I'm a massive planted aquarium fan sharing my knowledge. I've added stacks of information over the years on this blog and it's all 100% planted aquarium based. Crazy heh? If you've had a question, I can almost bet I've answered it on here so search through the posts before you ask.
Check out the Ask Dr Richard section too.
It’s a 45 minute chat with Mike Senske from ADG (www.aquariumdesigngroup.com). If you’re not familiar with this company check out their website. They are without doubt the best aquascapers in the world and their podcast discusses how they started and some of the trials and tribulations they have to deal with as an aquascaping company. Interestingly enough the majority of their clients do not have planted aquariums, or certainly high tech one’s as ADG say they need daily tending to and most cannot afford to pay for that sort of attention. The lower tech tanks are dealt with on a weekly basis and therefore are more affordable.
There are 3 other podcasts that can also be found on the same page, but this one stands out for me.
Would love to hear your opinions on the podcast when you have listened to it.
Lastly, don’t forget we’re on Twitter and it would be great to converse with anyone who uses Aqua Essentials website – to find us, look for user name AquaEssentials.
Like most things, it’s easy to learn how to plant aquarium grass when you follow the steps. In this article I’ll describe how to do it.
Aquarium grass is better known as Lilaeopsis Novea-Zeelandiae and is a relatively straight forward plant to deal with. It grows easily making it suitable for beginners and up. The great thing about it is that it looks just like the grass you would find in your garden and the reason why it’s such a popular plant for the aquarium.
When your plant arrives, remove it from the pot. Then under running water remove the rock wool – which will come off very easily. Once you have done this, take some scissors and cut the plant into 6 or 8 pieces. Any excess roots can be trimmed to 1cm or so.
Take a pair of tweesers and hold the plant firmly at the base of the plant, insert into the substrate and wiggle the plant a little, so the substrate settles around the root. Then gently remove the tweesers and the substrate will stay where it is. Plant the remaining pieces of plant within 3cm of the next so it gives the plant a chance to spread easily.
That’s it! You can see how easy it is to plant aquarium plants and how a few pots will go a long way
We’ve had a great shipment of redmoor which – possibly some of the best pieces we have ever had. Many have excellent form with good solid branches. Lots of smaller pieces too suitable for nano aquariums.
Of course they rarely last long so have a look while the range is available.
Making sure that your aquariums is of a tropical temperature and stays that way is paramount for your live stock. For that reason is really important you have a heater which you can rely on.
The TMC V2 Therm Digital Aquarium Heaters are digital heaters with an easy to read display. Temperature can be set from 20 to 34 degrees celcius which means they are suitable for discus tanks and marine tanks in particular.
Poorly made heaters have a low life expectancy and let you down just when you really need them. The TMC V2 Therm Digital Aquarium Heaters are durable, made with high quality materials and are designed to last. View the range here.
It was only a matter of time before TMC started investing a little more into their AquaGro range and they’re consistently producing excellent products that will inspire you and make your life a little easier when maintaining a planted aquarium.
These tools are made of the highest quality stainless steel and they are really comfortable in your hand. Easy to operate with a long reach (approx 11″) these tools allow for quick planting and easy trimming of even the thickest stems.
A lot of people use Reverse Osmosis Kits these days and for good reasons too. Our tap water is full of chemicals and minerals that a lot of fish cannot tolerate. In particular marine aquariums where salt is added directly to RO water. So you can probably imagine a lot of people rely on the RO unit a great deal.
We would like to introduce to you the D-D Replacement Cartridges specifically for the D-D RO Units. The cartridges are often overlooked by hobbyists but like everything, RO units need maintaining. There are 2 different cartridges available:
TMC have brought out some really great CO2 sets that are just perfect for smaller aquariums up to 100L or so. For about 15 months TMC have successfully been introducing planted aquarium goods which is a great move for them and a true reflection of where the planted aquarium market is in 2010.
The TMC AquaGro CO2 sets (Hobby & Expert) are small and are a great introduction into pressurised CO2. Both types of sets are easy to set up and the main difference between Hobby and Expert is that Hobby uses plastic bubble counter, diffuser and non return valve – in Expert the equipment is glass.
At Aqua Essentials we lean towards planted aquarium goods as that is what we specialise in but we also have a passion for marine products. If you’re looking for other CO2, click here.
We’ve introduced a wider range of E-Coupons so that we can fulfil a wider range of expectations.
E Coupons are an excellent idea as a present for a birthday or simply a gift. They are transferrable via email or via our website, so if you ever forget to send a present, you can send one at a click of a button.
Crypts are truly lovely aquarium plants. They are undemanding, require little maintenance and are ‘easy on the eye’. What’s more is they come in many different styles and this particular one is a cracker.
This particular crypt is brown and one of the reasons it is so popular in the planted aquarium. It provides a refreshing change to most plants which are green and looks particularly nice if planted in groups around stones. Other plants are available and can be found here.
We’re often being asked questions like how many rocks do I get if I buy 5kgs and it’s often difficult to say – all rocks vary in size and shape so we felt it was best if we took some pictures so you can visualise exactly what sort of quantity you would get for your money!
