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Thread: "Passionately Curious"

  1. #1
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    "Passionately Curious"

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    I really want to learn more about Aquascaping and would like to share my journey here. All starts from the scratches of a beginner. Hopefully the journey will be fruitful.
    I am now sharing the posts from my blog here according to the time chronicle order and really hope to learn more from AQ's masters here.

    3 Feb 2016,


    I have done the research the last few weeks on various websites regarding "aqua-scaping". So far, I have found the several websites are very useful.

    • http://www.aquaticquotient.com: Well known forum about aquatic matters in Singapore. From this website, I have linked up to many interesting blogs that share a lot of valuable experience of setting up an aquarium.
    • http://www.urbanaquaria.com: Urban Aquaria is one of the best inspired blog that I have read through most of the posts and even comments in each post. I really like the way the blogger express his clear ideas and knowledge to readers. Thanks Urban Aquaria for sharing and inspires me to start my journey into aquascaping world.

    There are several online shop for aquascaping materials that I found very convenient to purchase, even I have not really started purchasing it. Currently, I have been only creating a list of necessaries and purchase plan.

    • http://www.eastoceansg.com: First online store that I explored because I was attracted by the package of whole fish tank, cabinet, canister fileter, CO2 system...etc. that they offer at SGD800. That is really tempted to click "Add to Cart" button. However, the more study, the more I would like to explore more on each items rather than one package, even though, it might be a cheaper option.
    • http://www.fishybusiness.com.sg: Very good response from this shop. Email shortly received after some queries sent. I am planning to visit the shop in the coming time since everything looks so great from their facebook page.
    • http://www.gcshop-sg.com: Seems like a good online store, I will plan to buy some from here since delivery will be free for purchase more than SGD150. For startup, I better save some money for the long run.
    • http://freshnmarine.com.sg: Haven't really tried to explore yet since I have overloaded with other websites's information. But I have seen a good thing that delivery will be free for purchase of more than SGD120. Will explore it in the next few days.
    • http://mizuworld.com/: Haven't explored at all.
    • https://sg.carousell.com/search/prod...uery=FISH+TANK: Really convenient to surf this site time to time on 2nd hand items. Frankly, my initial plan was just to purchase a second hand set for fun since my wife and my kid would like to have a fish tank. After reading and studying more from library as well as internet, I really want to try to explore this new hobby. Some of my friends have already "warned" me about the addiction it would bring. Nevertheless, I always like to try something I have never done before. And here come the plan for aquascaping.
    • http://www.craquarium.com.sg: Customized fish tank and cabinet.
    • http://aquafishtanks.com.sg: Customized fish tank and cabinet.


    Last but not least, Youtube is surely a great reference resource for newbie learning. I have been lucky to have chance to watch The Green Machine's channel at very first search. I am really inspired by the way they demonstrate aquascaping technique. I have been watching those videos for the last few days and really can feel my hands becomes very "itchy". Below is the link to their channel on Youtube.


    https://www.youtube.com/user/TheGreenMachineLtd

    2016-01-23%u00252B18.17.22-1.jpg

    I have borrowed some books from public library and I found "The Perfect Aquarium" by Jeremy Gay is very well written and useful for a beginner like me.



    Yes, those are for the first post. I will keep update the progress for myself reference on this blog regarding my new hobby - Aquascaping.

  2. #2
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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    4 February 2016

    Customized Cabinet

    Initially, I was thinking the fish tank can just be put on any kind of surface like table or side table. After some thoughts, I believe it would be better to take the "tank load" more seriously and I had a plan to just buy a rough iron rack to put the fish tank on. I had try to source for second hand rack on carousel website for that. However, it can be seen most of the 2nd hand rack are quite high, about more than 1m which I feel not really nice put it in the living room. Then I changed my mind to source for the cabinet instead. There are many options of fish tank cabinet on the market and the price is also quite attractive. However, the ready-made cabinets do not have the colour that match my woodwork furniture at home. So the only option is to order a custom-made cabinet.

    I have been sourcing around the internet and once again really inspired by the way Urban Aquaria arranged his cabinet:

    http://www.urbanaquaria.com/2014/09/...l#comment-form

    From there, I know that some suppliers do custom make the cabinet specially for fish tank. One of them is CR Aquarium. I contacted them for quotation and the price given is very reasonable, however, with additional special customized laminate, the price is quite high. Then I have sourced for another supplier which is Aqua Fishtanks (http://aquafishtanks.com.sg). The supplier's sale person is very responsive to all queries that I have sent and it really make me feel comfortable to deal with them. I have decided just to order a cabinet from them since the custom-made fish tank is quite expensive compared with ready-made on the market. Price wise is quite reasonable and I also decide to self-collect the item to save some delivery cost.

