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Television Presenter's Aquarium Makeover

George Farmer

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Hi all - it's been a while...

Last summer I got in touch with Jonny Smith, car journalist and TV presenter, probably best known from Fifth Gear.

Jonny's been a keen fishkeeper since he was a child, but he admitted his tank had seen better days, and accepted the offer of a makeover.

The tank is viewable from three sides so I considered this into the layout.

This is the result - before and after. The full feature was covered in PFK last year.

Before - frontal


Before - rear


After - frontal


After - rear


The tank has been running for almost 6 months and it's still looking great, although I think Jonny is keen to try out some new plants now. I have recommended crypts to replace the Hygrophila pinnatifida.

The aquascape design is deliberately low maintenance with Jonny spending a lot of time away from home. The floating plants provide a lot of shade that limit growth nicely and help prevent any algae.

Tank specs -

Tank - 120 x 45 x45cm optiwhite from Aquarium Cabinet Solutions
Lighting - Arcadia OT2 luminaire with Hagen Life-Glo and Arcadia Plant Pro 54w T5, split photoperiod, 2 x 5hr
Filtration - Fluval G6, Aquasys lily pipes, Hydor ETH300 inline heater
CO2 - TMC pressurised system with solenoid, Boyu inline diffuser, 5Kg CO2 fire extinguisher, Aquasys bubble counter and drop checker
Substrate - Unipac Maui Sand
Ferts - 10ml per day TPN+
Water - Hard tap water, 50% water change per week
Decor - Unipac XL Sumatra Wood and pebbles
Plants - Mature Java ferns, Bolbitis, Anubias barteri, Hygrophila pinnatifida, floating Amazon frogbit. All Tropica, supplied from one of my old tanks
Fish - Various community fish
 

ZoddyZod

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saw this in PFK and was impressed back then.

I would like to point at that I am also a celebrity. Give me a call and you can come round and do mine.
 

minnnt

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Looking great George. Any updated pics?

Also, can i ask what the reason behind the split photo period is?

Thanks. :)
 

ZoddyZod

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Also, can i ask what the reason behind the split photo period is?
my guess - it's the 'siesta' method that some employ to minimise alage growth whilst also extending the 'lights on' period each day.

(awaits to be proved wrong in 5, 4, 3.....)
 

minnnt

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Also, can i ask what the reason behind the split photo period is?
my guess - it's the 'siesta' method that some employ to minimise alage growth whilst also extending the 'lights on' period each day.

(awaits to be proved wrong in 5, 4, 3.....)

Nice. Never heard of it mate. The reason i asked was because i have always been advised to keep to one photo period. :unsure:
 

ian

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thanks for posting George, looks great mate! :good:
 

micko

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I like it and seen it in PFK when it was featured


But....... I fail to see why this was done for a 'celebrity'. I feel it would have been better if a normal, non-'celebrity' won it through a competition in PFK. Not everyone who reads the magazine could afford to go out and spend X ammount on all the stuff that was added to the rescape of the tank. I'm pretty sure he could though. :blink:
Just my opinion......
 

ian

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I'm sure since this, George has done a readers tank, which will feature at some point i'm sure.
 
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George Farmer

George Farmer

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Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback.

Looking great George. Any updated pics?

Also, can i ask what the reason behind the split photo period is?

Thanks. :)
The 'siesta' is not intentional to limit algae, although it is said that it helps. It's more to do with viewing times.

My own thoughts are that if you inject CO2 but aren't able to keep it constant or high enough, then a dark period may help with the CO2 still being delivered, as the CO2 levels will build during the siesta, allowing the plants to use it more effectively once the photoperiod resumes. This said, I also believe that it's more appropriate to provide a good constant level of CO2 throughout the photoperiod, and some have great results with a midday burst of light. With LEDs and clever controllers becoming more available the options are there to experiment with various photoperiod techniques. Personally I prefer to ramp up and ramp down the lighting gradually at the beginning and end of the photoperiod to avoid startling the fish, especially in an open-topped aquarium.

No update pics yet but it's a great idea to do some proper follow-up shots. Jonny's sent me some phone snaps, and they look great, but they don't really do it justice having seen it in the flesh a few times since set up.

But....... I fail to see why this was done for a 'celebrity'. I feel it would have been better if a normal, non-'celebrity' won it through a competition in PFK. Not everyone who reads the magazine could afford to go out and spend X ammount on all the stuff that was added to the rescape of the tank. I'm pretty sure he could though. :blink:
Just my opinion......
Great point. Thanks.

I was commissioned to do this set up, and as it's an income for me I can't really refuse. Plus I've been a fan of Jonny's work for years, so it was great to meet him and now have him as a friend with something in common.

Also, as Ian points out, I have done and continue to do makeovers for 'normal' people. Sometimes using my own equipment at my own expense.
 
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