Archive for the ‘Aquascaping’ Category


Monday, August 10th, 2009

I love relaxing weekends in Vancouver. Sometimes the best weekends are spent at home.

My favourite moment was Allan and I spontaneously dancing in the middle of our living room together for absolutely no reason. Other good moments include playing 9 holes of golf at Westwood Plateau (Academy course) with Trev and Tom, doing yoga every night together before bed, and of course… visiting the fish store.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Allan and I are slowly putting the work into building our fish tank into an aquascape. The first step is of course to get the right lightning (check), CO2 going (check), and the right water conditions for the plants and the fish (in progress). After that, it’s a matter of designing what you want your ‘scape to look like, picking out the right fish and plants, and making sure you can keep everything alive! Definitely not easy at all.

It’s worth it though. It’s like a moving piece of art.

So we stopped by our favourite fish store, Big Al’s, to pick up a couple new plants and some new fish.

Fish Tank

Here’s a shot of our work-in-progress tank. As you can see, pretty bare on plants and way too much algae.

Red Dragon Discus

We bought a Red Dragon Discus… I’ve always wanted Discus fish in our tank, but they are tricky to keep happy and need specific conditions. I think we’ve finally got the right set up, and the Discus so far seems to be fitting into the community. It’s a gorgeous fish, somewhat expensive, but very much worth it. The red pattern really stands out in the tank. Over time, as the Discus matures, it will start to develop iridescent blue in its fins to complement the red colouring. Very excited! Nickname: Disco Stu.

Rangeri Sword Plants

We also got 2 new bunches of Rangeri Sword plants. We’d like to eventually fill the back wall with them. Some more plants will hopefully keep the algae levels down a bit more.

Golden Ram

We also picked up 2 Golden Rams… really beautiful fish, but difficult to keep alive. We’re hoping they will grow big in the tank because that gorgeous yellow colour would be a nice addition.

Algae Eaters

We’ve been having a serious algae problem ever since we added the new light (as you can see in some of the photos), so we purchased 4 Siamese algae eaters. We were pretty skeptical that they would make any difference at all… and had been warned that they would do well with our red-tipped shark… but so far they seem to be faring well. And miraculously… they are actually eating the algae!

Algae Eaters actually eating

Here they are in action chowing down on our algae.. we couldn’t believe it!

Side Profile of the Fish Tank

A side profile of some of the new fish in the tank… very excited!

Although we are still quite a ways from the aquascape we want, we are making good progress and are really loving the new fish already!


Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I have a secret interest. It’s in aquascapes.

Aquascapes are beautiful aquariums that are artistically arranged with plants, rocks, and driftwood to create an interesting display. Often, they can look like landscapes out of the real world.

I had an aquarium all throughout growing up, and fortunately Allan is very much into aquariums and I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy his stunning fish tank all day long! If you haven’t seen the timelapse of our fish tank yet, I highly recommend you check it out here on Vimeo:

Moving and Fish Tank Timelapse Photography – from VancityAllie on Vimeo.

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite aquascapes in the world.

One of the most famous masters of aquascapes is Takashi Amano from Japan. (All below photos credit to

As you can see, it takes a lot of time, effort and design strategy to build an amazing aquascape.

Another one of my favourite aquarium designers is the Aquarium Design Group. All below photos credit to ADG.

Aquarium Design Group

Aquarium Design Group

Aquarium Design Group

Aquarium Design Group

The first three photos are freshwater tanks, and the last one here is a “paludarium” which is a combination of a fish tank with some “on-surface” vegetation and sometimes creatures. If you look carefully you can see the chameleon.

Personally, I would LOVE to have a proper paludarium is our apartment, but it’s really difficult to do and expensive. And Allan loves the fish tanks so I don’t think it is going to happen ;)

So we talked about it and I think we’re going to continue with the freshwater aquarium and start turning it into a proper aquascape. We used to have plants growing to the top of the plant, but some bad choices in fish led to all the plants being eaten. We’re now rid of those fish, but it’s a long slow road back to cultivating the plants again.

New Fish Tank Light

Allan bought himself a brand new light that will help with the plant growth. For those who know this stuff, it’s a Coralife Aqualight Strip Light 4 x 65 Watt. TONS of light! We’re planning on eventually scaping it like an Amano tank with the rocks and carpet of Riccia (the stuff that looks like grass). Very excited! 

CO2 Reactor

Allan built a DIY CO2 reactor out of a plastic bottle and some tubing to encourage more plant growth. Pretty cool for only $5 worth of equipment. It bubbles out all day long, just with a little mixture of yeast, baking soda and water. Lasts for weeks.

Stay tuned! We’ll be sure to post some photos of our new aquarium aquascape when it starts looking cool!

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