April '03 - Gianmarco Bertaccini's 100 L Nature Aquarium. (Brazil)
This month, once again I have the pleasure of featuring a tank owned by a personal friend. I first met Brazilian aquarist Gianmarco Bertaccini online, through the site itself. He was one of the first to buy some plants from me by mail about 3 years ago, when I was still living in Brazil and started to ship cuttings from my tanks to whomever was interested. Later on we met personally and, together with Alex Kawazaki, Fábio Yamaoka and my wife Raquel, we held the first of a series of meetings which nowadays gather dozens of fishkeepers throughout the country to show off or trade aquatic plants, fish, books, experiences and more. In these past few years Gian has been one of the greatest names behind the evolution and popularization of aquascaping in Brazil, he is a hobbyist of rare talent and dedication, and deserves much more recognition than this simple page can offer. Thanks Gian! I now pass the word to him:
"This setup is one year old now. The final layout was accomplished several months earlier, but I was changing and experimenting which stem plants would look better. I was not satisfied in the beginning because this tank is a bit hard to aquascape, due to its limited width of 30 cm, which makes it hard to aquascape in all three main layers: front, middle and rear. It is not impossible to aquascape a tank this narrow, single-plant species or two-layer layouts suit tanks like this nicely, but the layout I chose does not. For a three layer layout it´s better to choose tanks between 40 to 60 cm wide, you will have many more options for aquascaping and it will look more pleasant afterwards. The tip is to always try to visualize the layout before you put your hands on it, this way you can adjust the layout to your tank or go after a tank that suits the layout you have in mind."
"Another deficiency resulting from the narrow width of the tank is the limited space available for installation of more fluorescent bulbs. The Glossostigmas don't stay as carpets here all the time, they tend to stretch upwards easily, which I could avoid with the addition of more bulbs, but there's just not enough room. Also, as the rear plants grow they naturally create shadows. In a narrow tank, these constant shadows hinder the growth of the carpet plants, which doesn't happen as much in wider tanks. The Anubias are tied individually to small pieces of rock or driftwood, which then rest on the larger piece of wood, positioned in such a way as to give a slope effect. On the larger piece of wood there's a huge bundle of Microsorum pteropus and on the upper right end there's another Fern, Microsorum sp. ‘narrow’. I was concerned that the shadow from this bundle would prevent the spreading of Glossostigma below it, but apparently it didn't turn out that bad. I just don't let the bundle grow too much by pruning it regularly."
"For maintenance I do a 30 to 40% partial water change every week or 10 days. The substrate is made of humus and laterite, covered by small sized gravel. Lighting is 5x20 Watts Daylight and Gro-Lux mix of fluorescents. I used to go with a pressurized cilinder for CO2, but moved it to another tank, now this one is has DIY yeast CO2. A hang-on-back filter Millenium 2000 completes the equipment. I use very little liquid fertilizer, just a few drops every other day. Algae was only present during the first month, the well-growing superior plants do the algae control by competition."
"About 20 Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi) and 15 Rummy-Nose Tetras (Hemigrammus rhodostomus) form the main fish population. For algae eating there's a SAE (Crossocheilus siamensis) and 7 Oto's (Otocinclus affinis). Plants are: Glossostigma elatinoides, Eleocharis minima, Anubias barteri var. nana, Anubias barteri var. barteri, Java Moss, Java Fern, Microsorum sp., Didiplis diandra, Rotala sp. 'Nanjean', Ludwigia arcuata, and Blyxa japonica." - Gian.
If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.
Photos taken by Gianmarco Bertaccini, and displayed here with his with permission.