The Iwagumi Journal

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Richard Swales, 31 May 2017.

  1. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Hi There

    I am undergoing a new project to create an Iwagumi style Aqua Scape aquarium. This series of posts will journal my project week to week as a progress to keep you and indeed myself in the loop!

    I want to use this build my skills in aquascaping by being able to reflect and critique myself, which will hopefully make any future projects an improvement on this one.

    I am going to be further things about this tank on my blog https://sofishticatedblog.wordpress.com as well as streaming my tank on Younow on my channel SoSofishticated so check out those if you want to look beneath the hood, so to speak.

    So back to the journal...

    Lets star with a look at the tank before I started:

    5.jpg

    As you can see a bit of a mess and not a very appealing tank!



    I have already made a start to this project but so here is a rundown on the changes I have made so far

    Equipment:
    I decided to upgrade pretty much all of the equipment in my tank apart from the heater and the actual tank.

    Aquarium:
    The tank is a 60x30x40cm 6mm thick glass Jewel tank.

    Filtration:
    Previously I was running a Fluval U2 internal filter which has been excellent, but doesn't look great in the tank and stands out like a sore thumb! Because of this reason and the fact that I wanted a bigger capacity filter I went out an purchased a Eheim Ecco Pro 130 from my Local fish store. I have been running it for a couple of weeks to get it cycling and so far seems perfect for my needs. It's simple to setup and operate and runs nearly silently! The only annoying this is that the hose, intake and outtake pipe are all green, which looks odd in my tank, but I suppose once I get planted up they will blend in.

    Heating:

    I have been using a Sera heater for a while now and it has always been reliable so if it aint broke don't fix it!

    Lighting:

    Previously this tank had a hood with a built in tube light but the previous owner cut gaps in the hood so he could sit an Arcadia LED over the rim of the tank. I quite liked this idea but didn't like the hood as it was bulky and i don't think it would have suited the aqua scape to come. I decided to buy some rim clips from amazon and managed to get hold of a sheet of acrylic to act as a lid.

    dsc02995.jpg

    The original plan was to leave the Arcadia LED but it broke a couple weeks back so at the moment I am running an Aquael Decor LED and an Aquael Leddy Smart LED, but I have an Aquael Leddy Slim LED on order at my LFS (Can you tell I like Aquael lighting products?).

    I am hoping this will be enough to grow plants, but I am prepared to order another one if needs be.

    C02:

    I have run C02 in the past, but it was one of those disposable chamber type things. It worked well on the nano tank I had it on, but I know that it won't cut the mustard this time around.

    I started looked at C02 options a while back as it is something that I don't really know a lot about. A lot of people on the forum (UKAPS) say that it is better to go for a big C02 canister as it will be cheaper to run in the long run, but that involves buying all the parts for the system separately and finding somewhere to refill the bottle when it runs out and I don't feel confident running such a big system at the moment. So i went for the Fluval 88g Disposable C02 set. I know a lot of people will say that it won't last much more than a month and then refills are expensive but having the peace of mind that the kit has everything I need from a reputable brand suits me right now, though I might consider a bigger system in the future when I get more comfortable with it.

    Substrate:

    I opted for the most talked about substrate that it widely regarded as the best there is when it came to aquarium substrate. ADA Amazonia Aqua Soil. I have not read a bad review of this and though while pricey I want to make sure the plants have the best chance to grown...plus it looks neat too!

    I did put a bottom layer of Tropica Plant Growth Substrate underneath as I didn't think I would have had enough ADA for the tank.

    Hard Scape:

    As stated I am creating an Iwagumi aqua scape and I infact I want to create a Sanzon-Iwagumi, which traditionally uses 3 stones. This is mainly because I want to keep it simple, but also my tank isn't massive, so I want to ensure I leave enough room for the inhabitants to swim.

    I originally was set on finding Dragon stone for the hardscape which my LFS had in stock, but when I got down to look at it the pieces didn't quite tick all the boxes I was looking for (shape, size etc.). After looking at what else my LFS had to offer I noticed another type of rock, but I have no idea what it is called, though it has a similar texture to Dragon stone, it might even just be another type of Dragon stone I have no idea!

    I spent around 3 days deciding on placements for the rocks but I settled on this design and I think all flows well together:

    dsc03005.jpg

    Plants:

    (This is where I am up to as I write this so from this point on they are just plans...)

    I took a while to decide on the plants for this as I have never really looked into plants at all. Usually I just pop down to my LFS and see what they have that looks nice. Although there isn't too much choice and they don't seem to get much variety in and nothing really interests me.

