Tag Archives: maintenance

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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Importance of Maintenance guide

Importance of Maintenance guide.

So, with only about three weeks ago until the big day it’s that time of year again where you will be inundated with those Christmas visitors bearing gifts & the one thing always grabs peoples attention is your aquarium. So you’ll want to impress your visitors for sure! The Importance of Maintenance guide is here to help as usual and have put together a simple step-by-step guide to get that aquarium in tip top shape.

Is your water quality good enough?

Firstly Importance of Maintenance guide would start here and I would be firstly testing the water with a test kit. It’s always a good idea to routinely test your water especially if some of your fish have been poorly or new fish have been recently added to your aquarium.  So a simple test kit which tests pH, water hardness, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia will do the trick.

Is it due a water change?

Importance of Maintenance guide would recommend water changes on a weekly basis and consider this to be an important part of maintaining good quality water. We say about 30% and that can easily be done with a syphon set which sucks water up and out.  This can also be used to plunge into the gravel too for cleaning up any unwanted food waste and debris from the aquarium bed.  We also have a selection of gravel cleaners that are great for this too.  Remember that tropical fish naturally live in environments where they have running water from a current or rainfall so it’s important to stimulate this natural environment.

Could your filters do with a good cleaning?

Filters are designed to clean and purify your water however if it is clogged with waste it can not do its job properly and the water quality will not be as good.  So get cleaning the sponges (of course using about two cups of the aquarium water) and give the tubes and filter casing a good old clean and scrub. These filter brushes are very useful for this too. By following the Importance of Maintenance guide your sure to have the cleanest of filters.

Are your plants in need of a good trim?

This is a simple process which if done correctly and regularly can really pay off so follow the Importance of Maintenance guide. Not only does this improve the growth of your plants but it will also improve the overall health of your plants. We would never recommend household scissors as they can easily damage the stem structure so I would always recommend a good pair of Aquascaping scissors such as these.

Could you do with more plants?

Depending on the type of Aquascape you’re looking to achieve depends on how many plants you will need. Many people are hesitant adding more plants to their aquarium because they fear they will die, are too fragile to keep or too difficult. However this is not the case at all and most plants are actually very hardy and if kept in the right conditions will flourish in your aquarium.  The two main reasons for loss of plants is due to 1) incompatible plants that need different water parameters 2) incorrect lighting.  Don’t fear adding more plants to your aquarium as long as they’re compatible with your existing ones.

Could your rocks, wood or decor need a good old clean or need replacing?

The Importance of Maintenance guide would recommend a good old scrub of your aquarium decor which can be done under fresh water. It is surprising how much they can gather green algae and the difference a good old scrubbing can do. However after a while some wood, rocks and aquarium decor can look tired and no matter how much you try scrubbing away at that green algae build up, the staining can be stubborn. Sometimes you just want to try something a bit different, try out a different aquascape. Here we have a selection of great quality aquarium decor.

Can you see your reflection through the glass?

And now the finishing touches, get yourself some glass cleaning wipes and give your glass a good wiping over until you get a sparkle! Also a glass scaper is very good for getting to those hard to reach dirty spots as the long rod enables you to reach a little further. Its also a good idea to invest a magni-cleaner too as they cleaner both sides of the glass for you…meaning less work for you!planted-aquarium-lighting

Following our guide you too could have an aquarium as perfect as these .

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Maintaining your planted aquarium like a pro

So I stumbled across this rather cool video that George Farmer did for Tropica and wanted to share. We’re often asked about maintaining a tank and what to do and what not to do, and there’s nothing like a video to demonstrate this.

A few things I picked up on:

  1. Notice how George hovers over the substrate – not plunging it. This keeps it clean enough.
  2. Use a toothbrush to keep the edges clean, the water line and the bottom of the tank where the substrate meets the glass. A toothbrush is unobtrusive and won’t stir your substrate up.
  3. Once he has trimmed the plants, he uses a net to remove the bits that float to the surface and siphons off any plants that haven’t floated anywhere. He also uses his finger to disturb the mosses where debris can get trapped.
  4. Lots of freshwater shrimp. I could see a combo of amano shrimp and crystal reds. No pro scaper will have a tank without shrimp, yet I know many of you DO NOT have shrimp yet you wonder why you have algae…
  5. Clean water goes back into the tank via a sieve. This is a great tip that avoids causing disturbance. Also notice how much water was changed (about 50%). Are you changing enough?

So you see this equipment does not need to cost the earth. Folllow George’s guide and you won’t go far wrong.

Maintaining a 7m long planted aquarium

Everyone dreams of having a big planted aquarium one day. Just think of what you could do, the choices you would have, the plants you would grow. Just think about the impact it would have. Truly wonderful right?!

But have you ever guessed how long it would take to manage a huge tank? Maybe a few hours a week? Maybe more…

Not only that but the tools you would need to have for maintenance. For eg, most tools like scissors are about 30cm long, but what would you do if the tank was over 100cm? How would you trim those foreground plants? Sure you could put on a mask and dive in, but it’s not really practical. So have a look at the clip below and see how the pros maintain a tank which is truly jumbo in size

Who’s inspired by this? Leave a comment if you are!

Maintenance tools for your planted tank

Making sure you have the right tools for the right job is imperative – having the wrong tools is just a pain and hinders your work. Maintaining a planted aquarium can be a little tricky and the Easy Aqua Plant Tool Set could be just what you are looking for.

Handy tools for planted aquariums…

So what are the used for?

Scissors – perfect for trimming plants. The curved tip makes them particularly suitable for foreground plants and you get a great angle for trimming plants that are normally hard to reach.

Tweesers – really useful when you need to plant up. Pushing your fingers into the substrate is cumbersome. Tweesers will not disturb your substrate making your work easy.

Sand & Gravel Scraper – once you’ve finished maintaining your tank, use this to gently move the substrate back to where you want it to be.

Lastly you can trust the brand Easy Aqua to be reliable so you know you’re also investing in tools that will last. Although these tools are available separately, if you go for the set you save yourself about 10% :)

Tools For Planted Aquariums

Everyone who has a planted aquarium has to use tools to keep the tank in good order. Whether this is for picking up dead leaves/debris, cleaning the glass or raking the substrate – it all has to be done. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one tool that did it all…

Introducing Superfish 4 in 1 Nano Tools – a tool so useful you’ll wonder how you survived without it. It’s a simple yet effective device that can be used on any aquarium. Although it’s called a Nano Tool, any smallish aquarium can be cleaned with it. The tool itself comprises of a long handle and on the end of it you can attach 1 of 4 tools and the consist of:

  • Fish Net – for catching your fish before you clean.
  • Gravel Rake – for maintaining the gravel and keeping it tidy.
  • Plant Fork – for attending to your plants.
  • Cleaning Sponge – for cleaning the glass of the aquarium.

Each tool detaches easily which means you can swap over in seconds which makes it quick to clean your entire aquarium and make it look pristine again!

For more maintenance tools please visit this link.