome Plus.

The external canister filter: Eheim 2224 (left). Coupled with extra filter bio-media (right) offered by Biohome, Biohome Plus.

As a matter of fact, pretty much nothing to say about this component except that the 2224 model is a favoured filter with 2-foot tanks. The brand, “Eheim” was chosen because of its workhorse reputation. Was recommended to use the default rainbar as flow outlet for a more even & customizable (additional holes can be drilled off-axis to the original lines of holes for omnidirectional outflow) distribution of water flow. To be honest, not a huge fan of the green-themed filter system, but is quite convinced the flexibility of the rainbar outweighs its lack of beauty to the more charming ADA Lily Pipes.

Stock filter media will be largely swapped out for (much higher-end) ceramic rings from Biohome.

N.B. Care has to be exercised to deploy the media in positions that minimises flow-rate reduction via the filter while maximizes the amount of surface area that gets constant exposure to flowing water. (source ; see: “Biological filtration media arrangement” section)

Carbon Dioxide Delivery system

The Carbon Dioxide system (from left to right): CAL Aqua Labs CO2 indicator solution, Gush Glass Drop Checker, ANS Electrical Solenoid, CO2 tank, a manual solenoid (extra purchase) & lastly, a pack of 2 Soundtech mini timers. With these, I can dispense carbon dioxide precisely into the tank water & measure its saturation (in the water) reliably.

The Carbon Dioxide system (from left to right): CAL Aqua Labs CO2 indicator solution, Gush Glass Drop Checker, ANS Electrical Solenoid, CO2 tank, a manual solenoid (extra purchase) & lastly, a pack of 2 Soundtech mini timers. With these, I can dispense carbon dioxide precisely into the tank water & measure its saturation (in the water) reliably.

What you see is what you get. So happy to find a moderately-priced drop checker that resembles the ADA version for half the price! Having separate timers means I can begin saturating the water column with CO2 just before the lights come on; & terminate CO2 delivery right before the lights cut out.

Illumination

The source of illumination for my house tank. From bottom to top): DelIgHting Dual T5 fixture with individual parabolic reflectors (one intentionally flipped to showcase the reflectivity), ATI Aquaristik Pro Colour T5HO tubes, 2 Osram Daylight (67500K?) tubes, ATI Aquaristik Purple Plus tubes. The 2 acrylic items are the stands to mount the light fixture onto the tank.

The source of illumination for my house tank. From bottom to top): DE Lightings Dual T5 fixture with individual parabolic reflectors (one intentionally flipped to showcase the reflectivity), ATI-Aquaristik Pro Colour T5HO tube, 2 Osram Daylight (6500K) tubes, ATI-Aquaristik Purple Plus tube. The 2 acrylic items are the stands to mount the light fixture onto the tank.

The light fixture mounted onto the tank. The end-caps are waterproof to prevent moisture from invading the internal circuits via daily operation in a high- moisture environment.

The light fixture mounted onto the tank. The end-caps are waterproof to prevent moisture from invading the internal circuits via daily operation in a high- moisture environment.

The design of the light stands, though visually elegant (short of the black plastic screws that stick out like a sore thumb), isn’t perfect. The inner length of the light fixture isn’t factored into the thickness of each acrylic piece. As a result, if & when tightened all the way, the acrylic stand is strained (observe the V-shaped gap) to accommodate the mis-measurement.

The design of the light stands, though visually elegant (short of the black plastic screws that stick out like a sore thumb), isn’t perfect. The inner length of the light fixture isn’t factored into the thickness of each acrylic piece. As a result, if & when tightened all the way, the acrylic stand is strained (observe the V-shaped gap) to accommodate the mis-measurement.

The height of the fixture from the top of the tank.

The height of the fixture from the top of the tank.

