Sunday, December 7, 2008

Using colored posters as lighted aquarium background

I promised to share the details of this technique during my previous post but didnt manage to do it as I am too busy. There are generally 2 methods to create a background. One is to use a permanent background. Most people use a type of sticky colored waterproof film. The film is then permanently adhered to the back of the tank. This method doesnt enable the flexibility of changing the color of the background and there is no way to illuminate this background.

I chose method 2 which uses colored paper for background. These papers can be removed, replaced and changed anytime according to the effects and needs. The paper can be placed about 4 - 6" from the back of the tank. A fluorescent tube can also be added at the top of the tank, in between the tank and the colored paper to illuminate the background. An additional fluorescent tube can be placed at the bottom of the tank in between the tank and the colored paper if the background illumination is not uniform.

Diagram of setupAn orange background to create a sunrise effect.A blue background to create a blue sky
A white background to create a clear skyThese changes can be made within minutes and you can see the different effects almost immediately. The colored posters can be purchase from any stationary shops and there are a wide range of colors and tones to choose from.

Try it and let me know if you have any other recommendations to improve the setup.

AGA contest 2008

Competition tank for AGA aquacaping 2008. Last contest before it is being tore down. Adios my tank!

"Sunnygrassland" - AGA aquascaping 2008

Looking for inspiration!!!!

I tore down "Sunny grassland" in Nov. I cant bear to tear down the aquascape I did but I need the tank for my 2009 IAPLC so I guess I have no choice till I have a new tank. That is the end of my 2008 aquascape after it is rank #228 in the IAPLC and it got featured in the aquascaping world magazine.

I plan to start my new scape latest by Dec. Struggle for 1-2 months without good ideas and I didnt know what exactly I wanted to do. Got some idea in Nov but due to my hectic schedule, didnt really have a chance to do it.

I have been busy for the past weeks as I went for two family trips to Batam and Phuket. Both places are nice and has a lot of nature landscapes especially Phuket where there are beautiful and clear seas, lots of mountains and interesting places. I need to thank Sam for bringing us to many nice & interesting places in Phuket.
These inspiration will be great for my tank aquascaping but it is too late to implement them for 2009. These new inspiration will probably help me in the 2010 IAPLC.

I am going to embark on my new scape for the 2009 IAPLC. Initially, I have 2 concepts but I didnt manage to get materials for one of the concepts so I guess I have no choice but to eliminate it.

I did a preliminary layout yesterday in my tank and I am ready to start. I spend a few hours cleaning up my filtration system, chillers and pipings. I also manage to tied my driftwood with plants. I still lack 1-2 plants but I guess I am going to go ahead with my aquascape 1st before I make minor additions later.

I will be setting up my tank tomorrow. I promise Rastaman that I will do a journal and step by step layout to share with everyone. Stay tune!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Using colored posters as lighted aquarium background

Some aquascapers usually stick black, blue or white colors paper on the back of their tank to create a black, blue or white effect. However, using this method lacks the flexibility which doesn't allow one to change their background as and when they like. Personally, I prefer use different colored paper to create different lighting effect. However, I do not stick the color paper on my tank wall. Instead, I leave a distance between the tank wall and the colored paper. In between the tank wall and the colored paper, I inserted a fluorescent light tube to provide brightness. By doing this, I can change my background color anytime.

I have done this on "Sunny Grassland". I have used white, blue and orange background. I will attached a diagram or picture shortly so that I can explain my concept clearly..

Stay tune.........

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Aquascaping focal point

Before we start our aquascaping, we need to consider placing our focal point at the area where it will draw the viewer's attention. The focal point is the 1st thing to grab the view's attention before he or she look at other things in the aquarium. The aquascpaing focal point might be a rock, wood or even a plant. The focal point placement could follow the "golden ratio" or the "Nine square rule".

The main focal point for "Sunnygrassland" is the largest Okho rock (main stone) located on 1/3 of the aquarium. As the length of my aquarium is 45cm, 1/3 of the aquarium is about 15cm.

I have sub-divide my aquarium into 3 segments in the horizontal and vertical axis forming a total of 9 boxes. One can place their focal object on any of the 4 intersection points which I indicated in blue circles. In my case, I have placed my main stone on 1 of the stated location.

More details can be found in the following links:

1) Golden ratio
2) Nine square rule

Monday, September 8, 2008

Getting nice rocks in Singapore

I always have the impression that getting nice rocks for Iwagumi in Singapore is a pain as there are not enough nice rocks around. I am one of those who keep blaming lousy and insufficient rocks supply.

After talking to a few aquascapers, I realized a lot of people are facing the same problem. Some of my friends in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia or even Croatia told me about their difficulties. The following are some ways to acquire nice rocks in Singapore: -

1) Buy a lot of rocks (20-30kg) and choose the best from the batch.

