The Aquatic Gazette

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

ADA View | Episode 11 – 15

In Film on November 30, 2011 at 03:54

In this second edition, we host the episodes 11 – 15 of ADA View. We have also added a short summary of each film. Enjoy!

Episode 11
An example of how ADA removes alage from the substrate.

Episode 12, part 1
The progress of two 180cm iwagumi aquariums, 19 days after they were planted.

Episode 12, part 2
The use of ADA’s fertiliser range, the Brightly series.

Episode 13
The progress of two 120cm aquariums, 19 days after they were planted. The hardscape of the second 120cm aquarium is pretty special.

Episode 14
Fauna was introduced into two other 180cm iwagumi aquariums. Awesome side view of substrate which illustrate how high it actually is. The progress of a 180cm aquarium, 19 days after it was planted.

Episode 15
The progress of a 120cm iwagumi aquarium, 19 days after it was planted. The first trimming was done 12 days after planting. The progress of a 120cm aquarium, 18 days after it was planted.


All credits: Aqua Design Amano | ADA View


Only 0.7% of the Ocean is Protected

In Marine on November 28, 2011 at 12:32

Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through activism. They state that only 0.7% of the world’s oceans are protected and to highlight this sad statistic, a compelling advertisement was commisioned and created by Young & Rubicam, Paris.

As aquatic hobbyists, we at [TAG] want to highlight the plight of marine fauna. Not only are the world’s oceans incredibly polluted, but overfishing is common place today. In the central North Pacific Ocean, there lies an ocean gyre of marine litter that is up to twice the size of the continental United States of America.

However, it is all not bad news for marine fauna. The Australian Government has just announced plans to create the world’s largest protected marine area in the Coral Sea. This proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will cover an amazing 989,842 square kilometers, which is roughly a tenth the size of the United States of America.

Quoting Tony Burke, Australia’s environment minister,

“In the space of one lifetime, the world’s oceans have gone from being relatively pristine to being under increasing pressure. The environmental significance of the Coral Sea lies in its diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays, deep sea plains and canyons. It contains more than 20 outstanding examples of isolated tropical reefs, sandy cays and islands.”

The Coral Sea, which is located off Australia’s northeast coast and stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to Papua New Guinea in the north and the Solomon Islands in the east. Its shallow reef systems support tropical ecosystems abundant in hard and soft corals, sponges, algae, fish communities and other creatures such as nautilus and sea stars. Largely uninhabited islands also support critical nesting sites for green turtles and a range of seabird species.

The Australian Government should be lauded for taking the initiative to protect our marine treasures. We can only hope that other governments will do the same and protect bigger areas of our oceans. We may yet see the pathetic figure of 0.7% rise much higher before it’s too late.

We too can do our part in ensuring our oceans stay as clean as possible. If you are taking part in any activities at the beach or in our oceans, make the effort to take care of this fantastic resource, our efforts will always be worth the rewards the oceans bring.


Raven Wilde’s Ebiwagumi Edge (2)

In Build on November 26, 2011 at 11:22

For part 1 of this journal, kindly click on this link:

Raven Wilde | About a day after I started this journal, I took a good long look at my tank and decided that I still really wanted a moss carpet. Since the stainless steel mesh I’d initially tried this with had proven toxic and I don’t like the way plastic mesh looks, I decided to pay a visit to the local craft store and see what I could find to get this job done.

After a lot of wandering around, picking up various products and confusing the wits out of a few store employees, I made it home with the following:

1 yard of nylon tulle/mesh
1 spool of all purpose brown cotton thread
2 packs of super cheap black glass beads

My idea was basically the same as any other moss carpet, only this time, the mesh would be barely visible and cut to size in organic shapes that fit in and around the hardscape. In order to secure the moss I very carefully stitched it to the mesh bit by bit with the cotton thread. Yes, this took quite a bit of time and patience.

After I had the moss secured I then used nylon fishing line to tie a few glass beads to the tulle mesh to serve as sinkers.

When placed in the tank I pushed the beads down into the substrate rendering them invisible. The mesh itself is also barely visible and I have no doubt that once the moss grows in the brown cotton thread will also disappear.

All told (using the playback history of my Netflix account as a sort of a log) I spent 18.93333 hours working on this carpet, deploying it in the tank and generally fussing over the layout. It includes not only Xmas moss but also Fissidens, the difference it makes in the tank, I think, justifies the time spent:

And here are some more pictures.

