My Photography

My Photography
Off topic post, recently a bit active in photo shooting more than aquascape. The reason why I do that is to understand the nature, like Mr Takashi Amano does. So is a helpful skill to develop our aquascaping and some nature behaviour. The place I am staying has such a limited stone scape, but worth for deep in study of the formation. If you like my photography, please drop a 'LIKE' on my link. Thank you very much.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Added Calcium in my tank

Recently a forumer told me that the Anubias has the symptoms of nutrient deficiency, because the leaves bending too curly. After serched on internet, found out Calcium deficiency is the cause of curly leaves.
I got my-self 1Kg of Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) because of it is easier dissolve in the water instead of Calcium Carbonate. Not too sure about Calcium Nitrate, Calcium Sulphate and etc. Calcium Chloride is harmless to plants.
It can also be used in the planted aquarium hobby for adding bio-available calcium in solution for calcium-using animals such as shrimps and snails.
Test and correct the pH if needed because calcium deficiency is often associated with low pH.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Plant biology (Part-2)

Cell structure
The vital life processes of plants, such as photosynthesis, respiration, nutrient transfer and gas exchange, all take place within individual cells. All cells are made up of the same structural components and it is variation in these that creates different cells for different purposes.

Plant anatomy
Although some plants lack of central stem, and plants such as mosses and fern do not produce flowers, the anatomy of most plants can be split into four basic zones; the roots, stem, leaves and flowers. All these parts play a vital role in the plant’s basic functions, including growth, reproduction, nutrient-collection and storage.
Types of root
The roots of most of the plants are a combination of a number of central roots, up to 1.5mm(0.016in) in diameter, with many smaller roots trailing off. Terrestrial roots have fine hairs for trapping moisture, but these are not present in aquatic plants, although they may develop on some bog plants when grown out of water.
The function of stem
A stem in most aquatic plants and performs two basic functions: support and transport. The stem’s function is aided by supporting gas – or air – filled cells that provide buoyancy and help to keep the plant upright. Since the surrounding water provides much of a plant’s support, aquatic stems are often much thinner and more flexible than the terrestrial stems. Flexible stems allow the plant to move with the water, rather than try to hold steady to hold against it, risking damage.

The leaves of a plant are essential tools for collecting sunlight to use in a process of photosynthesis. Gas exchange and some collection of nutrients are also carried out by the leaves. The leaves of terrestrial plants have a think, waxy outer layer called cuticle, which protects the plant from drying out. In aquatic plants this layer is much thinner and liquid is able to pass through much more easily, which helps the plant to take up nutrients. Aquatic plants that produce aerial leaves often show two different leaf shapes below and above the water. This is due to different environments and a change in the cuticle layer.

Although not all aquatic plants are likely to produce flowers in the aquarium, the majorities are flowering plants and will produce seeds and reproduce by flowering in nature. The flowers are usually produced above water, where they can be pollinated by insects, just as terrestrial ones are. Some aquatic plants produce flower beneath the water surface. In these instances, the seeds are capable of floating downstream and a few species do not produce flowers at all, preferring to reproduce by purely asexual means.
(Contents are taken from the book of MiniEncyclopedia Aquarium Plants)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Plant biology (Part-1)

Although there are a few exceptions, plants in general do not consume other organisms to obtain the energy and the basic elements they need to live, grow and reproduce. Instead, they use the processes of photosynthesis to obtain energy, and absorb vital elements directly from the surrounding environment. This is simplified way of life has allowed plants to thrive and spread in many habitats, becoming the basis of support for more complex organisms and food chains. Plants are producers rather than consumers; they ‘produce’ biological material rather than consume’ it.
Plants developed on land before venturing under water and although aquatic plants are highly adapted to the underwater environment, many of their physical attributes can be traced back to their terrestrial ancestry.
Looking at the biology and structure of aquatic plants, helps us to understand why certain conditions are needed in the aquarium if we want to keep aquatic plants successfully.

