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  1. Ben C

    Algae photo request!

    Hi Andy, Thanks very much for the images. I'm no expert yet, but I'm going to suggest that this is actually a form of Black Brush Algae (BBA), which can often appear reddish. In the course of my research for the blog I will try to find a definitive answer to this one for you, but BBA would be...
  2. Ben C

    Algae photo request!

    Great - thanks. So satisfying to see it turn red, isn't it! Thanks again for the pics.
  3. Ben C

    Algae photo request!

    Awesome - many thanks
  4. Ben C

    Algae photo request!

    Hi all, From January I'm going to start blogging about algae in the planted aquarium, but could really do with some images. If you have any algae images that you'd be happy for me to use, I would be really grateful if you could DM them to me. I will of course credit you on the photo (if you...
  5. Ben C

    Waving the white flag! I need your help...

    @Geoffrey Rea Thanks again for the time you've given me here. Its really appreciated. I should have quantified - prefilter only, every two weeks. Not the whole lot. You've inspired me to keep going. Just ordered some Ceratopteris so will implement the changes you've suggested and see how I...
  6. Ben C

    Waving the white flag! I need your help...

    Hi Geoffrey, Many thanks for the comprehensive response - I appreciate it. The thinking behind adding the Koralia was in part to try to flush out some of the detritus, the thinking being that if I can do that AND ensure CO2 is reaching the plants, it might help. My drop checker is typically...
  7. Ben C

    Waving the white flag! I need your help...

    @Tim Harrison Thank you for this. When you say 'sterilise', what do you mean exactly? I can't afford to replace the Tropica substrate - do you think that would be a problem? I had a really high plant biomass to start with (first photo in the video), so perhaps ordering the same again would be...
  8. Ben C

    Waving the white flag! I need your help...

    Hello all, I need your help. I set up a new planted tank in early December. It started off perfectly, but has declined over the last couple of months to a mess. I've had planted tanks for years and this is the toughest ride I have ever had. I've made a video to help illustrate where I currently...
  9. Ben C


    Thanks Edvet - yes, I didn't mean to write 'algae'! A slip of the keyboard ;)
  10. Ben C


    Having read this thread, I just did my own three day black-out (Saturday morning, all day Sunday, all day Monday and into Tuesday evening). There is now not a trace of cyanobacteria - its like it was never there. I will now be doing a 50% water change as that dead algae will be in the water...
  11. Ben C

    Tank falling from grace.

    Dillinger - any update on this? I'm currently going through the same and for the first time ever. Never had BGA before :( Any learnings would be gratefully received.
  12. Ben C

    Trimming Cyperus Helferi

    Hi Sanj - long shot - do you still have masses of CH? If so, could I buy some from you? I'm looking for some submerged, rather than the shop bought emersed growth. Thanks
  13. Ben C

    Yama 山

    As a stand-alone character, or when used as part of a place or family name, it is actually read as 'yama'. The reading 'san' is only used when the character is used as a suffix, such as Fuji-san. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  14. Ben C

    10 years in the making

    CO2 - a far better option than SodaStream For years I only had SodaStream CO2 and this was costing me a small fortune. Having stripped my tank down in preparation for this rebuild, I took the time to investigate other options and happened upon this company and this CO2 in particular - adamsgas...
  15. Ben C

    10 years in the making

    So, this is my latest aquascape and one that has taken 10 years to get to! On my recent 10 year work anniversary, my company gave me £500 to spend on anything I like, so I took the opportunity to indulge my hobby a little. I spent £300 on the two Kessil A80 Tuna Sun LED lights, ADA substrate...
  16. Ben C

    £500 to spend - please help!

    Thanks for all the replies. I'm not looking at the TMC GroBeams and Dennerle Refillable CO2 units on Aqua Essentials (looks like the latter needs a separate solenoid, but I've emailed Richard to confirm). Anyone have any opinions on either of these? Many thanks
  17. Ben C

    £500 to spend - please help!

    Evening all, I have been given £500 to spend (long service award at work) and would like to upgrade my CO2 (complete new set-up) and upgrade from a cheap T5 unit to an LED lighting unit. I've been looking at the TGM complete CO2 kit and the ADA Aquasky 601both at The Green Machine. Not only...
  18. Ben C

    Silicate removing compound

    Hi Bex, Hmm - well it got worse before it got better. I ended up doing a complete escape in the end. Just needed it. Happy with the results and not a diatom in sight. A bit of BBA on the unmoveable rocks that I need to clean somehow, but otherwise very happy. I learned not to start a new...
  19. Ben C

    "The roots of petite"

    Hi Lauris - amazing tank. Any particular tips on such luxuriant Anubias growth? I can't see a speck of algae on it anywhere! Thanks for posting - great tank.
  20. Ben C

    Who's coming to the UKAPS Aquascaping Experience 2016?