Below is a selection of rocks for your tank that come in10kg boxes. They are of course available in 5kg boxes and per kg.
Crypts are fantastic aquatic plants and tend to cause little problems to the hobbyist. They are very adaptable to a wide range of water conditions and the species is very broad too.
One of our favourite crypts is crypt bullosa which is a greeny brown plant with slightly dimpled leaves. This makes it look a little different in your aqaurium and one of the reasons it’s so attractive!
This particular plant looks delightful when planted in groups of 2 or 3 and looks even nicer if you plant it around rocks (something like mini landscape). This provides immediate impact and is very easy on the eye.
Finally the wait is over for all TMC fans who use their LEDs. In the past their controllers only ever operated 1 light per controller. As many hobbyists were using multiple lights above their tanks (particularly marine hobbysists) it meant purchasing lots of controllers which was costly.
Everyone loves watching fish feed – there’s something fascinating watching your favourite fish eat the food you have chosen. But all too often, the fish can be shy or easily frightened and therefore it’s hard to see if they are eating the food or if other more confident fish are!
Let us introduce the Ocean Nutrition Fish Feeding Station. This device known as the ‘feeding frenzy station’ floats on the surface of your water and can be adhered to the side of the tank to keep it in place. All you do is place your favourite food in the feeding station and watch the fish eat away! Why not try the Aquarian Colour Flake Food which will bring out the colour of your fish.
We can pretty much guarantee you have never seen anything like this before. The new style plants from Tropica which are guaranteed no algae, no snails and no pesticides. So how do they do it?
Tropica grow their plants in a special gel and this contains everything they need from a very early stage. The major benefit of these plants is that they do not need to be stored in water so from a retailers point of view, they are ideal (no deterioration) and from a consumers point of view, they arrive in perfect Tropica style condition.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Units are very useful pieces of equipment for hobbyists looking for complete control over the water they put into their tanks. Tap water contains lots of impurities and whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can cause problems for delicate fish like discus and marine tanks.
RO Units are simple to use and strip out impurities by water being passed through at least 2 filters. These filters remove the likes of nitrates, phosphates etc leaving your water in a pure form. This pure water then needs to be ‘built up’ and by that we means minerals need to be added back to the water to give it some stability. However you can use pure RO water for topping up tanks.
The new TMC RO units purify water at different rates – the smaller one’s allow for 190L of water per 24 hours, and the largest up to 380L. The advanced systems also contain a TDS meter which monitors performance. You can view the range here.
In a marine aquarium reverse osmosis water is used for topping up evaporated water. The only snag with RO water is that it removes everything from the water including valuable minerals.
With Tropic Marin Re-Mineral Marine the water of reverse osmosis gets back all its beneficial natural minerals and substances and at the same time the alkalinity is raised and stabilized.
Many remineralisers only add certain minerals back into the water (such as calcium) where as Tropic Marin Re-Mineral Marine adds everything that nature would expect in the sea in terms of trace elements.
Do you aquarium plants sometimes not grow as you would like them to? Well maybe we just have the answer.
When you run a high tech planted tank and you’re dosing what you consider all that you should be, but you’re just not getting the results you expect, it may be that your plants need just a little bit extra.
AE Design Aqua Phos and Aqua Nitro provide a boost of macro nutrients when plants are showing signs of stunted growth and/or yellowing leaves.
You can see the bottles which are avilable in 250, 500 and 1000ml bottles.
These luminaires are seriously good value for money – they don’t just look nice, they’re easy on your budget.
Luminaires are a great way to add lighting to your aquarium. Quite often aquariums don’t have the most attractive hoods or sufficient lighting and this is where the classica luminaires come into play. They’re modern, stylish and streamline so perfect for the aquarium of today.
Available in 5 different sizes, they sit on the top of any aquarium very easily and come with the wonderful Classica Natural Daylights which have a delightful colour output.
While adding liquid fertilisers to your planted aquarium is essential for good healthy plant growth, so is adding root tabs to your aquarium.
Plants absorb nutrients through their leaves and their roots and this is particularly important with plants such as Echinodorus that are heavy root feeders. If you want to see really spectacular results the addition of root tabs will make the difference.
All root tabs are very easy to insert into the substrate, some are only the size of a one penny piece and you simply pop them into the root ball of your plant. Typically you should do this every 2 months or so, depending on how quickly your plants grow.
Root tabs are not a replacement for a complete substrate, but they certainly help.
Sometimes it’s easier when you are alerted as to whether you have ammonia in your fish tank. In fact, the sooner you are alerted, the quicker you can rectify the situation and save your fish.
Ammonia is one of the biggest killers in tropical fish and it’s caused by filters which are immature (i.e. it haven’t fully cycled). Unless ammonia (which is toxic to fish) is removed from your water, it will kill your fish within 24-48 hours.
The seachem ammonia alert is a visual indication of your ammonia levels in your aquarium. The 2 new styles we have on offer are geared towards younger hobbyists (Barry Cuda & Ruby Barb) but they operate in the same manner as the more common style.
The colour changes if there is excess ammonia in your water, and if it changes, it’s your cue to react, perform a water change, stop feeding and address why your ammonia levels have peaked.