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  1. Dave Spencer

    What to soak my wood in?

    Just add Purigen to your filter. Then you can put the wood in straight away. QED. Dave.
  2. Dave Spencer

    Blast from the past

    Hi Arana. Didn`t you kick some Gluteus maximus in the IAPLC a little while ago? Dave.
  3. Dave Spencer

    anybody going to the florida conference?

    I`m pretty sure Lysette will be going (Lljdma06). Dave.
  4. Dave Spencer

    Fishless cycling and EI dosing

    Add a little light and, yes it can. The water is being bombarded with algae spores, dead bacteria, dust (dead flakes of human skin for example) day and night, and nitrifying bacteria plus myriad others will be present in the water already. All of these will produce an environment with all that...
  5. Dave Spencer

    water change with EI ?

    Do more water changes per week too, if you have the time. Dave.
  6. Dave Spencer

    Inspiration thread - Post your sources of inspiration!

    That is a fantastic scape! If only he would cover that sawn off end. Dave.
  7. Dave Spencer

    Discussion: Are we obsessed with circulation and flow?

    Who put this clown`s name forward for expert status? :lol: Personally, I am very skeptical of peoples` claims for the parameters, algae levels etc, and Amano in particular. My 240l was a complex scape that wouldn`t have happened without x2 1200l filter turn over and x 2 Koralia power heads. TA...
  8. Dave Spencer

    What's the demand for high street planted aquarium shops?

    Re: What's the demand for high street planted aquarium shops TGM are not what I would term high street outlet. I`m not sure whether you have been there, but a visit would show you how much they have elevated themselves above high street aquatics. TGM is more than just somewhere to buy plants...
  9. Dave Spencer

    Will It Work

    Why not just plant straight in to the sand? It is way simpler, and gives your plants more leg room. An adequately dosed water column will take care of growth, without the need for Eco Complete. Dave.
  10. Dave Spencer

    temperature rises at night??

    I`m not sure as to what the cause could be, but a temperature swing of 2 degrees C over a twenty four hour period is a non event to your fauna. Dave.
  11. Dave Spencer

    Help reading drop checker

    I tend to run my drop checker closer to yellow than green. Ultimately, your fauna will let you know if the levels are too high, and algae and dissolving plants will let you know whether it is too low/not properly distributed. Drop checkers are a good enough general indicator, but nature doesn`t...
  12. Dave Spencer

    Partial water changes in high tec Aquariums

    I have never had any algae in amongst Amazonia, but have got some with sand. What I do is use an old credit card, or something similar, and push the algae down where it shows on the glass. The card is angled slightly back in to the substrate. White cards work best, as it is easier to see the...
  13. Dave Spencer

    Fish welfare vs CO2 levels.

    Thanks for the measured response Mowze. You can go back on everyone`s Christmas card list. Dave.
  14. Dave Spencer

    Fish welfare vs CO2 levels.

    Do you have any specific examples, Mowze? Personally, as part of a hobby that has fish scooped out of tropical rivers around the world, only to be put in to glass cages in our living rooms for our own personal pleasure, taking the moral high ground is to stand on ground with very shaky...
  15. Dave Spencer

    Would this work?

    I don`t see any reason why you couldn`t make it work, although calling it "low tech" is pushing it a bit. :D Perhaps you could experiment and see if the fish load can do away with dosing TPN+. Dave.
  16. Dave Spencer

    Undergravel filters

    Are anaerobic areas common in our tanks, Darryl? I was under the impression that this wasn`t the case, but it is something I am not too sure of. As for the nutrients in the substrate becoming irrelevant with a fertilised water column, I feel there are many that get better results with a high...
  17. Dave Spencer

    Fishless cycle question

    When I first start up a new planted tank, I have a different goal to those that start their tanks with a fishless cycle. My aim is to maximise plant growth from the word go to produce healthy, vibrant plant growth, and create an environment hostile to algae blooms. The fishless cycle requires...
  18. Dave Spencer

    want to learn more....