    Below is my sketch for the design and colour pattern to match the existing furniture. Due to factory closure during CNY, the cabinet only be expected to fabricate and deliver by the first or second week of March 2016. In the meantime, I will source for the other items and study more about aquascaping. For now, I really enjoy the process.

    Sketch of the cabinet




    Simple design with colours matching my current furniture


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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    16 Feb 2016,

    Tools & Equipment Hunting Game

    Projection of budget has been much expanded from my initial plan. Hence, I decided to source for 2nd hand tools and equipment online. Pretty fun the hunting game, but also quite tired sometimes going here and there to collect the items. After purchasing some items, quite good amount of money has been saved. OK, few stuffs that I got last week.

    I got an Ocean Free CO2 system from a member of AQ forum. The set looks pretty new as previous owner said he only used it for about a year. Well, it includes: Ocean Free CO2 cylinder (empty) + Solenoids Valve + Bubble Counter + CO2 atomizer (freebies).

    Ocean Free CO2 system looks pretty new.
    Brand new CO2 atomizer diffusers as freebies
    I have not tried or tested it yet because the CO2 cylinder is currently empty. I might need to find a place to re-fill or exchange the cylinder. I checked with Nature Aquarium and found out that they do 1-on-1 exchange of CO2 cylinder regardless the system bought from them or not, as long as it is the same type of cylinder. Alternative is a place in Boon Keng called Bioplast that do the CO2 re-fill, too. Hope all will be working well after re-filled.

    Another important item I purchased last week via Carousell was UP-Aqua Pro Z Series LED Light Z-20 (60cm). The light is in good condition with all LED works and nice outlook. Can't wait to try it on the tank.
    UP-Aqua Pro Z Series LED Light Z-20 (60cm)
    Testing the light, all of LED works
    Also, got some freebies from the lighting seller. I think it could be useful later, too.
    Small glass cup for plant with suctions. Might be nice to use later on.
    Reference solution for CO2 checker is also the one I need
    Last but not least was the Seachem Matrix Filter Media that purchase from Carousell as well. Quite a good deal for a brand new bottle.

    Seachem Matrix, bio-media filtration material

    That was all for last week shopping. This week I plan for some more items to be in. I didn't know that process should be this interesting. The more I read and learn, the more excited I am.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    18 February 2016,

    Equipment Shopping Journey


    Finally, I have gathered almost all important things this week.
    Tank and canister filter were ordered from Green Chapter and it was delivered to doorstep. Eheim Ecco Pro 300 (2036) and GUSH Crystal Garden 60M were chosen. Hopefully, I got the good choice.

    Eheim Ecco Pro 300 and GUSH Crystal Garden 60M
    I really enjoyed "un-boxed" the brand new Eheim canister filter. Since that should be the "lung" or "liver" of my future aquarium, it deserves to be brand new one, isn't it? Eheim Ecco Pro 300 package includes: Canister chamber, hose, inlet/outlet tube, suction cups, pre-filters (coarse blue foam, white fine foam and black charcoal foam), mechanical filter media (Eheim Mech Pro), bio filter media (2 packs: Eheim Substrat Pro and Eheim Bio Mech) and of course user manual.

    Eheim Ecco Pro 300 package
    Great feeling of unboxing
    I brought CO2 cylinder to Nature Aquarium today for 1-to-1 exchange. It is so convenient that way! Just one minute and you already have the new tank set to bring back home, so I guess no need to have another standby CO2 cylinder anymore. I also took the chance to buy many stuff today from Nature Aquarium since I found that the shop sells aquarium stuff at very reasonable price and definitely cheaper than online store that I have sourced so far. I will surely go back there for future equipment, tools or accessories.
    Accessories from Nature Aquarium

    Some stuff were purchased from Nature Aquarium:-
    - Amazonia Powder Soil (9L)
    - Seachem Prime
    - Seachem Excel
    - ISTA Snail Remover
    - Easy-Life AlgExit
    - Water Test Kit: pH, Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate
    - Tank Background
    - ANS CO2 tube

    I also found that some other stuff could be way much cheaper by purchasing from eBay, especially some glass or acrylic accessories. I have ordered VIV inlet/outlet pipe, CO2 drop checker and also set of curved tweezers & scissors. The only matter is delivery time will take quite long from 2-3 weeks. That does not really matter now since I am still waiting for the cabinet to be made. The supplier has sent me the sketch design after long CNY bream. Furthermore, I have more time to study about aquascaping before really hands-on on that.