I still find it hard to believe not many folks in Singapore is using or managed an elegant way to mount light fixtures from DE Lightings onto braceless tanks such as those from ADA. In the end, I have to pay extra to get DE Lightings to custom-made acrylic stands for my purpose. I have a variety of different colour spectrum High Output T5 Fluorescent tubes (T5HO) because of the way I’m deploying my setup. There has been material (source) to suggest for the purpose of plant growth, leaf cells are more receptive to illumination intense in specific wavelengths. Specifically speaking, here’s the breakdown of which components in the leaves are receptive to which wavelengths:

  • Chlorophyll-a : 430nm/662nm
  • Chlorophyll-b : 453nm/642nm
  • Carotenoids : 449nm/475nm
ATI-Aquaristik Pro Color spectrum chart

ATI-Aquaristik Pro Color spectrum chart

ATI-Aquaristik Purple Plus spectrum chart

ATI-Aquaristik Purple Plus spectrum chart

The 2 ATI-Aquaristik tubes I acquired, are specialized to provide lights vivid in these spectrum.(please provide specific links to specific posts, & spectrum charts for ATI tubes). Whilst some may not find them visually platable, I am only using them for the first couple of months to jumpstart the growth of my plants. I will be switching over to the more “conventional-looking” daylight tube (the Osrams) when growth-rate picks up.

Design

Boulders & tress. Design achieved with the assistance of my veteran friend.

Boulders & trees. Design achieved with the assistance of my veteran friend, who's able to offer technical advisory, especially on water movement throughout the tank

I have no idea how tough it is to find rocks of the correct shades & sizes. Found these 9 kilograms of rocks & carted them home from a shop named "That Aquarium" (also known as "Y618") in Yishun back to west side.

I have no idea how tough it is to find rocks of the correct shades & sizes. Found these 9 kilograms of rocks & carted them home from a shop named "That Aquarium" (also known as "Y618") in Yishun back to west side.

This is the tree to be situated at the left area within the tank. It is equally challenging to find driftwood that are appropriate for the scape I planned to deploy. After purchase, the wood have to be soaked in (boiling) water to remove tannins & reduce their buoyancy.

This is the tree to be situated at the left area within the tank. It is equally challenging to find driftwood that are appropriate for the scape I planned to deploy. After purchase, the wood have to be soaked in (boiling) water to remove tannins & reduce their buoyancy.

This is the tree to be situated at the right area within the tank. Remember how they look now.

This is the tree to be situated at the right area within the tank. Remember how they look now.

As with most beginners to planted aquascapes, I fell into the “I-want-to-grow-every-single-species-out-there” routine. I browsed through galleries after galleries of award-winning tanks & cumulated attractive components from each of them into my own desired design. While many design principles can be imbued into a synergy of presentation, amassing far too many elements serves nothing more than detract one from an elegant end-result.

Top-down view of tank layout (green region depicts area occupied by carpeting plant while tan region represents where the majority of the hardscape will set foot in the future)

Top-down view of tank layout (green region depicts area occupied by carpeting plant while tan region represents where the majority of the hardscape will set foot in the future)

Foreground substrate (height). Observe the off-centre valley.

Foreground substrate (height). Observe the off-centre valley.

Side view of tank, showing the hyperbolized gradient from the foreground to the background of the tank

Side view of tank, showing the hyperbolized gradient from the foreground to the background of the tank

Isometric perspective view (green region depicts area occupied by carpeting plant while tan region represents where the majority of the hardscape will set foot in the future)

Isometric perspective view (green region depicts area occupied by carpeting plant while tan region represents where the majority of the hardscape will set foot in the future)

Basic concepts of Golden Ratio, balance, asymmetry are implemented throughout the tank layout. Whereever cut-off points are required, they are placed in accordance with the Golden Ratio rule. When the time arrives, rocks of various sizes will be used to depict the randomness of Nature. The apex of the substrate will be counter-balanced by the an intentional dip in plant height that will be created to its (the apex) left. Two miniature “trees” will be fabricated from the driftwood; but only the left tree’s base will be surrounded with rocks. Once again, to counter-balance this, more leafy stem plants will form the back-drop for the tree on the left, while non-leafy stem plants will form the backdrop for the tree on the right. The rocks will be arranged around the base of the tree on the left, with their sharper “tips” pointing up & away from the base, i.e. like the petals of a flower opening up. Their intention is to conceal the artificial-looking base. Likewise, for the tree on the right, placement of certain plant species (with consideration of colours, to blend the foreground carpeting plant with the rear of the tank) is required to diffuse the distinct contours of the base. The trees will be coated with mosses. Specific (stem) plant species to line the backdrop of the tank is still open for consideration. However, red stem (or “vertical-growing”) plants will most likely be situated at the 2 extremities to exploit their way darker foilage for the illusion of a endless border.

