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Showing posts from February, 2016

Day 4 of EI Dosing the Tissue Cultures

We are now four days into the EI Dosing routine. So far I have noticed that there has not been any die-off from any of the Hortilab tissue cultures I'm using. Previous experience with the more mature plants and without any nutrients, I always see some level of die-off. I considered this to be normal. There has been the normal uprooting that comes with newly added plants and with the tissue cultures being very young, their roots are smaller than normal too which makes it a little trickier to get into the substrate. My daily routine includes adding 1 pump action of CO2 Art Macro EI Easy Way solution for every 10 litres of tank water, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I add 1 pump action of CO2 Art Micro EI Easy Way Solution. 
The Theory behind EI dosing is to overload the tank with nutrients so the plants get the maximum amount of food possible. This does however this process does add Nitrate, Phosphate, Iron and magnesium to your aquarium and over time …

CO2 ART DIY KIT - Day eight

So Im into day eight now and I am really seeing some steady growth now. My red tiger lotus plant has exploded (thanks for the heads up James Leason) I must have had about 3 inches of height in my background stem plants. I have only made one change to the hardscape and that it the removal of one of the stones at the front. This is to allow for more plant growth. I had hoped for an improvement in my carpet coverage but its only been one week and given the growth elsewhere, I'm still very pleased. 
I contacted CO2 Art for some tips and I explained my routine to them. The advice I received was that its best to turn the CO2 on about two hours prior to switching lights on. This allows a nice build up in which the plants will thrive on when they start to absorb the CO2. I have also been advised that my method of switching off the lights and CO2 for a "siesta" period would be counter productive and actually encourage algae growth. 
Armed with this advice, and a new bubble count…

Midnight Makeover

Last night I decided to give my Juwel Trigon a makeover. I was really looking forward to using the new Hortilab tissue culture plants I received from Aquarium Gardens. I knew this was not going to be an easy job but I like a challenge. I started at around 8pm and didn't get finished until 2am.

The first thing I needed to do was get my hardscape in place. I have been trying out various positions for the piece of red moor from World of Mosses along with several smaller pieces I had. Once I was happy with the wood, it was time for the plants. I was intending on using some sort of rock but Once the wood was in place, I felt it was enough and once all the plants are inlace and growing, ant rock might spoil the look I want.
This is the first time I've used any kind of tissue culture. Im relatively new to aquascaping and everyday is a school day. Tissue cultures are in effect, baby plants so they are naturally smaller than the "normal" plants you buy everywhere. Each tub, …

East Lothian aquatics - the perfect match

So guys, As you know, I am always looking for way to improve our group. I am always in contact with various people to plant the next event. We have #mytankmonday which is a great success and I'm hoping to do some more interviews again soon. Recently I was contacted by Phil from East Lothian Aquatics.  Phil is in the process of relaunching his store and has been looking for a reputable Facebook page that runs on the same principles he runs his store. Help and advice are paramount, “we all started somewhere”. We believe being a fish “geek” doesn’t mean you must be able to identify every fish by its common or Latin name, nor does it mean you should have a degree in Chemistry. For Phil and I  it should be primarily about the sheer enjoyment and fun of caring and looking after our water friends Phil has been a member of Lothian Fishkeepers for a while now and has been watching closely how our group is run and believes we would be a near perfect match for Ela (East Lothian Aquatics).  Ela…

#MyTankMonday - Andrea Freel

Name: Andrea Freel

Age: 39

Location: Glasgow

After missing last week, I am happy to bring this weeks MyTankMonday. Andrea comes from the Czech Republic which has a huge aquarist hobby scene. Like most of us, Andrea was around fishtanks from a young age. Her parents kept south American cichlids when she was in pre-school. At the age of 7, the family aquarium was moved into Andreas bedroom and changed into a community tank with mainly Tetras.

More tanks followed this one, either for breeding or experimenting with different species and so on. The hobby stopped when Andrea turned 14 and it took 25 years for her to return to the hobby. foFour years ago Andreas son was born and she called him Oscar! The love for fish never left her and last year she returned to the hobby officially with a liking for Apistogramma and the love her favourite Tetras.

The latest "work in progress" is a very stylish display which consists of two (yes two tanks) TMC Optiwhite aquariums which sit on TMC Stands…

CO2 ART DIY KIT - Day Four

Hi Guys,

So Im into day four now and Im seeing some changes already. First of all its important to know that I've now established a routine which consists of the lights and CO2 being switched on at 7.30am and running until 2pm. I switch the tank into "siesta" mode from 2pm until 5pm which involves all CO2 supply and lights being turned off again. Both the CO2 and lights are switched back on again and run until 10pm when I then reduce the CO2 to a minimum and lighting consists of a very low powered blue LED light.

