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  1. BigTom

    Stem ID please?

    Hi all, Ordered this as Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata, but looks nothing like I'd hoped. Is it just because it's been grown low tech or is it the wrong plant (L. glandulosa maybe?)? I'm rubbish at stems! Sorry for crap phone pic, camera is at work. Cheers, Tom Sent from my Lenovo...
  2. BigTom

    Salty UKAPS?

    Hi all, I've just started a little foray into the salty side and wondered if anyone had a recommendation for a reef forum to poke my nose into? Preferably with some of the same sort of knowledgeable and progressive folk that we have on here! Cheers, T
  3. BigTom

    Ocean Free Hydra electro-plate filtration - thoughts please

    Hi all, Full disclosure: I'm currently working part time in a LFS, and we recently received a load of new inline and internal filters from a company called Ocean Free. These are being touted as the 'next big thing' and claim to do away with the need for cycling new tanks by ionizing ammonia...
  4. BigTom

    Reading/Richmond/London recommendations

    Hi all, Planning a brief jaunt to the south east next month - I'll be staying overnight in Reading, driving to Richmond then hopping on the tube to Kensington/Hyde Park then perhaps into central London. I see that Aquatic Design Centre is within striking distance and would like to visit...
  5. BigTom

    Lunar hornet moth

    I was cutting up an old willow stump last week for use in the aquarium, and found a bunch of bore-holes and a larval casing. And today I found what made them - a pair of quite spectacular lunar hornet moths (Sesia bembeciformis), I think. Pretty good mimicry, huh.
  6. BigTom

    Tom's Poco Pozo

    Hi all, Having bidden farewell to the Bucket of Mud, I thought I'd start up a thread for my next tank, although it'll be a couple of weeks yet before things start taking shape properly. Firstly I need to say a massive thank you to Alastair for donating his old 4'x4' shallow tank, cabinet, TMC...
  7. BigTom


    Hi all, Just back from a few days camping on Eigg (via Camusdarach). Suffered a bit from photographer's paranoia that all the good light was happening where I wasn't and was on foot so couldn't chase it, but fairly pleased with some of what I came away with despite a few missed opportunities...
  8. BigTom

    Whats this then? Hydrozoa maybe?

    Hi all, Just spotted a new sort of beast amongst the usual microfauna in one of my Paro tanks. Very small - the entire frame here is about 4-5mm across, so it's a quarter to half a mm long at most. Loads of them all over the glass and presumably hardscape. Appear to be largely sessile, with an...
  9. BigTom

    Tom's Paro stuff.

    Hi all, After spending a while breeding loaches and cyprinids in my nanos they'd all become pretty neglected and run down, so I am turning them over to Parosphromenus. The first tank is now up and running. It has a false back made from coarse foam which acts as a mattenfilter, substrate for...
  10. BigTom

    A few recent landscapes

    Hi all, In celebration of finally finishing my gallery website I thought I'd share a trio of recent shots and unabashedly point those of you that might be interested at the new website and FB page. Thomas Black Photography Thomas Black Photography | Facebook Cheers, Tom
  11. BigTom

    Go get some leaves!

    Went for my annual leaf collecting walk this afternoon and got a nice mix of beech, oak, sweet chestnut and sycamore which should see me through 'til next autumn. Beats paying to have Indian almond leaves flown halfway around the world! Great for shrimp and breeding fish, and can add a nice...
  12. BigTom

    Sleepy old woods

    No drama on my walk this afternoon, just quiet damp sleepy old woods.
  13. BigTom

    Golitha Falls

    Not the most dramatic of falls (more a tumble, I guess), but very pretty, even in the wet. Grabbed a couple of shots despite the rain while looking for wood -
  14. BigTom

    Solar pond pumps

    Hi all, I'm looking to do a little water feature for Mum's garden, consisting of three oak half barrels of different sizes in a little cluster, and thought it would be nice to have some flow between them. Does anyone know if cheapish solar powered pumps would be any good? I don't think it'd...
  15. BigTom

    Not quite autumn yet...

    Took a break from work this afternoon for a quick stroll and picked up the GH2 and Olympus 35 macro in the hope of spotting some fungi. Only one such specimen obliged, but I did also spot a few young common frogs who were quite well behaved. This is the first non-aquarium macro stuff I've done...
  16. BigTom

    Some inspiration from Ariege

    Hi all, Had a lovely break in the south of France last week. Absolutely roasting, so took shelter in the forests and hills and ended up snapping quite a lot of plants while pootling about - thought you lot might appreciate them! This last one was really cool -...
  17. BigTom

    Levamisole hydrochloride, shrimp and water clarity

    Hi all, Bit of a funny one this, I'll try not to make it too convoluted. Backstory; I had recently noticed that a couple of my older female rosy loaches had lost a lot of weight and were beginning to develop a hunched appearance. This isn't something I've seen before, and my first thought...
  18. BigTom

    Heater exploded - what's inside?

