Monday, 11 May 2015

The Office

The office is one of the best environments to keep an aquarium. It is a controlled environment where the air conditioning provides all the cooling that plants will love. The lights, greenery and activity does bring some life to the office environment.

The photos below shows the third tank I've set up. Two prior ones were sold to colleagues. The first was sold to a colleague on a whim after expressing her envy of the tank. The second was sold before I had the chance to set it up. 

The first layout didn't have a 'V' composition. Note the perpendicular branch on the left and another pointing inwards. ~ 7 April

The tank is 40cm wide with a hang-on filter and clip-on LED lights. Hopefully, in a few months, it'll be teeming with red rili shrimps but the survival rate of the shrimps hasn't been as encouraging. Having the patience to wait can be difficult. 

A stronger 'V' composition. ~ 10 April

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tank Reboot

The last tank failed as the use of LED lights was itself a failed experiment. The tank went into decline, clearing it out was a series of battles with procrastination. Eventually, it was vacated and the space used as a shelf.

2 May 2015

Welcome to 2015 and a new tank. The Significant Other was surprisingly supportive of this new venture. Much of the hardware was primarily obtained from Nanyang Seaview Aquarium. 

Aquascaping materials were obtained from several sources over a week. The first items were two pieces of driftwood from GreenChapter. I pick the two because of its texture and shape. I picked up the third from C328. Its size and knobbly texture made it perfect as the visual centrepiece for the tank. A mistake was being too conservative with the gravel and rocks. A friend had reported using only 6kg of gravel for his tank of the same size. However, as my aquascape was sloped instead of the initial plan of a central mount, 9kg of shrimp soil and 3.6kg of rocks were barely sufficient. If I had a chance to do it again, I'd double the rocks used and add a further 3kg of shrimp soil for a steeper slope.

Plants were obtained entirely from a farm in Pasir Ris. As before, the plants were to be a mix of java fern. This included a large driftwood that had a healthy mop of narrow leaf java fern firmly attached; two pieces of windelov, two pieces of java fern, both attached to pieces of wood. The last was a small amount of Christmas Moss attached to the driftwood.

The driftwood on the right was adjusted to the back and placed higher for a better layout. This is the final layout at present. The narrow leaf java fern on the left ought to grow and fill out the space while the windelovs will create a border running from the centre back to the right of the tank. Hopefully, the java ferns at the back will grow large and tall to fill the tank.
Rescaped 4 May 2015

Monday, 19 January 2009

New Layout

It's been barely a week and this tank has already undergone a makeover. Redoing the layout was quite easy since everything is on driftwood. Did try a couple of times to rearrange the ferns within the tank but nothing would work considering how narrow the tanks. The ferns and driftwood it was attached to was simply too large.

Since the Significant Other wasn't feeling too well, it was a matter of convenience to get the plants changed. Brought it back to the farm and they were quite nice to change it even though I didn't transport it right. It's important that the ferns are bagged to prevent excessive moisture loss.

This time it was more windelov as well as what might be a tropica variety. Will have to wait a while more to see what it grows into. But the new layout does look better with the Significant Other giving this a rating of 8 compared to the previous layout which stood at a 4. The variety of plants and the smaller size of the ferns probably did the trick.

As a parting shot, this was taken at night with only the tank lights on. Yes, the tank is just beside this huge mirror in the dining hall.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Setting Up: Lights & Gravel

It's been just over a week since the tank was set up. Definitely an overdue on giving details about the setup for which I must apologise.

First up, the dimensions of the tank:
965mm x 350mm x 500mm

As you can see, the tank is quite narrow which really limits quite a bit on the options for layout. Not very forgiving on mistakes either. The glass is about 10mm thick as the tank has no frame above to brace it. What would happen according to the lady is that the high pressure of the water would result in the glass bending, which overtime might crack or suddenly give way.

First up was to lay the gravel, which I bought from Nature Aquarium at Thomson. It is slightly more expensive than the river sand that we normally buy from shops. This is because knowing that this was to be a java fern tank, the gravel needs to have more reds and be shade darker to bring out the contrasting green. This gravel in particular is unique cause it looks more like fish food pellets - being spherical - rather than the angular types normally used. The only problem when placing it in the tank is that it is pretty dusty. No visible problems though when water was added.

