introduction

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by .jaap., 24 Jan 2008.

  1. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Not sure if this should be a new topic or just a post under 'Welcome ;) if so maybe a moderator can move this for me.

    I am from Holland, and curious how things are organised in the aquarium hobby here in the UK. So I registered and tried some stuff out like placing pictures in the gallery (!click!). Works like a charm :)

    As you can see from the gallery pictures I like photography, and ofcourse planted tanks and aquatic plants.

    Being an electronics engineer, I also built much of my own aquarium equipment. pH controller, ORP controller, and dimmer for dimmable TL tubes. This stuff is for sale in Holland (not in the UK) and the dimmer is very popular, it gives nice sunrise and sunset effects. I mainly use it to control the amount of light on the tank during the day, it is very easy to experiment with darker periods, periods of very high intensity lighting, etc. Some lighting schemes seem to benefit the plants much more than the algae. No scientific facts here, just playing around a bit :oops:

    So, about the aquarium hobby in the UK. How is it organised ?
     
  2. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    A great opening introduction, welcome aboard.
    I'm really interested in the lighting effects you mention, any chance of posting details of your system and some pictures?
     
  3. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    This is an animated GIF made up from some pictures taken at different light levels of my own tank.

    bak_dimmen.gif

    My own tank I primarily played around with the front tube and the back tube.


    And here is one of an other tank:
    marlene.gif

    In this tank different colors TL tube were used to make different coloured lighting during the day (warm in the morning and evening, white during the day)
     
  4. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    lovely tanks, esp the second one. You are obviously talented.

    Sam
     
  5. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    What do you mean? From a retail or hobbyist perspective?
     
  6. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    From hobbyist perspective. In Holland there are over 200 local clubs, and these clubs are united in national NBAT. However, only few percent of aquarium hobbyists are member of one of these clubs. Many starting aquarium hobbyists still rely on information they get from LFS or worse, garden centre. Every problem is solved with some product from the store and soon the aquarium is put aside because it has evolved into a money pit and success is always one more bottle away. This ofcourse is very frustrating for the NBAT and local clubs which would like to help these novice aquarists with proper advise and such, but have trouble reaching them. So I wondered how things are organised in the UK and maybe learn a few tricks.
     
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    George is most likely to be able to help you there, If it wasn't for the internet and forums I would have a money pit on my hands too.
    As far as I know UKAPS is the only society or club for planted tanks in the country?
     
  8. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    It sounds like things are fairly similar to that here. There are a number of clubs, either specialising in certain groups, e.g. British Killifish Association, or the British Cichlid Association, as well as regional ones that are affiliated to a larger group, which, I believe is called FBAS. I think a large number of these clubs are seeing seriously dropping memberships, I know the BKA membership has dropped slightly recently, but not too much and when I was in the BCA that had issues with membership.

    Most people here seem just like most in the Netherlands, they go to their LFS and get some rather patchy advice depending on how lucky you are with the local shops. Thye either give up, throw money at the tank or, if they're lucky, find someone to help them, read a decent magazine with good advice or helpful websites/forums and really get into things.

    Welcome along BTW. I love the tank, but can't get over the transitional effect! While very neat, the shifting of the fish and plants just throws me off! Any chance of an ordinary picture??? :lol:
     
  9. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    lol. No, the UK is nowhere near NBAT standards! UKAPS is the only aquatic plant club in the UK.

    The UK has the FBAS (Federation of British Aquarium Societies), but these are generally fish-only.

    If anything, I think we could learn more from you guys.... :D

    I love the NBAT aquascaping contest principle i.e. the judges visit the aquariums themselves, so one cannot 'cheat' with photography and post-processing.

    Maybe we will do something like this in the UK soon.

    I write for Practical Fishkeeping magazine and website and one regular feature I will be including is a 'Great Planted Tank' series. One of our UKAPS members, zig, is the first to be featured soon.

    The UK planted tank hobby is growing relatively fast now. Five years ago hardly anyone had even heard of CO2 injection and NPK dosing. Now they are probably used by the majority of enthusiasts.

    I suspect in the next five years, the hobby will grow much further still, but mostly through the Internet, and not 'normal' clubs that rely on frequent meetings etc.

    Regular-style clubs and societies are on the decrease in the UK, and membership of these is generally very mature i.e. over 50 year-olds.

    The recent Festival of Fishkeeping (organised by the FBAS) was a reflection of this. It was UKAPS debut there and we were by far the youngest club, average age late 20s.

    Your point about mis-information and retail profits etc. is also valid in the UK, but more shops are now on-board with the planted side.

    However, the majority of shops still keep aquarium plants in unsuitable conditions i.e. low light, no CO2, no filtration and wastage is very high.