    Hi all, Just had one of my plastic 'safety' nano heaters explode with a bang. Looks like the top popped off, and there's now a lot of white powdery stuff all over the tank and a pretty acrid stench. Fish are out and in a bucket and sseem OK for now, but I'd quite like to know what is now in...
  19. BigTom

    You know you've spent too much time on UKAPS when...

    ...you're quite excited to find java moss colonising your bathroom. :D
  20. BigTom

    DEFRA ban on invasive species

    Don't think this will have too big an effect on people, but thought I'd cross post it. 5 invasive plant species to be banned from sale in the UK from April 2014. This is a step up from the previous legislation where it was only illegal to introduce them to waterways. BBC News - UK bans sale...
  21. BigTom

    Resolved! Can Darrel and Clive get their blue back please ?!

    I pretty much always read any post by these two, even if I don't have much interest in the rest of a thread... blue names made them easier to spot!
  22. BigTom

    Flowering frogbit

    I'm sure I won't be the first person to have seen this, but its the first time I've seen it and thought it worth a snap. Amazon frogbit flowering in one of my nanos -
  23. BigTom

    Cloudy water - a little trick

    Hi all, Ever since my last rescape, I've had real issues with perpetually cloudy water caused by extremely fine dust from sand that I forgot to wash. In the past couple of months I've tried 90% water changes and any number of possible remedies... different filter flosses/wools including JBL...
  24. BigTom

    LED/MH/T5 equivalence - guesswork help needed!

    Hi all, I know this is going to be tricky without any PAR info, but I was hoping between us we might come up with a good guess. I'm looking at changing the lighting on my Bucket (90x90cm, 30cm tall) to a custom LED setup. Currently, it's running off a single 70W MH suspended 60cm above the...
  25. BigTom

    Birstall (good value tropica plants)

    Hi all, Just thought this was worth a quick mention. http://www.birstall.co.uk/ranges/tropic ... nts-1.html They have a good selection of Tropica plants at extremely competetive prices (especially if you're buying large quantities - big discounts on packs of 5 plants), as long as you aren't...
  26. BigTom

    Amazonas articles

    Hi all, Just thought I'd point you guys at the current issue of the new English version of Amazonas, which is available for free to view online and has several articles about plants in it, including quite an interesting look at how some of the popular aquarium species are found in nature -...
  27. BigTom

    Malaysian plant ban

    Just saw this over on PFK, immediate ban on importing the following species from Malaysia into the EU, because of whitefly infestation - Anubias barteri, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Alternanthera spp., Hygrophila corymbosa, Hygrophila salicofolia, Hemigraphis spp., Echinodorus spp. Obviously EU...
  28. BigTom

    Volunteer needed for St Kilda ecology field trip

    OK, I'm slightly trepidatious about putting this up on a forum, but what the heck :lol: I find myself short a volunteer to help out with my next field trip to St Kilda (Outer Hebrides, Scotland), leaving next Sunday 4th March from Edinburgh. The trip will last 5 weeks (returning 10th April)...
  29. BigTom


    Hi guys, I wondered if anyone on here was growing any Bucephalandra species? They seem to be pretty big on US boards and some of them are absolutely stunning (with prices to match!).
  30. BigTom

    Indostomus paradoxus

    A quick video here of my newest favourite fish, Indostomus paradoxus. These guys are awesome, halfway between a pipefish and a stickleback, and only 2.5cm long. I currently have half a dozen of them in a 30cm cube. Had major problems with dim lighting and reflections trying to film these...
  31. BigTom


    Well I've more or less forgotten where I'm posting about these tanks, so I figured I'd just stick this up on its own. Finally got the last of the three nanos up and running, and was lucky enough to bag some Indostomus paradoxus to put in it (coolest fish ever). Will put up a seperate post about...
  32. BigTom

    [Nano] Blackford Hill

    Went for a nice little walk up to Blackford Hill in Edinburgh today, and with a little rootling around came up with some hardscape for the middle of three P@H nanos, for which I had been awaiting inspiration. Walking back with pockets full of rocks and a whole bunch of ivy stems was less fun...
  33. BigTom

    Good shops close to M5/M6?

    Hi all, I'm driving from Edinburgh down to Cornwall over the next two days, and thought it could be fun to drop in at decent fish shops instead of motorway services for breaks. I'm aware of Aquajardin Gloucester being close to the motorway, but was after any other suggestions for places within...
  34. BigTom

    Shrimp on a plane!

    I'm off to the Netherlands for a few days at New Year, and seriously considering smuggling back a few shrimp in my hold luggage. As far as I can tell it isn't illegal to bring small numbers of tropical shrimp into the country from Europe for personal display, but it is definitely against the...
  35. BigTom

    Oh crap...

    Just drunk a bottle of wine to get my courage up, decided I really want to switch to micro four thirds format, and ordered... Panasonic GH2 Panasonic GF1 Panasonic 14-42mm Panasonic 20mm pancake Olympus 9-18mm (will be selling the 14-42 and getting a 14-140 or 14-42x down the road) So long...
  36. BigTom

    Harris and Monarch Islands

    Just a couple of odds and sods really, thought I'd stick them up anyway. Harris, looking towards Luskentyre and Taransay: Monarch Islands: And a lovely evening trip out to St Kilda (it's normally around gale force 9 when I make this trip, made a nice change!):
  37. BigTom

    [Nano Cubed] Some Accidental Jungles - now buy 1 get 2 free!

    I had no intention of buying a second tank, and then accidentaly came home with one. So I thought, I'll try out a minimalist hairgrass scape. Then I saw some Lileaopsis which just looked so green and lovely I had to buy it. So, a minimal hairgrass and lileaopsis scape. Then I found some...
  38. BigTom

    Nanos are amazing!

    Just set up a 1' cube, cost about £16 to completely fill it with plants. Seems amazing coming from my ridiculously dimensioned Bucket of Mud! I feel like a cheat :lol: Sneak peak, may set up a journal for this little chap -
  39. BigTom

    P@H/Coopet Nano cube

    As requested by several people, here are a few shots of the new 5mm 'ultra glass' cubes available from Pets at Home. These are of the 27L version (30x30x30, £39), there is also a 15L version (£29). Silicon is minimal to the point of almost invisible on the side panels, thicker and less neat...
  40. BigTom

    Flow in shallow el natural setup

    Asked this in my journal but no response so figured I'd try here as well... So with most el natural setups the general idea is to have as little surface movement as possible to hold in CO2 produced by decaying matter in the bottom of the tank. However, as my tank only has about 25cm of water in...
  41. BigTom

    Tom's Bucket O' Mud - The End

    ***WARNING*** This journal is likely to contain any, some or all of the following: mud, dirty glass, terrible typing, horrible crawly things, really boring fish, algae, piles of rotting crap, bad photography, drunken ramblings, non-existent aquascaping, total disaster and complete disregard for...
  42. BigTom

    Salvaging blyxa auberti

    So my blyxa has arrived today after a bit of a delay in the post looking a little sorry for itself (quite a lot of broken and melting leaves). Whats my best bet for getting back on its feet? Floating it, trimming it, planting it? Cheers, Tom
  43. BigTom

    Lands End

    Sadly didn't get much photography in over the holidays, but did bag one I quite like whilst down in Cornwall. I've kept it deliberately dark. The detail is all there, but I guess hard to pick out at this size. The composition was really tricky, I was shooting at 10mm stood right on the edge...
  44. BigTom

    Using main ceiling light over open-topped tank?

    Hi all, I'm finally starting to get my new project set up (90lx30hx90d, open-top), and ended up changing where I had it set up, so that it's now directly underneath the main ceiling light for the room. Now this light rarely gets used as I have lamps and stuff, and I was wondering if it might...
  45. BigTom


    Damn snow! Ordered £100 worth of plants from various sources that were due to arrive over the last 2 weeks, all of them have failed to turn up and are presumably rotting away somewhere in Royal Mail's backlog of 6 million parcels. Snowing again as I type so seems unlikely they'll be here...
  46. BigTom

    St Kilda International Sea Port

    Well, maybe that's a bit grand :p Noone trying to land in this weather though! Taken a couple oif days ago in Force 9-10 gales. We're an inch deep in snow and hail now...
  47. BigTom

    A tentative plan for self sufficiency

    Right... this may turn into a wall of text, so please bear with me! I gave up fishkeeping about a year ago due to starting a PhD which involves being away from home for 6 weeks at a time, 4 times a year. However, I've recently started thinking if there was a way I could run something lowtech...
  48. BigTom

    Landscapes and whatnot

    Well once again I miss my tank and end up browsing through ukaps yearning for a day when I'm at home more than 6 months a year and can start again, then I remembered that you lot enjoyed some of my previous shots so thought I'd whack in a few more recent ones :) The cute guy at the...
  49. BigTom

    Kilda update

    Just thought I'd post up a few shots from St Kilda that I've had sitting around for a while. They're all a little rough around the edges due to being processed on my uncalibrated work laptop using the touchpad, and because I rarely have time to pick my light - these are almost all grab shots...
  50. BigTom

    Tiger lotus surface pads

    So my tank (which now resides with a friend) has a number of Nymphaea rubra bulbs which were allowed to grow surface pads whilst someone else was looking after the tank. A lot of the submerged leaves now appear to be melting, either as a result of the plant reaching the surface or general tank...
  51. BigTom

    Why I no longer keep fish

    Well, my tank has gone to a friend for the foreseeable future, which is sad, but made up for by the fact that the reason I can't commit to it is that I'll be spending about 3 months a year doing fieldwork for my PhD on St Kilda. And here's where I'll be staying when I do: Village Bay, Hirta, St...
  52. BigTom

    Dosing regime help please (limited water changes)

    Hi, I'm currently running a 90L setup with 2x 24w T5s and Nutrafin fermentation CO2. I've recently got the whole thing set up and planted after moving into a new flat, and could use some help deciding on a fertiliser regime. I had thought to go with EI, but I will soon be doing substantial...