Thank you for reading. To continue following forum discussions on Raven’s Ebiwagumi, click on this link:


All credits: Raven Wilde

ADA View | Episode 6 – 10

In Film on November 24, 2011 at 14:07

In this second edition, we host the episodes 6 – 10 of ADA View. Enjoy!


All credits: Aqua Design Amano | ADA View

Raven Wilde’s Ebiwagumi Edge (1)

In Build on November 23, 2011 at 19:36

Raven Wilde | Around about the beginning of summer I decided that I wanted to set up a shrimp tank that I could use to develop a redder/higher quality line of Cherry Shrimp. I hadn’t originally intended to purchase an Edge, in fact when they first appeared in stores I thought them rather silly little contraptions. But when I researched more about the various nano tank setups available in my price range, I realized that I really loved the design of this little tank. Of course, it helped that so many people on this forum (and elsewhere on the internet) were doing amazing things with them. The modification possibilities and the challenge of keeping all the equipment ‘behind the scenes’ also began to appeal to me as well.

I had my LFS (Fish Doctor’s in Ypsilanti) special order one in Pewter and since they do internet price matching I got a really sweet deal and did not have to worry about shipping! I also purchased a red metal locker/cabinet from IKEA that I’d long admired to use as a stand, I’d say it makes for a pretty striking set up.

It’s pretty even when empty!

Setup occurred in early July and I spent most of that month cycling the tank (I used bio-media and water from my 30gal planted tank to kick start this) and collecting plants. I had a rough idea in my mind that I wanted to attempt an Iwagumi style tank. However, given the nature of the equipment that came with the Edge and because I wanted to keep it on the low-tech side so it would be optimal for shrimp breeding, I knew that I would never be able to grow classic Iwagumi plants like HC and DHG. I resolved then that I would create a moss carpet across most of the tank, and this is where I ran into trouble.

US Fissidens | Christmas Moss | Cryptocoryne Parva

My troubles began when I went to my local hardware store and purchased some stainless steel mesh to tie fissidens to it in the hopes that it would grow into some super lush carpeting. What I did not know at the time was that the mesh I was buying was zinc coated. So, a couple months and many shrimp deaths later I finally figured out, (after eliminating all other suspects and making a call to the hardware store to confirm my suspicions) that I had toxic levels of zinc in my tank.

Utterly disgusted with myself, I pulled all the fissidens (which hadn’t done well) out of the tank along with the mesh it was attached to. What followed then was nearly a month of 2-3x weekly water changes. I also crammed a ton of ChemiPure Elite in the filter to help remove the zinc. After this I rescaped the tank, cycled it some more and added some ‘test pilot’ shrimp to the tank, these were a couple of my browner RCS from my 30gal. They ended up surviving and were eventually moved back to their old home. The tank’s current residents are my three reddest adult females and a newly added colony of Sakuras I just received from Gordon Richards.

Here are some shots of the setup, taken at the beginning of the week.

The parva has not done well, it had just started to settle in when I went and did my big rescape. As a result there has been a lot of melting. It also doesn’t help that every time the nerite snail glides by, he uproots the smaller plants. I just loaded the substrate with root tabs so I am hoping that this helps.

Technical Specifications:

Aquarium | 6.6 gallon Fluval Edge/

Lighting | 2x MR11 LED bulbs | I am planning on upgrading to the new Edge LED lightbar once it becomes available as a replacement part. I had toyed with the idea of building my own a few months ago, but now that I know there is an official LED option, I will just wait bide my time a bit longer. Anyway, I am not confident enough in my DIY skills to play around with electricity and water any more than I already do.

Filtration | Mini Aquaclear HOB | Stuffed with seasoned bio-media, Chemi-Pure and filter floss.

Heater | Hydor Mini | crammed into the filter basket.

Substrate: Fluval Shrimp Stratum

Fertilizers | Seachem’s Fertilizers | light doses, maybe once a week.

Flora | Christmas Moss, Mini Pellia, Cryptocoryne parva

Fauna | Red Sakura Cherry Shrimp, Nerite Snail

To view the second Edition of Raven’s Ebiwagumi Edge, click on this link:


All credits: Raven Wilde

ADG’s Goldfish Aquarium | ADA 120-H

In Film on November 22, 2011 at 11:49

Design Group created this fantastic looking goldfish tank that was featured on the cover of Tropical Fish Hobbyist (December 2011). The aquarium that ADG used was an ADA 120-H of measurements 120cm (length) x 45cm (depth) x 60cm (height), giving it a greater height than traditional 120cm aquariums.

ADG states that this aquarium design makes one feel that they are viewing a pristine koi pond, instead of a normal aquarium. We completely agree with them and know that this design is going to inspire not a small number of goldfish hobbyists into having their own ‘pond’, right at home.