The unique function that plants possess is the ability to obtain energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, using the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthetic cells within the leaves and stem tissues contain pigments that trap light energy to break down the molecular structure of water (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen binds first to carbon dioxide and then oxygen to form glucose, which is a basic sugar and an important source of energy. Some oxygen is left over from this process and is released back into the water, where it is either used up by bacteria and animals for their respiration or release into the atmosphere at the water surface.
The glucose produces from photosynthesis is water soluble and, if stored in large quantities, will absorb water and enlarge the cells that contain it. Obviously, this is undesirable for plants, so the glucose is quickly converted into an insoluble starch compound and transported to various parts of the plant for storage, in most cases to the upper root area. Many plants store starch in tubes, rhizomes and bulbs. The starch can be easily converted back into glucose and transported around the plant when needed for energy or growth.

Factors affecting photosynthesis
A plant has very little control over the rate of photosynthesis is that occurs its cells. A number of environmental factors are responsible for the productivity of the photosynthesis cells and it is always the factor in least supply that limits the rate of photosynthesis. The aim in the aquarium is to remove the majority of constraints on photosynthesis to obtain the optimum level.
Higher rates of photosynthesis will encourage faster growth, reproduction and improved plant health. Light is the most obvious environmental factor, but temperature, carbon dioxide levels and nutrient availability also affect the rate of photosynthesis. In bright conditions, plant may receive more light than it needs to produce adequate amounts of glucose. At night, plants stop photosynthesis and only start again in daylight.

Respiration and oxygen levels
Respiration helps to break down food sources and release energy into the cells. During the process, oxygen is used up and carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. Respiration is a continual process that does not stop at night. Thus, photosynthesis stores food ‘energy’, whereas respiration releases energy.
In a heavily planted aquarium, respiration has a significant effect on oxygen levels within the tank. In any 24-hour period, plants release more oxygen through photosynthesis than they use up during respiration. Bacterial organism also use up oxygen continually through respiration. At night, a heavily planted aquarium can quickly use up oxygen until it is at such a low level that fish begin to suffer from oxygen deficiency. The problem is generally confined to heavily planted aquariums with little aeration or water movement, and be remedied by increasing oxygenation at night. Plants do not generally appreciate a high oxygen level in the aquarium because it diminishes their ability to obtain nutrients. This means that constant aeration is not beneficial in planted aquariums and should only be employed at night, when oxygen deficiencies may occur. The aim is to balance the needs of the plants and the fishes in a planted aquarium.

(Contents are taken from the book of MiniEncyclopedia Aquarium Plants)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

They are family, algae eater.

Close up view of the Yamato, Red Cherry, Red Crystal shrimps and snail.
like the cool face of 'Yamato' shrimp, like wearing a cap.

Red Crystal Shrimp (RCS)

a tiny little guy, always busy with their food.

Red Cherry

RCS on the vege farm.

A pregnant Red Cherry.

a busy RCS is searching around for food.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tested JBL Ferropol

Tested the JBL Ferropol fertilizer to find out how much Iron in it. The result as seen in the photo, the test value is over 1.0ppm(mg/l).
Testing done by mixing 5ml aquarium water (0ppm Iron) with chemical solution and add 1ml of Ferropol in the test tube. This shows that JBL Ferropol is providing sufficient Iron for the plants.

Why red plants aren't red, always turned into green?

After failing to keep the Ludwigia in my tank, there are many questions floating in my mind. Did alot of searching on internet to know how to plant it and why it happened. Many forumers also complain about the red aqua plant that it is kind of difficult to keep, always turning green from red, no matter how much irons added into the tank. Actually the main reason is that different light demands from the red plant and the green plant, therefore when most of the green plant grows healthily, the red plant always turned into green. Thus confirming that both plant's light innate nature demand are different.

Green leaf absorbs red and blue light in spectrum and red leaf needs blue and green light, this is because red plant has anthocyanin in the leaf. They are actually reproached outside the B chlorophyll; therefore the red plants looked red. If you place the red leaf in hot water, the anthocyanin will then be able to dissolve in hot water, causing red color turning into green.