    I seem to have missed the announcement - where is it and when? Hopefully I'll be able to make it!
  21. Ben C

    Staurogyne melt and Cyperus browning tips

    Thanks for this. Will buy some more and reduce the light on them. How about the browning tips on the CH? Any ideas on that? thanks
  22. Ben C

    Staurogyne melt and Cyperus browning tips

    Morning all, I re-scaped my tank three weeks ago and planted one pot of Tropica S. Repens. It gradually yellowed and melted. The stems have now completely disintegrated and the only thing left is the roots. The tips of my C. helferi have also started to brown as well. Oddly, Blyxz japonica...
  23. Ben C

    George Farmer At destination aquatics

    Looking forward to this - I'll be there on the 31st if possible. What are you talking about at both events George?
  24. Ben C

    How would you arrange the flow in this tank?

    Thanks Tim - I just wonder how the plants below the outlet receive any CO2, if indeed you do put it at the front right...
  25. Ben C

    How would you arrange the flow in this tank?

    I am hugely inspired by this tank but was wondering how best to organise the flow in this tank? The natural flow of the wood and plants is right to left, so the direction of water movement would need to reflect this. I'm thinking filter outlet front right to filter inlet back right. Is that...
  26. Ben C

    Getting MC to lie down!

    Fantastic - many thanks both. Just spent a fascinating half an hour with Dennis Wong on YouTube - just found this as well. Both well worth watching for anyone struggling like I am.. Time to find a pH meter.. Thanks again. Videos like these are so motivating. I need to watch more, more often...
  27. Ben C

    Getting MC to lie down!

    OK, so my MC is growing fairly healthily - nice green leaves, is not straggly (internodal length is reasonably short) but its growing vertically and refuses to lie down. I have 24W over an 81l tank - used to have 48W but things are growing much better since reducing the light. Injected CO2 via...
  28. Ben C

    Festival of Fishkeeping 2015 - 3-4 October

    Yes, probably would, all being well.
  29. Ben C

    Distribution advice needed

    Thanks Martin - good to hear from you. What's the thinking behind this? Why wouldn't I improve the CO2 distribution to maximise the light I have available? Would 24w allow me to achieve the healthy carpet growth I am looking for? This is just a question - I'm just trying to understand things...
  30. Ben C

    Distribution advice needed

    Evening all, I need your help. My tank is not happy.. plants are just existing and really thriving. I'm convinced this is down to CO2 distribution and want to sort it out once and for all. A few specs for you: Tank: TMC Signature 60cm x 45cm x 30cm (81l) Filter: Eheim Professionel III (50%...
  31. Ben C

    Silicate removing compound

    Thanks everyone - the advice is much appreciated. I did a really big clean-out of everything last week and things seem to be getting better. The filter was *filthy* - the colour of the stuff coming out of it was incredible... The diatoms are creeping back in, but far less than before. Anyone...
  32. Ben C

    Silicate removing compound

    Evening all, I currently have an outbreak of long diatom synedra and reading about it a couple of other sites recommend using some form of silicate removing compound in the filter. Can anyone recommend such a thing? or any other method of overcoming this horrible brown algae? Will Amanos and...
  33. Ben C

    Brown hairlike algae - what is causing this?

    Thanks Ian and Xim, This is really useful. Its definitely that synedra. I'll do some more research into causes/solutions. Its odd, I've had tanks for almost 20 years and never even seen this before. My last two sets ups have had it. I think my filter might need a good clean, to try and rid the...
  34. Ben C

    Brown hairlike algae - what is causing this?

    Hi all, I've never really had algae problems before but this is a new set up and I cannot work out what is causing this. This is an 81l Signature. I have an Eheim Pro III giving me 10x turnover per hour (reduced media content), EI ferts and CO2 at around 30ppm. I don't have any livestock in...
  35. Ben C

    60cm Signature (untitled)

    Morning all, So, at long last, I've been able to set up my 60x45x30 TMC signature. I've had to acquire everything I've needed for it over the last three years or so, upgrading my kit from a standard 60x30x30 that I've had for quite some time. This is a high-tech tank and I am experimenting...
  36. Ben C

    Marsilea Hirsuta loosing colour

    Just a quick reply - the clover-shaped leaves of your Marsilea are the emmersed form. The plant has been grown out of water to date. Those leaves will die off unfortunately and the submerged leaf type will grow through. It's entirely different sadly. Another tip - get your CO2 on a couple of...
  37. Ben C

    Eleocharis acicularis or Eleocharis sp. 'mini' ?

