May 2008 Aquascape of the Month______________________________________________My Homelandby Lam Phuoc Thanh INTRODUCTION [float_left] [/float_left]My name is Lam Phuoc Thanh (Fahsailam). I'm 43 years old. My attraction to the aquarium hobby began in 1994. That was when I had a chance to see a professional aquarium tank in a hotel lobby.The aquatic plants swaying in the water, while the fish were free swimming inside the tank. The whole image looked wonderful, and I was attract to its beauty. I used to think that the plants couldn't be grown in aquariums but this tank proved the opposite of my thinking.Even today, I am still enchanted and still remember its beauty. Then I read a book about aquarium plants and aquascapes called "Nature Aquarium World". I was interested in aquarium plants more and more, and wanted to know more. Unfortunately, at that time there were not many kinds of aquatic books, materials, or planted aquarium related supplies. On to of that, the Internet was not as popular as it is now. The lack of access to information made it very difficult for me to discover the planted aquarium world and play with aquarium plants. However, it was impossible to make me to become discouraged. It's a pity, I had to stop playing with aquarium plants for several years because of my job. But since 2002, I began played again with planted aquariums, and have continued this pleasure till now. AQUASCAPING INSPIRATION AND STYLE [float_right] [/float_right] “My Homeland” is the title of this tank. The idea came from the many beautiful landscapes of my beloved country, Vietnam. Vietnam has giving me an everlasting source of inspiration in creating a planted aquarium and reproducing her beauty. “My Homeland” tank was created in the style of Takashi Amano's Nature Aquarium with a combination of drift woods and stones collected locally. The arrangement of the materials is based on the Golden Ratio. Stones were used to set the aquarium into 3 parts creating a stream in the middle. Driftwoods and plants were allocated to the left and right making it appear like a jungle. No special technique was used as I prefer a simple set up. Stem plants were used sparingly in this aquascape to minimize the need for frequent trimming, which is done once a month. For other kinds of plants, no trimming required. Last year was the first time that I entered into the ADA contest. "My Homeland" placed in the Top 100, ranked at number 62. This year I am looking forward to submitting in another scape since I have no reason not to attend the ADA contest. PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES [float_right][/float_right] The most challenging thing for me was figuring how to keep the aquatic plants growing as I wish them to. ADA products were of my choice for plant care. Thanks to them I could get the plants thriving in a month. The growth of some plants such as bolbitis or crypto species was not easy to control. My other issue was about algae. Sometimes they were found in my tank here and there, but I can control it pretty well. Unfortunately, algae showed up in my tank when it was about time to take photos for the contest and deadline of submission was approaching! A chemotherapy with my own house blend formula was used to handle this algae issue. It gave some side-effects to the plants, but not that wouldn't grow back quickly. Maintaining the layout was really a concern. In the beginning the aquascape the plants were in the wrong placement. After a while, plants would grow densely and messing up the layout. Bolbitis and Crypts sepcies were used much in this tank. When newly introducing them into the tank for the set up their leaves turned dark and rot away. Many new aquascaper thought that those plants die off. But in fact, it is just the reaction of the plants for adapting new environment. So give crypts a chance to grow back. Click here to view Tank SpecificationsClick here to view Plant and Fauna List PHOTOS FROM MY OTHER AQUASCAPES FINAL THOUGHTS AND THE FUTURE For the past year I've been working on a new aquascape. My new planted aquarium has been under arrangement for the International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest 2008 . I hope this new scape does as well as "My homeland". I have been indulging in Planted Aquarium for years. When starting with it, Dutch Aquarium was my favorite. But later, my choice shifted to Nature Aquarium style. I believe the passion for this hobby of mine will last forever.