All picture and video credits: Aquarium Design Group | ADGVibe

Eheim AquaCompact

In Filtration on November 21, 2011 at 20:32

The popularity of the nano aquarium in recent years, has drawn the attention of major aquarium companies such as Aqua Design Amano, Eheim, Dennerle and Fluval. These companies have launched products that cater exclusively to this market segment and we now have much more choices than previously possible. In this article, we will be looking at Eheim’s latest filter for the nano aquarium, the AquaCompact.

When it comes to aquarium filters, Eheim is an established legend, having pioneered the cannister filter in the 1980s. Their classic cannister filters are so effective, efficient, genius in maintenance and simple in operation, that they are still in production today, fuelled by continual demand.

Click to view our review of the Eheim Classics, 2211 / 2213

The Eheim Classic 2211 is Eheim’s smallest cannister filter, measuring a mere 29cm in height and 11cm across. When it comes to filtering nano tanks with a cannister filter, the Classic 2211 is the top choice of many. Aqua Design Amano which makes the highly desirable SuperJet filter, uses the Classic 2211 for their nano tanks.

As hang-on filters became widely popular and accepted for the nano aquarium, Eheim developed and launched the Liberty series of hang-on filters some years ago. This hang-on filter is by far, one of the best hang-on filters today, its build quality, filtration capacity, ease of use and superb filtration pump are top notched.

Although the Liberty series are such great hang-on filters, these cannot be compared to the filtration capacity of a cannister filter due to their physical design limitations and hang-on nature.

Click to view our review of the Eheim Liberty 100 / 2040

This year, Eheim launched the AquaCompact, a marriage of a cannister filter body, with the head of a hang-on filter. Why it has done so, makes sense.

Although the Classic 2211 is perfectly competent for nano tanks, some hobbyist have shunned it because of the need to use Eheim’s ugly and conspicuous, green tubing, filter inlet, spray bar or jet pipe. The Liberty on the other hand does not utilise any green parts and its presence inside the aquarium can be very well hidden with some creative aquascaping. However, its filtration effectiveness is nowhere near that of the Classic 2211.

When pictures of the AquaCompact were first released, some commented it was an ugly design, arguing that no nano aquascaper will house such a ‘huge’ filtration head within the already space-challenged nano aquarium. We admit that we had the same initial thoughts, but that changed when we got our hands on a unit.

The graphics on the AquaCompact’s box gives an insight to who Eheim hopes this filter will cater to. The foreground of the box is filled with a famous iwagumi aquascape by Takashi Amano, or bearing a very similar resemblance to it. Pictures of shrimps and flora fill the top part of the box and it is obvious that Eheim hopes the AquaCompact will be embraced by the aquascaping community.

The first impression of the AquaCompact is the superb, and excellent build quality that Eheim is known for. Unlike many other aquarium equipment today, the AquaCompact is still made in Germany and that accounts greatly for the build quality as the Germans are famous for producing high quality goods.

Every plastic part, each clasp, joint and tubing are of quality. Even after handling multiple Eheim filters over the years, we still appreciate the high quality feel of the AquaCompact. It is also good to see that Eheim has not slacken in their high standards.

The AquaCompact uses the same excellent filter media as all other Eheim cannister filters, included in our AquaCompact was Eheim’s filter media for a two stage filtration.

Mechanical Media | Eheim Coarse Blue Sponge
Biological Media | Eheim Substrat Pro
Polishing Media | Eheim Fine White Sponge

Eheim’s Subtrat Pro

In the AquaCompact’s unique filter inlet, a custom fitted blue coarse sponge is used as a pre-filter. The incorporation of this pre-filter sponge is Eheim’s official acknowledgement to many aquascapers who have slipped a pre-filter sponge unto their filter inlets. This inbuilt pre-filter sponge should prevent dead flora and shrimplets from being sucked into the main filter compartment.

As evident by the power cord, the AquaCompact’s impeller is housed in the filter inlet, rather than the filter body as traditionally found.
All the necessary parts and tubing to get you started

Besides Eheim’s trademark rain bar, a jet output and a round output are also included, an indication that Eheim has noticed the reduced usage of their rain bar among aquascapers. The jet and round output not only has a smaller profile than a rain bar, but will also result in stronger flow. These will be the outputs of choice for many aquascapers.

