Friday, August 10, 2012

Sanjeev Kumar's Rainbow Aquariums Video

Check out these awesome Rainbow fish aquariums. I have a personal soft spot for Rainbows (I had a family of Boesmanis), and these two aquariums are just incredible. These must be very happy fish! It looks like the aquarium owner has chosen mostly low light, low maintenance plants. Seems like a good decision for a tank as big as the first one, since trimming that with lots of stem plants would take hours. Note the mesh over the top of the aquarium: Rainbows have a tendency to jump, so if you keep them, make sure you have something to stop them from jumping to their deaths!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Impact of Japanese Earthquake on Aquarium Suppliers

ADA Gallery in Niigata

As you've probably heard, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the northeastern coast of Japan on March 11th, 2011. Since then, a group of brave workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have been battling explosions and radiation leaks in an attempt to bring the crippled plant under control.

Although it may seem a world away from most of us, these events may have a very real impact on our aquascaping hobby. Many companies that make aquarium supplies are based in Japan, with Aqua Design Amano and Hikari probably being the most well known. ADA is headquartered in Niigata (about 100 miles from the worst devastation in Sendai) while most of Hikari's facilities are in southern Japan.

Everyone at ADA headquarters, which is closer to the affected area than Hikari, is alright. The gallery there sustained little damage if any, with all tanks surviving the earthquake. Apparently, ADA stands and tanks are designed to withstand earthquakes. However, as you can see in the map above, the ADA gallery and headquarters (marked A) isn't all that far from the Fukushima nuclear plant that's been leaking radiation for the last two weeks. Since ADA's substrate product, Aqua Soil, is collected nearby, there has been some concern over radiation levels in the product. ADA was quick to release a statement stating that radiation levels are being monitored:

Our national and local government is monitoring the radiation level every hour, and we do not see any abnormal value of radiation reported from the area of collection. In addition to that, we are not collecting these soils every day, and we now have been processing the soils collected before the earthquake. The raw materials of our AQUA SOIL series are collected from a layer of earth in the ground, and we do not see any concern of having soils contaminated with radiation. Therefore, there is no effect of radiation in all AQUA SOIL SERIES and it remains as ideal substrate for aquarium use.

Even if radiation isn't an issue, the general destruction of highways and ports and other infrastructure, along with the power outages could delay some shipments of ADA products to the US. If you were planning on making any necessary ADA purchases in the near future, and the products are in stock, I'd go ahead and make them now just in case. As a show of support for ADA and the Japanese people, ADG Shop is offering a special deal on Aqua Soil with 10% of proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross. Keep in mind though that this is a pre-order and that the Aqua Soil is not in stock right now, so if you are in a rush to set up a tank, you may want to contact the folks at ADG to see when they expect their next shipment. The ADA Gallery in Niigata has also opened up their gallery seven days a week until further notice to help provide a relaxing escape from the destruction.

The International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest (IAPLC) run by ADA has not been impacted or delayed though, so continue working on your submissions!

Meanwhile, Hikari has most facilities in southern Japan, but will probably also be impacted by damaged infrastructure and power shortages. There hasn't been a lot of mention about the quake on the Hikari USA website, but their Facebook and Twitter feeds have posted a video of a koi farm during the earthquake and offered their condolences to those impacted. Again, if you depend on Hikari products (say a special fish food for example) you may want to get it now just in case there are any interruptions in availability.

One thing you probably don't need to do and shouldn't do is go on a panicked buying spree. ADA and Hikari products are going to continue to be available, there just might be some short delays. I'll update this post if I hear anything else back on product availability or delays from Japan.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Collectoritis Aquascape Video Shows Plenty of Plants

Ever seen a for-sale add on an aquascaping forum for a plant you're just not sure of based on photos you could find on Google? Finding a plant that's a perfect fit for your aquascaping style is all part of the hobby, and the photos you can find on the internet aren't always the most helpful in determining if a plant is right for your aquascape.

Well, this video from should help a bit. In it, many of the most popular and sought after plants are shown including Elatine triandra, Hygrophila sp. "Pinnatafida," and Staurogyne sp. "Puerto Velho." They're all extremely healthy and gorgeous looking, providing an excellent view of what they should look like in an aquascape. Even better, the video is available in 720p HD. Take a look, and you just might find a new perfect plant to seek out for your aquascape!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Waterplant Multi Function CO2 Diffuser

From one aquascaper to another, this thing is amazing.

I've tried all kinds of CO2 diffusers before, from just sticking the CO2 tube into my Eheim filter intake, to ceramic disc diffusors in the tank, to a dedicated powerhead "bubble-basher." All had some drawbacks, whether it was incomplete diffusion, noise, or having to have something ugly in the tank.

This Waterplant diffuser is an inline diffuser though, so it goes in the outlet or inlet tube of a canister filter. The principle is the same as a ceramic diffuser, but it doesn't need to clutter up the inside of your tank. Just pop the diffuser on and tiny CO2 bubbles are pushed through the ceramic cylinder into the water flow. Nothing to clean, nothing to replace. It's efficient, quiet, and clutter-free. It's also plastic, so there's no glass to accidentally break, and it fits multiple tube sizes.

I have mine on my outlet tubing, only because I feel like putting it on the intake would probably lead to "burping" of the filter still. The diffuser does come with an intake screen though, and is ready to be put on the end of a filter intake directly in the tank.

There are some important things to remember with it though. One is, you absolutely must have a check valve installed in your CO2 line. Because the ceramic diffuser works both ways, water can be forced into the diffuser and up the CO2 tube if your pressure gets low or it shuts off overnight.

For $24, I'm very happy I don't have to fuss with suction cups, have ugly tubing in my tank, or listen to my filter "burp" all the time.

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