I find this routine works very well with this kit. My experience so far with the sugar/yeast mix is that when running for a long time, the pressure can lower as the CO2 is used up. Switching of for a while not only allows the CO2 to build back up again, but this method can also help to control algae.

Now prior to setting up the CO2 Kit, I was having what I thought was success by using the Tropica plant substrate. I was happy with the growth on my Red Tiger lotus…

Practical Fishkeeping

I can remember growing up, my dad would read Practical Fishkeeping Magazine every month. He kept every copy and would always go back to them whenever looking for information. Before the internet was available, magazines like this were, for some people, the only available up to date reference.
When I started keeping fish myself in 1999, The internet wasn't readily available to me either. each Sunday, I would return home full of a Sunday meal and a Lever arched folder full of PFK to read. One thing that always helped me was the readers  Q & A section. It was always full of great advice.
Now, 17 years on, I still enjoy reading PFK each month. The Letter section is still filled with great advice. With the addition of social media, PFK has become more interactive than ever. Now its far easier to contact the editing team with letters or to share photos. As well as reading the magazine each month, we can now interact with the PFK team on Facebook and this offers so many opportunitie…

CO2 ART DIY CO2 KIT - Day one

When I awoke today I was hoping to see a fully operational CO2 generator in action. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for me. I had very little change from the night before. After going over the kit itself and some more advice from the guys as CO2 ART, I was able to confirm that the problem wasn't the kit. Everything was working there. The bottles were air tight, the defuser was still secured to my powerhead ok and the needle valve was ok too. With everything as it should be, I made the decision to replace the sugar/yeast mix. I read online that the water needs to be warm at around 40 degrees to activate the yeast correctly. Due to the nifty screw top connectors, I was able to unscrew the generator bottle easily and replace the mix quick enough. This will come in handy when it comes to replacing the expired mix in the future. So, new mix in place and I'm already seeing more bubbles than I did all last night. I must remember that water temperature for next time. So afte…

NEWA Mirabello 60

Hi Guys,

I just wanted to share this little video with you to let you see what our lucky winner took home after the George Farmer evening. This is not an active competition.

We were lucky to be able to give this away because we had the support from Peter at Fintail Products who kindly donated this full aquarium.

If you are interested in finding out more about this aquarium, you can check out the spec at

Also, check out my facebook previous posts for some photos of George aquascaping this very tank for the lucky winner.

bye for now

An Interview with Heiko Bleher

After reading Heikos biography on although this is out of date, it is very clear his childhood was nothing short of amazing. Exploring jungles at the age of 4 years in Africa with his mother and South America at the age of 7, would be a dream come true for most boys, and girls.
Mr Bleher, kindly agreed to answer some questions for me to share with Lothian Fishkeepers. This is a first time for me so I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed doing it.
Q.: In 1964/1965, you discovered the Rummy-Head Tetra, which was named Hemigrammus bleheri after yourself. This must have been a very proud moment in your career. What would you consider your biggest life achievement so far?
A.: My daughter, Amanda Flora Bleher, born July 15, 2010, almost exactly 100 years after her Grandmother’ birth, with the same name.
Q.: Your Mother Amanda Flora followed the adventurous footsteps of your grandfather Adolf Kiel, You in turn, followed your mothers path into the jungle, your Daugh…

Estimative Index - Simplified Fertilisers for Planted Aquariums

Im not the most technically minded person when it comes to aquariums. Ive always kept things simple in the past but recently, I've wanted to really get more from my planted aquariums. Since i began looking into various methods of achieving this, I have discovered a method first created by Tom Barr which he calls the Estimative Index method.
The science behind this method comes from the theory that aquatic plants store nutrients for when the dry season comes. The plants soak up as much nutrients when they are available and thus providing substance during times when they cannot take in the required substances. NitratePotassiumPhosphateIron The above compounds are the four basic nutrients plants require to thrive. Over the years this theory has not changed a great deal. the only added nutrient to the mix is magnesium. In the early days, this method was carried out using salts and based on various calculations; plant mass, tank volume and so on. When introducing these elements into yo…

An Evening with George Farmer

Hi guys, as you know last night we hosted our first special event. We dedicated an evening to Aquascaping. Anybody that reads PFK will be familiar with the Pro Aquascaper George Farmer. A few months ago, I approached George and asked him if he would like to come to Scotland and put on show for Lothian Fishkeepers. After explaining that we were an online based group and that we had many keen aquascapers within our community that would love the chance to learn something from him, he agreed to come up for the evening.
Lots of discussions followed that conversation and George informed me that this would not only be his first ever show for a Facebook group, it would also be his first show in Scotland too.  we spent the next couple of months planning and sourcing various sponsors etc to make the show run smoothly and to make sure the night was a success. We were very lucky to be offered support for the evening by several companies such as Fintail products, Aqua Essentials and Tropica. This…


Name: James Sheen

Age: 37

Location: Southampton

James is the founder and admin of the Hampshire Aquascaping and Fish online community.

