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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


Passion is a funny thing. Purpose even more so.

To think, the last time I put together an aquascape, I was proud to rock an iPhone 4s. I also felt as if I was on top of the planted aquarium world.

But, out of nowhere it came crashing to a halt suddenly, right as I was on the cusp of owning my own aquarium company, life took a left turn and squashed that ambition.

With it, my heart was torn apart by the thing I loved most: aquascaping.

It took six years, but in the end, the call was irresistible. In the end, the pure love for an art, wins out.

This is the start. I invite you along with me on this new journey. Along the way, I'll share my weird, strange trip and the revelations it brought to the layout. I won't be sharing specifics about equipment. I will share specifics about techniques, and I will share specifics about what kind of equipment you should invest in for your own setups. But this isn't about techniques or about equipment, it's about the journey, the story and the love of aquascaping.

Til the next update:

 

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Passion is a funny thing. Purpose even more so.

To think, the last time I put together an aquascape, I was proud to rock an iPhone 4s. I also felt as if I was on top of the planted aquarium world.

But, out of nowhere it came crashing to a halt suddenly, right as I was on the cusp of owning my own aquarium company, life took a left turn and squashed that ambition.

With it, my heart was torn apart by the thing I loved most: aquascaping.

It took six years, but in the end, the call was irresistible. In the end, the pure love for an art, wins out.

This is the start. I invite you along with me on this new journey. Along the way, I'll share my weird, strange trip and the revelations it brought to the layout. I won't be sharing specifics about equipment. I will share specifics about techniques, and I will share specifics about what kind of equipment you should invest in for your own setups. But this isn't about techniques or about equipment, it's about the journey, the story and the love of aquascaping.

Til the next update:

Look forward to updates of your aquascaping journey. I, myself, have no aptitude for it; but, I live vicariously through the journals of others. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One of the most impactful memories for me in aquascaping was back in Japan in 2012.

At the time, the Sumida aquarium had just opened up for the first time, and I had the opportunity to spend time with Takashi Amano. I was up there, in the hidden areas of the ADA headquarters, back past where all the photography-magic happened and on top of the gallery, in Amano's office, talking aquascapes.

Like many others, Amano had inspired me to take planted aquariums seriously and to view them in a different way. For me, to be in his office and him looking over my body of work and giving advice and feedback was a bit of a dream. I remember, he had looked over my latest entry into the IAPLC - a 5 gallon aquarium that managed to rank #125 worldwide, the highest of any small aquarium (it gets tough when you're going toe-to-toe with mostly large aquariums), and said simply "You have a very good eye for wabi sabi. This is very good, I have no suggestion for improvement here."

Remembering back to that aquarium, I wanted my first one back after 6 years to be something special, to both honor the aquarium that had inspired me to love Iwagumi to begin with (from Mr. Amano back in 2008), and could improve upon that little 5 gallon by having it in a larger, 24 inch / 60 cm setup.



After planting



We have water!!!

Plant List:
Foreground: Hemianthus Callicthroides, Riccia Fluitans
Midground: Glossostigma, E. Tennellus
Background: Eleocharis Vivipara

Discusluv said:
Look forward to updates of your aquascaping journey. I, myself, have no aptitude for it; but, I live vicariously through the journals of others.
I've seen some of your Discus pictures! Some phenomenal coloration there. I look forward to you coming along!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I remember that mini m from back in the day! haha

Noticed you got your hands on a Superior eh?
Hi Zeldar! long time! How's the tanks going?

I did! Have had it in storage for a long time. It is a pretty unique.
 

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Still have the 60P I bought from you up and running!

How did you have the patience to keep it in storage?! I would have that bad boy out for display even if it was empty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day one, when it doesn't appear much has changed, much has changed underneath the surface. I often wonder, when the ecosystem of a new planted tank is getting established what must be happening on a microscopic level. A mad dash for new territory by bacteria? Larger plants getting adjusted and trying to survive?

Amazing to think of what's happening on the level we can't see or comprehend.

And yet, it looks the exact same as it did before to our eyes.



And so, daily water changes begins.



Still have the 60P I bought from you up and running!

How did you have the patience to keep it in storage?! I would have that bad boy out for display even if it was empty.
Well! at the time I had no desire, so it was kind of an out of sight, out of mind type ordeal!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice traditional iwagumi with traditional plant set!

Is there are reason your pics are so dark?
Yes - I'm taking photos without the light on top being on / placed. So experimenting with lighting from behind camera and behind tank vs. on top. I feel like it worked to make the hardscape only picture more dramatic! But adjusting for other pictures now.
 

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Yes - I'm taking photos without the light on top being on / placed. So experimenting with lighting from behind camera and behind tank vs. on top. I feel like it worked to make the hardscape only picture more dramatic! But adjusting for other pictures now.
Ok, I thought you were being a big tease :laugh2:

OK, it seemed to work without water, but water changes everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's funny how with plants things seem to grow at a crawl, and then all of a sudden there's an explosion of growth. As if you blinked and you missed it all.