Environment Specifications

Tank ADA Cube Garden 60-P of dimensions: W60cm * D30cm * H36cm & capacity: 60litres (15.85 US gallons)
Filter Eheim Professional 250 “2224” External canister paired with Eheim Installation Set 1 & Set 2
Filtration Media Sponge (mechanical filtration); Biohome Plus (biological filtration)
Substrate ADA New Amazonia AquaSoil (9L) on top of Power Sand Special “S” (2L)
Substrate Additives ADA Bacter 100, ADA Clear Super, ADA Tourmaline BC, ADA Penac W, ADA Penac P, on top of Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder
Illumination DE Lighting T5 Retro-fit 24″ fixture housing any pair of the following bulb types at 12 hours per day (1030H to 2230H):

CO2 Supply* Injection into impeller region, regulated by ANS Electrical Solenoid & Soundtech mini outlet timers; verified by Gush Nano Indicator (Glass Drop Checker) using CAL Aqua Labs CO2 indicator solution
*bps yet to be determined
Chiller Hailea HS-28A
Stand GEX Steel Stand
Hardscape 2 pieces of driftwood, adorn with assorted rocks
Liquid Fertilisers*

*Dosing routine yet to be determined

Water Conditions

Temperature N.A.
pH N.A.
Nitrate N.A.

Inhabitants

Flora N.A.
Fauna N.A.

Gameplan

The basic game plan will be to cultivate a lush carpet of Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ (more affectionately known as “HC”) within 2 months, using the Dry-Start Method (DSM) made famous by a certain Tom Barr. After this stage, the tank will be flooded & the rest of the plants will be deployed. The scape will be maintained for another 6 months before livestock is introduced, barring any qualitative triggers (e.g. the plant growth in the tank is evaluated to be plateauing at a decent rate).

Pre-deployment

A 1-foot tank’s worth of water is being de-chlorinated (& de-chloraminated) before being aerated via a small Eheim powerhead a full day ahead of deployment. I intentionally chosen not to use SeaChem Prime for the water treatment as I want any trace ammonia to remain in the water to serve as a source of Nitrogen for the plants. Though there is likely no ammonia in my tap water, I do not want remnants of Prime to eradicate ammonia once the water is used to saturate the definitely-ammonia-rich Amazonia Aqua Soil. A small quantity ($4) of HC is procured on this day too, so that I can commence its processing as early as possible the next morning.

Deployment – 10th December 2011

Deployment date has finally arrived.

Processing the HC
The delightful Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ , a classic foreground carpeting plant. This is the form in which it arrives from the store. As a lawn. In a plastic tray.

The delightful Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ , a classic foreground carpeting plant. This is the form in which it arrives from the store. As a lawn. In a plastic tray.

Processing (sterilizing & separating into individual stalks) $4-worth of HC takes around 5 hours. Sterilization is performed using a couple of quick dips in diluted Hydrogen Peroxide across the span of 1-2mins. Regular, interval-misting is required to maintain the moisture level of the processed heap, shown here in the plastic tray (foreground). Sub-par units are discarded (jug; on the right).

Processing (sterilizing & separating into individual stalks) $4-worth of HC takes around 5 hours. Sterilization is performed using a couple of quick dips in diluted Hydrogen Peroxide across the span of 1-2mins. Regular, interval-misting is required to maintain the moisture level of the processed heap, shown here in the plastic tray (foreground). Sub-par units are discarded (jug; on the right).

A single, undamaged stalk of HC

A single, undamaged stalk of HC

The lawn of HC is dipped & removed from a pool of (diluted) Hydrogen Peroxide to remove any unwanted material & expose any hitchhiking critters, i.e. worms & snails. This step is repeated a few times over the course of 1-2 minutes & the lawn is never left to sit in the solution for extended amount of time, i.e. rinsing as opposed to soaking method. After disinfection, the lawn of HC is separated into individual stalks whereby units that are too unhealthy are discarded. All plant material is misted with the treated water, in order to prevent them from drying out. I managed to detach $4-worth of HC into individual units.

Preparing the substrate
Perspective view of the empty tank. It is elevated on a 1:1 pencil drawing of the substrate layout (hard to discern from this view), so that I have lines of references to form the apices & valleys at different regions of the bottom.

