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Hello from Singapore!

Discussion in 'Introductions and Greetings' started by lohkw, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. lohkw

    lohkw New Member

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    Dear fellow ASW members, I am from Singapore and I am 30 years old. I was looking at some videos on fishkeeping tips on youtube because my wife wants to have an aquarium in our new apartment. Then I saw this video (Most Beautiful Aquascapes (Underwater Landscapes) - YouTube) showing stunning images of aquariums with water plants. I searched the internet for aquascaping which eventually got me here. After reading through some articles, it seems that keeping water plants is more difficult than fishkeeping because there are so many things to learn and I am overwhelmed. Where do I even begin?

    By the way, there is an aquarium shop near my house and I have been seeking advice from the sales staff, but I don't think it is nice as I am not buying anything from him yet, because I want to know what to do before spending the money.
     
  2. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello and welcome to ASW!

    Keeping plants is as difficult as you choose it to be. You can pick plants that lend themselves to simple maintenance and are not demanding, which can be grown easily and with little effort. You can also pick more demanding plants which require CO2 injection, regular fertilizing, and other routine maintenance like water changes.

    So, it depends on your goals. What type of tank do you want? Post some pictures of what you want your tank to look like. This is a good place to start. How much time do you want to dedicate to taking care of it? What kind of a budget do you have? Do you want to do it for as little money as possible or whatever it takes to get the look you want?
     
  3. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    :welcome:ASW. another great aquscaper from singapore. btw, saw those video before it is very inspiring.

    don''t worry, the sales staff of that shop near your house will always be there to help you....that is part of business.
     
  4. Flo

    Flo Aspiring Aquascaper

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    :welcome: to ASW :)
     
  5. lohkw

    lohkw New Member

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    Thanks for welcoming me. As a beginner, I intend to start with a small tank with dimension 60(L)x24(D)x28(H). For a start, I prefer to have a simple design with thick undergrowth, and I think it should be something like Iwagumi style as shown below.
    [​IMG]
    With the height of 28cm, will it look too shallow after the substrate and rocks? If it is, what is the recommended height?

    This post a bit long-winded but I hope someone can verify the points I have learned so far from the aquarium shop. I know I will expect bumps along the way but I hope to minimize it. So here are the points I have learnt from the sales staff and some are based from my observation.

    CO2
    The shop recommended me the 2 litre tank which can last me 7 to 8 months. They also advice me to use the electronic regulator so I don't have to adjust it from time to time like the manual type. How often is CO2 injected?

    Lighting
    What kind of light is suitable for a 2 ft tank? How long do I need to keep the light on per day?

    Position of filter
    I was told by the sales staff that an external filter should be used if I want to keep water plants, as the filter will heat up the tank and harm the plants.

    Heater

    Heater is not needed in Singapore as it is a tropical country with an average temperature of 28 deg C to 33 deg C all year round. It is only needed in countries with four seasons.

    The flow

    From my observation, I noticed that the CO2 diffuser is placed below the incoming flow from the filter. Is it for even distribution of the CO2?

    Air pump

    Do I need air pump for the tank? I intend to have some small shirimps in the tank as well.

    Stone

    What kind of stone is most suited for Iwagumi? Can I use those found along river banks?Will they affect the PH level of the water?

    Substrate and fertilizers

    I saw 2 types of soil-one for shrimp and one for plant. And they are pretty expensive. I do not want to buy the wrong type. I really don't know how to choose. Another thing is, how do I fertilize the soil?

    Any advice to the above is greatly appreciated.
     
  6. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Great post, and sounds like you are well on your way. Your LFS is giving you some good advice.

    Oh to live in a tropical location :daydream:...it often gets -10 to -20 C here during the winter.

    I will start with CO2: an electronic solenoid is a very good idea. Generally it is set to a timer and turns on one hour before the lights turn on. A drop checker with 4 dkh solution will help you find a good level of CO2. I use mine to help me roughly guage a good bubble rate in the beginning and then slowly increase CO2 over the course of a couple weeks to find the point just below where fish begin to show stress from CO2. Co2 can be set to shut off one hour before lights go out.

    Flow/filtration: Very good observation. When an intank diffuser method is used the flow moves across the upper level of the tank, down the opposite side and pushes the CO2 down and back across the tank. A canister filter is best, lots of filtration helps, so get a filter that is intended for a tank much larger than the one you are placing it on. Most planted aquarists aim for 10 times the tank volume in flow and filtration. I get 7x with my filter and the rest is made up for with a koralia pump. Flow is needed to disperse Co2 and nutrients. Also helps prevent "stuff" from settling down to the bottom so it can be filtered.

