In our post " The Master School of Aquarium Design 2018 " we promised to give you a detailed introduction to the five aquariums of the Master School of Aquarium Design (MSAD). To this end the masters have answered a few questions and put together some facts about these aquariums, and you’ll have the chance to ask questions in the comments if you’d like to know more.
Let’s begin with aquarium 1 from team Garwin Borschewski with the apprentices Dana Würzburg and Friederike Reehaus.
Garwin, who famously likes to create effects with mirrors, LED lighting and caves, suggested his apprentices make a water surface under water. One of the two apprentices decided to design a river course with trees hanging over the banks. After looking through the roots they had and how they could attach them, they modified their idea slightly and in the end created a small pool.
Before the final photo was due the team’s adrenalin shot up as they raced against the clock. The water was still cloudy. Luckily they managed to carry out a new water change and improve visibility in time. They were very pleased with the result, happy to have taken part and said it was worth doing again.
There now follows some important facts and background information about Team 1’s layout.
What does the layout show?
The basic concept shows a broken tree on the bank of a small pond, with the branches partly hanging in and above the water.
Which materials were used?
) they used hardscape Dragon Stone (Ohko Stone) and "Waitomo Forest" roots. These roots are especially well suited to use as “dead trees” with their almost black colour.
What special features does the layout involve?
In addition to the usual hardscape materials a mirror (made of acrylic glass) was used as “special effect” for this scape. The mirror effect creates the illusion of a reflecting water surface - water under water, so to speak.
Which difficulties did the team face?
It turned out that the angle at which the mirror was placed at the bottom was hugely important. To achieve a more powerful effect of depth, the mirror needed to be installed in a slightly slanting position, rising upwards at the back. The effect of a reflective water surface is lost with a too high inclination and instead you see light sources or reflections from outside of the aquarium. It was also really difficult to conceal the edges of the mirror with “bank vegetation”.
The master’s maintenance tips
Finally we asked Garwin, the master of the team, which maintenance he recommends for the initial phase and later during operation. He has provided the following tips for you:
Since we also planted more demanding plants for this scape, such as Hemianthus callitrichoides "Cuba" (HCC) ground cover, I recommend, along with CO2 supply, a combination fertiliser from JBL ProScape Fe +Microelements en JBL ProScape NPK Macroelements . The exact nutritional requirements need here to be determined through regular measurements with the JBL Testlab ProScape . Depending on the age and the development of the plant growth in the layout and the animal stock in the aquarium, they will vary. I recommend a combination of horned snails, Amano shrimps and small Golden Otos as “cleaning staff”. This combination of animal helpers has a proven ability to keep the hardscape and the planting perfectly clean. A shoal of small danionins or tetras can be added if required. To guarantee the highest possible consistent water quality and to avoid a nutrient surplus I recommend a weekly water change of 30-50 %.
Finally we have gathered a few pictures for you to illustrate the structure and making of the layout during the workshop.