    Sketch of cabinet from supplier
    For now, time to study about the design of my future aquarium.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    24 Feb 2016,

    24-Hour Timer Plug

    I have recently received an order of the 24-hour electric timer plugs that will be used for CO2 and lighting system. Those plugs were ordered from Qoo10 with cheaper price compared with market price.
    Three timers were ordered
    I test the automatic on/off function and it really works well. It is very easy to program and I can't wait to test it on my planted tank. Woo hoo! I am still studying about aquascaping design and also take some time choosing rock / driftwood for my future tank.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Nice good reference info as I am also in the process of starting a small tank. Any chiller planned?

    Sent from my LG-H961N using Tapatalk

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    I am not planning to use any chiller since my planted tank will not be tropical aquarium where most of plants and fishes will be OK with temperature range from 26-28 degrees C. Chiller I think might be needed for marine fish tank/reef tank where they need more chill down because of high light temperature.


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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    You have written down some very comprehensive detail of your experience, which would helped future beginner aquascaper. Thank you for sharing. Maybe I miss reading it but have you went down to the lfs you mentioned?
    If you've learnt, teach, if you have, give.
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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Quote Originally Posted by BFG View Post
    You have written down some very comprehensive detail of your experience, which would helped future beginner aquascaper. Thank you for sharing. Maybe I miss reading it but have you went down to the lfs you mentioned?
    Hi BFG,

    Thanks for your comment. I hope that my posts from the angle of a beginner are some how useful for other beginners, too.
    So far I have only been to Nature Aquarium to change CO2 cylinder and buy some accessories.
    I also went to PetMart at Serangoon North Ave 2 for some "window shopping".

    Other LFS like Fishy Business / Green Chapter...etc. I have not been to yet. I plan to go there sourcing for 1-2 Tropica plants in later stage.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Yeah, before starting on your setup, it'll be good to visit LFS like Green Chapter and Fishy Business to look at their fully aquascaped tanks. Spend some time looking at how they compose the layouts and enhance the scale perspectives (especially how they slope the substrate, alot of people tend to underestimate the amount of slope required).

    It'll help generate alot more ideas for how you want to aquascape your own tank.
    :: Urban Aquaria ::
    www.urbanaquaria.com

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Aquaria View Post
    Yeah, before starting on your setup, it'll be good to visit LFS like Green Chapter and Fishy Business to look at their fully aquascaped tanks. Spend some time looking at how they compose the layouts and enhance the scale perspectives (especially how they slope the substrate, alot of people tend to underestimate the amount of slope required).

    It'll help generate alot more ideas for how you want to aquascape your own tank.
    Thanks Urban Aquaria for your advice. I have followed your blogs and gained so much valuable knowledge from there. Really appreciate your sharing.
    I will go there to take a tour and hopefully can get some interesting ideas aquascaping work.

    Fortunately, thanks to Google Maps, the shop can be virtually visited from any PC, for example Green Chapter shop can be seen from here: So before going there, I would know where they store what. :P

    https://www.google.com.sg/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x31da1a891addc239:0x2a63fda8afeb1a88!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4s//plus.google.com/photos/photo/116108351695837767347/6113352535211425666!5sgreen+chapter+-+Google+Search&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6nZ_KqJzLAhVFt44KHal2BTQQoioIczAK


    BTW, I bought 9L of Amazonia Soil (Powder Type) and hopefully that should be sufficient for 2ft tank.
    Last edited by jackychun; 29th Feb 2016 at 14:57.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Another place I like to get my aquarium supplies from is Nature Aquarium. They are opposite Thomson Medical Centre.

    Pity Colorful aquarium is not there anymore because it was as the name suggested.
    Suckerfish no eat poo poo.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Quote Originally Posted by bryan View Post
    Another place I like to get my aquarium supplies from is Nature Aquarium. They are opposite Thomson Medical Centre.

    Pity Colorful aquarium is not there anymore because it was as the name suggested.
    Yes, Bryan. I have been to Nature Aquarium to exchange my CO2 cylinder and really impressive with their price. I definitely go there again to shop for stuff.

