We look at the lovely little nano tank from Hungarian aquascaper Viktor Lantos.
What inspired you for this tank?
The main inspiration comes from Takashi Amano’s Nature Aquarium Gallery. I have a larger tank with mainly stem plants, so this time wanted a more natural feel, so planned a moss-focussed aquarium.
What advice would you give to a beginner to the planted tank hobby?
A good soil, a strong filter and a good daily fertiliser can help you quickly become successful. If you do not have enough lighting pick less demanding plants.
You still can have nice planted aquarium without CO2, but with a high pressure system forget about carbon problems.
Your first scape will not match that of any top aquascapers, but you can easily learn more about plants, their demands, fertilisers and maintenances as you progress.
Every tank has algae and there are solutions for every algae issue. With patience you learn how to protect your living scape and, with a little work, can build beautiful, healthy tanks.
There are also great community and forums such as UKAPS.org where you can address your questions.
Did you have any problems and how did you overcome them?
We have more things to do with smaller tanks than larger ones and problems increase if you use strong lights. My 20 l/4.4 gal tank has a 27w Twin Power Compact above it. This is more than one watt per litre or four per gallon. In cases like this, if your filters, flow and CO2 are set up incorrectly you’ll have algae problems.
I had them and they increased as the morning sun strengthened in my living room. I had to change the flow in the tank, increase CO2 injection and set up the lighting hours from noon to 9pm. I dosed Green Bacter at water changes and this really helped.
How much did the entire set-up cost?
Somewhere around £750 — the most expensive outlays being the light, pressurised CO2 and glass items.â€¨â€¨
How long has your tank been set up and for how much longer do you plan to keep it up and running?
This tank is four months old and I believe it has reached its final form. Next year I will rescape it. In the meantime I will rescape my 240 l/ 53 gal tank, creating a natural landscape there too.
Your tank looks almost identical to something Amano would create. How does his work inspire you?
I think most of us get inspired by his work and I have read many books, magazines and articles written by him. However, whatever he and his team do always amaze me.
He creates really different scapes nowadays and this direction is more natural and closer to my tastes too.
Some say the planted tank and aquascaping hobby has little left to conquer, as work like this is achievable by so many people. What do you think and how do you see the hobby progressing
Aquascaping and planted aquariums are endless — just like nature. There are millions of combinations: shape, forms, colours, plant usage and decorations. The hobby is going well, more and more people choose aquascaping and contests reveal amazing scapes every year.
However, we are still far from the visions of the Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese aquascapers, so we still have a lot to do.
You have a lot of moss in the tank. How do you keep it free from detritus?
I control it with weekly moss pruning, but at my weekly water change I suck out any remaining settled bits with a tube. Of course, I feed small food portions to create less rubbish. A good filter and flow can help a lot too.
Can you explain what you do for your maintenance regime?
Most maintenance needed in nano aquariums is in setting up the correct CO2 and flow. Of course, with more visual items like glass products you will have more work to do.
The water change is relatively quick. Pruning takes a while as you have limited space in which to work and I spend almost as much time with this tank as my larger one. I change 50% of the water weekly and in this time need to trim the Rotala and mosses too. Glasses and the tubes I clean bi-weekly.
Years of experience:
More than ten as an aquarist, one in the planted tank hobby.
Art director, entrepreneur.
Number of tanks:
ADA Cube Garden Mini M, 36 x 22 x 26cm/14 x 9 x 10”.
20 l/4.4 gal.
: Otocinclus affinis, Nannostomus beckfordi, Cardinal shrimp, Caridina dennerli.
Taxiphyllum barbieri (Vesicularia), Pogostemon helferi, Didiplis diandra, Ludwigia arcuata, Hemianthus callitrichoides.’Cuba’, Eleocharis parvula, Rotala sp. ‘green’, Microsorum pteropus ‘narrow’, Christmas moss, Fissidens.
ADA Dark Iron Wood.
EHEIM Ecco Pro 130.
ADA Solar Mini M, Twin 27w PC.
ADA Power Sand Spec S, ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia and ADA Nile Sand.
Fossilised wood and Redmoor roots.
ADA Brighty K, Step 1, Easy Carbo Daily and Green Bacter, Green Gain, Phyton Git at water changes.
This item was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.