Inspirational aquariums: Dreamscape

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A huge new attraction at Aquajardin, and created by members of the Aquajardin staff, has both scale and style – and plenty to fire your imagination into the bargain...

For many years Aquajardin of Gloucester has specialised in selling planted aquariums and aquascaping, gaining a wealth of knowledge in creating stunning aquascapes of all sizes.

These ranged from the very small to the large — but they seemed just a prelude to the massive new 1,000 l/220 gal head turner at the company’s store.

Called Dreamscape it’s the brainchild of store manager Ed Franklin. We spoke to him about how this beauty was created.

"We felt the time was right to start planning a true nature aquarium on the grand scale," Ed told us.

"It would have to be a showcase display our customers could really enjoy when visiting our store."

The layout was Ed’s work, with help from Stuart Iles, the assistant manager at Gloucester, and it took the pair the best part of two days to hardscape and plant in, following Ed’s blueprint.

The creators worked pretty much in harmony, although the final details were much debated!

Now completed, it features a glass viewing panel that exposes the engine room of all the components used to run this magnificent monster.

We asked them exactly what went into creating the Dreamscape:

What size of aquarium and base did you use?

A 1500mm x 1200mm/60 x 48" Optiwhite aquarium. The base was of Aquajardin’s own design. This would have cost £1,600.

What was your light set-up?

We had two Arcadia 1500mm OT2 lights fitted with eight 80w Arcadia Plant Pro tubes at a cost of £998.

And for filtration?

An Eheim 2080 thermo filter, retailing at £499.

What type of substrate did you choose?

ADA Powersand Special and ADA Africana Soil was preferred. Together they cost £700.

What comprised your CO2 dosing system?

A Dennerle 2kg bottle, Evolution Quantum pressure reducer, a Cyclo 500 diffuser with two extensions and a Calaqua drop checker to monitor gas levels. All that lot came to £450.

You need plenty of fish to fill that size. What did you select?

We chose 300 Rummynose tetra; one pair of Apistogramma agassizi ‘Super Red’; one pair of Apistogramma agassizi ‘Fire Red’; one pair of Apistogramma pandurini; one pair of Apistogramma macmasteri; two Giant otocinclus (Hypoptopoma sp.); some 60 Japonica shrimp (Caridina japonica); 20 Otocinclus affinis and two Panda garra (Garra flavatra). That all came to approximately £1,000.

What plants did you choose?

We had Vesicularia dubyana ‘Christmas’; Microsorum pteropus ‘narrow’; Cryptocoryne parva; Staurogyne repens; Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘green’ — all supplied by Tropica of Denmark. Not supplied by Tropica was Hydrocotle leucocephala. In total they came to £800.

Total: £6,000.

Check out some of our other inspirational aquariums:

Modernist approach

Low maintenance island tank

Planted pico

Zebra plec breeding set-up

Calming moss tank

Rocky cichlid tank

Fun iwagumi

Classic nature aquarium

Medium sized reef tank

Posh nature aquarium

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