The Aquatic Gazette

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

2012 | Our Three Dreams

In Thoughts on December 15, 2011 at 15:55

With 2012 fast approaching, we have been deep in thought on how [TAG] should move forward into the new year. 2011 has been incredible and we did not have an inkling in our early months that the aquatic community would embrace us so strongly. Thank you so much for your support!

2012 is going to be a great year for [TAG]. On top of continuously innovating, to delivering a higher standard and polish in all that we currently do, we have three dreams that we want to see fulfilled in 2012.

The first is to make every effort to engage you. We are dreaming of a vibrant community that takes up resident here. To achieve this, we will be concentrating on two mediums, Facebook and comments.

To give you a reason to visit us on Facebook, we have ramped up its activity in early December and will continue to be very active on it. A big part of this hobby of ours has always been the community of hobbyists that we all belong to. All of us started with no knowledge and we learnt as we go along. For most of us, a big part of our learning was through the help of this community. [TAG] will make every effort to cultivate this community at our Facebook page. Unlike an open forum, any question posted on our Facebook page will be researched by our team and answered with certainty. Also, all other experienced hobbyists will be able to comment on your post as well. We greatly encourage you to frequent our Facebook page and to post pictures, questions, comments or criticisms.

We really love and appreciate all your comments! Although our statistics show that we are rapidly growing in viewership, there is nothing better than seeing an increase in comment activity. Your comments enable us to connect with you directly and to encourage you, we are committed to answer all your comments within the same day.

The second dream we have is to improve the way you view [TAG]. Our gazette’s easy interface has been a strength when compared to other aquarium websites, but we also understand that it can be a weakness when long articles fill up the front page and scrolling becomes a pain. Because of the limitations of our template, we have spent long sessions in thinking out of the box on how to implement a sleeker interface for your viewing pleasure.

As part of the improved interface, our home page of three columns will be permanently spilt into three sections. The first column will be feature a News Feed in which we highlight notable news throughout the aquatic world. The second and third columns will feature our latest posts in a very condensed form, ensuring that our home page stays much neater than it is now. Clicking into the second and third columns will bring you to the article’s dedicated page. Such an interface will always help those with slower internet connections as you will not be forced to load a data heavy home page.

The third dream we have for [TAG] in 2012 is a big one, to establish our own film unit, TAG TV. This will enable us to do all our reviews in a film and picture format. Also, we will be able to take you into local fish shops and trade shows around the region and see them as though you were there. Film is a fantastic format, it will enable us to literally break away with these walls of text and be more personal with you. We have identified the filming equipment we need, and we are setting into motion the establishment of our film department. All we need now is for the funds to flow in. If you want to see TAG TV realised, please continue to make us a daily part of your hobby and we will not only deliver to you a better viewing experience, but a more involving one.

An aquatic company recently commented that it was good [TAG] is still going strong, with the death rate of independent aquatic blogs or gazettes being very high. They voice out their concern because we are still solely lacking of partners, in spite of our increasing views.

Our reply was that [TAG] is here to stay, no matter if we get partners or not. Without partners, our dreams will just be implemented much slower, but they will be implemented. We love this hobby as much as you do, and when the going gets tough, we are just going to keep going. We will always be here to ensure that your hobby gets enriched.



Christmas List

In Thoughts on December 10, 2011 at 21:27

Christmas is almost upon us! During this magical season, wallets are loosen and our mind stops to rationalise purchases. Our cash take on wings and our rooms fill up with stuff that seemingly do not make much sense in January.

At [TAG], the Christmas spirit is just as infectious and some of us here, just can’t stop singing off-tuned Christmas jingles at the top of our voices. Much to the chagrin of our fauna and fellow humans, who are in possession of more sane minds.

To help prevent you from weeping as you try figuring a way to hook up your beautiful calcium reactor to your discus aquarium in January, here is our recommendations for Christmas. Hopefully, it will lead you to what you really need!

The items on this list have been chosen because we feel they are special to the hobby. These are items that have been designed with inspiration, built superbly and some will be looked backed as a legend. They are by no means a must-have, but rather, really nice-to-have. Do leave a comment and let us know what you think of our choices! Enjoy your Christmas shopping!

