May '00 - Robert's 380 Liter Planted Tank.
There are basically two major aquascaping "schools" that can be followed when setting up a planted tank, both of which result in beautiful displays: the ocidental or Dutch Aquarium, obviously popularized by aquarists from Holland, and the oriental or Nature Aquarium, popularized by Takashi Amano. In the first style, plants are chosen and arranged in order to maximize the contrasts of size, color and shape, producing a powerful and stunning result. It's the kind of setup that you look at and immediately appreciate the talent of the person behind its creation. In the second style, plants are chosen and arranged in order to produce a pleasant, delicate and natural looking result, one that seems as if it's just always been there, with no human interference.
Obviously, when setting up your planted tank you don't have to go "pure" Dutch or "pure" Nature, and many times a mixture of both styles also produces a great result. That is the case (at least as I see it) of May's Tank of the Month. This beautiful aquarium belongs to my american net-friend Robert Hudson, who's been keeping fish for over 20 years and started getting into aquatic plants seriously about 3 years ago. He now has 10 planted aquariums, and owns a great website - Aqua Botanic - as well as a mail order plant business in the USA.
The tank has been running since 1997 and has gone through many changes since then. It holds 380 liters, has 370 W of lighting (330 W VHO, 40 W standard flourescent), and uses a Fluval 403 and a Magnum for filtration. The substrate is Seachem Flourite and Profile Aquatic Plant soil, mixed with a little gravel.
The plants include Anubias nana, Anubias 'coffeefolia', Java Fern,
Giant Hygro, Alternanthera roseafolia, Samolus parviflorus, Echinodorus tenellus, Lilaeopsis sp., Pearl Grass, Hygrophila difformis, Cardamine lyrata, Red Foxtail, Myriophyllum sp.,
Echinodorus uruguayensis and several Cryptocoryne. At the time of this picture, the fish included Siamese Algae Eaters, Curviceps, African Butterfly Cichlid, Bolivian Rams, Blue Rams, German Rams, Apistogrammas, Cory Cats and Angelfish. It currently has pressurized CO2 running during the day on the same timer as the lights, which run for 12 hours a day. And for fertilizer Bob uses Tropica Master Grow or Natural Gold.
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
Left Side Closeup
Photos taken by Robert Hudson and displayed here with his permission.