End of Week 1:



Then the boom of growth two days later:



Also, adding Amano's for preventative maintenance.

A note about water:

Traditionally, my water change scheme followed this schedule: once a day for the first week, every 2nd day 2nd week, every 3rd day third week and then once a week there after.

However, I find that overall all problems in planted tanks can be fixed with mastery of water. With cleaner water, with dedicated water changes. This tank so far has had a daily water change every day even past the first week and into today (which is technically in week 3).

I came to this conclusion for a dedication to water changing on this pace for a couple reasons.

1) in the wild, water moves at such huge volumes and at such huge rates that it's basically a 24/7 water change in the environment. No matter how great or large our enclosed setups get, they will never self replicate this system.

2) The system is most vulnerable when the ecosystem is getting established. When plants are getting established, rooting and growing is the highest chance for huge algae outbreaks because the ecosystem simply can't deal with it.

3) It doesn't take a lot of time and we won't be doing it daily forever.

4) Even if the water looks clear, when you get it in the bucket you can see a green tinge to it, I'll take a picture later. So even if you can't see activity in the water, it's happening.

5) An ounce of prevention is 1000% better than having to deal with the problem of algae over and over. Once it starts it's a pain to get it under control.


Edit to note: The Amano's in the bag came from a fish store with tons of algae everywhere, so very likely I've just imported some algae. That'll be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tanks looking good!

I agree with everything you said about the preventive water changes. I've been preaching that for a long time. Once you see the algae it's much harder to deal with it.

How much has the Seiryu changed your water parameters? I guess with daily water changes it's been marginalized.
It is not Seiryu stone, this is a unique stone that I found while hiking deep up in the mountains in the middle of last winter (while carefully avoiding being spotted / aggravating a moose) and carted down the mountain with a bunch of it, which was also equally heavy.

It is not showing amazingly on the main stone but there are hues of maroon, brown and black / grayish.

It does not affect water hardness, it's inert.

I suppose that means I get the honor of naming the stone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

3 Weeks old - the Full Tank Shot.

There's been a few realizations I've had while away from the hobby and doing deeper studies.

Those realizations that in the West, or maybe just as people in general, we tend to over do things. We put too much, do too much, add too much.

This tank hasn't had any algae - not even a spec of diatoms with perfectly clear water. The method has been to do a small water change (~15%) every day - about 3-4 gallons worth give or take out of 17. Takes 5-10 minutes.

No RO water, just tap. Water on the harder side.

No supremely high co2 dosage - just slightly less than 1 bpm.

No fancy filter media - just some bamboo charcoal and a sponge.

No intensive fertilizer regime - just some potassium and supplemental iron and N/P in small dosages (slightly increasing).

Side by side to it, there's another, smaller tank growing about 1 week behind with the same regime. No issues.

There's a lesson there - you don't need to go super-intensive with your formulas. You don't have to math the [censored][censored][censored][censored] out of it. You don't have to go nuts. Get some good soil, do a small daily water change when the ecosystem is being established and you get no problems.

The aquatic environments that these plants grow in naturally have a virtual 24/7 water change - our small closed systems even if they're 1000 gallons can't compare, and won't self sustain. So refresh the water.

Refresh the water and the rest will take care of itself.

I break it down into three categories:

The way of water (mizudo, because saying it in another language makes it cooler).

The way of plants (kusakido).

The way of fish (sakanado).

Said another way, Mastery of Water. Mastery of Plants. Mastery of Fish. Master the three elements and you'll have a fantastic setup. Neglect one and you won't achieve something breathtaking.

First comes Water Quality > Then Plant Health > Then Fish.

Quality water means your plants will grow vibrantly. Vibrant plants means the fish will be healthy.

Without quality water you'll get none. With vibrant plants but bad water, fish will struggle. With just healthy fish but incorrect water plants will struggle.
 

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I am returning to keeping aquariums and completely new to planted tanks (I used to keep cichlids, so nothing beyond the occasional anubias). I truly am enjoying the introspective documentary you are providing us through this journal. Thank you so much, and I look forward to your next entry.

Lisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am returning to keeping aquariums and completely new to planted tanks (I used to keep cichlids, so nothing beyond the occasional anubias). I truly am enjoying the introspective documentary you are providing us through this journal. Thank you so much, and I look forward to your next entry.

Lisa
I'm glad the introspective is valuable for you! Now that it's on month 2 and every-other-day water changes, we've got a little algae. :surprise: We'll see the scope of it soon!
 

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very nice and simple aquascape. loved it. how many fish are there?
I am in the fence on how many rasbora hengeli I will put on my 60p tank that only houses 10 RCS.
 
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