ADA Cube Garden | 60P

Many have tried, all have failed. No other aquarium company can yet produce with consistency, this example of a superb aquarium tank. With its low iron glass, clean silicon work and braceless construction, many aquarists have been wowed into silence when they received their ADA Cube Garden for the first time. Of all the Cube Garden sizes, we chose the 60P for this Christmas list as its measurements of 60cm(length) x 30cm (depth) x 36cm (height) are really pleasing. This tank is not too big to find space for, yet of enough size to not be of a limitation.

Takashi Amano once said, that of all the Cube Gardens, the 60P is his favourite for aquascaping, we agree with him wholeheartedly.

EcoPico LED Arm

Can Ecoxotic please let us know who was the genius behind the EcoPico LED Arm? We need to know the name to whisper in thanks, every time we lay our eyes on our LED Arm.

While we waited years for the big lighting companies to produce a reliable and decently designed LED unit for the nano tank, Ecoxotic not only beat them to it, but came up with a LED unit that looks like it has been designed by a top fashion house. Sexy, sleek, solid, special and superb are the few words that spill out of our mouths every time someone asks us about it. It’s completely versatile for the low to high tech aquarium, from freshwater to marine set ups. The LEDs that Ecoxotic use will last you 17 years with a photo-period of 8 hours a day. And, it is supported by a customer service which makes us wish we could contact them more often.

All of these packaged in a drop dead design. Need we say more?

Eheim Classic 2213

Once in a blue moon, a product is created and executed to such a level of refinement that it not only stays relevant for a long time, but its popularity is undiminished by the passing of time. The Eheim Classics have been around for a very long time and are Eheim’s first cannister filters. Since then, no less than 9 more advanced external filter models have been launched. In any other manufacturer’s product cycle, the Eheim Classics would have been phased out by now, but continual demand has kept them on the shelves.

Because the Eheim Classic is such a simple and straightforward filter, they are known to easily last a decade or more. The impeller, which is the only moving part in the entire filter, is easily user replaceable. The best thing about the Classics is the killer backwash ability, which means that you will never have to open up the filter, nor move away from your aquarium, when you need to wash your filter media. Of all the Eheim Classics, we choose the 2213 to be on this list as it is the only Classic to come equipped with a media basket. The media basket is incredibly handy if you want to flush the filter’s enclosure, without messing around with filter media.

Reliable, long-lasting, effective water bypass because of its round body, and with a low power consumption, the Eheim Classics are going to continue being around till someone figures out how to top this almost perfect design.

Filter Media
Seachem Purigen

Seachem’s Purigen is one of those products that sounds too good to be true. Here is a filter media that is actually so good that some don’t believe its claims and dismisses them as marketing language.

But Purigen is really such a wonderful product. It absorbs impurities and polishes water to such a clarity that you be spoiled not to settle for anything less. And unlike activated carbon, it is stronger, rechargeable and is visually indicative of when it needs to be cleaned. If you feed your fauna heavily, then we feel Purigen is indispensable, in controlling the high levels of organic waste.

Every filter in every aquarium, should have Purigen inside it. Ultimate Filtration, it is.


image credits: Aqua Design Amano | Ecoxotic | | Seachem

[TAG]’s Shrimp Tank

In Tanks @ [TAG] on December 7, 2011 at 22:59

We are quite the fan of the nano aquarium. Modern filtration technology and water quality know-how has made these aquariums possible for a long term basis, and not simply just for a photo taking session.

Although the nano aquarium does require the aquarist to be more diligent with the monitoring of water quality as compared to a bigger aquarium, there are many other advantages to the nano such as reduced cost and the flexibility in placement.

For our first nano aquarium, we customised an aquarium and here is our set up in pictures. Although we have not added any fauna into it as of yet, this aquarium is designed for shrimps. And for such a small aquarium, we can think of no better fauna to fill our nano with a happy, bustling colony.

Our nano aquarium holds a grand total of a whooping 6 litres and we have chosen to match it with Ecoxotic’s excellent, EcoPico LED Arm. This extremely sleek LED Arm is a perfect match for this small aquarium and we highly recommend it. It has always been the challenge of a nano aquascaper to find lighting units that compliment their nano aquariums.