Perspective view of the empty tank. It is elevated on a 1:1 pencil drawing of the substrate layout (hard to discern from this view), so that I have lines of references to form the apices & valleys at different regions of the bottom.

The different substrate additives are layered on the bottom of the tank before the main component, ADA “New” Amazonia AquaSoil, is laid. Upon adding the last layer (ADA Power Sand Special), a card is used to create a gap of ~1cm from the edge of the front glass to the substrate additives to avoid the different layers’ colours from showing up when the tank is viewed from the front.

The different substrate additives are layered on the bottom of the tank before the main component, ADA “New” Amazonia AquaSoil, is laid. Upon adding the last layer (ADA Power Sand Special), a card is used to create a gap of ~1cm from the edge of the front glass to the substrate additives to avoid the different layers’ colours from showing up when the tank is viewed from the front.

Perspective view of the tank via the front-glass, where the various apices & valleys can be discerned. This is also the colour of the Aqua Soil when it is completely dry.

Perspective view of the tank via the front-glass, where the various apices & valleys can be discerned. This is also the colour of the Aqua Soil when it is completely dry.

A foundation of 1.5 bottles of Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder is laid on the empty tank bottom. This is followed by the 5 ADA substrate additives, & then the Power Sand Special. Right before I lay the final substrate layer (Aqua Soil), I used a card to create a gap between the front glass & what was already deposited. This gap will create the illusion of a uniform substrate appearance when the tank is viewed from the front. To be frank, although I executed this step, I do not think the individual layers of additives are visually discernible in the first place unless they are beyond a few centimetre thick. Finally, the Aqua Soil is added & sculptured according to my design. Before saturating the substrate with water, a mister is used to dampen the top layer to make the substrate surface a bit “sticky” so that it will not scatter when water is introduced. Water is later introduced via restrained disembursement from a hand-held jug onto a small sauce platter in order not to disturb the scape layout.

Seeding the lawn
Top-down view of the tank with a water-logged substrate & the HC planted. The HC is planted in tufts of 5-6 stalks, spaced out evenly on the substrate. Plastic rulers are used to restrict the growth to the designated area I desire.

Top-down view of the tank with a water-logged substrate & the HC planted. The HC is planted in tufts of 5-6 stalks, spaced out evenly on the substrate. Plastic rulers are used to restrict the growth to the designated area I desire.

I could plot the entire substrate surface area with HC, but mashed & covered HC will begin rotting should I place rocks & driftwood onto them later. Therefore, it is imperative that I prevent the HC from creeping into areas where the trees & rocks are intended to be situated. I wanted to fashion transparency films as dividers at first, but they proved too flimsy to be inserted into the dense substrate. Hence, I resolved to using a few piece of 30cm-rulers for foreground plant segregation instead. The HC is then planted in tufts of ~8 units each, by creating cavaties in the substrate & pressing them into these cavaties. In an ideal situation, I would have prefer to use a pair of curved-tip tweezers to plant them single-stalk by single-stalk way deeper into the substrate. But alas, I was running out of time at this very moment. On hindsight, this is one of the steps that I regretted not doing to perfection. But time is always a limiting factor &, while I can delay deployment, there will always be other future events of similar priority that I will have to dedicate my time to. So I settled for what I deemed as sub-par planting in order to complete the deployment before I have to rush off.

Wrapping out the Dry-start method implementation (literally)
View of the tank from the front. This time with the substrate filled in, foreground planted & light fixture mounted. Observed closely, one can see that the planting of the HC wasn't very deep into the substrate.

View of the tank from the front. This time with the substrate filled in, foreground planted & light fixture mounted. Observed closely, one can see that the planting of the HC wasn't very deep into the substrate.

To promote high levels of humidity during the DSM implementation period, the entire tank is cling-wrapped to delay loss of moisture.

To promote high levels of humidity during the DSM implementation period, the entire tank is cling-wrapped to delay loss of moisture.

Isometric view of the cling-wrapped tank

Isometric view of the cling-wrapped tank

One of the mechanics behind the Dry-Start Method is to retain as much moisture within the environment as possible. In an emersed environment, one way to retain moisture is to create a high-humidity atmosphere within the tank. Thus the reason for using cling-wrap to seal up the tank. Moisture replenishment is performed once daily & the unsealing will allow the induction of fresh air into the local atmosphere. These two procedures are critical because eventually the amount of moisture within the tank will be exhausted drastically, & assuming the plants are thriving, the substantial depletion of the bulk of the carbon dioxide from the air within the the tank, will be a limiting factor to their rate of growth.