    As with most Iwagumi scapes I need a carpeting plant to fill the bottom of the tank and then I am after some larger plants towards the back just to fill it out a little but and not make it too simple.

    For the carpet I am planning or ordering some Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' and Eleocharis Parvula Hairgrass. Hopefully I can find a balance to plant both of these as a carpet with the MC taking most the ground and the Hairgrass planted at the base of the rocks, though I might not use the hairgrass at first and just see how I go.

    As for background plants I really have no idea! I am planning on visiting some shops in my region that I haven't been to yet to see if anything catches my eye, but I will keep you posted.

    Livestock:

    Finally onto the livestock. I am still deciding exactly what to have in the tank. I know that I want to try and move my current Black skirt tetra and Panda Corydoras over but what to add with them?

    I think I will firstly opt for a small group of Amano shrimp. I hear they are great algae eaters and I have enjoyed keeping shrimp in the past. Then I am after a small schooling fish. I am thinking either Harlequin Rasbora or Rummy Nose Tetra. I thin the tetras school better but I prefer the shape of the rasboras, so we shall see. I also really want to get some Celestial Pearl Danios. Ever since I saw a picture of one while browsing Pinterest a while back I know that I just had to have some, so I will most likely get a group of them too. I am thinking 5 shrimp, 10 schooling fish and then 5 CPD's but it might be too much with the cory's and the Black skirt, which I might end up donating to a tank at a school local to me.

    This will be a few weeks yet thought so it could all change!

    So thats it for the moment! Whats next??

    Well this week I am heading over to some LFS's to check out plants and hopefully my light will turn up this week so that I can get planting!

    More updates to come in the future!

    Let me know your thoughts!

    Thanks for reading

    Richard
     
    Doubu and RobinsonAquatics like this.
  2. Iain mlaren

    Iain mlaren Member

    Joined:
    8 Dec 2016
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Uk
    Hi. Nice start. Reading your fish choice I see you have chosen the pearl danio. I had the same idea when I seen them on the net. Such a fantastic fish. I now have them. Have you seen the emerald dwarf danio? I had only seen some pictures but when I went to my lfs to pick up ottos I spotted pearl danio and emerald dwarf danio next to each other. Wow is all I can say stunning fish.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
  3. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Hey. Thanks.
    Not heard of them before but just looked them up. They are amazing! Going to have to keep an eye out for these when I am out and about! How are your pearl danios doing? Do they the duo hide often? My LFS say they are rather shy is this true?
     
  4. Iain mlaren

    Iain mlaren Member

    Joined:
    8 Dec 2016
    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Uk
    I've only had them for about a week or so. I haven't seen them hiding but there not Mega active. Nice to look at though. Yeah they look alot better in person. I've never seen the emeralds for sale until that day and the guy in Lfs said thats the first time he had ever seen them. Maidenhead aquatics that was.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
  5. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Vol. 2:


    Hey again,

    So Vol.1 ended with the tank all ready for planting but I was missing a vital component... PLANTS!

    I had a day off from work so I decided to visit a couple of fish stores a bit further away from home to see what they had to offer and try to track down the plants I was after before having to order them online.

    I first headed over to Ferrybridge Aquatics which had been on my radar for a few months now since spotting that it was awarded 'Retailer of the Year' for the Yorkshire and Humber region by Practical Fishkeeping Magazine.

    I was expecting to be blown away by this store and at first I wasn't. I walked in and spotted a few tanks and normal fish keeping equipment in what seemed like a small store. A few minutes after looking around I was greeted by a woman working in the store who informed me that there are 3 more rooms through the back...and that's where it got interesting!

    There were more and more species of fish that I hadn't seen before including some unusual varieties of Zebra Danio and Harlequin Rasbora which really caught my eye. The owner informed me that both of these species were wild caught, which is why I probably hadn't seen or heard of them before.

    I also came across some young Flowerhorns, which I have only ever seen fully grown, so another unusual find for me. I love Flowerhorns and really hope I can keep 1 or 2 someday, they are probably the biggest fish that I desire to keep and just seem to have such a goofy personality which is adorable!

    Now I didn't intend to buy any fish until I had my plants in and grown, but coming so far out to Ferrybridge and seeing the Rasboras which were actually called Hengali Rasboras got me thinking. I could get some of the Rasboras now and settle them into the 35l tank I have set up to temporarily house my fish until the plants have matured, rather than risk coming back to find that they don't have any anymore (the owner informed me they were hard to get hold of). So I acted on impulse and bought a bunch of 12!

    dsc03022.jpg

    I love them! They look amazing even in my boring 35L setup and I can't wait to get them into the Iwagumi when it is ready!