    I couldn`t even begin to think how impractical this would be for virtually all the scapes on this forum. I think there is a sticky on this forum regarding pruning etc. Dave. Sam, have you looked on The Barr Report?
  19. Dave Spencer

    Fishless cycle question

    Ellena, I think Paul was just questioning as to why bother adding substrate at a later date and making an unholy mess. Being a planted tank forum, perhaps we should be discussing getting the conditions right so that there is no need to cycle the tank at all. Dave.
  20. Dave Spencer

    Grey foam for between tank and cabinet

    Try Hobbycraft, Stu. I have a huge roll of cheap foam from there, but it is blue. I suspect they don`t do grey, otherwise I am sure I would have got that colour. Dave.
  21. Dave Spencer

    ada gallery tanks - low flow, co2 bubbles stright to surface

    Amen to that. My change of lifestyle means that I only get to dip my hands in on rare occassions and as such, my tanks are just not up to scratch, like they were during my brief period of single life. The Amano tanks will be picked at all the time. Dave.
  22. Dave Spencer

    Oxygen in a planted tank.

    I use my powerheads to create a lot of surface disturbance 24/7. I have high CO2 and O2 with the lights on, and high O2 when they are off. Dave.
  23. Dave Spencer

    Tannins...friend or foe ?

    If you like the look just go with it. Any plants you have should adapt, but give it a go and see, and hopefully, your fish will happy with the acidity tannins bring. Dave.
  24. Dave Spencer

    Limestone rock, is it safe?

    Many of us experience the kind of 24 hour pH fluctuations that you are worried about. This kind of change can generally be considered a non event. If the limestone raises your KH, then your water will be buffered and pH changes will be reduced. What fish are you getting? Dave.
  25. Dave Spencer

    any fresh ideas for me?

    Cheap gravel will you serve you well. It seems to me that you actually have quite a few ideas in your head Nick but, as George says, you know what you like best, so give with your own head/heart. Dave.
  26. Dave Spencer

    Does carbon remove trace elements?

    Purigen is a better choice for water clarity as it works for far longer than carbon. Either way, the effects on your ferts will be minimal. Dave.
  27. Dave Spencer

    Black Hair Algae

    Your plants are already unhappy and covered in algae. This why I wouldn`t uproot them and stick them in bleach. When I had a CO2 disaster, removing the plants from a heavily aquascaped tank just wasn`t an option. Provided you have the CO2 back on track, you may see the algae disappear from...
  28. Dave Spencer

    A few questions regarding cycling.

    I also have a spray bottle handy for misting the plants too during lengthy planting sessions. Dave.
  29. Dave Spencer

    im infected....

    In an attempt to calm things down, as I know this has spilt over on to another thread, are you sure that they are not terrestrial bugs, timme278? Dave.
  30. Dave Spencer


    I`m sure the tannins will filter out the part of the spectrum relating to their colour, but it shouldn`t cause any real problems as far as I know. Carbon will have a negligible effect on your ferts, so it is available to you if you want to try it. It will only clear the water for the short term...
  31. Dave Spencer

    Packing it in "NO I'm Back boys and Girls" Update @ 31.05.09

    Mark, the pictures you have put up of your tanks look very nice. You have a talent and really shouldn`t even consider giving up. Your plants may well be showing a variety of deficiencies, which a correct dosing of EI will resolve given time, but your plants will need that time. Any leaves...
  32. Dave Spencer

    hydors great service

    That`s a Gucci looking regulator. :D Dave.
  33. Dave Spencer

    Plant Book

    Try here: All the info on the site comes in a catalogue too. Dave.
  34. Dave Spencer

    Tank Planning

    It sounds like it should turn out pretty awesome. Basically, you could have any plant you want in there. I am a big fan of large grassy areas, and will be doing one next in my 120cm. Just be aware that E. parvula and acicularis grow a fair bit higher than advertised, E. acicularis in particular...
  35. Dave Spencer

    Manzanita wood shipment to the UK: where to ship it to

    Yep! Still count me in, Tom. :D Dave.
  36. Dave Spencer

    Are you an Iwagumi fan?

