In the midst of doing some early maintenance in the gallery today, it occurred to me that there's never really any coverage of galleries while they are growing out: just of each individual tank once they've become perfect for that moment. To be honest, it's something I had forgotten about myself, the aura of exclusive tight-lipped exposure from any ADA affiliate about any planted aquarium or display.
The fact is, there's probably a lot that gets missed in casual observance through out the course of growing out a particular aquarium to this mysticism that surrounds the art. The result is that every now and again you get a glimpse of the spaces but never full exposure or the stories that each tank tells.
Truth be told - every aquarium and especially every planted aquarium has mood swings and shifts; highs and lows, so on and so forth.
So, I've decided that while taking care of the gallery, might as well show the processes and techniques I use to grow it out, and what better starting point than now? We just set up two of our three displays, and in the coming months (mostly with the next container shipment) we'll be 3-4 more.
Without further ado:
ADA/ADG Gallery 1:
Aquarium: Cube Garden 180-P (72"x24"x24")
Filtration: Super Jet ES-2400
Lighting: Grand Solar I x3
Co2: ADA Speed Regulator driven 10 lb cylinder, Pollen Glass Beetle 50
Substrate System: New! Amazonia 9L bags x15, Power Sand Special L 18L, Bacter 100 x2, Tourmaline BC x2, Clear Super x2, Penac P, Penac W.
Lighting Period: 10 hours (6 hours Metal Halide "Noon burst", 10 hours Compact Fluorescent).
Setup Date: 11/19/2011
Collaboration between Mike Senske, Luis Navarro and Frank Wazeter.
ADA / ADG Gallery 2
Aquarium: Cube Garden 60-P (24"x12"x14")
Filtration: Super Jet ES-600
Lighting: Solar I
Co2: ADA Co2 Advanced System / System 74-YA, Pollen Glass Type 3
Substrate System: New! Amazonia 9L bag x1, 3L bag x1, Powder Type 3L bag x1, Power Sand Special S 2L, Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC, Penac P, Penac W.
Lighting Period: 10 hours
Setup Date: 05/31/2011
Collaboration between Jeff Senske and Frank Wazeter.
This layout has been up a while now and has actually cycled through a few phases, from overgrown to trimmed back down (I just trimmed the layout down to the very base of the soil two weeks ago), in this case if you don't trim down the aquarium, the hair grass chokes itself out and you lose the 'perfect' moment, as well as force the system out of balance - and when the system goes out of balance you start getting algae appearing. Green Dust Algae is kind of a first warning response telling you "hey, there is something wrong, fix it" when GDA appears within 24-48 hours of a water change of 50%, then your layout is out of balance, and this 60-P, due to it's minimalist nature always, always emphasizes it.
60-P in August, right before getting 'overgrown,' you can see some of the older growth in the middle where it is dark 'green,' compared to the light green of the newer growth.
The challenge of the iwagumi is not only in the layout, but proper execution of balancing the plants and keeping the plants free of algae - to keep them "shimmering," in appearance. When plants are old they get tired and dull and don't pop. This is why the art of trimming is as important to the layout as the deployment of the initial stone. This aquarium has had many ebbs and flows!
60-P How To Video and Setup 1
60-P How To Video and Setup 2
ADA / ADG Gallery 3
Aquarium: Cube Garden Mini M
Filtration: Eheim 2211
Lighting: Solar Mini M
Co2: ADA Co2 Advanced System / System 74-YA, Pollen Glass Mini
Substrate System: New! Amazonia Powder Type 3L, Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC, Penac W, Penac P.
Lighting Period: 10 hours
Setup Date: 11/20/2011
Aquascape by Frank Wazeter
The Mini M was laying dormant, but we had plants for the 180-P so at the very last minute, while we still had a bunch of left-over plants from the 180, it was decided to set up the nano as well. The driftwood used here is somewhat special: it is part of a set from the original driftwood that Takashi Amano himself brought over to the USA in 2004 for a demonstration.
Consequently - the layout should reflect and honor that origin, which is why when looking at the layout it is more a semblance of larger Amano works than it is uniquely creative.
When planting a carpet plant - in this case Marsilea Minuta, sub divide into even groups and plant accordingly, this makes for a more even carpet and helps for a quick spreading carpet. There is about two to three of these styrofoam plates full planted in this aquarium.
Fine tipped pincettes are best for planting - in this case Small Size pincettes for carpet plants. The fine tip allows for you to release the plant in the soil, and remove the pincettes without 'dragging' the plant with you, or uprooting more soil than necessary.
The Mini M fully planted.