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[APD] Now is the time to get ready for those contest!

There are several contest coming up for aquascaping.
Carlos and Scott have been telling folks about them.

__Now__ is the time to start working on the tank to get it into shape for
the ADA, AGA, AB contest!
Around the end of April
Give yourself at least 10 weeks to have a tank come into the way you want

It should be quite good this year. The level of design has taken off well
in the USA in the last few years.

Be __very__ picky. About the photo's, the design, the plant health,
lighting for the photo etc.

I would suggest cleaning the tank top to bottom, then fluff the plants good
and remove as much detritus as you possibly can.
Clean the glass good, take a clean razor blade to anything you cannot clean
Clean the filter good.
Clean rock/wood very well.

Clean everything on the outside of the tank also

Do larger and more frequent water changes.
Try mega dosing right before the water change(24-12 hrs).

The day the tank has grown in the way you want, that morning that you plan
on the photo shoot, do a large 70% water change early, then dose some PO4,
traces and crank the CO2.
Come home when it's dark outside for the photo shoot. Take many, many
photo's. Use a tripod.Readup on photography hints from the AGA past
speakers and other web sites on this topic.

I will do 60-70% water changes 3x a week and dose after the water change
2-3 weeks before I feel the tank is going the direction I like.
Fluff the plants good before each water change, this will remove some algae
that has attached, clean the glass even if you cannot see anything on it.

You can also use the lights from anopther tank for addition photo shoot
Large white paper foam boards can also be used or cut out, black also for
framing a tank etc. 

Remember: the goal is to present _your idea_ and goal, not worry about
getting a high place contest. Your only competitor is yourself. Design and
make this tank for _you_, your own pride. Do not follow what other folks
are doing, try something YOU WANT to do!!!
I will say that this type of experience is good for anyone that wants a
better tank. Same goes for Open house events, these are even worse because
they can see everything, unlike photos..................so try it this
year, start now, don't wait 2-3 weeks till the contest deadline. 

If you won last year etc, it's not nice to sandbag, enter the show case
instead, and then enter the ADA contest and see if you place in the top %.
If you win that one 3 years in row then you can die happy. 

We want everyone to enter and develop these skills. The more prime examples
of good aqauscaping by _different_ people, the better. Work as a team to
promote your favorite passion and hobby and give them "secrets" away to the
next group of winners. Got a friend? Get them to enter one.

And have fun and realize you will work your butt off for this:-)

Tom Barr




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