2) Buy nice rocks or rocks with great features as soon as you see it. Keep it and when you have enough or those, bring them out to do your Iwagumi

3) Pick from river banks or hills

4) Shipped from overseas. Maybe in countries where there are surplus rocks

5) Buy from nurseries. One of my friend told me people in landscapes use a lot of Seriyu stones. I cannot confirm this. Personally I have not seen them

Anyone have any good suggestions about acquiring nice rocks? Post your comments here

Friday, September 5, 2008

Results for the 2008 International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest is out!!

The results for the 2008 International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest is out! Hong Kong produces another "Grand Champion" this year. As usual, aquascapers from Hong Kong and Japan did very well.

This year is my 1st entry for the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest. I am ranked #228 out of 1170. I am surprise, yet happy as there are a lot of good great work. I hope I can improve and do better next year.

I have learn a lot from fellow aquascapers (Barry, Justin, Maurice, Thio, Vincent, Stan, 503T, Koji and Antonio). It's a pity I can't attend the Nature aquarium party 2008 in Japan. Hope Thio and Vincent will bring some goodies back..

Thursday, September 4, 2008

ADA AP-1 fish food

According to ADA's website, FISH FOOD AP Series contains richer nutrients and suits the taste of fish. This avoids the deterioration of water condition caused by leftovers food and fish waste. With this advantage, one can feed without worrying about algae appearance.

I am pretty reluctant to try it at fish as I have been using Tetra Color Pro. My friend pass me some samples of this fish food thus I don't mind giving it a try. After trying for a week, I realized that this fish food does not create a layer of oil in my water surface like other fish food. In addition, since AP1 is available in a smaller package compared to Tetra Color Pro, it is pretty ideal for my tank as I have less than 20 small fishes.

Monday, September 1, 2008

ADA power sand special s

Power sand special comprises of porous volcanic stones to ensure proper water circulation and organic materials including fertile peat to provide rich nutrients to aquatic plant roots. It provides an ideal conditions for bacterial activity and development of plant roots.

This sand provides lots of nutrients to plants such as Echinodorus or Cryptocoryne specieswhich tends to absorb nutrients through root their systems and depends largely on the amount of nutrients within the substrate. Unlike regular Power Sand, the Power Sand SPECIAL provides more minerals and nutrients to the substrate and it also contains Bacter 100 and Clear Super.

I used ADA power sand special s under my ADA Amazonia II and I experience my E. Tenellus spreading and growing very fast. I tried to keep them low & small by supplying high lights but is unsuccessful. I wonder whether it could be due to my over fertile substrate.

Crystal red shrimps (CRS)

Mr. Hisayasu Suzuki of Japan discovered a red form of Caridina sp. among the usual black versions in 1996. He named this red mutation version of the bee shrimps as "crystal red shrimps". Breeders all around the world try to breed crystal red shrimps with a larger patch of white and more intense red.

These beautiful shrimps will grow up to 2.5cm in length and prefers to live in tank where the temperatures is not more than 27degC. My friend, Kent, is a breeder of crystal red shrimps and has a lot of knowledge in keeping them. He told me crystal red shrimps will breed if the water temperature is less than 25degC and the water condition is good.

A couple of months back, he gave me more than 10 crystal red shrimps and to my surprise, I found about 15 shrimplets in my tank last month. By chance, a pair of my crystal red shrimps manage to breed. It is fun to see such cute little crystal red shrimplets. They indirectly delay my plan to setup a new aquascape as I cannot tear down my tank now.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maintaining my tank water at 25°C

It is pretty difficult to maintain the tank water at around 25°C as Singapore is pretty hot throughout the year. Therefore some aquascapers in Singapore use chiller to cool their tank water.

I uses the Hailea HC-130 chiller to cool my tank water. This China-made chiller is pretty reasonable priced and it is 1/3 the price of the European made chillers. I am rather satisfied with the performance except it is slightly noisier than the European made ones.

My tank filter, Eheim Ecco 2234

The Eheim Ecco 2234 helps in keeping the water condition in my tank. This filter has 3 individual compartments to store various types of filter media. This filter is small, reliable and the power consumption is only 5W. It has a filter output of 500 liters/ hour. I have inserted the following filter media for mechanical and biological filtration: -

Layer 1 (Top) = ADA Palm Net
Layer 2 = Eheim Substrate Pro
Layer 3 (Bottom) = Eheim Coarse Filter Foam Pad (Blue)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ADA cube garden 45-P

I am using this high clarity German made tank for my aquascaping. This 45 x 27 x 30cm ADA cube garden is made of 4mm high quality glass and sealed with high tech silicone. There is no better tank to view the brilliance of our planted aquariums

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Aquascaping world magazine interview

I feel honored that Aquscaping world magazine have selected to feature Sunny Grassland in their August 2008 issue. Inside the interview, I shared my personal experience about Singapore aquascaping and how to create various background effects using colored posters. Aquascapers can see how simple it is to create different effects such as sunrise & blue sky effect.

Read more about Sunny Grassland here.