    So with the Rasboras in my boot I headed to the next shop on my list which was Maidenhead Aquatics in South Leeds. Again this is a shop I have not ventured into, because it is too far away to be a convenient stop for me, but I was again very impressed!

    I have been to the Maidenhead shop at Tong Garden Centre before but, this impressed me more than that! There were not as many choices of actual aquariums but they had a great stock of fish and plants!

    Often when out looking for plants I find the same plants over and over, you know the types, the ones that Pets At Home stock :/ But I was so pleased to find a big array of plants and more specifically the two exact species I was looking for! They were Micranthemum Monte Carlo and Micranthemum Micranthemoides (Pearl Weed). I snapped up a big helping of them and was soon on my way home. I was going to venture over to Doncaster to look at a few shops there, but once I found the plants and the fact that I had 12 Hengali Rasboras in my boot I thought it best to head home.

    Once home I introduced the fish to their temporary home and then got to work on the plants! The pearl weed went in first and was pretty easy to separate out into bunches. I was amazed at how easy it was to plant in the ADA Amazonia, felt like there was nothing there at all.

    The Monte Carlo was hard to sort out and took a good 30 mins to bunch them for planting. I tried to plant them in a grid formation all over the tank floor to get a good spread but I got messy pretty fast, I suppose it is my first time :S

    So this is where I am at now:

    plant-progress-day-1.jpg

    I am taking a photo every few days to log the growth and hopefully it will do alright running off my two small lights until my new one arrives, possibly later this week.

    I have been looking forward to this day for ages and for the first time since starting in this hobby I have actually been patient and not rushed into it. I researched and saved up to buy the right equipment, didn't settle for plants and hardscape I didn't want and I am so glad that I did!

    More updates to come soon!

    Thanks,
    Richard
     
    Doubu and Daveslaney like this.
  6. RobinsonAquatics

    RobinsonAquatics Member

    Joined:
    1 Mar 2017
    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    .
    Hi Richard I have some Monte Carlo that's incredibly healthy grown in my propagator. I could sell you a large mat of it on an agreed price? :)

    I recently sold some HC to Ian McLaren too.

    I will update tomorrow with pics , I reckon it would suit your tanks needs perfectly.

    By the way an incredible transformation you have there, great start!

    Thanks,
    RA
     
  7. RobinsonAquatics

    RobinsonAquatics Member

    Joined:
    1 Mar 2017
    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    .
    a36d5a69fafbc22171b00ad1447035b0.jpg

    HC top, MC bottom.

    Cheers,
    RA
     
    Zeus. likes this.
  8. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Wow looks great!

    I have planted some I got from a LFS and I am addressing the issues with their poor start. I will see how I go but I will get back to you if I want some.

    Thanks
     
  9. Nigel95

    Nigel95 Member

    Joined:
    5 May 2017
    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    My reply about your question on my thread ;)

    Okay you planted MC in small pieces which is better for spreading faster.
    Co2; check
    Good substrate; check
    Lighting; Do you know how much lumens per litre you have? I know a lot people will stay this is very inaccurate but yeah we need something as we don't have PAR meters all over the place. How much hours is the lighting on per day? Is your MC growing upwards? If this is your lighting isn't strong enough. It's growing to the surface to get more light.
    Fertilisers; which one do you use and how much?

    It can take up to a month before it's going to explode growth.
     
    Richard Swales likes this.
  10. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Hi Thanks for the reply :)

    Lighting wise I am running a Aquael Leddy Slim Plant 10w LED http://www.aquael.pl/en/products/akwarystyka/oswietlenie/292-leddy-slim

    And I can't seem to find a spec sheet with Lumen rating, so I have no idea.

    I run it for 8 hours a day and I dose 5ml of SeaChem Flourish per day.

    I was thinking of buying another one of the lights and running two, but would that be overkill?

    Thanks
     
  11. Nigel95

    Nigel95 Member

    Joined:
    5 May 2017
    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Seachem Flourish does not contain nitrates and phosphates which are important. I would search for a fertiliser that contains all the necessary stuff (or buy some Seachem stuff that will add phosphates and nitrates). For example low phosphates can lead to green spot algae which is hard to remove. I am currently using Tropica specialised fertiliser but can't really say how it works long term. I know George Farmer uses it which is a guy with a lot of experience. So that's one thing you can try.

    Well they say monte carlo needs around 0,5 watt per litre (bad rule btw, but gives an 'idea').
    You currently have 20/72 = 0,27 so not a bad idea to buy 1 or 2 more. Idk how expensive this lamps are but just two desklamp with some bulbs that has 6500k CRI 80 + and 1100 lumens (x 2) would do the job. Look at my 25L for example.