    A few do keep them 'properly' and with trained and enthusiastic staff, they sell the appropriate information as well as the plants. I do my bit too by writing for a retail/trade-only magazine, Pet Product Magazine.

    The UKAPS aim is to increase the awareness of the planted tank hobby, and to educate through this forum. We are currently looking at re-vamping our homepage with fresh articles etc.

    BTW I like your tanks! :D
     
  10. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for all the info !

    In Holland there are special interest groups too, for live-bearers, cichlids, killies, and we also have an very active WAP (workgroup aquatic plants)

    The NBAT contest is not mainly a contest. The idea is that someone experienced and well trained (you have to do some tough exams before you can be a NBAT judge) sits in front of your aquarium and takes a good look at it. He then awards points for all kinds of aspects, and prepares a presentation. The points given are seperate for total appreciation, and appreciation of the 'biological' condition of the tank. This is how well the plants and fish are kept (health, big enough sholes, not overstocked, etc) Aquascaping is only a really small part of the final result (!) The presentation is on the club, together with the other tanks that were judged within the same club. Photographs and water measurements are used to illustrate the remarks that the judge has on the tanks. This is extremely usefull information, not only for the contestants but for all members of the club.

    Ofcourse, the contestants in the national contest all know perfectly how to keep their plants and fish happy and healthy. On that level, aquascaping skills are what makes the difference between nr.1 and the others. Point is, that if you lack skills on the biological aspect, you will never be able to enter the national contest, you will just never get that far.

    The educational aspects of a contest like this can never be achieved by one that is based upon pictures of tanks.

    About the tanks in the animated gif's: Only the first one is my own tank. The second one (the stunning one ;) ) is from someone that is very happy with my dimmer and she was kind enough to make the pictures for me. I do not have her individual pictures that were used to make the animation.

    Pictures from my own tank under different light conditions:
    bak_gedimd_1.jpg

    bak_gedimd_2.jpg

    bak_gedimd_3.jpg

    bak_gedimd_4.jpg

    bak_gedimd_5.jpg
     
  11. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Maybe we should invite the WAP to join us here? It would bring in a whole new area of inspiration and knowledge.
     
  12. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    WAP suffers from the same problem as many other clubs: the age of the members. They just have too much time on their hands ;) Consequently they prefer to get in the car and drive around visiting each other. Regular visits to germany ( "Arbeitskreis Wasserpflanzen") included. Internet is just too damn fast :lol:
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Jaap - can you point me at this? I like the idea of dimmable lights but don't want to buy a whole aquarium computer for 175 EUR to control them when all I need is lighting timer with a built in dimmer switch.

    Also if you have any interesting posts somewhere that explain your experiments with light intensity that might be of general interest.
     
  14. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    First of all, you need dimmable gear for the TL tubes. This is the expensive part of the setup, unless you can find them somewhere cheap ofcourse.

    The gear come in two flavors: digital controlled (DALI interface) and analog controlled (0 - 10 Volt interface) make sure you get the 0-10 V analog controlled types, DALI control is complicated.

    Next you need something to control the dimmable gear. In essence this could be a simple as a circuit that generates a voltage that slowly climbs from 0 to 10 Volt during sunrise, and slowly returns from 10 to 0 Volt during sunset.

    You can build something that uses a timer and some electronics to do just that: http://home.versatel.nl/rsetteur/aquarium/ijzer.htm or http://home.versatel.nl/rsetteur/aquari ... uurprt.htm to give two examples of homebrew stuff.

    For a more detailed control over the light levels during the day I have built a programmable controller. Once I had that, there were so many people that wanted me to build one for them too, that I decided to supply the dimmer to a webshop and let the webshop deal with sales (and collecting payments...)

    My own design dimmer is explained here: http://www.flora-mate.nl/site/UK/dimmer_UK.html
     
  15. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I got interested in changing the amount of light during the day by this post: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/foru ... -pjan.html

    This works for my tank too. Ofcourse you need to install additional TL tubes, and you will use the additional light only a short time during the day, which makes it kind of a bad investment.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray Member

    Messages:
    474
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I read that thread too, that's why I'm asking about dimmers - PJAN is my inspiration in all matters, in fact I'm currently building my own ADA look stand according to his instructions.

    Your web shops seem to be all in Dutch, does anyone sell your dimmer in another language?
     
  17. .jaap.

    .jaap. Newly Registered

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have recently sent a dimmer to switserland. Shipping costs are almost 20 Euro which is a bit steep for only one item. And you have to pay taxes on arrival. But, if you want one I can send you one ofcourse. I guess we better use email for further discussion.
     

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