N.B. I replenish the moisture by misting the tank environment daily with a solution of treated water that has some SeaChem Flourish Excel (to act as a source of organic carbon to coat the leaves) mixed in. The solution is chilled in the refrigerator when not in use.

The Morning After – 11th December 2011 ( D-Day + 1 )

The imprecise cling-wrap method is being replaced by a cheap but effective piece of 2mm-thick acrylic (purchased from a crafting store). The end-result is even more air-tight, maximises light transmission uniformity, & easy to manipulate (for the purposes of routine ventilation & misting).

The imprecise cling-wrap method is being replaced by a cheap but effective piece of 2mm-thick acrylic (purchased from a crafting store). The end-result is even more air-tight, maximises light transmission uniformity, & easy to manipulate (for the purposes of routine ventilation & misting).

Repetitively sealing & unsealing the tank daily proves too cumbersome for me, especially when disparate pieces of cling-wrap are required to make the seal as air-tight as possible & they always tend to adhere together when I’m wrapping them around the  tank. The cling-wrap is readily replaced by a sheet of acrylic 2mm-thick (which I procured from Art Fren, Takashimaya Shopping Centre for a measly $8). Not only is the acrylic sheet orders of magnitude-easier to manipulate on a daily basis, it is also consistently transparent as compared to the inhomogeneous nature of the crumpled cling-wrap. Lastly, the light fixture can be rapidly mounted & unmounted during the daily misting routine.

The 1st Remedy – 12th December 2011 ( D-Day + 2 )

Too much of the HC are left above substrate. This means the roots will require extra effort to grow into the the substrate to acquire their nutrients instead of focusing on recovery....Theoretically only a few leaves should be left above ground while the stalks & roots should be buried. But tucking them in using a pair of tweezers now will break the fragile "bodies" of these plant.

Too much of the HC are left above substrate. This means the roots will require extra effort to grow into the the substrate to acquire their nutrients instead of focusing on recovery....Theoretically only a few leaves should be left above ground while the stalks & roots should be buried. But tucking them in using a pair of tweezers now will break the fragile "bodies" of these plant.

Luckily, some sprinkling of powder-type Aqua Soil alleviates the sub-standard planting. The flooded regions issues ain't solved yet though.

Luckily, some sprinkling of powder-type Aqua Soil alleviates the sub-standard planting. The flooded regions issues ain't solved yet though.

Upon further thought, I remained dissatisfied with my lack of effort in planting the HC deeply enough from the get-go. I tried to use tweezers to push them tufts deeper into the substrate, but the pointed tips of the tool, coupled with the fragile stem of HC meant easy breakage. At first, I thought of shifting some of the soil from the unplanted areas of the substrate to cover the bare stems, but the size of the granules will unnecessarily rise the height of my substrate in the front. More importantly, these big round granules will simply roll off the diminutive leaves of the HC instead of getting into the crevices amongst the leaves to bury the stem. To absolutely bury the stem using the existing granule size, I would have to heap a pile of soil onto the plant which means burying everything, including the leaves. Which is quite pointless.

Coincidentally, there is an extremely specific & dare I say, perfect, solution to my predicament. ADA do offer another version of the “New Amazonia Aqua Soil I’m using for my substrate – a “powder-type” version. The granule size of this version is significantly smaller than the non-powder-type (as a matter of fact, it’s only slightly bigger than a grain of sand). The icing on the cake being, the physiological composition of this version mirrors that of its heftier brother. In other words, I will not be altering the nature of my substrate by using this. In conclusion, I’m glad to report that I managed to bury the stems of my HC effectively:

  • without burying the leaves as well
  • without altering the substrate composition
  • without raising the depth of my substrate at the front too much
  • retaining the slight valley in my substrate at the front.

The Flood Continues – 17th December 2011 ( End of Week #1 )

Areas of improper implementation of DSM, i.e. flooded regions.

Areas of improper implementation of DSM, i.e. flooded regions.

