Aquascaping like a boss

This truly is an amazing aquascaped that has been finished to the very highest standard. Tropica have a great team of aquascapers working for them and I hope they are inspiring you.

Notice how the water is only about 2cm deep at the beginning – this is great advice for anyone as it makes working in a tank so much easier. As are using tweesers for planting up (fingers are cumbersome). Anyway I hope you enjoy.

Ahhhhh hair agae!! – Solution is here (part 2 of 2)

  1. Reduce your lighting intensity. This will limit the environmental pressures on your plants and decrease the strain they are undergoing. If you can, raise your lighting (height wise) so rather than it being a few inches above the water, it could be 10-12” maybe. If this is not possible (i.e. you have a hood and can’t move the lighting) reduce the number of light tubes you are running and cut it down by half. If you were using 4 tubes, use 2. If you were using 2, use 1 etc. In addition to the above, reduce your lighting duration to 6 hours per day.
  2. Add liquid carbon, such as Neutro CO2 – if you’re already adding it, increase the dose. You can increase this to double without any issues unless you have plants like riccia or vallis which don’t appreciate it. Liquid carbon is hostile to CO2 related algae but not only that, it offers carbon to the plant itself which it desperately needs. Hair algae often changes to a reddish type of colour and then to grey when exposed to higher dosages of liquid carbon (very satisfying to see). Another idea is when  performing your weekly water changes, find a small paint brush (which is new) and dip it into some liquid carbon. Then paint the plants which have been effected by the algae – leave it 10 minutes and then top back up with water. You can use this technique on wood if algae is also growing there.
  3. Increase your water changes and this goes for any types of algae. As soon as the algae monster shows up, perform more water changes (minimum of 30%) 2, 3 or 4 times per week – the more you do the better and your plants will love you for it (algae will hate you). Algae loves dirty water with lots of organics and broken down plant matter – invisible to you and I yet very visible to algae. But when you are using your syphon (or however you perform your water changes) make sure you get into every nook and cranny – don’t be lazy and syphon off the top 30% of water – that’s already clean; get right to the bottom and suck up all the debris around the rocks and bases of plants. Make sure your tank is really clean remembering that decomposing leaves break down into ammonia which feeds algae. You should be able to look into your tank and see around the base of plants easily. For some this is going to be hard work but keeping a clean tank is very important if you want success.

In conclusion, this combination of increased CO2 (pressurised and liquid), decreased lighting intensity and duration and increasing your water changes is the way to get rid of your hair algae. Not only that, your plants will begin to respond more positively too – the extra carbon you’re adding will be enormously beneficial to them and they will grow quicker, thicker and a lot more healthily. Lastly, finish off any last strands of algae with an old toothbrush. Twirling it round the algae and twisting as you go will help to remove any lasts stubborn strands. Masterclass over!


Ahhhhh – hair algae!! Solution is here (part 1 of 2)

Hair algae problems? Dr Richard can fix it 🙂

Here’s part 1 of 2 blog posts on it. Second part will be updated tomorrow.

Frustrating algae or what?! I think so…

It’s annoying right? Gets everywhere, looks horrible and grows so darn fast. I’ve written about this in my blog numerous times and spoken to countless customers about it. I know how much it can spoil an aquascape but more importantly I know how to fix it.
In order to fix anything, we need to know more about it. We need to know how it’s created, what can cause it and ultimately how to get rid of it. It’s worth mentioning that 95% of all algae is CO2 related. That’s right, you can fix most plant issues in the aquarium if you get your CO2 levels correct and this is something I have been banging out about for ages and you will hear me beating the drum again and again until it sticks. For those of you who are yet to invest in a CO2 system, now is your chance – if you want to deal with your algae head on and make your tank look spectacular you need pressurised CO2. Baring in mind that most algae is CO2 related you can see why having a pressurised set would be useful right? Good. And if you are already using CO2, you’re probably not using enough and your lighting is either too strong or on for too long. I hear lots of people ‘self diagnose’ and say it’s excess nutrients – this is a load of poppycock. Excess nutrients DO NOT cause algae. Lack or unstable CO2 levels, poor water movement, insufficient fertilisers, excess lighting and a lack of water changes do.

So now you know excess nutrients do not cause algae – this I can be sure about. I have loads of nitrates and phosphates in my planted aquarium and I never have hair algae unless something happens to my CO2 levels. With that in mind you need to crank up yours  (without killing your fish) and use a drop checker with bromo blue to monitor levels. If you’re not sure about drop checkers, have a look on our website and you will see the different types available. In a nutshell drop checkers all work in the same manner and monitor your CO2 levels. The solution within the drop checker starts at blue and then changes to green if you have the right amount of CO2 or yellow if you have too much. All you need to do is adjust your CO2 flow rate according to the colour change of your drop checker – it’s as simple as that. Get your CO2 right and algae issues are generally a thing on the past – get it wrong and you know the rest. But there are a few other tips I want to share with you:

(end of part 1 of blog post – second post made tomorrow!)

Keep more equipment out of your tank

So we know the general idea is to keep as much equipment out of view right? After all no one wants to look at equipment that doesn’t have to be in the tank. Same goes for diffusers and this is why the Neutro Inline Glass Diffuser is so great.

Made with laboratory glass, this inline diffuser comes in 2 sizes – 12mm and 16mm. I recommend placing these diffusers on the outlet pipes – some place them on the inlets for better diffusion but you end up cleaning them more.

To attach it to your tubing, warm it up with a hair drier and it slips on nice and easy. Similarly when it comes to cleaning them (and removal) get a hair drier on it again which makes the tubing easy to remove.Neutro Inline CO2 Diffuser 12mm