Click to be sent over to our EcoPico LED Arm article

Aquarium Specifications:
Name | N30 Glass Aquarium
Dimensions | 28cm length x 17cm height x 13cm depth
Material | Glass
Thickness | 4mm
Capacity| 6 litres

Filter | Eheim Pickup 2006
Filtration Media | Eheim Filter Sponge
Lighting | Ecoxotic Aluminum LED Arm | 12,000K 9 watts LED | 8 hours

Substrate | ADA Rio Negro Sand
Hardscape | ADA Old Black Wood SS | Black Lava Rock
Flora | Java Fern on Wood | US Fissiden on Lava Rock

Cycling Agent | Seachem Stability
Carbon Dioxide | Gaseous CO2 | 0.5 bubble per second
Nutrient | ADA Green Brightly Step 1 | 1ml Daily
Water Conditioner | Seachem Prime | 5 drops per water change
Fauna | 7 Sakura Shrimps
Feed | Mosura CRS Specialty Food |
Test Kits | Sera Ammonia | Sera Nitrite | Sera pH
Temperature | 24 – 28 degree Celsius

ADA Rio Negro Sand was our chosen substrate. As we will not be planting any flora, there is no need to have a thick substrate. In a nano aquarium, space is always a priority.

The Eheim Pickup 2006 was chosen as our filter, its small size is especially appreciated in our nano aquarium.

Click to be sent over to our Eheim Pickup 2006 article

Java Fern which was attached to a piece of wood is then placed in front of the filter to effectively hide it from view. A small spray bottle is used to mist the leaves of the Java Fern so as to prevent them from drying out.

Click to be sent over to our Java Fern article

Two red lava rocks tied with US Fissiden are placed beside the Java Fern in a diagonal line so as to blend the Java Fern into the aquascape. Right behind these two rocks is a black lava rock with no flora attached. This black rock serves to accentuate the US Fissiden. At the other end of the aquarium, 3 black lava rocks of different shades and sizes anchor the aquascape there. A small piece of ADA Old Black Wood is then used to gel the entire aquascape together.

Two more pieces of ADA Old Black Wood are used to give the aquascape height, in relation to the aquarium. The Old Black Wood slopes down from left to right, following an invisible line that is created by the height of the Java Fern and filter, to the lava rocks. Another red lava rock with US Fissden was added to the right rock pile so as to accentuate the low lying Old Black Wood and add balance to the other rocks with US Fissiden on the left.

With this simple aquascape complete, water is carefully poured in and the aquarium is filled.

With the aquarium completely filled, the aquascape takes on a different perspective. Minor adjustments are made and the LED lights produce a most pleasing ripple within the aquascape, simulating natural sunlight.

A nano CO2 ceramic diffuser is added to the aquarium.

This angle of view clearly shows why we made an aquarium with a higher back wall. In an aquarium so small, it is necessary to reduce the strength of flow for the sake of the fauna. By directing the filter’s output into the back wall, the desired result is achieved in a beautiful manner.

A close up on the redirected flow with the surface agitation reminds us of a natural river. Because of the increased agitation which results in a faster gaseous exchange, more CO2 than usual needs to be pumped into the aquarium. In a bigger aquarium, this may be a concern because of the extra costs involved. But in our nano aquarium, it is actually a good buffer as few CO2 solenoids are that sensitive to dispense such a small amount of CO2.

After a day of rest, an additional piece of ADA Old Black Wood was added. And thus we completed our first shrimp tank. Please feel free to comment or ask any questions. We would be delighted to answer them. We hoped you enjoyed this set up!


ADA View | Episode 16 – 20

In Film on December 7, 2011 at 22:55

In this third edition of ADA View, we host the episodes 16 to 20.

Episodes 16 and 17 shows the growth process of several aquariums about 18 days after planting.

Episode 18 is interesting. With ADA’s Wabi Kusa, low tech tanks just became even simpler. Here, ADA demonstrates how it is possible to keep a planted tank with no equipment at all.

Episode 19 shows the trimming of Eleochalis acicularis (dwarf hairgrass) and Hemianthus callitrichoides (HC).

Episode 20 charts the progress of two tanks, 25 days after planting.


All credits: Aqua Design Amano | ADA View


In Thoughts on December 7, 2011 at 18:42

We have just realised that our comments setting were set wrongly during our last data maintenance four months ago. Because of this wrong setting, several of your comments have stayed hidden and we did not answer them till today. We sincerely apologise for this oversight and would like you to know that we treasure all comments and hope to get many more of them.

As we grow rapidly, there are times when our cutting edge site template, threatens to become a bloody mess. We appreciate your understanding and we will work harder! Keep those comments coming!


picture credit: Tex’s Cartoon Ranch