    And what a pity to hear about Pity Colorful Shop. I did not have chance to see them.


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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Driftwood and Stones

    There comes the time for sourcing for driftwood and stones, the "spirit" of an aquarium and especially the planted aquarium.
    Personally, I don't really like the idea of the fake driftwood or artificial ornaments since it would not look natural. I like seeing the unique of each piece of driftwood and stone and imagine how Mother Nature created its texture and shape through out the years. The next step was to source for the nice driftwood and stones. It can be seen driftwood and stone that are sold in the shop in Singapore Local Fish Shop (LFS) are quite expensive. For the good looking piece of driftwood would cost S$20-30 and every kilogram of stone would cost you about S$5. So the budget for those "aquarium spirit" would be quite high and I would have a big hole in a pocket after getting those.

    Recently, I had chance to travel to Johor Bahru (JB) where my friend lives. I asked him to bring me to some local fish shop in JB so that I can "see see look look" and who knows I can get some good piece of driftwood. He brought me to the LFS nearby his living place at Tun Aminah area. There are 2 shops next to each other at that location. The shops look not shiny bright like the shops in Singapore and do not have many high tech equipment but basically good enough for the fish supply. I was so happy seeing them selling also driftwood there. It took me at least half an hour just to choose some pieces that I really like.
    One of the piece that I really like since it has many void and hole for fishes/shrimps to play "hide and seek"
    Some caving ideas should be interesting here
    The shops at Tun Aminah do sell some pebbles but not big size stones. So, my friend brought me to a plant nursery nearby to choose some stones. The plant nursery does not have many choices of stones for me to choose. They only have some small stock at the corner of the yard, where I need to practice some physical work to find my favourite stones in size and colour. Finally, after another 20 mins, I could collect all the stones that I need.

    Chosen pieces of driftwood and stones after few hours shopping
    I am now very satisfied with the shopping time in JB where driftwood and stones were purchased. Last but not least, the price was surprisingly much cheaper than Singapore's price. It is time to think about some aquascaping ideas with what I have on hand. Very excited now since it is very close to the day I can get my sleeves wet.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Background For Aquarium

    I have decided to have a background for my planted tank after some reluctance. On one hand, I would like to see the transparent beautiful tank. On the other hand, some reference book said it would be better to have a tank background so that the fish can feel secure. Furthermore, the background can cover those piping and wiring behind the tank and makes it look better.

    I chose simple black Oyama background to create good contrast for the plants and fishes later on. In order to have background properly pasted, I followed a guideline from a good Youtube video below to complete the background setup.

    https://youtu.be/j9nWuvMadjA

    The good trick is to spray solution of water with 1 drop of dishwasher to the sticker so that it will not so sticky and easy to adjust while pasting.

    Tools are ready for background setup.
    Using a card to squeeze the air trap out
    Waiting for the background to be dried and settled first
    I will leave the background to dried up and stick properly to the tank first before trimming the excessive part off. Trimming is easier than I though, just use very sharp penknife to slide the excessive protruded sticker along the tank side.

    Slide the penknife against the edge of the tank to trim the excessive sticker off
    Put the tank in this position with background on top will be easier to paste the background.
    However, need to check the air bubble inside carefully and use the card to squeeze the bubbles out.

    Tada! Background installation done!
    Overall, I am quite happy with the background installation. A pat on my shoulder for the work well done.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    book marked!
    im a beginner myself.. great effort great info!
    Ludwigia glandulosa / Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini' / Rotala wallichii / Cyperus Rotundus / Rotala Sp. Sunset / Rotala Sp. Green

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Quote Originally Posted by exo View Post
    book marked!
    im a beginner myself.. great effort great info!
    Thanks exo. Great to know that is useful for you.

    I have some questions would like to ask our "sifu" here for clarification:

    1) Is this really necessary to use additives (e.g. PenacP, PenacW, ADA Clear Super, ADA Bacteria 100...etc.) during setup time? Or just ADA Amazonia soil is good enough?
    2) Are there any more affordable additives that can be replaced those high-end expensive ADA additives?
    3) How to prevent substrate to be anaerobic in the future? In case the substrate becomes anaerobic what should we do?
    4) What is the best hours to turn on the light and CO2 solenoids valve? Since I am only at home during evening time, so the time to enjoy the aquarium is night time, should I turn on the light during that time? And is that affect the tank routine?
    5) I will place the tank not at direct sunlight, however, the room is quite bright. So, do I need to cover the tank with kind of "blind curtain" during day time? So that they will only do the photosynthesis by lighting from my LED light. I am afraid the bright room during day time will increase the chance for algae to develop.