The secret of how to make the red color plant look gorgeous:
1. Extend the illumination period,
2. Increase the light intensity and carbon dioxide densities,
3. Make sure water is in low PH value and low temperature.If the above conditions are obtainable, then planting a red plant is not actually that difficult.

Regardless of green or red plants, both has iron in it, but is only in a micro substance (standard content is approximately 0.076ppm). Iron is important to many kind of enzymes, in the aqua plant, it is extremely important to oxidation reduction catalyst, like the carbohydrates oxidized nitric acid and sulfate return to original state, it has the close relationship with the iron.

On the other hand, oxygen produced during photosynthes is also depends on the iron albuminate-the organic compound, when lacked of iron, plants will then go into etiolation stage, and if condition worsen it may cause the plant to necrosis. Ferrous iron ion (Fe2+) is the most valuable ion in aqua plants, when the water chemistry changed from neutral to alkaline (i.e. when the PH value was equal to 7 or above), the iron can precipitate and becomes non-dissolved iron, this is the reason why PH value is preferred at the low level. Thus, from the above theory, no matter red or green plants, Iron (Fe) is an indispensable trace element.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Update: Added new plants

Added 3 species of plant in my tank, they are Rotala macrandra 'Green', Micranthemum umbrosum, and Ludwigia brevipes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Understanding The Golden Ratio In Your Planted Tank

Probably, you are here because you would like to know how to improve your aquascaping skill, what is the Golden Mean, look at examples, read some articles or maybe use your own tank photo as a guild.

When we are talking about aquascape, the first thing in mind is to consider the Golden Ratio or Golden Section.

Throughout history, the ratio for length to width of rectangles of 1.61803 has been considered the most pleasing to the eye. This ratio was named the golden ratio by the Greeks. In the world of mathematics, the numeric value is called "phi", named for the Greek sculptor Phi Dias.

The Golden Ratio can occur anywhere. In plain English we can say that two lengths are in the Golden proportion if the ratio of the shorter length to the longer length is equal to the ratio of the longer length to the sum of both lengths. Let S=shorter length and L=longer length. Then using mathematical notation: S/L = L/(S+L).

We can solve this equation for S in terms of L and we find that L=S*(1+5^.5)/2 or approximately L=1.61803S. (If you know how to solve the equation above by using the quadratic formula, then prove to yourself that this is true.) So this is the unique case where the two lengths are in the Golden Ratio.

There are tons of explanations of Golden Ratio on the web, I am not going to describe the mathematical basics of these rules because they are well-described in other places. Let’s start with how to apply in our planted tank.

1. Prepare a photo of your planted tank or an empty tank photo for drawing the golden lines.

2. The first "golden" rule is the "Golden Ratio". It affects the ratio (1:1.618) of a picture size, as well as the placement of the main subjects in the photo. But you need to consider the composition: main subject should lie on one of the four lines or four intersections (subject's eye for example). Creating the “golden” line is pretty simple, measure the length of the tank, and divides the number by 2.61803. For example: Length = 900mm / 2.61803 = 343.76993mm (approx. 344mm), and the second line is easier, 900mm - 344mm = 556mm. Do the same for the tank's height.

3. After selected the horizontal & vertical lines, can draw for another cross line. (The red lines above are the Golden Ratio/Section)

4. Draw the first line diagonally across from the edge of top left corner to bottom right corner of the photo. This line must intersect with the “golden” lines intersection.

5. And now, draw another line from the bottom left corner across to touch the top part of vertical golden line.

6. Temporarily ignore the golden lines and erase the top section of the last drawn line to get another rule is the "Golden Triangles". It's more convenient for photos with diagonal lines. There are three triangles with corresponding shapes. Just roughly place three objects within these triangles and this rule would be kept. (End)

Basically from the tutorial above is just a new beginning for those still confuse about the Golden Ratio,Golden Section or Golden Triangles, and I made it simple to understand on how to divide proportionately.

Below are my tank's photos.