Next is lights. I decided to go with LED because of firstly, it is more efficient and hence will save electricity in the long run. Secondly, the lifespan is much longer. If the hype is true, I shouldn't need to change lights for the next 3-5 years compared to flourescent tubes which need to be changed every 6 months or so. Last of all, it's high efficiency means very little heat is emitted which is of particular importance considering how everything is enclosed within the cupboard. It should save me money on having to buy a fan to cool the tank.

Oceanus LED lights was chosen in particular because of it's unique design. The LEDs are enclosed within the tube which makes it waterproof. If desired, the entire unit can be submerged. That makes the entire unit small, lightweight and easy to carry around. I bought 2 sets from C328 at Clementi and it turned out to be a costly mistake.

With each tube is a DC adapter to plug the lights into the socket. Unfortunately, C328 forgot to give the adapters when the purchase was made resulting in me being extremely horrified to find that no adapter was included. In part, it's poor design on the Oceanus as no lighting system is sold without some kind of power device. The other was me having to rush through setting up the tank. The pressure combined with the shock resulted in me going to the nearby electronic store to buy two DC adapters setting me back $44. Perhaps if the pressure wasn't there, the simple solution would be to return to the shop to check for any missing parts. Nonetheless, after several exchanges over e-mails, Oceanus said that the problem was between C328 and me but they were at least nice enough to deliver the proper DC adapters to me.

Lighting wise, LED lights emit a beam that is very narrow. So unlike conventional lighting, while it is more efficient, it makes it tough to light up the entire tank evenly without the use of some reflector. Also, the light is somewhat blue which makes the fish look a little funny although the rest seem rather fine. If given a choice, I'd probably revert back to conventional lighting for now. LED is the future, but at present, it still has room for development. Unless you're in a situation that demands that type of lighting, best to wait and see.

In the meantime, stay tuned as I bring you updates on the new layout done over this weekend.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Tank Begins

The new tank is finally here! The setup hasn't been easy and I have to admit it's a little overcrowded. But I'll give a detailed account of the entire process. For now, I hope this pleases you. The Significant Other has commented it is relaxing to view even at this juncture.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Getting the right equipment for water change can mean the difference bliss and pain. During the first days of keeping aquariums, I'd lug pails of water to and fro the toilet which did put quite a strain on my lower back. Considering that the tank was coming tomorrow, it was high time I got the peripherals ready.

The equipment is quite simple; get a hose that will fit on the tap directly. If that is not possible, then get a plug or a hose connector that will do the job for you. I was glad to be able to get the contraption you see in the picture. It was a simple matter of screwing off the shower hose, screwing in this piece and voila, ready to fit the hose in.

The hose itself doesn't have to be any fancy hose. Just a simple garden hose or something cheaper will do. Just make sure it is long enough. The length I ordered was just a tad short but with a little teasing, it should reach the tank just nicely. All that is missing now is to get the U-tube to hang off the side of the tank and I should be all set.

As a side note, the driftwood still is leeching tannins, albeit much slower than it was before. Hopefully, one more night of soaking and it should be unnoticeable.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Where The Fish

3 more days till the tank comes! Long waiting time and my mind is still buzzing with various layouts and sorts. Might just want to return one of the java fern back and change it for a windelov.

That aside, what you see in the picture is where the tank will be. Just beside the dining table and that's all my stuff there that you see. Considering how brown the entire cupboard it, a spot of green there should do nicely. But I think the context the tank is set within also kind of limits the layout to a U-shaped layout. A mount or triangle layout wouldn't look as nice, especially with the mirror beside it.

I'm hoping the U-shape layout will let the eye flow from the cupboards to the tank and back without any difficulty. Mount and triangle shaped layouts tend to make the eye rest on the main focal point. A U-shape tends to encourage more sweeping eye movement in my opinion. Then again I might be wrong in all this pseudo-psycho-science.