    Super simple question - which of these two is the smaller of the two (in terms of typical height). They're sold as different plants, so I'm assuming there is a difference. Many thanks, Ben
  38. Ben C

    Forest Temptations

    The Fellowshrimp Of The Ring
  39. Ben C

    What is killing my shrimps?

    Wow - I had no idea about this. That's an incredible revelation. I'll get on to it now.. Thanks both
  40. Ben C

    What is killing my shrimps?

    I've successfully kept and bred red cherry shrimps for years and I've read about largely unexplained mass die-offs before, but its now happening to me.. I'm losing about 10 shrimps a night at the moment but just a moment ago, found one in the final throes of death. On closer inspection, I...
  41. Ben C

    Tulgey Wood - Trimmed

    Thanks Troi - its a particularly beautiful specimen. Another to add to the 'could also buy' list...!
  42. Ben C

    Mixed species carpet??

    I'd recommend H. verticillata as well. About 10 years ago, I had a mixed carpet of glosso, H. verticillata and dwarf hair grass. Was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I'm setting up a new scape at the end of this month that will include HV in a mixed carpet. It does put out...
  43. Ben C

    Tulgey Wood - Trimmed

    Looks great, Troi. Really vibrant growth. What is the narrow-bladed plant to the left of the centre, diagonally down from the HP on the second of the two pics above? The mid-height plant with ever so slightly darker green leaves. Thanks.
  44. Ben C

    I have some equipment, need some more. Gonna do it properly this time!

    Why are lily pipes useless for growing carpet plants?
  45. Ben C

    Ivan's scapes

    Fantastic. I like #3 most but all are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
  46. Ben C

    A brief video of my setup, maybe you can help!

    It might be worth getting an internal drop checker and checking the CO2 levels in those bottom reaches of the tank, just to rule that out. Something is not reaching those lowest plants - could be the light, could be the CO2. I hope somebody's advice here helps you crack this :)
  47. Ben C

    hand me down!

    Hi, This looks good so far. One thing I noticed though (and I'm reading it on a phone...) is that your drop checker appears to be blue or dark green in most pictures. This might suggest your CO2 levels are not high enough or being distributed evenly. Ideally, you'd want that to be light green...
  48. Ben C

    Still aquascaping...

    Welcome back, Ady - good to see you on here again. Tank looks great. I've always wondered though, how hard is it to keep a tank like that algae-free. What's the technique? Some Cyperus helferi or similar blowing in the current around the wood would look amazing - looking forward to the plants...
  49. Ben C

    Weekly nutrient consumption in planted aquarium

    One quick question ardjuna - how did you ensure you were only ever removing NEW biomass each week?
  50. Ben C

    co2 art soda stream system

    Hi Glenn, I have SodaStream on my 54l and it lasts me about a month. A replacement canister is £7.99 from Robert Dyas. I like the compactness of the set up, and use the CO2 Art adapter which is very good - far better than the CO2 Supermarket option I started with, which often leaked whilst...
  51. Ben C

    Hello From Canada

    Welcome to UKAPS, David. Whereabouts in Canada are you?
  52. Ben C

    Fissidens Fontanus problems

    The dark green comes from increased levels of chlorophyll - a response to low light levels.
  53. Ben C

    Things going bad

    Hi there, Can I suggest you read through some of the threads on the El Natural Low Tech section of this forum as that is what you appear to be running. I think you're possibly a little bit confused about which branch of planted tank-keeping you're pursuing; you have a CO2 drop-checker in...
  54. Ben C

    (Microsorum Pteropus SP. 'trident') problem?

    I believe microsorum is particularly sensitive to drying out so if it was out of the water for a bit, while you flooded your new scape for example, that could be why.
  55. Ben C

    hello from sunny oxford

    Welcome - there are a couple of us over in Witney too! Welcome to UKAPS.
  56. Ben C


    Love fissidens. Will be interested to see how it does in darker water - mine has always seemed to need the clearest, most sparkling water I could give it. This is going to look great in a couple of months' time.
  57. Ben C

    Plants that go well with moss covered root?

    Hygrophila pinnatifida?
  58. Ben C


    A great project - really looking forward to seeing this flooded and grown-in a little. Will look incredible with 40+ chocolates in there. Have subscribed - watching with interest.
  59. Ben C


    Likewise, most of mine arrived pretty battered but recovered in my high tech tank.
  60. Ben C

    Rasbora harlequin vs Neon tetra

    I find harlequins tend to jump more than neons so if your tank is open-topped I'd go for the latter.
  61. Ben C

    Obsessing over hardscape again.