    I agree that an an aquascape should actually look as if it is underwater, too. There are some stunning landscapes done underwater, such as Felipe Oliveira`s trees, but they just don`t quite ring true to me. None of my tanks have really mimicked an underwater scene; I guess a biotype is what is...
  37. Dave Spencer

    Are you an Iwagumi fan?

    What do you think to the outcome of the blog, George? It seems iwagumis are cruel and unhealthy for fish. :( Dave.
  38. Dave Spencer

    Word of warning

    Maybe you could only cover it when you go away. I hate the look of glass or perspex covers, personally. It ruins the look of the tank. Dave.
  39. Dave Spencer

    Inspiration thread - Post your sources of inspiration!

    For me it used to be good old Takashi Amano and others, but now I find myself hardly looking at other peoples scapes in any depth for inspiration. If I want to learn how rock strata lay, or where mosses grow, I go for a walk. Mother nature taught TA, and remains the inspiration for us all. I...
  40. Dave Spencer

    IAPLC booklets - worth buying?

    They are not too bad, Steve. Just see what you think. You will be able to see my four year winning streak from 2001 - 2004 when I was the dominant force in aquascaping. :lol: Personally, I prefer the Aqua Journals and ADA catalogue. Dave.
  41. Dave Spencer

    Poll: What's your favourite aquascaping style?

    Re: Poll: What's your favourite style? I voted Iwagumi, but I would love to see more paludariums around. Dave.
  42. Dave Spencer

    Are you an Iwagumi fan?

    You`ve got my number Graham! :lol: Ah!! Touchee! :lol: :lol: :lol: I have done both and safely say that an Iwagumi is tougher to scape. Jungles just need the ability to grow plants. You don`t even need a foreground, do you? As for originality, I think it is difficult to achieve in any...
  43. Dave Spencer

    ADA's Francesco Nardelli

    Anybody got the ADA catalogue for 2007 (white cover)? Take a look at the bottom right hand picture on P.13. Dave.
  44. Dave Spencer

    WARNING!!!! re Circuital and fake links

    I took a Viagra once, but it got stuck in my throat. I had a stiff neck for a week. BOOM, BOOM, TCCCCHHHH! Thank you very much! :lol: Dave.
  45. Dave Spencer

    Are you an Iwagumi fan?

    I`ll post on here, rather than PFK, so Jeremy can`t delete it! 8) For me, the Iwagumi is the most difficult scape to master, as there is nowhere for anything out of place to hide. The hardscape defines the look, rather than supplying the foundations for the final look, as in a Nature Aquarium...
  46. Dave Spencer

    Whats the life span of your aquascape?

    My 240l, due to its size, is for long term. The 60cm is for short term. I think most people would start to slow down once they have a decent CV together. I love my stems, and these lend themselves to short term IME, whereas crypts and mosses are more long term. At the end of the day, some...
  47. Dave Spencer


    Re: BECAREFUL WHEN BUYING FROM THESE SHOPS I have found 1st4Aquatics to be a strange company. I placed an order during the height of the busy Christmas period and received the goods the next day! 10/10. Impressed with this, I placed another order in January, and waited and waited, got a terse...
  48. Dave Spencer

    PFK glassware blog

    "This is a blog Sylivia! I am inviting ranting..." Jeremy Gay. You wanted a rant Jeremy, and you got it. I had no intention of posting on PFK, but all the bling etc...crap got my back up, and I`m not very good at biting my tongue. Should I apologise for being passionate about aquascaping? I...
  49. Dave Spencer

    PFK glassware blog

    The lighting on the previous page looks interesting, Paulo. Dave.
  50. Dave Spencer

    need some advice on my new tank calling CEG and the plantoph

    I usually add fish once the plants are well established and any nuisance algae has gone. The ammonia from the Amazonia will be gone by then. Unfortunately, when I set up the 120cm, I was pushed in to getting fish way before the tank was established in terms of CO2 and flow. This tank introduced...
  51. Dave Spencer