    Or look into a chihiros led pretty cool in terms of kelvin but dimmable.
     
  12. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Ah right, I will take a look in my LFS tonight, I think they stock some Tropica stuff. The lamps are only £45 (sometimes cheaper) so might punt for another and see how I go.

    Thanks for your help !
     
  13. Nigel95

    Nigel95 Member

    Joined:
    5 May 2017
    Messages:
    637
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    https://nl.aliexpress.com/item/Plan...lgo_pvid=c27f79d8-4b1c-4153-93a4-6f68ab445ea1

    $57 for the chihiros 60cm one. Might sell the ones you have and buy this. With this light your 100% sure about enough lighting and dimmable. (it has to much lol be carefull never put it on the max setting)
     
    CooKieS likes this.
  14. Richard Swales

    Richard Swales Newly Registered

    Joined:
    14 May 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    Huddersfield
    Hey,

    So it's just over a couple of weeks since the last post and A LOT has changed since then...

    My new Aquael Leddy Slim lights turned up and they look great, plus I have noticed a positive impact on plant growth in just over a week, so that should be my setup sorted now!

    I bought 6 Amano Shrimp for the Iwagumi tank, to help me keep on top of algae, which has started to form on the rocks, glass and plants. I did a little bit of reading and I think it is a high concentration of Phosphates, which mine are through the roof, mainly down to my tap water being highly concentrated to start with, then the PH buffer contains Phosphate too. I did buy a bag of SeaChem Phosguard which had been in for about a week now, but the levels don't seem to be dropping, so I am stepping up my cleaning and water change schedule but the shrimp are helping me on that front.

    A week after I got the shrimp I decided to move the fish across from the temporary 35 litre set up I had them in. I did attempt to live stream this on YouTube, but the quality is awful (thanks to crappy internet connection), but you can find that by searching So_Sofishticated on there if you are interested.
    dsc03060.jpg


    I am going to start filming the tank more and putting them online, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

    So the fish...

    The Hengali Rasboras look great in this setup and I am really happy with this choice of fish, they often school together and are also happy to go about their own business constantly on the move, which brings excitement to the tank, plus they look beautiful under the new lights.

    I also moved over my Black Skirt Tetra (called Casper), who wasn't liking the 35 litre at all. He would just sit under the filter in the shade not moving much, not eating much, and being very skittish when I approached the tank. But the moment I moved him across he was like a different fish! So it's great to see him back to his old friendly (hence the name) ways.

    although I am pretty stocked up I think I want to get 2 more Black Skirts just so he has some friends to hang around with, and I know that Black Skirts shoal too, so they should suit the look I am going for.

    dsc03121.jpg

    I do have 4 Panda Corydoras too, but I decided against moving them in, because I am scared they will disturb the soil and uproot the young plants. I have however switched them over to a Nano tank (19litre) to give me more room on the counter where the 35 was, and I must say the tank looks smart. The pandas will probably go at some point though, just because I think no matter what I plant they will find a way to nuzzle underneath them as they have done in all my previous tanks.

    I would like to turn the 19 litre into a nano planted tank, but I need the space on the work surface it is on, so for the time being that project won't be happening. Once me and my partner get our house sorted out (only moved in in the winter) then a space might open up for it. I will keep you posted on that.

    So that's it for this post and now I am just keeping up with maintenance and being patient in terms of algae removal and plant growth, I know it will all turn out right in the end.

    Thanks for reading.

    Richard
     
    Doubu, Deansie, LondonDragon and 3 others like this.
  15. JPT1974

    JPT1974 Newly Registered

    Joined:
    7 Jun 2015
    Messages:
    18
    Hi Richard. It has been a while since I've been on UKAPS. I came across your thread whilst researching Iwagumi aquascapes. I also intend to set up my first one :). How have you got on?
    It's a little late now but I've a few pointers regarding the Fluval 88g CO2 kit. (you've probably found this out by now) Firstly it's a nice little kit for smaller aquariums with a good diffuser and bubble counter. However It's supplied with silicone air line? This is best replaced with co2 hosing. It would also benefit with an in line check valve. Also the gas seal provided is made of rubber, these degrade over time and can cause issues with the seal and regulator. Annoyingly Hagen don't sell these as a spare? I had to go to a local hardware store to get some that were close in size. Nylon ones might be better but I don't know of where you might find them?
    I Know you had kind of signed off on your thread, but in case it might be helpful thought i'd let you know of my experiences.
    cheers
    John
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice