Tag Archives: decor

Scaped For You Collections

Scaped For You Collections

We just thought we would introduce you to our new Scaped For You Collections that we have just started offering here at Aqua Essentials.

What are Scaped for You Collections?

Scaped For You Collections are essentially ‘ready made’ aquascapes if want of a better phrase. They are aquascapes that have been created by professional Tropica Aquascapers and come with guidelines explaining how to replicate the scape in your own aquarium.

Some people admire scapes they see on Facebook, pinterest, Twitter etc done by the likes of George Farmer & Dan Crawford who are very talented Aquascapers and so many more out there.  They think to themselves “Oh I wish I could have that in my aquarium but just do not have the time to research all the plants needed nor spend time aquascaping it”. Well this is why we are offering you these Scaped For You Collections compliments of Tropica.

So what do I get?

We are offering a variety of Scaped For You Collections for different sized aquariums. We send you all the plants, wood and rocks you will need to produce your chosen aquascape.  You can refer to the product page on our website for easy to follow instructions which guide you when planting, positioning your rock and wood. You can also view the You Tube video by Tropica which explains step by step and guides you along the way. We even tell you which gravel or sand to use too.

What do it do?

So go to the product page (highlighted links) and choose the right Scaped for You Collection and then just ‘buy’! All that you will need will be packaged up and sent to you.

When will I receive it?

As you are no doubt aware we hold a large quantity of plants in stock so it is very rare that we will not have the plants in stock that you order.  However there may be occasions where a particular plant is not in stock or out of season or we are short of quantities (some Scaped For You Collections do require a large quantity of a certain plant) so we will have to order it in hence the reason why we give 1-7 days depending on availability however these Scaped For You Collections are well worth the wait…trust me! We have our plant deliveries in every thursday and friday and will always email you informing you of any minor delays too.

What level is it for?

We offer Easy, Medium and Advanced Scaped For You Collections here at Aqua Essentials.  Some people might like to start with Easy and progress up the ranks once they have gain knowledge and confidence and some keen and experienced Aquascapers might go straight for Advanced. You choose what suits you.  Easy set ups contain plants that are pretty hardy, need low lighting conditions and non CO2 so need little maintainance and easy to keep. Medium and Advanced set ups require more attention and some will require CO2 and good lighting.

What if my aquarium is bigger than the one I have chosen?

That’s no problem at all! Just either add the Scaped For You Collection you would like to your basket and then just add additional plants to make it up for your sized aquarium or just email us or call and tell us which scape you are looking to order and we will advice you how many more of each plant, wood or rock you will need for your size.

We are here for all the help and guidance you need so only a phone away or call 01363 774787 or email info@aquaessentials.co.uk.

This is a typical Scaped For You Collection we offer which is the finished article.

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This is the type of diagram you will be able to refer to when scaping your chosen Collection.

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Scaped For You Collections

Along with the Scaped For You Collection you can refer to additional images which will show you the progress and growth expected over time.

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Scaped For You Collections
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Scaped For You Collections
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Scaped For You Collections

More Scaped For You Collections will be available in due course.

Aquascaping Layout & The Golden Ratio

Aquascaping Layout & The Golden Ratio

Some of you may have heard of this and some of you may have not and its called ‘The Golden Ratio’ which is widely used in planning the layout and perspective of an aquascape.  We have put together a simple ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide on how to create a scape that is pleasing on the eye and has the right composition and design in mind.

The Golden Ratio

Firstly we will look at the The Golden Ratio which will guide you in creating perspective in your aquarium. This ‘Aquascaping Layout  & The Golden Ratio’ guide is used when wanting to acheive the perfect balance when placing objects in a space.  So let’s begin and these 3 steps explain what the Golden Ratio is.

1. Stand back and look at the front of your tank. Imagine there are four lines going across the front of the glass, two vertical and two horizontal, giving you now nine sections.

2. Where the lines cross are the Golden points where you should consider placing your key features to the tank i.e. rock, wood or prominant plants such as reds or plants that stand out.

3. You can use the Golden Ratio to plan the height layout of your plants too.

Symmetry

Basically symmetry does not work in a planted aquarium. It is too formal, structured and unnatural. Think about it would you see symmetry in the wild? No, so lets not make it neat and symetrical in the aquarium.  The focal point (as we mentioned earlier your key feature so wood, rock, red plant etc) should be slightly off to the center. 1 : 1.62 was calculated long ago as the point which is the most pleasing on the eye.  This is where you could consider having a slope on one side too, like a riverbed.