    Agree on the above comments. I'd also add that you've got those two golden coloured pieces 'crawling' over the substrate and the other piece bolt upright almost like horns or antlers. There's nothing in between. That looks a bit unnatural and harsh on the eyes. Hope that makes sense. I'd want...
  62. Ben C

    The Living Bridge - Video added

    What a great thread. This is a great video to sum this all up with. Thanks hamza - inspirational stuff.
  63. Ben C

    Dragon's Grove

    I think it will be ok if your planting is similarly dramatic. I'd want to see something really quite striking to detract slightly from the sand. I agree - plant heavier on one side. For me personally that would be the left.
  64. Ben C

    Plant ID for my lovely plants. :-)

    Hi Zak, The first one looks like Alternanthera rosaefolia to me and the second is Hydrocotyle verticillata. I can't really make out the third one (looks interesting though) - hope someone else can.. cheersPS - I'd trim 2-4 leaves off the bottom of each of those Alternanthera stems if I were you...
  65. Ben C

    Hello from Oxfordshire

    Hello darius from didcot. Ben from witney here. Welcome to UKAPS.
  66. Ben C

    Tweaking a layout til you're ok with it

    Viktor - you fancy opening a shop over here in the UK...?!
  67. Ben C

    Up atomizer

    The only real down side to having the atomiser on the outlet is that you have to put up with a tank full of fine bubbles. Personally, I quite like that - tells me the CO2 is actually working!
  68. Ben C

    Couple of quick Purigen questions

    Thanks Ian. Decision made.
  69. Ben C

    Couple of quick Purigen questions

    Good to know. Thanks Alastair. Sounds like there's no harm in having it in there (other than perhaps another thing to affect flow of course). This will be in a Signature 600, so should be effective. Will give it a shot. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
  70. Ben C

    Couple of quick Purigen questions

    Evening all, Am still trying to understand whether Purigen is counter-productive in a high-tech EI tank. Can anyone give me a bit more clarity (;)) on this? Also, do people use it in their filters permanently, or just when they are trying to achieve a specific aim, i.e. increased water...
  71. Ben C

    DIY Filter Tube Cutouts in TMC Cabinet

    Just revisiting this as I'm going to be doing something similar myself (it would appear...!) and stumbled across this website that should keep every perfectionist on this forum happy ;) http://www.bpfonline.co.uk/search.asp?catid=3968
  72. Ben C

    Inlet/outlet on Signature

    Hello there, I've just bought a 600 x 450 x 300 TMC Signature and will be using gUSH glass lilies on it. I'm not concerned about flow rate, more flow direction and specifically the best positions for the inlet and outlet pipes. I cannot get the pipework on the sides of the tank without cutting...
  73. Ben C

    IAPLC 2014 results - updated page 1

    Evening all, Congratulations to everyone who received their letters and good luck to everyone still to get theirs. I hope to be in the contest next year too. Roughly translated, Iain, your letter says: [International Aquatic Plant Layout Contest 2014] Results Thank you for taking part in...
  74. Ben C

    Born from the ashes

    Great stuff, mate. Resist the urge to put anything on those rocks! Looking forward to seeing this when the HC is full grown in. If you have the urge to buy some new plants, you could punctuate the HC with some hair grass or marsilea or something - would look awesome.
  75. Ben C

    Manzanita Sale

    Bugger - just spend £30 on manzanita elsewhere last week! Typical. Good to know you sell it though.
  76. Ben C

    Natural Aquarium attempt - 16/06/2015 (pics)

    A really good tip I read about Staurogyne is to cut it so you only have four leaves or so left at the top. The whole plant should then be about 2cm tall. Remove the bottom two of those four leaves giving you a good stem to plant into the substrate. The plant will then grow strong and healthily...
  77. Ben C

    Which Otos?

    Love Otos.
  78. Ben C

    CO2 Canister Question.

    Thanks all. Those new CO2 Art adapters look much better. Will check compatibility with my reg in the morning and might buy one tomorrow. Will post a review when I do. Thanks for the advice. Sent from the comfort of my Samsung S III Mini. Wish it was an iPhone...
  79. Ben C

    CO2 Canister Question.