    PFK glassware blog

    "However, if you take your typical “cheap” lily pipe and drop the water level with the filter running, you'll see that the water is actually forced through a tight, narrow bend and when it leaves the mouth it does so via a single jet, and isn't actually deflected against the sides at all...
  52. Dave Spencer

    need some advice on my new tank calling CEG and the plantoph

    Definitely hammer the water changes...this will also help to keep the algae spore number count down, too. May strategy is: Control lighting (intensity and photoperiod) High CO2 Keep ammonia down (50% daily water changes for approx 1 month, zeolite) Dose full ferts from the start Use mature...
  53. Dave Spencer

    PFK glassware blog

    As soon Jeremy make one single point that I find slightly relevant, I shall stop using glass inlets and outlets as the only hardware inside my tanks, and mention this on the blog. Why does he not have a dig at people who shoe horn tank busting fish in to aquariums with a couple of plant pots...
  54. Dave Spencer

    PFK Planted Tank Special - 19 pages

    I think it might be me that took that picture. I remember having the camera selected to anti gargoyle mode so that Saintly would come out looking remotely human. :lol: Dave.
  55. Dave Spencer

    filling tank - full on from the off?

    If you are struggling with the HC, here is what I do. I find that the combination of transition from emersed growth and the grief of being pulled apart and planted is a bit too much for the HC to take. So, I leave the HC in the pot for the first two or three weeks of being immersed. Some nice...
  56. Dave Spencer

    No motivation to set up new scape with co2 and aquasoil!!!

    I had a pretty rough time of it earlier this year, and aquascaping was the last thing on my mind. I can feel the bug starting to come back, and have set up a 120cm since, and hope to revive my 60cm opti white soon. Don`t worry about the loss of enthusiasm. There are far more important things in...
  57. Dave Spencer

    Hi - New Member here

    Hi Winston/Steven, Great to have you on UKAPS. Make sure you read all the articles Clive has pointed you to. Anyway, down to the nitty gritty. You have an awful lot of non aquatic plants in there. No doubt, these were sold to you by your LFS as aquatic plants. They will die after a period and...
  58. Dave Spencer

    Are there any great female aquascapers?

    Us blokes rest our case. :lol: Crikey heffalump, or whatever your name is, the more women in the hobby the better, I think. I am sure that with enough women in the hobby, a distinctive style, separate from those done by men could develop. It`s usually easy to distinguish a house furnished by a...
  59. Dave Spencer

    zigs tank

    I think the winner is a stunning tank. How many people would have the balls to hardscape a 300cm like that. Dave.
  60. Dave Spencer

    Are there any great female aquascapers?

    See if this one is up to spec, George. ... ebelt.html The comment I made on this tank seems poignant in light of this thread. :lol: Dave.
  61. Dave Spencer

    Anyone else have problems with T5 lighting?

    There are two running on the same tank in the GF`s living room. There is a gentle background hum, but they are competing with two little girls. :lol: Dave.
  62. Dave Spencer

    Anyone else have problems with T5 lighting?

    Sorry Sam, but I can`t be bothered to read all of this thread. :lol: Going back to the beginning, how did you go about planting the HC? If it was emersed growth in the pots, what I do is leave them in the pots underwater with good CO2, ferts etc for two or three weeks. Then I plant them out...
  63. Dave Spencer

    Green machine visit

    I am in Spain at the moment John, otherwise I would meet up with you there. Don´t spend too much! Dave.
  64. Dave Spencer

    New 210 litre set up equipment list....the boy is learning..

    I have only just noticed this thread.....WOW it sure makes growing plants sound difficult! Give them sufficient, light, ferts and CO2 and it is easy. Maybe avoid carpet plants such as HC at lower light levels, but growing is far and away the easy part. Give the tank sufficient light for...
  65. Dave Spencer

    Stopping tannins

    Au contraire! :D viewtopic.php?f=20&t=69 Dave.
  66. Dave Spencer

    New Tropica Plants: What did you get?