Shape

Please don’t have all your ‘tall’ plants lined up along the back and try and create a ‘hedge’ or ‘wall’ of plants to cover up the background! It is not needed and only looks dated. Try replicating a mountain look by trimming your plants to be taller on the sides and slightly shorter in the center.  You could also add some rocks either side (not symetrical remember to add to your mountain look).

Positioning of the plants

Depending on the scape you are looking to achieve, I like to keep my rocks or wood positioned amongst the midground plants as the stems can easily be hidden amongst the rocks plus you can carpet foreground plants around the base of the rocks to create a really natural look.

Creating depth

Creating depth is not the easiest task however keeping the golden ration in mind it can be done.  The first thing to remember is to avoid positioning the rocks from left to right across the middle in a straight line which just looks two-dimentional and very unnatural looking.  So I recommend planting and positioning in layers starting from the front to the back leaving a small gap in between and from low to high. With time and experience you will become more bold and challenging with your aquascaping and start creating some amazing looking scapes.

Another element to consider when planting your scape is to take note of the estimated growth guides that come with the plants or you can use the guide we use on our plant product page. Obviously you dont want to have to be trimming your plant all the time as it grows quicker than the one behind it so it really plays off to carefully plan your scape and even put pencil to paper first and sketch it out.

With all the above considered when putting a scape together, you should be impressed with the results. If however you need further advice we are only a phone call away on 01363 774787.

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The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

Lava Rock which is formed from the intense heat of volcanos has many hidden benefits for the aquarium that many hobbyist are not even aware of. This blog post on The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock will give an insight into how this rock really does help.

What are the benefits?

Lava Rock is perfect for providing the ideal living environment for your aquarium because it has beneficial denitrifying bacteria. This bacteria will improve your water quality by reproducing and then removing nitrates.

How does it work?

You only have to inspect the rock and you can see it is covered in tiny holes making it extremely porous allowing water to pass through and diffuse into the rock. So what does The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock really mean? An anearobic environment is created inside the rock as beneficial nitrifying bacteria consume all the oxygen in the water.  Within this anerobic environment inside the rock, denitrifying bacteria consume the nitrate and produce oxygen and nitrogen. We all know how nitrate in the aquarium is bad news for fish and shrimp so Lava Rock really is the most natural and best way of removing nitrate.

What do I do with it?

Lava is an attractive rock in its own right so not only is it beneficial, it is also ornamental too. They look very natural and stack very well indeed. Some people comment that it is like as if the rock has glue on it as it stacks together so well. It is so versatile and you can really have some fun playing around with different pieces and creating various shapes and constructions. It is popular for creating a cave effect (see picture below) making it a perfect refuge for certain fish and shrimp.

Shrimp love to forage on Lava Rock in search of bits of food that may have fallen into the holes. Shrimp also like to have a safe place to hide when they moult so creating them a cave with small pieces would be ideal for them. It really is true The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock!

The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock
The Hidden Benefits of Lava Rock

To grab yourself some Lava Rock please click here.

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

If you’re one of those people who is looking for something a bit different, or dare I say it even a bit cool, then consider the Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut – it’s a new product into us and on first impressions it looks pretty darn neat! A really bright plant that has been carefully grown on a 1/4 coconut and then suction pads glued on.

You can place this aquarium plant pretty much anywhere in your planted aquarium and the beauty of the Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut means you now have a 3 dimensional look to your tank. The suction cups are designed so that you stick the coconut to the side of your tank and bingo, you’ve got something that looks totally unique!

So who is it for?

Perfect for any level of hobbyist from old to new. In terms of difficulty it’s very easy as the aquarium plant Microsorium pteropus windelov is extremely easy to care for. Doesn’t really matter what sort of lighting your provide it does well. This means you can place it near the bottom or top of your tank, although not too close to the top or else it can look a bit odd. If you have fish that tend to enjoy consuming plants, then this could be another good reason for you to invest in this because Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut is generally left by fish due to the taste!

What maintenance does it need?

Very little. Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut is slow growing and the piece you receive will probably be many months old. As soon as it’s placed in your aquarium, growth rate will probably slow a little. Once in a while you can trim the ends off but that’s pretty much all you will need to do.

Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut Microsorum pteropus Windelov on Coconut

2 More Aquascaping Rocks

We’ve managed to source some more aquascaping rocks which are perfect for planted aquariums and wanted to introduce them to your immediately. Like all the rocks that we sell, they look great, easy to work with and you can create a great looking set up in no time.

Canyon Rock is fantastic looking and will create immediate impact and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to work with these rocks. Take a look at it below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see by the colour that the red and white flecs look amazing and under water there’s a slight glimmer to them. The contrast with green plants makes them look even more enticing and if you look at them up close you see this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the detail is superb as I am sure you will agree. Imagine it in your aquarium and at only £3.50 per kg, you don’t have to spend much either. But we’ve got another rock we want to share with you which is equally as nice…it’s called Maple Leaf Rock. A lot lighter in comparison to Canyon Rock – when you pick a piece up it feels a little like Lava Rock (i.e. porous). Here’s a picture of 5kgs below:

The texture is as detailed as some other rock we have, but the resemblance to its name is what makes it so special. Here’s a close up:

I’ve never seen anything quite like it before either. Just imagine this in your planted aquarium with the green leaves swaying behind it in the CO2 enriched current. Pretty special heh? At £3.50 per kg, you get a lot of rock for your money…

How to Hardscape A Discus Tank

Watching aquascaping on YouTube can be very relaxing, especially when you see living art being created in front of your very eyes. Once in a while you see an exceptional aquascaper (normally well known) producing something that really catches your eye and makes you look at things from a slightly different perspective. Aquarium Design Group are no stranger to producing world class aquascapes and more and more I am seeing them designing hard scapes which I think are actually more difficult than aquascapes with plants. Once the scape is in place, you really have to be confident that the placement is right as there is no escaping! ADG nail this in the short clip below:

The clever placement of the wood and rock looks perfect and finishing it off with the discus truly creates a magical effect. If you would like to create a similar effect I recommend Manzanita Wood and Mini Landscape Rock.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the YouTube clip above :)

Supersized Driftwood for planted aquariums

If you have a large aquarium you may find it difficult to source decent pieces of driftwood to create that special aquascape. It’s hard finding pieces that fit your particular tank, maybe because most pieces just don’t look very nice.

We are now stocking very large pieces that we are calling Supersized because they are ideal for large tanks – those which are 200L and over. The pieces are very special with wonderful shapes. Many have pockets in which you could place aquatic soil such as Florabase and then put a plant straight in. You can also tie moss to it very easily.

We recommend with all large pieces of wood that you soak them in a large bucket for at least a week. The reason for this is because of the tannins that will come from it. Now if you don’t mind water that turns a tea colour, then no need to soak, but if you do prefer a tank that is clear, then stick the wood outside soaking for as long as you can. Tannins will only come out for so long, and then it’s fine to put it into your aquarium. Saying that, there’s no harm in putting it straight into your tank and all our wood has been cleaned and is safe for immediate use.

The benefits of using driftwood in a planted aquarium are that it creates immediate impact – something that a plant only tank often misses. it also provides a centre point and your eye will naturally be drawn to it. Fish and shrimp seem to appreciate it too and in no time will shrimp be crawling all over it eating and cleaning as they go.

Pagoda Rock – great for planted aquariums

Pagoda Rock can be summed up in one word – excellent. It’s a highly unusual but very attractive rock which in my opinion is particularly suited for planted aquariums. The texture is unusual with the layering which takes place within it making it look like over the years, day by day, a thin layer has been added leaving you with a rock which looks…old.

One of the biggest difficulties when choosing decor for a planted aquarium is to select rocks which give the aquarium maturity. Choose rocks which aren’t aged, and it can throw the whole scape off immediately. Want to know what they look like in a planted aquarium? This is how Mark Evans uses it…

Look closely at it and you can see the detail – this is a fantastic feature. Pagoda Rock is versatile, easy to scape and looks terrific in a planted aquarium as I am sure you will agree. One question I am regularly asked is rock and pH, and my answer is nearly always the same. It may effect your water parameters a little but certainly nothing to be worried about, especially if you are using CO2.

So why not treat yourself today with this terrific rock. If you’re wondering what 10kgs of rock looks like…

And to top it all off, if you invest in 10kgs, you also qualify for the cheaper price of £30. The other benefit of investing in 10kgs or more of rock is choice – you literally have so much more to play with and the end result always means a better looking aquascape.