This week we have a new group member sharing there hobby with us. James has been an aquarist for 4 years which has all led to the current set up which he describes as a Blackwater South American tank. The original plan for this aquarium was to create a biotope of the fishes natural home however during researching this, it became apparent his choice of fish were to far apart geographically for this to be achieved so he decided that a south american theme would be the better option.

His Aquarium of choice is the Juwel Rio 240. Filtering the water James uses a Fluval 406 External filter. To achieve the lighting to suit his theme, James uses a Betta Products 14 watt LED bar. The aquarium did come with a custom light set up which consisted of quad LED 20 watt floodlight but He found these lights to be far to bright for the look he was aiming for.

As James aim…

Catfish - The Unsung hero of many tanks

With the pending aquascaping event just around the corner, I've became very focused on this perticular area of our hobby. Since announcing the event I've dicovered so much about this genre and subsequently neglected the remaining areas of the hobby. One of my group members kindly pointed out to me that it's important to share the love of the hobby with every different type of hobbyist. With that in mind, I created a poll to see which species of fish is most popular amongst our community. It's been very interesting and what I've discovered is that catfish are the most commonly kept fish. This has now got me thinking on our next event. As you all know, this is your group and I will always be open to any new ideas you guys have. If anyone has any thoughts on this, get in touch. In the meantime, look out for updates and new events being announced within the group. Bye for now

Know your legend

Today I reached out to one of the most influential contributors to the aquatic hobby. I was delighted to receive a warm welcome and even more pleased when they agreed to do a small interview for me. Throughout our wonderful hobby there are people that stand out. We have exceptional breeders, aquascapers, explorers, inventors and much more. Our hobby has come a long way since it began back in the 1800s. We owe a great debt to Pierre Carbonniere who was first bred tropical fish in Europe. Heiko Bleher is one person that has dedicated his life to the aquatics hobby. His grandfather, mother and himself have all taken hundreds of expeditions into remote jungles to discover species of tropical fish that we all continue to keep today. Heiko has put his name to popular fish such as the rummy-nose tetra and many strains of Discus including the world famous royal blue species. Today I was lucky enough to chat with Heiko and he agreed to do an interview for us. Next week I will be posting the fu…

The learning curve

If you do a Google search for 'planted tanks' you soon start to see beautiful underwater jungles full of lush green leaves. This is what inspired me to attempt to create my very own planted aquarium.  I started buying lots of different aquatic plants for a few sources online. Reading up about plant requirements along the way, I was confident I would succeed.
Things were going along fine for a while. My Amazon Sword was getting huge and my water lettuce was growing like crazy. I could spend an eternity sitting watching my fish swimming between the stems and defending there own little areas.
After about 6 months, things started to change. Slowly my amazon swords started to melt. I'd trim away the dead leaves and gradually it all but disappeared on me. Then the rest of the plants failed one by one. During this stage, algae got a foothold and aided the destruction by covering 90% of my Anubias. This was especially gutting and also the final straw. I made the decision to pull …


NAME: Alby Howgate

AGE: 68

LOCATION: Chester-le-street, Co Durham

This weeks #mytankmonday brings us to the epic
Aquariums of Mr Alby Howgate. Alby started his hobby during the early 70's until family commitments took over and he gave the hobby. The year 2000 saw Alby return to the hobby, with no pressing family commitments, and a very supportive wife he has been able to grow his collection of aquariums to what it is now.

Alby has a shed which is joined onto his house with a leanto type building which gives him a total space of 16 feet by 9 feet. Its straight from the house into the tank area, whereas the leanto is spacious with only 5 tanks seating and other comforts the shed is compact with wall to wall tanks, an epic 44  in total. 
Filtration for all Albys tanks is done with sponge filters. Both full Hamburg and stand alone filters which are then fed with a central "Charles Austen" pump connected to a 2 inch ring main with individual spurs. 
Where water is concerned, Alby …