From the above photo, the composition seems to be a bit complicated which I've learnt it from ADA's concept. I am still trying very hard to self learn on the theory.

But, for a basic composition like the photo shown above (single point perspective), is easier to understand how to make your tank look more deeper. The intersection above is the place where main subjects should be there. Well, here is it, enjoy playing around with the "golden" concepts.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Update: 3' planted tank

After few days of rescaping, I trimmed off some unwanted leaves and did water change. As the forum friends suggested to me to remove some white stones, it makes the tank look too unnatural. And added new plants at the rear of the tank's left side.

New family members added and it is growing!

Bought 3 Red Crystal Shrimps(RCS), and after a day they are moving around in the tank happily. Hope that they can survive longer, my past experience taught me that CRS is a species sensitive to the enviroment, a single mistake is enough to wipe them out.

Are you ready for the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 2008?

Here is the link to the main webpage:

Online Submission:

Hard Copy Submission:

If you are ready, please submit before 31 May 2008.......Good Luck!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Little guy swims around

After seeing these little guys all over the plants and ground, I had felt more easy and not so worry about the water quality problems. Nothing happened since the last adult Red Cherry had been eaten by others until today. Still need to keep any eye on the tank too.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Attacked or died naturally??

Oh gosh! What happened to my Red Cherry shrimp? Ate by Amano shrimp............ =.=
I was afraid the water quality still unstable, cause the shrimp died, tested the pH 6.2 and KH 2.0 by this morning , after calculated the CO2 level is 37.86ppm, it should not be the cause of killing the shrimp. Is a big question mark to me now.

Rescape my tank

Was really tired after rescaping my aquatic tank until midnight, it took me a few hours to relocate the stones, plants and did water change as well. Water is still in cloudy condition as you can see in the photo, perhaps 2 days later, the water will be crystal clear again.

So far the design is satisfying, however there are still room to improve on the layout. Well, this is my third time rescape the tank, and it's really a tough work. Now I will leave the tank to stabilize for 2 weeks to allow the plants to grow bushy and by then I will trim the plants to achieve the planned layout.

Specification For 20" Tank

Tank size : L20" x D13" x H13"

Light system : Aqua Zonic Super Bright double tube 24W T5 lamp with 12000K brightness

Filter system : "DIA" 502 Canister filter with ADA Bio Rio, JBL Symec, JBL PhosEx plus and bamboo charcoal insides.

Substrate : JBL Floralpol, JBL AquaBasis plus
layer 2 - ADA Aqua Soil (Amazonia II)

C O 2 : DIY type, 2 x 1 litre bottle, 35~40 bubbles/min.

Airation : after lights off, approx. 11 hours.

Water : Changed 1/3 tank water Once a week, dosing Stress Zyme(benificial bacteria).

Fertilizer : ADA Brighty K, Seachem Flourish Trace & Excel

Old Tank Specification:

Tank size : L33" x D15" x H16" custom made clear glass tank (8mm thick)7425 cubic inch, 32.1 gallons, 121.6 litres (based on H15" water)

Light system : Normal light with electronic ballast
32W 8000K NEC circline light x 3nos.
22W 6200K Philips circline light x 2 nos.
9W Red Aqua PL double tube x 2nos.
a total of 158W = 1.3W/litre = 4.9W/gallon

Filter system : "DIA" 502 Canister filter with ADA Bio Rio, JBL Symec, JBL PhosEx plus and bamboo charcoal insides.

Substrate : JBL Floralpol, JBL AquaBasis plus
layer 2 - ADA Aqua Soil (Amazonia)
layer 3 - size of 5mm pebble stones (front)

C O 2 : DIY type, 2 x 1 litre bottle, 35~40 bubbles/min.

Airation : after lights off, approx. 11 hours.

Water : Changed 1/3 tank water twice a week, dosing Stress Zyme(benificial bacteria).

Fertilizer : JBL Ferropol, ADA Brighty K, JBL the 7+13 balls, PMDD - KNO3, KH2PO4, K2CO3, CaCl2 & MgSO4.