In the post “ The Master School of Aquarium Design 2019: A Workshop With Six Experts " our outline showing all 6 aquariums has already given you the basics about this popular event. Now, by popular request from the myJBL community, we would like to go into more detail about each of the six masters’ aquariums. We asked each master the same set of questions and have summarised their answers in the post here, along with their corresponding pictures. Use the comments function for your questions about the aquariums or for any further information you need.
JBL hosted this event together with the companies Plants (provided the entire plant assortment) and (provided the aquarium combination JUWEL RIO 125 white).
Let’s continue with the aquarium created by Team Florian Neumann and his apprentices Pascal Gräber and Marco Dallmann.
About Master Florian Neumann
You might assume that this art is the result of long experience, but you’d be wrong. Florian has only been active in the aquascaping scene for 5 years and is still considered a newcomer. Through his fabulous work, his networking with other scapers and his online content, it seems like he has been there forever. Known for setting up aquariums he has not only won lots of competitions, but two years ago he even turned his hobby into his profession and opened a gallery, which unfortunately was completely destroyed during the heavy floods in Bad Salzdetfurth.
What is the basic idea of the layout and what does it represent?
In the middle of the Massa Gorge, with a view of the Valais Alps, there is a river which leads through a marvellous landscape with steep slopes and trees. In summer there is a beautiful green area with a fabulous view. It is not only an attractive destination in Switzerland, but also ideal for a reproduction of an aquarium landscape.
Name of the layout
The clear river in the Massa Gorge
What material was used in the hardscape?
As a hardscape we used 55 kg of the so-called mini landscape (Ryuoh Stone). We used a hammer and chisel to knock out many small stones of the large fragments in order to recreate the natural look. In addition, branches of Red Moorwood roots were sawn and cut and integrated into the layout. For this we used JBL PROHARU UNIVERSAL and JBL PROHARU RAPID as an adhesive. This helped us to place the elements where we wanted. The course of the river was modelled with JBL Sansibar RIVER . In order to structure the mountain landscape, we used JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO MINERAL as the shaping substrate. This was covered with a small layer of JBL PROSCAPE PLANT SOIL BROWN and sprinkled with JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO POWDER beforehand.
Which plants were used?
Florian's team had also drawn up a list of plants and sent it to us in advance, but unfortunately there was a mix-up at the exhibition and the plants they had ordered weren’t available. Improvising a little they substituted some plants and managed to round up other important ones.
- Cryptocoryne parva (potted)
- Hemianthus callitrichoides 'Cuba' (potted)
- Microsorum pteropus 'Trident' (potted)
- Microsorum pteropus 'Narrow' (potted)
But honestly, who would have thought that the following plants were really missing in this layout? This showed him and his team that creativity alone is decisive for whether a layout succeeds or not.
- Eleocharis acicularis 'Mini' 1-2-Grow!
- Littorella uniflora 1-2-Grow!
- Cryptocoryne x willisii (potted)
- Pogostemon helferi (potted)
- Taxiphyllum 'Spiky' (portion)
What are the special features of the layout?
It may not look like it, but none of the plants was conventionally planted in the soil. They were simply inserted between stones and roots and thus fixed. The substrate JBL PROSCAPE PLANT SOIL BROWN is touching the roots, allowing the plants to grow slowly. Otherwise the groundcover HCC would have had to be fixed with JBL PROSCAPE PLANTIS PINS .
The ferns, whose rhizomes tend to rot away when they are stuck in the bottom ground, were therefore deliberately placed in such a way that the rhizome was exposed and able to form roots.
Which other products were used?
In addition to the hardscape mentioned above we installed a CO2 system ( JBL PROFLORA u504 ). Apart from that we only needed a JBL Fish Net, fine to catch rising plant parts and the JBL WishWash to clean the windows. The JBL AquaEX Set 20-45 helped us to siphon fragments from the ground.
What difficulties did you have with the creation?
The big challenge with this layout was to create a high and stable structure which wouldn’t sink down. Here the JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO MINERAL turned out to be ideal. We filled the aquarium with it and its porous and angular structure made it particularly suitable for the rough mountain shape. The stones interlock, are already supplied with nutrients and minerals and ensure that the plants are ideally supplied over a longer period of time. The addition of JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO POWDER and the covering with JBL PROSCAPE PLANT SOIL BROWN give the aquarium a long service life.
What maintenance do you recommend for this layout in the start phase and as a routine afterwards? What needs to be considered?
A bacteria starter for the filter ( JBL FilterStart ) and for the water column ( JBL PROCLEAN BAC is ideal so that shrimps and algaevorous snails (Neritina) can be stocked promptly. For the first 10 days the aquarium is only supplied with CO2, but not yet fertilised. The plants have to adjust first and the JBL PROSCAPE VOLCANO MINERAL and JBL PROSCAPE PLANT SOIL BROWN will release nutrients at the beginning. This prevents the plants from becoming "stressed" and gives them time to acclimatise. 10 days after the start, 30 % of the water is changed every two days for two weeks. Then for another two weeks 30 % every 4 days. Once the initial phase is complete, a 50 % water change per week is sufficient.
Fertilisation with JBL PROSCAPE Fe +MICROELEMENTS and JBL PROSCAPE NPK MACROELEMENTS starts on the 14th day. Start with half the recommended dosage and slowly increase to 100 % over 3-4 weeks. The water values can be ideally checked and minor errors corrected with the test case JBL PROAQUATEST LAB PROSCAPE .
Tell us some anecdotes about the event day with the apprentices - where did you see them making progress, how did you work together, and what was especially fun?
As in the last years, I especially liked the great teamwork, not only within my own working group, but also between the groups. One of my students already had a bit more experience and so we were able to exchange ideas very effectively. For me, it was an absolutely successful event without any spats or issues, because it was not a competition, but a workshop for learning with each other - the master school.
We had a lot of fun making a lot of noise and drawing attention to ourselves, because the hammer and chisel really made a lot of dirt and noise. Our manual labours displayed a completely different view of aquarium design.