    Is Nesaea pedicellata all that new? I have been growing some I bought from TGM over three months ago. Plus it is already in their catalogue. Dave.
  67. Dave Spencer

    Buying a Nano Setup From Scratch

    What I do is have a separate needle valve in line with each branch. Fully open the needle valve on the regulator and control each tank on its own needle valve. Dave.
  68. Dave Spencer

    Buying a Nano Setup From Scratch

    If you already have a pressurised CO2 rig, just use a Y piece to branch off it. That`s what I did to keep the price of my nano down. Dave.
  69. Dave Spencer

    Air Pump when lights are out

    An air pump is a complication I can`t be doing with, either. Dave.
  70. Dave Spencer


    Well, I finally got my 2008 catalogue (turns out I had ordered, but not paid :roll: ). All I can say is that I agree with Zig. There are some nice driftwood tanks, though. Dave.
  71. Dave Spencer

    A bit of research - heater cable poll

    My first tank had a heater cable alongside a sand/laterite substrate, high light, CO2 and EI dosing. Plant growth was very quick and very healthy. Basically, there probably wasn`t anything I couldn`t grow. During the summer, the tank temperature was getting quite high, especially with the T5...
  72. Dave Spencer


    I know someone looking for an inline diffuser for a 240l very soon :wink: . Aquamas are the favourites at the moment, buy you never know.... Dave.
  73. Dave Spencer


    Yeah, you are right George. I forgot we are a year behind over here. :lol: I have ordered the 2004 and 2005 competition winners catalogue along with some Aqua Journals. Aqua Journal 137 is about Wabi- Kusa, which I want to have a go at. I hoped to have it before Friday, when I meet up with...
  74. Dave Spencer


    I think it`s better, personally. I like the step by step sequence showing TA setting up a 90cm. I should be getting my stuff from ADANA, soon. Whenever Zig gets anything through the post from them, it turns up on my doorstep a few days later. They have catalogues with all the International...
  75. Dave Spencer

    Do we need a filter?

    Interesting stuff as always Clive. I must admit, though, I wasn`t aware that ammonia was one of the leachates from healthy plants. Ammonia leaching from unhealthy plants is an algae trigger, and occurs at more elevated levels I would imagine, but considering the low levels of nutrients in...
  76. Dave Spencer

    Can you let me know all the online/mail order companies?

    I have used these recently, Jeremy. They do some nice, unusual stuff. I recently ordered some narrow leaf Java fern and petite Anubias barteri. The amounts were quite small, but they got caught up in the Christmas post and sat in my local Post Office for about a week. They still looked...
  77. Dave Spencer

    UKaps Aquascaping Tools

    Luton Town colours for me Dan! :D Dave.
  78. Dave Spencer

    UKaps Aquascaping Tools

    The scissors are the main thing for me, Dan. If they are up to scratch, I will definitely buy a set. Dave.
  79. Dave Spencer

    New Here =D

    Hi Andy, I used to visit Harrogate quite a lot when I lived in N. Yorkshire. Very nice little town if I recall correctly. Such a shame that you picked a bunch of losers when it comes to international rugby. :lol: Dave.
  80. Dave Spencer

    Low tech, high tech or mid tech? Discussion on PFK website

    I notice that my reply has been eited. Dave.
  81. Dave Spencer

    My ADA package has arrived !

    I got both my books this morning. Amazing stuff! Graeme, any idea why there is a Kleenex shortage in the North West? :lol: Dave.
  82. Dave Spencer

    The magnetic pull, nay, the black hole that is ukaps..

    Hi Andy, What took you so long? Keep pressuring Tropical Fish For You to stock Tropica plants. :wink: Dave.
  83. Dave Spencer

    I'm a lucky so and so...

    I am a big fan of rimless, braceless tanks, glassware and inline equipment. My 60cm opti white is a fantastic looking piece of minimalist kit (shame about the contents :lol: ). A 120cm should look the Bees. It`s a shame you are not going for the Discus set up, but a 120cm "test bed" will see...
  84. Dave Spencer

    Congratulations Graeme!!