Eheim has made the AquaCompact avaliable in two models, the AquaCompact 40 and the AquaCompact 60. The only difference between the two models is that the AquaCompact 60 has a cannister volume of 1.5 litres, while the AquaCompact 40 has a cannister volume of 1 litre. Both models has the same output at an approximate of 350 litres per hour. Actual output will vary because of water resistance caused by the filter media, or how clogged the filter is after a period of operation.

The manual clearly shows the height difference between the 40 and the 60
Click to enlarge

At 350 litres per hour, the output of the AquaCompact is quite the sweet spot, falling between the outputs of the Classic 2211 and the Classic 2213. For the normal aquascaper, the output of the AquaCompact for your nano aquarium is going to be sufficient. But for those that believe in high outputs and want double the filtering capacity, we still see them purchasing the Classic 2213 instead.

AquaCompact 40 with jet output on the left, AquaCompact 60 with rain bar on the right

The filtration head is not as big as we thought it would be. And being in a nice greyish-black colour, it will be less striking than Eheim’s green pipes. For aquascapers that use any other filtration pipes, the AquaCompact will not work as the impeller is in the filtration head, not the filter body.

Rain bar in operation

Pictures of the AquaCompact do not convey how well designed and small the filter really is. We were also pleasantly surprised with the design and quality of the entire product. As we went through the filter in detail, it was easy to see that Eheim did invest the effort into creating a filter that will cater to the needs of the nano aquascaper.

The AquaCompact is not going to be for everybody, it is not going to be a filter that replaces the Eheim Classic. However, the AquaCompact is a filter designed with a specific purpose. It effectively filters the nano aquarium using a cannister filter body, without the need to use filtration pipes or a third party pre-filter. Also, it is designed to be placed beside your nano aquarium and not inside an aquarium cabinet.

If your nano aquarium needs for a filter fits what the AquaCompact delivers, then grab the AquaCompact because we are certain you are going to be in love with the it for a long time to come.


credits: AquaCompact statistics and diagrams | Eheim Asia Pacific


In Partner [TAG] on November 18, 2011 at 11:55

Today is a momentous day. A few hours ago, [TAG] crossed 50,000 views for the very first time.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our valued reader, our granting us this significant milestone. As [TAG] continues to dream big and work hard to continually improve and deliver, we hope that your support will grow with us. We are looking forward to the day in which we cross 100,000 views. As you continue to visit us and make us a part of your hobby, we are confident that the next milestone will not take as long as the current one.

If you are an aquarium company, please consider partnering with us and be exposed to more than 10,000 views a month. In doing so, you will empower [TAG] to continue our service to all aquatic hobbyist.

There are drinks clinking and smiles all round at [TAG] today. Thank you once again for gifting us, this celebration.

ADA View | Episode 1 – 5

In Film on November 16, 2011 at 08:17

We love how Aqua Design Amano is always innovating. Not just in their aquarium products and aquascaping styles, but currently in their embrace of new media as a means to spread their message. ADA View is a dedicated YouTube channel in which all ADA regularly updates with new happenings from the headquarters. In this first edition, we host the first 5 episodes of ADA View.


All credits: Aqua Design Amano | ADA View

Aquarium Water Change

In Filtration on November 15, 2011 at 15:58

Water changes are often not understood properly. Newcomers into the hobby are strongly influenced by friends or forums, and its likely that they take their understanding of water changes as their own.

The act of water changing is not seen as scientific, when compared to other aspects of the hobby such as the injection of CO2, the measure of lighting intensity or the nitration process of filtration. However, water changing is the most important maintenance act that any aquarist can perform. In this article, we seek to provide the right approach to effective water change.

The changing of water in an aquarium accomplishes one key necessity, the physical removal of nitrate, a by product of the nitrification cycle that is not consumed by the filter’s colony of bacteria. If the aquarium is newly established and the filter is immature, then the changing of water will also remove ammonia and nitrite, which are poisonous to fauna in any quantity. Phosphate, algae, dirt, other impurities, organic materials and tannins (if you are using driftwood or leaves) are removed during a water change as well.

In the normal aquarium or planted aquarium, the frequency of water change is to be determined by the current water parameters. Aquarium test kits that detect ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are easily available in almost any local fish shops. Brands that we recommend are API and Sera, API being the most economical and Sera having the better test kit.

As a general guide line for a newly established aquarium, tests should be performed daily till ammonia and nitrite are undetectable, this will indicate that the nitrification cycle has been established and that the beneficial bacteria within the filter is healthy. Only at this stage, should fauna be added into the aquarium.