    I'm on SodaStream as well and am in exactly the same position. My canisters last me about a month. The problem I find is that they often leak when I'm putting a new canister in, despite changing the o-ring every single time for diligence. This makes me a bag of nerves each time I change them...
  80. Ben C

    Where is Alice 130Lt Planted

    That fissidens is amazing - what's your secret?
  81. Ben C

    The Amazon Abyss programme on BBC

    Just in case anyone missed this - available now on iPlayer. Definitely worth watching - we don't get many programmes on TV! BBC iPlayer - Amazon Abyss: Episode 7 A one hour documentary on the fish and other wildlife of the Amazon. Some cool images and an insight into the natural habitats. We...
  82. Ben C

    The Moss Temple, Kyoto - pictures

    Morning all, I thought I'd post a few pictures from a trip to the Moss Temple just outside Kyoto, Japan. Known as Kokedera in Japanese, its invitation-only so few tourists get to see it. The name of the temple building itself is Saiho-ji. I thought these might serve as inspiration for a few...
  83. Ben C

    Aquascaping assistance

    The first thing I thought is that the wood looks upside now. Not sure if that helps?!
  84. Ben C

    NA Style Baby... (Update 24.12)

    Piece-of-fish, did you have any substrate under the sand at all? Love this tank - total inspiration.
  85. Ben C

    CO2 inline diffusers

    It would work better on the inlet tube, so the bubbles are rising into oncoming water and being forced down into the filter against the natural upward direction of travel. Just thinking .. Sent from the comfort of my Samsung S III Mini. Wish it was an iPhone...
  86. Ben C

    CO2 inline diffusers

    I've never used them Jordi, but the design make total sense to me. I think you'll be luck to get 100% diffusion with any system and would expect you to still get bubbles coming out of the outflow even with this one. I like the design and the further you can make the bubbles travel in the water...
  87. Ben C

    16/22 mm Clear tubing for external filiters

    Any further reports on this hosing long term, or anywhere else to buy clear 16/22 hosing from? Thanks all Ben
  88. Ben C

    Carpets with Cory?

    Stauro puts out really long, deep roots in a couple of weeks or so. I'd imagine it to be ok. New plantlets will need replanting until they take hold, but it really shouldn't take long.
  89. Ben C

    1st comute of the year

    Just got home off mine as well. Love it, love it, love it. Its running like a dream at the moment as well - could've kept going this evening! Looking forward to the long summer evenings - its the ultimate freedom. :)
  90. Ben C

    The secret to lush green Fissidens fontanus

    Cool - many thanks everyone. Bit of an overhaul due this weekend, so will take this all into account. Cheers, Ben
  91. Ben C

    The secret to lush green Fissidens fontanus

    Evening all, Can anyone share the secret to lush green Fissidens fontanus with me? I've grown it a few times and although it grows, it always seems a bit dark and almost grey. How do you achieve beautiful green growth like this? Thanks everyone, Ben
  92. Ben C

    Tulgey Wood - Trimmed

    That's going to look cracking with some lush green plants to off-set the dark, moody hardscape. Looking forward to watching what you do with this one.
  93. Ben C

    My second aquascape...

    Is that Blyxa I spy on the left hand side?
  94. Ben C

    gUSH - OPipe or OBubble?

    Fantastic, many thanks. I was pretty set on the OPipe, so these comments reinforce that. Geoff - which inlets do you recommend? I can completely see why a gUSH inlet might reduce flow. Thanks all
  95. Ben C

    gUSH - OPipe or OBubble?

    Hi, Just looking into some gUSH glassware - can anyone tell me the differences between the OPipe and the OBubble? Why would one buy one over the other? 17mm Outflow - gUSH Lily Pipes - Aquarium Glassware - Tools & Glassware Also, anything to consider when buying inlet glassware? Many...
  96. Ben C

    35x20x30 Iwagumi Dry Start UPDATED 26/02/2014

    Hi Jaap, Personally I think the last one is the best, but I would be tempted to move the back left one in a little. Before that however, I think you need to sort the substrate out as the lack of definition in it is detracting from the definition you're trying to achieve with the rocks. Have a...
  97. Ben C

    ADA or Optiwhite, cant decide :(?

    I agree with trevor. If youre a perfectionist and have a project already in mind, then settling for a smaller tank is surely the bigger compromise. Get your water crystal clear and the difference in glass (if any) will be impossibly minimal. Just don't by an ADA tank next if you go for an...
  98. Ben C

    'Lava Negro'

    Really nice, Alastair. There is nothing more beautiful than a healthy Anubias.
  99. Ben C

    Best external for a 60cm x 45cm x 30cm Signature

    Hi Westy, Yes, I've tried it without the media in there and there is no difference. I've taken a video, which if I can work out how to post, will show you a little later. Thanks for your help with this. Ben