    Well played Graeme. This was one of the tanks that inspired me to go planted last September when I was putting out the newbie feelers on getting a fish tank. Dave.
  85. Dave Spencer

    Test your knowledge of aquatic plants???

    I got 22, but James` whinging about some of the answers helped me :lol:. My plant ID was pretty crap. Dave
  86. Dave Spencer


    Do excess nutrients cause algae directly? I assume we are talking in terms of adding nitrates and phosphates. Can it be said that the result of excess nutrients is algae, therefore they caused the algae? Recently, I took the nitrates in my 120l tank above 50ppm without noticing any change in my...
  87. Dave Spencer

    AGA 2007 - Anyone entering?

    My Iwagumi is almost ready now, so I might see how it scrubs up this week. My Riccia scape isn`t ready, unfortunately. I have got the Micranthemum umbrosum sorted out, but I wanted to push the Riccia growth as far as I could to see what happens. This has meant that a lot of the Riccia is now...
  88. Dave Spencer

    Good Video - Rocks + tempered glass aquarium

    There can`t be many people that thought aquarium glass could take that kind of weight. The most amazing thing is that all the weight was concentrated in one small area. Dave.
  89. Dave Spencer

    The Aquatic Gardeners Association TAG, Ukaps inside!

    I have just read the article, Graeme. Nice one, squire! Dave.
  90. Dave Spencer

    A quick bit about me

    An up and coming planted 240l! Sounds awesome. I hope you keep us updated with loads of pics so that we can give you loads of unwanted advice. :lol: Dave.
  91. Dave Spencer

    Jungle Style Photo

    I did PM you asking you where you wanted the pics sent, but my PM panel seems very tempramental. Dave.
  92. Dave Spencer

    Thought I'd say hello

    That`s a very nice tank Jayne. I like all the wood, but the piece on the left in particular. My only reservation is that there are two distinctively different types of wood that don`t seem to go together, IMO. Perhaps the whole thing will blend in better once the scape is more mature and grown...
  93. Dave Spencer

    plants for discus tank

    Yes but, unfortunately,Takashi Amano has copied me and got one exactly the same. :lol: This tank and Discus are what I aspire to, and to think TA did it way back in 1992. Dave.
  94. Dave Spencer

    plants for discus tank

    The main difference between high and low tech is about £20 per gallon. :lol: There is no clear distinction as such, but I tend to use the idea that once your lighting nears 2WPG (WPG is a very general rule), then you need stable CO2 and a fertiliser regime. When you upgrade your car engine...
  95. Dave Spencer

    plants for discus tank

    What you definitely need are: A regulator with a needle valve. A CO2 cylinder. You could look for a cheap fire extinguisher off eBay. A solenoid to shut off the CO2 off during lights out. A non return valve. A means of diffusion of the CO2 (ceramic disc or reactor). A CO2 dropper to measure...
  96. Dave Spencer

    a few beginer queries

    You are probably right Andy, but we call it RO at work even though that is only one of the purification stages. The final product comes out at a conductivity of 0.002microSiemens/cm, which is pure enough water to be used as an insulator for high voltage motors. I forgot to mention that my...
  97. Dave Spencer

    a few beginer queries

    No probs Graeme, I first read about using 4dKH on the Barr Report. What I do is half fill the bulb of the dropper with reference solution, and then add the drops of indicator to taste really. Adding more indicator will give a deeper colour, and less will give a more translucent look (I normally...
  98. Dave Spencer

    a few beginer queries

    The purpose of the drop checker is to give a good indication that the tank CO2 levels are running at 30ppm. It is done by adding a few drops of Bromo Blue liquid to the bulb on the left of the dropper ( I actually use the drops from my Nutrafin Low Range pH test kit). Then you need to add a few...
  99. Dave Spencer

    Nature Aquarium World by Takashi Amano Book 2

    Book 1 is my personal favourite for the reason you highlighted George, but like most people, I just knew that once I had one of the books I would be getting all three. Book 2 is excellent, and kicks off with a one litre tank!!!!! Dave.