    Lights: Generally 8 to 10 hours is plenty. For a 2 foot tank I think 2x24W T5HO's would be plenty of light with pressurized CO2.

    Air pump: I like to run an air stone at night. This is not necessary, but the increased oxygen helps with biological processing of waste. I find it helpful.

    Substrate: I would get the type for plants, not sure the difference and if shrimp really need a special substrate. If you have a nutrient rich substrate no need to fertilize it. If you use an inert substrate some root tabs evenly dispersed throughout would help. Dosing the water column with dry fertilizers is easy and cheap. You should be able to find what you need. PM user "Shadow" if you need specific help he is in Singapore, I believe and very good at planted tanks.

    Rocks: If you get rocks from nature you should test them to see if they contain anything that will alter water chemistry. You can do this by dropping HCl onto the rock to see if it fizzes. I have heard Vinegar works too. Any acid really. If it fizzes do not use it. Otherwise all you have to do is clean it, I would recommend boiling it to prevent harmful things from entering your aquarium. DO NOT boil rocks with pockets of air inside them, like some lava rock. They can explode. I have poured boiling water over them instead.

    Sounds like your local store will be of great help to you. I wish my local store knew fish and plants from their own asses. :-"

    Good Luck and keep us posted on your progress
     
  7. Rodney

    Rodney New Member

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    Welcome Lohkw,

    I too am a new aquascaper and I was alarmed at the price of aquatic planting soil. But let me tell you, it is worth its weight in gold to new scapers. I have one tank with Aquasoil that was a breeze to set up. I have another that I have been experimenting with other substrates and it has been disasterous.

    :welcome:
     
  8. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Welcome to the forum.

    Why don't you start with some hairgrass, riccia and make a iwagumi out of it?

    Get the largest filter you can afford, eheim or jbl are of good quality, a large co2 bottle, a solenoid and needle valve.

    Aquasoil is good, but you can also use play sand , as long as you dose fertilizers and have good stable co2 you will just then need to sort out the light.

    Light, co2 and ferts are the key.
    Too much light you will need more co2 and as the plants grow faster you will need more ferts and mire maintenance. Less light, you will need less co2 and less ferts, but the plants will also grow slower, so less maintenance. It's that balance that is hard to achieve.


    .
     
  9. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Welcome to ASW

    Nope, 28cm would be just nice. You might even drain the water a bit to give the panoramic feeling.

    CO2 is injected together with your light.


    You can start with 55W PL light or 2x24 T5HO. Turn it on around 8-10 hours a day. T5HO tube are not easy to get in Singapore, only fish shop or big lighting shop have it but 2x24W T5HO light set normally come with individual switch, so you can play around with intensity. 55W PL tube on the other hand can get from anywhere, including those neighborhood hardware shop. DIY shop also normally carry them.

    You can use many different filter, all all work fine. Heat generated by the motor will not have much different between canister or internal filter. Problem with internal filter is it blocking the view :p

    You need fan instead or even chiller. :))

    Do you mean put diffuser near filter outflow? Yes it is for better ditribution. If you are using canister filter, I will recommend inline diffuser instead of normal diffuser.

    No need. I never use them, don't even have one. As long as you have reasonable bioload.

    This is the tricky part. You can buy rocks from fish shop, cost around $4-$5 per kg. You can also buy from Bonsai shop. However nice rocks in Singapore are pretty rare, you might need weeks or even months to collect one set.

    Since when Singapore have river banks? :))). Even if have normally will be own by National park, they will fine you if they captured you :)). You still can get it from Malaysia though ;) just make sure you clean it properly, even boiled it just to make sure.

    Go for ADA New Amazonia, you need about 9l bag. Cost you about $38-$43 depend on the shop.
     
  10. lohkw

    lohkw New Member

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    Hi Shadow, it's nice to see a fellow Singaporean here. I had looked at your blog and I got to say you are truly a master^:)^. If there is a chance, I would really love to see your masterpiece up close, and I'm serious. And, thanks for the tips!
     
  11. Shadow

    Shadow Moderator Staff Member

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    That can only be around April - May ;) that when the tank will be at its prime because that when many of the competition submission dateline. After June normally the tank either dry or unattended while looking for new inspiration :)))

    By the way there are local forum (Aquatic Quotient) where you can hang around if you like. I believe they are planning for some BBQ at downtown east (not confirm).
     

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