Upon further input via sources from the Internet, it became apparent to me that the amount of water in my substrate is too much. I quote:

look like too much water. You should not put too much water in DSM, not until you can see water from the soil top surface. – a moderator from Aquatic Quotient forums

The word is moist soil. I think IMO the best way I can put it. – a member from Aquatic Quotient forums

Another blunder on my part is the shallow planting of the HC. According to my veteran friend:

u can lay them.. but they will have to grow longer roots to ‘root’ into the substrate.. that will delay their recovery and leaf growth as they are diverting energy into root growing..If you root them first, they can almost begin to recover.. that’s how i feel..i’d prefer to have them deeper actually.. if you remember the last time i did HC DSM, you couldnt really see the stems..  and if u check out tom barr’s DSM, they were planted in rather deeply also.. – my veteran friend

DSM requires damp soil but the water level should never rise above the substrate surface.

DSM requires damp soil but the water level should never rise above the substrate surface.

By the end of the first week, “melting” (a slang used to refer to the browning & rotting of plant) has manifested in tufts that are mostly submerged beneath the flooded regions. This is to be expected as the batch of HC I secured was nurtured in the emersed form & are experiencing a challenge to transit to submerged form (triggered by complete water immersion). The low-lying, flooded regions are becoming, a “situation”.

An Accidental Remedy & assorted touch-ups – 18th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #1 )

The leaflets in the damp but not flooded regions are still doing al right.

The leaflets in the damp but not flooded regions are still doing al right.

The units in the way elevated regions (which are definitely tough to water-log) are also doing, "al right"

The units in the way elevated regions (which are definitely tough to water-log) are also doing, "al right"

The units in the low-lying (& water-logged) regions are simply pathetic.

The units in the low-lying (& water-logged) regions are simply pathetic.

It is at this point in time that I observed the section of acrylic directly underneath the light source has the tendency to warp due to its close proximity & extended exposure to a heat source. On a particularly warm day, the consequent gap from the warping allows for an accelerated evaporation of excess water from the water-logged areas. Not a bad thing, as I was still procrastinating on how to reduce the water-logged regions.

Made an executive decision to deem the plight of the melting tufts (in the previously water-logged regions) as gone-case. I left them in to rot completely & act as compost for the substrate. Purchased another batch of HC (though this batch was grown on a slice of rock-wool) to plant over the melting tufts. I continue to use the powder-type Aqua Soil to bury the new batch of HC that I lain on top of the substrate. & this method continues to be effective.

A gap in the warped piece of acrylic allowed evaporation to take care of the flooded regions. Still didn't solve the shallow planting situation. A 2nd batch of HC are planted over the almost melted ones.

A gap in the warped piece of acrylic allowed evaporation to take care of the flooded regions. Still didn't solve the shallow planting situation. A 2nd batch of HC are planted over the almost melted ones.

More powder-type Aqua Soil is sprinkled over the entire plot of HC to ensure their roots have easy access to nutrients.

More powder-type Aqua Soil is sprinkled over the entire plot of HC to ensure their roots have easy access to nutrients.

The excess units from the 2nd batch of HC are planted on GEX "plant" soil in a simple plastic trough & left outdoors to flourish.

The excess units from the 2nd batch of HC are planted on GEX "plant" soil in a simple plastic trough & left outdoors to flourish.

The outdoor set is subjected to the "powder-type" treatment as well.

The outdoor set is subjected to the "powder-type" treatment as well.

Due to the excess leftover, I planted the remaining HC in a tub of GEX Plant soil & this “control” set will be left outdoors. The variables in this case will be:

  • lower substrate quality (also consider the lack of any form of substrate additives),
  • lack of a high-humidity environment,
  • higher average air temperature &
  • a more graduated source of natural light (as opposed to the sudden power-on & power-off of my indoor illumination)

Scheduled update – 23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

Tray of water added to increase the humidity

Tray of water added to increase the humidity

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

23th December 2011 ( Week #2 Day #6 )

Scheduled update – 1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

1st January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #1 )

Algae? Fungi? Spiders?  – 5th January 2011 ( Week #4 Day #5 )

Some unidentified organism is creating a web on a tuft of my HC

Some unidentified organism is creating a web on a tuft of my HC

Pretty much nothing’s going on  – 8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

8th January 2011 ( Week #5 Day #1 )

This marks the beginning of the 2nd month of my DSM implementation. I am disappointed that I did not observe as much spreading as I expected. The only up-side, is that the melting is not as much as I expected either. So, we are pretty much status quo over here.

More unpleasant-looking stuff  – 16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

16th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #2 )

Observe the creepy-looking greenish-blue colouration of certain areas of the soil. Not so charming, eh?

Observe the creepy-looking greenish-blue colouration of certain areas of the soil. Not so charming, eh?

The good news: there’s progress. Bad news? Progress has occurred in a negative direction. I believe a large-scale algae attack has been initiated on my substrate topsoil. In addition, I have no idea why a significant quantity of my lawn’s leaves are turning yellowish even though there has been no slacking in the misting routine.

Shiny shiny things

Shiny shiny things

Yes, there exists a catalogue for locally-traded plants

Yes, there exists a catalogue for locally-traded plants

Arcadia T5 Plant Pro tubes

Arcadia T5 Plant Pro tubes

Eheim Installation Set 1 & Set 2. For those who aren't fans of the company's typical green pipes.

Eheim Installation Set 1 & Set 2. For those who aren't fans of the company's typical green pipes.

I have cloaked the glass panels of the tank with a layer of reflective paper (with the reflective-side facing inwards) to capitalize on any spillover from my light fixture. This also resolves the issue of my room being too bright just from the tank’s illumination alone. In addition, although I thought I observed improved growth rate from the Osram daylight tubes, I feel like giving red-spectrum lights another shot. Went to the famous Nanyang Trading shop (a.k.a. Seaview) at Seletar Farmway & got myself a pair of Arcadia T5 Plant Pro tubes. I may rotate my choice of light spectrum on a bi-weekly basis, just to see what “sticks”. On a happier note: managed to secure non-green Eheim inlet & outlet kits that are compatible with my filter. Icing on the cake came in the form of a 3-piece modular rainbar, which means I can have off-axis outflow without any D.I.Y. drilling. Fantastic. Bought me a nice handbook of local aquarium plants too…muahaha…

Any way, I suppose I’m frustrated from the sub-par spreading of my DSM implementation. I should be retaining such conditions for another two months before flooding the tank (regardless of spreading results).

Inspired  – 17th January 2011 ( Week #6 Day #3 )

Copyright of all representations on this site that are related to this specific scape, belongs to Tom Barr at "The Barr Report"

Copyright of all representations on this site that are related to this specific scape, belongs to Tom Barr at "The Barr Report"

I have found exactly what I desire! A decent variety of species without being too overboard, the colours…the texture…the balance…I am going to do this…& then some…

N.B. This is NOT my tank.

Situation improving, albeit slightly? – 24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

24th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #1 )

Close-up of the most heavily infected area

Close-up of the most heavily infected area

What I have tried this past week: removing the acrylic cover permanently to further dry out excess water from the substrate. My peer has also suggested that the creepy-looking green stuff is cyanobacteria & it will do me good to eradicate them before flooding the tank. Coming up next will be shortlisting the non-carpeting plants that I wish to grow, & thinking of how to incorporate the beautiful scape above into my original design. With any luck, I just may be able to avoid churning out absolute rubbish. I have also been kept busy with a secondary project; that has also ran into some speed bumps. But that’s another tale for another day. Till then, HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR!

Scheduled update – 30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

30th January 2011 ( Week #7 Day #7 )

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Comments
  1. […] Aquascape-related content published in the format of individual posts as opposed to the original “Aquascape” single page that details the humble beginnings of my re-visit into an old hobby. Office tank version […]

  2. […] Aquascape-related content published in the format of individual posts as opposed to the original “Aquascape” single page that details the humble beginnings of my re-visit into an old hobby. 6th February 2011 ( Week #8 […]

  3. I have not tried this Dry start method but have grown carpets of HC Cuba in the same amount of time (sometimes faster) than the people using this method. Many times it’s the flooding that melts their carpet forcing them to start over.

    High Co2, Medium Light, Enriched substrate – That’s it.

    Even if you do have a carpet of HC Cuba, once flood, all the leafs convert to submerged growth, it takes nearly the same time as starting it under water.

    Barr’s tank is nice, but it’s nothing compare to what else is out there.

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