    Really appreciate your answers. Thank you.

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Jacky, mind sharing the price of cabinet and items you got from NA through PM(i think my forum status prevents me from PMing).
    Currently im still in the sourcing stage, unlike you.. i only settled on a used CO2 tank with solenoid. i think once i settled for my cabinet the rest of the items should fall in place seamlessly and rapidly.
    btw I bet your spanking new eheim smells great out of the box..

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    u might want to consider getting a API master kit if you wanna know the parameters of your tank(ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) - this was advised to me by sifus here... its not a must, but good to have item

    as advised by sifu DreamerX5521 and others its to know, if your tank has been fully cycled and ready for livestock addition and also useful if you wanna keep those beautiful shrimps in future.

    For your ref: http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum...ted-intentions

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    Re: "Passionately Curious"

    Some inputs...

    Quote Originally Posted by jackychun View Post
    1) Is this really necessary to use additives (e.g. PenacP, PenacW, ADA Clear Super, ADA Bacteria 100...etc.) during setup time? Or just ADA Amazonia soil is good enough?
    Those additives are mostly optional items, while they do help improve the soil characteristics and overall tank condition, the question of how much improvement is probably open to debate.

    It all depends on your budget, if you have the funds to get them, then its good to follow the ADA additive layout recommendations.

    If not, its still okay, most planted tank keepers successfully use just ADA Amazonia aquasoil on its own too.


    Quote Originally Posted by jackychun View Post
    2) Are there any more affordable additives that can be replaced those high-end expensive ADA additives?
    You could also look at base additives from other brands like Tropica, Dennerle, JBL etc. They can offer various benefits and enhancements to the aquasoil layer too.

    Some people also use bacteria powder cultures like Mosura BT-9 as the base additive (its meant for shrimp tanks but can work for planted tanks too). I've even seen people DIY additives by mixing crushed lava rocks and their own mixture of powder fertilizers as the base layer. You'll have to read up on those methods to see if it suits your requirements.


    Quote Originally Posted by jackychun View Post
    3) How to prevent substrate to be anaerobic in the future? In case the substrate becomes anaerobic what should we do?
    If you have a planted tank with rooted plants, the healthy plant root structures will usually help keep the soil well oxygenated.

    But if you don't plan to have much rooted plants (or no rooted plants at all), then do consider just using a thin layer of soil. That will help to improve circulation in the soil and avoid anaerobic conditions.

    If you need to have a thick layer of soil due to certain aquascaping layouts and anaerobic conditions do appear (ie. bottom layers in the substrate start to turn black and gas bubbles start to form), then just regularly poke and stir the substrate during tank maintenance to help loosen and aerate the soil.


    Quote Originally Posted by jackychun View Post
    4) What is the best hours to turn on the light and CO2 solenoids valve? Since I am only at home during evening time, so the time to enjoy the aquarium is night time, should I turn on the light during that time? And is that affect the tank routine?
    Its usually better to follow daylight timings when scheduling your light photo-period (ie. morning to afternoon)... but if you want to view your tank through the evenings, its okay to schedule it to start later in the afternoon and end at night time instead.

    For Co2 injection, most people will program their timers to run on a staggered schedule, for example to switch on 1 hour before lights on (to build up the Co2 levels beforehand) and then switch off 1 hour before lights off (so that all the remaining Co2 can be used up). The actual start and stop timing can be adjusted according to your requirements, it doesn't have to be 1 hour, can be shorter or longer amounts of time. You just have to monitor the Co2 drop checker and adjust the timings to see what schedule works best for your setup.


    Quote Originally Posted by jackychun View Post
    5) I will place the tank not at direct sunlight, however, the room is quite bright. So, do I need to cover the tank with kind of "blind curtain" during day time? So that they will only do the photosynthesis by lighting from my LED light. I am afraid the bright room during day time will increase the chance for algae to develop.
    Depending on the amount of ambient light in your room, if you find that there is too much extra light exposure during daytime and algae seems to be developing more on one side of the tank (usually the side getting more light nearest to the window), then you could look into drawing the window curtains during daytime or place a partition to block the additional light.
    Last edited by Urban Aquaria; 2nd Mar 2016 at 01:56.
    :: Urban Aquaria ::
    www.urbanaquaria.com

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