After the nitrification cycle has been established, testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at regular intervals is greatly encouraged. The amount of flora, fauna and size of the filter’s bacteria colony will determine how often a water change will be required. When moderate nitrate is detected, a water change of about 30 t0 50 percent should be performed. This amount will sufficiently remove enough nitrate before it reaches an excessive and dangerous amount. In adverse situations where ammonia or nitrite are detected, a larger percentage of water changed may be needed to stablise water quality to safe parameters.

Experience have shown that a water change is usually needed on a weekly or fortnightly basis for the majority of aquariums. But for the minority of aquarists who keep monster fishes or unusual aquariums, this generalisation may differ greatly.

When adding fresh water to the aquarium, an anti chlorine solution should be added to chemically remove any chlorine or chloramine. Chlorine and chloramine are highly poisonous and fatal to any fauna, with death being a certainty over time.

Chlorine can naturally be sterilised by exposing it to a period of sunlight, or by removal using an active air stone for a few hours. Chloramine however, cannot be removed by these methods and only a chemical solution will be effective. We highly recommend Seachem Prime, an excellent water conditional that is the staple of many, removing not only chlorine and choramine, but detoxifying ammonia, nitrite and nitrate as well.

Determining the specific time for a water change should always be dependent on the testing of the aquarium’s water quality, and not by comparisons with other aquariums of similar capacity, maintenance habits or broad generalisations. Each aquarium is a mini aquatic ecosystem, unique in itself. Only be testing the aquarium regularly can the character of the aquarium be made known, making it possible for the aquarist to understand the aquarium and perform a water change just before water quality deteriorates.

It is important to perform a water change only when it is needed. Excessive water change will keep water quality pristine, however, the stressing of fauna is also highly likely. A water change is thus a delicate dance, all in the aquarium’s own tune, turning and stepping, just at the right moments.


Stu Worrall’s ADA Mini M

In Build on November 11, 2011 at 14:32

Stu Worrall is an professional wedding photographer and he shot these beautiful pictures of his ADA Mini M. To date, the only other time we have seen such well executed pictures, they were done by Takashi Amano himself. So, we are pretty pleased to be able to share his set up with all of you. Do enjoy!


Photography and Photograph credits: Stu Worrall

Nature Aquarium Party 2011

In Film on November 6, 2011 at 00:18

Aqua Design Amano’s annual Nature Aquarium Party is the highlight of the year for many aquascapers. At this event, the winning aquascapes of the year’s International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest is revealed and critiqued.

Besides the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest, the Nature Aquarium Party is also a chance for all the Aqua Design Amano distributors to gather and bond over a few days with visits to Takashi Amano’s home, workshops at the ADA Gallery and participating in the famous ADA Iwagumi contest.

For the first time ever, ADA has filmed down and made available the entire Nature Aquarium Party. Here it is for your pleasure, do enjoy the party!


All Credits: Aqua Design Amano | ADA View

Partner [TAG]

In Partner [TAG] on November 4, 2011 at 16:37

Isaac | It has been 6 months since [TAG]‘s inception and the journey that we have all been a part of, has been incredible.

[TAG]‘s existence and continuity has always been to add value to our readers, the hobbyist. To continue doing what we do, we now require the partnership of aquatic companies to help defray our monthly costs. These includes hosting expenses, more data space for pictures and the creation, maintenance of articles.

This article is therefore a highlight of our new Partner page. It is our wish that we will get a strong response from the aquatic community, empowering us to continue our work.

We thank you, our readers, for your support these past few months. We look forward to being able to serve you better, with more exciting and enriching content in the near future.

Partner [TAG]

[TAG] is committed to the enrichment of the hobbyist. To continue the publication of equipment reviews, tank builds, interesting news and pictorial articles, your partnership is essential.

We are always on the lookout to partner with responsible aquatic companies to ensure the sustained enrichment of the hobbyist. At the same time, we strive to be a strong partner by always working to increase our readership as in doing so, we increase our partners’ exposure and add value to them.

For just USD 50, you will be allocated a pictorial placement of size 300×300, and your linked placement will be viewed by more than 10,000 times monthly. Please view our current statistics and we hope that you will consider partnering with us, aiding us in our quest to enrich the hobbyist through our work.

Please contact for more details. Thank you.

[TAG] Statistics & Details

Date of establishment | 17th April 2011

Number of Articles | 70

Number of Pictures | 706

Total Page Views for October | 10,150

Average Page Views for October | 327

Total All Time Page Views | 44,096

Projects in the Works | Raven’s Fluval Edge Build | Water Changes | Eheim Aqua Compact

Projects in Planning | TAG TV

All information updated as of 31th October 2011.
For an official copy of our statistics, please contact us.